Scorers: Manu, Hubbard, Shaw.
A local derby that both teams were looking forward to. The Vamps did us at their place and probably felt like they had a good chance of winning in this game too. During the week a few of them were very vocal on twitter about how they were going to take 3 points from us – giving Skips and the Gaffer the perfect motivation for a team-talk.
With Andy delayed, Fabb was thrust in to the spotlight – he had not actually wanted to play on the way back from injury, but had to play the 1st 25 until Andy arrived. We defended resolutely, dealing well with what the Vamps had to throw at us. Rich and Mike Graves were dominating the midfield battle, and we had the chance to take the lead early on when Mike Hubbard turned quickly but just dragged his shot wide.
Vamps took the lead about 30 mins in, when a wayward shot hit Andy in the face deflecting it past the hamstrung Jason. We kept calm and played on. Vamps had a 2nd goal rightly disallowed for a foul on Jason, but they were causing us little trouble due to us dominating the second ball, particularly in midfield.
We equalised when Les Manu was set away, skinned his fullback, cut in and hammered low in to the far bottom corner. Moments later, Les ran through again and his shot hit the bar.
At half-time, we spoke about pushing home the advantage. Skips made way for Rick (who was getting needle from the oppo left over from the first encounter), who was a huge presence in midfield, and nearly made an instant impact when he beat 3 players and hit the inside of the post. Richie Hancock too spurned a good chance. We took the lead with 25 to go, when a deep cross by the impeccable Frazer was controlled and hammered in from a tight angle by Mike Hubbard. We made it 3 when pinball in the area resulted in the ball bouncing to Rick who hammered home from the penalty spot. 3-1 and looking comfortable. Ozan made way for Tabs who had 2 good chances to kill the game but narrowly missed, and the game was made more interesting when the Vamps fullback was found alone in the box from a corner, controlled in well and drilled in to the bottom corner. Cue a slightly desperate last few mins, but we saw it out and took the points.
No doubt this result was massive, but if we do not follow it up in the coming weeks with victories, it will mean nothing. There are absolutely no Mugs in this decision and every game now is a cup final until the end.
Man of the Match – 3 way split – Frazer and Les for terrorising the Vamps fullbacks, and Mike Hubbard for doing more running than we have ever seen in a game!
Team: J Smith, Fabb (A Smith), McLoughlin (Shaw), Jeater, Wilding, Graves, Hancock, Shaw-Morris, Manu, Gunes (Tabram), Hubbard.