Sat 31
3rd Team
AFC Woodhatch
Wars snatch a draw

Wars snatch a draw

By Steve Rolfe
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Warlingham fight back to grab a draw against high flying AFC Woodhatch

Warlingham “A” 2-2 AFC Woodhatch

Wars went into this game still with only 2 defeats in the league but with 3 draws in the last three knew that they could not afford to lose against a team whose form was the one of a title winning side. Manager Tucker ringed the changes and went with a more attacking line up.

The game started brightly and with both sides trying to play football on a decent surface the match was going to be entertaining. Chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges and with Harry Mcdonagh battling and breaking down play in the middle of park and with Tom Flynn reverting to centre half Wars had a decent shape about them and for all Woodhatche’s possession chances were few.

Wars should have took the lead on 15 mins when great forward play between Bamford and Elliot resulted in the Young Tynan just shooting wide. AFC started to play some very good football and showed why they are at the top end of the table with some of the best football played against Wars this season but again Wars stuck to the task well and with full backs Wadsworth and Cousins keeping tight AFC found it very hard to break down. Then on 25 mins some tricky wing play by AFC resulted in a great cross for a simple header home - 1-0 to AFC. They just about deserved to be in front.

Warlingham again tried to break AFC down but they looked solid all over the park and very well organised. But that didn't stop Wars trying and the effort, hunger and shear determination was found by the Wars players for the first time in ages.

Half time came and 1-0 down Tucker took of Miller and replaced him with Burton to try and add some height up top. No sooner had the game started Wars found themselves 2 down. A throw deep in AFC half was met with a long punt up field for the impressive number 9 of Woodhatch who coolly slotted home. Instead of their heads going down it gave Wars a lift and again they showed great character with all the boys giving their all and both sides playing the game in the true spirit with fair hard tackles and good football. You just sensed the game was not over and when the ref gave wars a penalty on 75 it was no more than they deserved. A push in the back on Burton gave Tony Manning the chance to half the deficit and he coolly slotted home. 2-1 down with 15 to go and everything to fight for.

Wars went for it with 3 up top in Bamford, Elliott and Manning. Wars pushed and pushed but could not find the equaliser. Then on 84 the ref awarded Woodhatch a penalty and surely the chance to kill the game off, but the penalty was missed and with 5 to go Tucker introduced Dan Order to the front line to go for it. With 92 mins on the clock camped in the Woodhatch box the referee saw what everyone sore apart from the Woodhatch supporters - hand ball PENALTY!!! With virtually the last kick off the game could Manning smash another one home - no pressure!! Yes he can. Roof of the net 2-2 and no more than what Wars deserved.

It was the last kick off the game and 20 seconds later the ref blew for full time. A great advert for lower league football with some quite outstanding performances from both sides. Determination, hard work and a lot of guts gave Wars a tremendous result and with all the boys playing their part lets hope this gives them a platform to push up the league and get rid of the "draw specialist" tag.

Unbeaten now since 18th October 2008 in the league wars must now start to put some wins in the column to mount a serious title challenge but the draw against a superb AFC Woodhatch side will have done wonders for confidence. Well done boys!!

Chris Tucker

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