“Six-pointer” is a sporting cliché, particularly used in association football, used to describe a game between two teams with similar league positions, in leagues that employ a “three points for a win” system.” – From Wikipedia…
The Saturday before last saw Summers Lane hosting Thamesmead Town. With the nature of things in the current climate the actual positions of teams are difficult to correctly interpret with matches being postponed and rescheduled with a regularity that is making the successful completion of the fixtures list by the end of April seem ever more unlikely. This is a case in point – Thamesmead were in the relegation zone occupying, I think, 23rd place out of 24 before Christmas. However, they had been able to string together 2 draws in 2 wins in the last 6 matches which lifted them clear of the relegation zone and to one place above Wingate & Finchley in the table. The downside for them is that they have played 4 more games than the teams around them including Wingate – an anomaly brought about by the extremely wet weather. There is always conjecture in football about which is better – points on the board or games in hand. I don’t think there is a definitive answer to that one. Thamesmead will need to keep on winning to consolidate their position if they are not to be overtaken by the teams around them with games in hand. The first hurdle to that preposition was the match against The Blues and the opposite applied to The Blues pre-match thinking. A win was essential against at team that were clearly in the same battle as us. And the other games in hand would need to be wins too!
Looking at form coming into the match – Thamesmead looked like the better side. On the previous Tuesday they had beaten Maidstone United 4-1 which, given that The Stones are in the fight for automatic promotion, was a very good win. And Wingate & Finchley had recently been on the end of a 4-2 defeat by Maidstone. It suggested that this would be a difficult game for The Blues and most of the fans seemed a bit pensive prior to the match.
The game started very quickly and we were shocked into an early state of euphoria. Tommy Tejan-Sie playing down the left chased down a lost cause of a cross which he recovered on the bye-line. There followed a tussle with the right back who came away with the ball. TJ’s ‘never give up’ attitude came to the fore as he harrassed the defender into an error. A quick couple of steps into the area and he struck a low hard shot beneath the diving keeper to give us the lead! The disbelief was deafening 😉
Of course, we expected the worst and were not disappointed – Thamesmead equalised in the 20th minute. With a blustery wind that was gathering strength behind them, the visitors piled on the pressure and I began, along with most other Blues fans, to hope that we could hold out until halftime when we would get the advantage of the wind in the second half. Hold out we did – with Bobby pulling off a couple of excellent saves.
Come the second half and here comes the rain… initially persistent but not heavy, it gave a good reason to hide in the Jack fisk stand. With the wind behind them Wingate & Finchley took full advantage placing the visitors under a lot of pressure. In the 55th minute the pressure told as TJ whipped a smart cross into the box and Adam Bolle rose above it to nod the ball down beyond the keeper’s desperate dive. It was beautifully taken goal and a text book finish. Just a couple of minutes later it was Ola’s turn to cross and Ahmet who, on the receiving end, nodded a curling loop of a header into the top right of the goal beyond the keepers reach. It knocked the stuffing out of Thamesmead and they no longer seemed to have the will to fight. It looked like the three points – a desperately needed three points – were in the bag.
Suddenly the weather took a very definite turn for the worse. The rain fell in a manner not seen since Noah dug out his workmate, saw and a bag of nails. I can’t remember ever seeing such a downpour whilst watching football. Then God decided to rearrange the furniture – big time! We were treated to a spectacular display of lightning and deafening claps of thunder. The referee was forced to call a halt to proceedings in the interests of safety. Apparently he couldn’t see what was going on – most fans would say that is a state of normality for referees 😉 There followed an anxious wait to see if things would improve before the referee decided to abandon the game. I’m fortunate in that I have studied weather in my previous life as a pilot and I know that the average life of a storm cell is 20 minutes – even so… 20 minutes is a long time in football – managers have been sacked in less time than that! Fortunately the gusting wind carried the storm cell east very quickly and play was resumed after 15 minutes of stoppage. The Blues hung on for the three points which lifted us five points clear of the relegation zone.
Next up – if the pitch remained playable – was a London Senior Cup game against Redbridge. But here are some photos from the Thamesmead match: –