National League 2 East
Those on the touchline, not directly involved in the mudfest, may have considered Albanians a mite lucky to return from south west London with a full five league points; but, as players and coaches agreed, a win is a win and will be enjoyed as normal.
Truth to tell the first half belonged exclusively to the visitors who, showing great power and control in almost every aspect, forced their way into a 17 point lead. From the kickoff the ball was taken neatly out of defence and Sam Jones (to achieve hero status late on) broke through three despairing tackles for winger Legge to tear into the left corner. Jones converted superbly from (apparently) the wrong side of the park.
Jon Wicks, with an impressive display of distribution and kicking from hand, made good ground on the right and this time Seyi was the beneficiary. His strike was not quite close enough for Jones’ improvement this time.
OA forward dominance gave Alex Ricci, always hungry for work, the opportunity to drive possession diagonally once more into the far left of the home defence where his fellow flyer Legge crossed once more for a further five pointer. Everything positive so far!
As the half wound down Ricci found himself with a ten minute rest as a result of an indiscretion but it had been a fine forty for the visitors.
The first five minutes of the second period showed the Wimbledon mettle when they took advantage of a one man absence and an apparent Albanian assumption that the job was done to cross twice in short order and, with both converted, the margin reduced to a mere three points. Fly half Edward Morgan took the first in sharp fashion and flanker David Aniebonam was not slow in following suit. Morgan converted both and started to take a more dominant role in both the home attack and defence.
OA forwards still held sway in matters involving grunt and this helped OAs into further attacking positions and, going into the final quarter, they laid seige to the Wimbledon posts. The ball was spun left and Jones was on hand for the final drive and the bonus point.
Undismayed the Londoners once more took the fight to Albanians and, this time replacement Jonny Mason found himself free for an unconverted try and, in this nip and tuck phase of the match Jones replied with a penalty. Six points in it!
Three minutes from the end the final drama; irresistable Wimbledon pressure gave winger Tom Pozniak his opportunity and he made no mistake giving his fly half a real chance for an improving kick which would give his side the lead for the first time in almost eighty minutes. Morgan made no mistake! We were now in injury time.
The OA response was predictable and, making use of a livelier pack, possession was regained from the restart and a scrum ensued. Unable to quite hold the Albanian drive Wimbledon conceded the inevitable penalty and breath was collectively held whilst Jones lined up the last kick of the match. Albanian relief was palpable as the ball sailed through the uprights.
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National League 2 East