Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Kings Of The Wandle

Blimey, the last blog of the 20-21 season. A strange time to be a football supporter, when the chances to see live games has been very limited. Sitting in an armchair at home listening to Glen Hoddle talking about matches might appeal to some but not me... I need a bit more entertainment than that dear reader....
Well it was a shame that only really a small group of Terrors made their way to the Friday Night Semi Final game with Hanwell, as it turned out to be rather an eventful Friday night in Wood Green. A journey back in time to my old stomping ground for the 2020/ 21 London
Senior Cup Semi Final being played at Haringey’s ground as Hanwell were having work carried out on their pitch. Haringey's ground is where I played Rugby for my school against the school my Dad used to go to, so in many ways strange to go back to the part of London where I grew up. A pub I used to drink in as a spikey haired Punk Rocker and where I saw the band Angelic Upstarts play has now been converted into
a massive betting shop and the whole area looked different and in
truth a bit cleaner than how I remembered the place. Mind you that was nearly 40 years ago since I left the Frozen Norf and headed down to tropical South West London. I'm one of those rare people whose happy in both North and South London. 
The kick off was delayed as Tooting's kit was stuck in traffic meaning the match finally kicked off at 8:30pm but everyone seemed pretty confident and in good spirits as we waited for the start. Got to chat to Caroline McRoyall, who leaves the club at the end of the season. A
lovely person and someone who has helped change so much at the club and helped it move forward into the modern age. Good also to meet up with that Irish lot again and although one of them is totally mad. They have added so much to the large group of strange characters that now
follow Tooting and Mitcham both home and away. Please, if you get the chance get to a couple of away days next season, do it there is always a good loud vocal following at most of our away games. Drink may also be involved. 

A very hard fought game in every respect. Challenges coming in thickand fast in a game which the Ref really should have done a lot more to calm down and get a grip on early on, instead of letting it turn into a kicking match. In truth both teams could have had players sent off and Hanwells bench were shouting and screaming the entire match. 
At least Hanwells kit arrived on                            time

The neutral Haringey fans and Ground hoppers all seemed to want us to win because of Hanwells heavy approach.
After going two nil up early on, we seemed to lose our shape after the first incident between the two sets of players. Hanwell then getting a goal back and I started to get every concerned that things could go pair shaped. The second half started off from where the first half finished, Hanwell putting loads of pressure on while their management ranted away at every single tackle. It was only a matter of time before someone would be shown a Red Card... And as we all know, it's normally a Terror who gets it. Goalie Gary Ross was shown a red card after catching one of their strikers which they equalised from the resulting free kick. A penalty followed and we were now 3-2 down and I honestly thought it was going to get worse... But what do I know, a
goal from a corner sneaked in on the 93 minute sending the game into extra time. Remember the game had kicked off nearly an hour later.
Hanwell scoring in the first period of extra time but you could see
although we were down to 10 men that the team where really getting things together and starting to out battle Hanwell and get the upper hand. Toots then equalising almost straight away making it 4-4 and I knew the Football gods were on our side. Dontai Stewart scoring Tooting’s 5th and match winning goal sending the handful of Travelling
Toots mad. Not a great game footballing wise but possibly one of the most eventful games I've ever seen and it will be one I'll always remember. Finally got home just before 1am, knackered but very very happy.

So now there was a little matter of a Cup Final and another a trip
back to North London for the game with AFC Wimbledon's youth team played at Hendon's ground. This also marked a return of the Wandle Derby... Elwandico, very important for local bragging rights. An early start this time for the 1pm kick off which didn't seem to affect the drinking habits of many of the travelling Terrors who help make up the 561 attendance at the Battle of The Wandle . Finding up how young some of The Wombles where still didn't make me feel confident after getting flash backs to the Surrey Cup final against the young Met Police team when we were well beaten in an awful one sided match. Wimbledon defending really well and playing a very organised game which often pushed us back and made it hard for us to break down. We
looked dangerous when playing long high balls up to our forward line as the young Wombles had to cope with our more physical game. 0 - 0 at half time and all to play for in the next 45 minutes. Tooting’s strength and experience started to make a difference between the two teams when a mistake by The Wombles keeper allowed Jake Rose to score our first goal and Dontai Stewart scoring directly from a corner a couple of minutes later. But Tooting never make things easy
and Wimbledon got one back near the end but we held on to lift The London Senior Cup yet again. Tooting and Mitcham’s eighth success in this Cup nearly equalling the 9 times winners Walthamstow Avenue. This
would be great to eclipse their record soon.
The best thing for me was seeing how much it meant to all the players and staff. So really happy for Ash and Cornelius as all the work they have put in over the last few years now has a Trophy to show for it  and hopefully the first of many more. Chuffed for Warren as well and a  fitting end to Caroline McRoyall time as the Chair at the club. Andy Harrup getting his own song as he joined the players on the pitch and was presented with the trophy. So many happy faces amongst all of our fans, both young and old. The ones who've followed the club for years and the ones who have joined the ranks of the Bog End in the last couple of seasons. We are very lucky at TMUFC now with everything that’s happening on and off the pitch. I know I sound like a parrot I say this so often but
it's true...

So a happy ending to the season which looked doomed a couple of months ago. Another trophy and even more to be positive about for next season.
What a great club !!!!
Up The Terrors !!!!!