Guest Writer - Matthew Utton
This weekend Orpington Athletic travelled away to Mottingham Playing Fields to face bitter rivals Inter Cross. The home fixture had seen Orpington successfully claw back a draw under testing circumstances following numerous opposition players trying to wind up the Orpington players and get in their heads. This game continued in the same vain, at least for the first half, with their ‘star’ left winger running his mouth from kick off. Orpington fell 2 goals behind in quick succession, once from an uncharacteristic lack of communication in the defensive area of the field, leading to a knock on by Rob Utton into the path of the loquacious winger, who slotted away and started to thank everyone around him. The referee wasn’t helping much either, firstly failing to award a blatant red card for a dangerous ‘leg breaking challenge’ on Harry Utton and then in a bizarre display of refereeing vision failing to award the most obvious handball of the season, leading to Inter’s second goal. The manager was prepared to march his players off the field at this point, especially after the oblivious referee did not deal with an ensuing fracas; the verbose number 11 once again piping up he would stab someone with his keys.
Nevertheless Orpington continued and it was from this moment things would take a turn for the better. Firstly Akhtar was set up to end his goal drought by the inform Karl ‘Ozil’ Turner with a lovely through ball comfortably put away. Inter were silenced for the first time in the game. Following on from that Akhtar had another brilliant effort saved by the keeper, but moments later Orpington were level, this time Turner with a delicious volley over the keeper following another lovely pass from Harry. Inter clearly hadn’t learnt from the last game that their intimidation tactics and over confidence would prove to be their undoing.
Half time came and saw double changes for inter, firstly the goalkeeper having injured himself in his attempt to save Turner’s shot, then ‘mouthy’ having to go to work. Sky Sources would refute this and suggest otherwise.
The second half got underway, Orpington having decided to just ignore the referee, as he may as well have stayed in the retirement home, and concentrate on winning. Orpington were all over Inter for the second half, who only managed a few efforts and hopeful long balls, seeing easy saves and quick pace off the line from Orpington’s keeper to keep them at bay.
As the 75th minute approached it was still a stalemate with Orpington unable to break the deadlock, Jamieson looking decidedly dogged in particular, in desperate need of a sub perhaps? However with another through ball from Joe Haden, Jamieson latched onto the pass and fired a well worked shot into the net. Orpington were rightly in front and looking to kill the game off. The referee took a ball to the head, collapsed in a heap and looked almost certain to call the game off. However, he rose to his feet to struggle on and moments later was a spectator to another fantastic solo effort by Jamieson into the far corner of the net. Game over…or was it? Orpington may have been guilty of thinking so and a few errors in judgement and taking things too casually in the final minutes saw Inter pull another goal back and then almost equalise as the ball looped narrowly over the crossbar from a closed down pass. However the final whistle went and Orpington had deservedly won the game, putting in another excellent performance showing great resilience. Inter, on the other hand, left the field with nothing to say.
With 3 wins and a draw in the last 5 games, Orpington look ahead to the weekend with another 3 point opportunity and search to finish the season strongly in their last 2 games.