Wormley have played at "The Lane", Wormley Playing Fields, on Church Lane since 1954. The ground is situated just a short walk from the village centre, effectively wedged between the New River and the A10. There is a good sized car park with access into the ground through a single turnstile situated between the clubhouse and the separate changing block. The spacious clubhouse also boasts a café serving hot food and drinks. The ground has seen a lot of changes over the past 20 years or so but perhaps the biggest is the addition of a 75 seater stand in March 2020. This is located behind the dugouts on the A10 side of the ground. The former covered standing area, which was previously locate din this position has been moved to behind the goal at the far end of the pitch. There is aalso shelter provided by the roofed patio area in front of the clubhouse, which proved to be a very welcome refuge later.
When the Eastern Counties League split Division One into a North and South Division before the 2018-19 season, both Wormley Rovers and hackney Wick became founder members of the new division. In that first season Wormley finished mid-table, in 10th spot, with Hackney Wick sitting 6th. Both games that season finished in 1-0 wins for Wickers. To date that is the only completed Division One South season. However, the sides have met a further three times in the league. In 2019-20 Rovers did the double of Hackney, winning 2-0 at home and 3-0 away. Last season they only met once, a 2-2 draw at The Lane.
This season has seen both sides start well. Going into this game Hackney sat in fourth spot having won half of their twelve games, drawing three and losing three. Wormley, having played a game more, were one position and one point better off. Rovers could go top should they win and Ipswich Wanderers failed to win at Haverhill Borough. Rovers have only lost once at home this season but would be well aware that five of Hackney's six victories have come on their travels.
A late start to this game which eventually kicked off at 19:56. The home side, however, were clearly not affected by the delay and were out of the blocks quickly. An early ploy from Wormley seemed to be the use of winger Roy Stevens' pace and that paid off in the 6th minute. Stevens powered past his marker then played the ball into the near post where Cabhan Clarke was lurking to finish low to Purdom's right. 1-0. A great start for Rovers. The initial encounters pointed to this being a long evening for Hackney left-back Leandro Sayay as Wormley constantly targeted that side of the pitch, looking for Number 7 Stevens time and time again. However, Hackney weathered the storm and began to play themselves into the game and they had a Number 7 of their own, Louie Remi, who also had pace and skill. He was starting to cause some concern for the home defence as both sides employed the same tactic for a while, playing balls down the right flank for their speedy wingers to chase.
On 22 minutes Wickers almost got a reward for their efforts when Remi was finally set free of the defence. He was pushed slightly to the right of the area which caused him to place his effort too high and wide of the left hand post. A warning sign for Rovers though. A warning that was not heeded. Five minutes later Miles Peterkins, ignoring offside claims from the home defence, drifted onto a through ball and slotted past Verdin to equalise. 1-1.
Rovers tried to hit back immediately and, three minutes after conceding, they thought they had gone in front again when Purdom spilled a shot and Clark was on hand to lash home the rebound. However, the striker had gone too soon and was flagged for offside.
HT Wormley Rovers 1 Hackney Wick 1. A good game of football between two very confident teams. Rovers certainly started the better but, over the full 45 minutes, Hackney probably just about edged it.
One of these auto-corrected tweets read '52. Pen Rivers'. Of course, what it referred to was Rovers being awarded a penalty in the 52nd minute. No complaints from the visitors, it was nailed on. Craig Tolley stepped up but Jonti Purdom guessed right and was down well to save. That's when the full on monsoon weather hit Wormley and had all the supporters, your truly included, heading for cover. I managed to get under the shelter of the clubhouse patio roof just in time to see Wormley captain Joey O'Brien take aim from all of 25 yards before skidding a effort past Purdom's outstretched hand into the corner of the net. A great strike which took advantage of the worsening conditions. 2-1.
As the saying goes, you are most vulnerable when you've just scored. Clearly Rovers did not pay heed to this as they conceded an equaliser just two minutes after going ahead when a cross from the left was converted by the unmarked substitute (Number 17, I couldn't see the number on the team sheet that was pinned up). 2-2.
Both sides proceeded to fight hard, looking for a winner. Although both were having to battle harder against the conditions than their opponents in all fairness. Certainly some of the worst weather I have seen at a game for a while. Hackney continued with their tactic of using their pace to get in behind the Wormley defence but were constantly a little over enthusiastic, getting caught offside many times in the second period. Rovers possibly made the best chances later in the game, although Purdom was not really tested to any extent.
FT Wormley Rover 2 Hackney Wick 2. Two very evenly matched sides who will, no doubt, be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. Nothing could separate them on the night and, over the entire game, this was probably the fairest result. Credit to both teams for serving up some entertaining fare, especially under the atrocious conditions in the second half. Wormley climb to second in the table, Hackney stay in fourth spot. Both have interesting, and possibly tough, home games at the weekend against teams just below the top four. Hackney take on 7th placed Wivenhoe, 2 points below them, whilst Wormley entertain 6th placed Burnham Ramblers, who a re three points below them and level on goal difference.
Wormley Rovers: Verdin, Allen, Evans, O'Brien(c), Tolley, Offer, Stevens, Holland, Clarke, Gyamfi, Oakley. Subs: King, Edwards, Adesete, Justice, Koita
Hackney Wick: Purdom, Domfeh, Sayay, McIntosh, Kwame, Myles(c), Remi, Zapata, Peterkins, White, Thompson. Subs: Baiden, Abu, Gyedu, Sanni-Oba
Ground Number: 282
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