West Wickham eventually ran out comfortable winners against visitors Thamesmead Town on a wet and windy day at their Corkscrew Hill ground.
Despite rain falling almost continuously throughout the game, the pitch played very well and an exciting match of attractive football ensued which was well officiated by Referee Paul Agboola.
West Wickham playing down the slope and with the wind at their backs had the first chance of the game on 2 minutes when Ben Mortimer hit a long range shot just wide.
The visitors then took the lead on 6 minutes with their first attack when
Lewis Armstrong raced away down the right before whipping over a low cross that was flicked on by Jerrell Watkins into the path of Ryan Solan who slotted home low to the right of home keeper Louis Youles.
Minutes later it was nearly two when Ben Fridd’s free kick from wide right found the run to the near post of Axel Ahouzan whose glancing header deflected off a defender for a corner.
On 10 minutes West Wickham’s Charlie Smyth played a clever lofted pass onto the run of Tyler Dobson into the box. He showed good control to bring the ball down with his first touch and then with his second send the ball fly low to the left of Mead keeper Jordan Ireson but narrowly wide of the target. Mortimer then tried his luck with another long range shot that flew straight at Ireson.
Mead’s Jack Kelly then had a shot on the turn flash wide before the hosts drew level on 19 minutes through a spectacular goal from Smyth. Picking the ball up on the left edge of the Mead box he hit a rasping drive that flew like an arrow high to the right of the diving Ireson into the top corner of the net.
West Wickham then had a series of corners that the visitors managed to defend until the 25th minutes when Mortimer’s inswinging corner from the left was headed home from close range by Oliver Denham low to the left of Ireson.
Shortly afterwards with the rain having stopped briefly and the sun shining brightly, West Wickham scored their third with another spectacular goal from Smyth.
Receiving the ball just over the half way line he raced forward and then, perhaps spotting Ireson slightly off his line and with the sun in his eyes, he hit a dipping 35 yard shot that flew over the outstretched arm of the back pedalling Mead keeper into the net.
The visitors then reduced the arrears almost immediately scoring just after the half hour mark when Armstrong’s excellent defence splitting pass found the run into the box of the speedy Solan, who outpaced his marker as he raced into the box before neatly tucking the ball home under Youles from close range.
A minute later though West Wickham restored their two goal cushion when another excellent pass from Smyth put Dobson in on goal and he again showed good control before smashing the ball home high to the left of Ireson.
It was nearly five on 35 minutes when Robert Hinkley’s deep cross from wide right found the run of Mortimer to the far post who stretching could only divert the ball into the side netting. The last chance of the first half saw Dobson’s shot on the turn fly just wide.
After the all action first half the second took time to get going as the rain came back with a vengeance.
Unfortunately the first thing to note was on 55 minutes when Mead’s Luke Bollington stretching to make a tackle appeared to twist his knee requiring lengthy treatment.
After a 5 minute delay he had to be carried off the field on a stretcher with an ambulance arriving subsequently to treat him.
Back to the match it was the visitors who then had a good spell with Ahouzan’s through ball on 65 minutes putting Watkins in on goal but Youles, spotting the danger, was quickly off his line to make a good close range block on the edge of his area.
On a day for spectacular goals it was the Mead who got the next one on 71 minutes when Cole Gordon’s fierce 35 yard shot beat Youles high to his right to put the visitors right back into the game.
However any thoughts of a comeback were firmly squashed in the 78th minute when the hosts made it five when Smyth’s free kick was turned home by Mortimer high to the left of Ireson.
Into the final minutes of the game West Wickham scored twice more to put the icing on the cake.
On 87 minutes a neat passing move involving Smyth, Denham and Jonathan Kwakwa saw the latter set up Freddie Yeats to score from close range and then a minute later another deft pass from the impressive Smyth put Mortimer in on goal and he showed good composure to beat two defenders before firing home low to the left of Ireson.