Match Report - 03 Nov 2012, Old Wykehamist Football Club 1st XI beat Old Westminster
After a three week break from the Arthurian league, OWFC gave fresh life to our somewhat limp promotion push with a deceptively comfortable-looking 3-1 victory over a spirited Westminster side. Two Nicks (de Haes and Murray) came in for debuts and formed a lively partnership down the right side, despite the former's pre-match protestation that he "isn't very good with the ball". Always a worrying thing to hear from any newcomer, but it fortunately proved false modesty. Self proclaimed 'Captain Marvel' Taro Kiley also returned after his gynaecologist gave him the all-clear.
Westminster contrived to get lost en route, the resulting delayed kick off giving OWFC the sustained, full team warm up that the new Kiley/Prichard leadership axis had craved all season. The first fifteen minutes however suggested that the concept is somewhat overrated, as Westminster ran straight out of the changing room and dominated the opening jousts. Their small, tricksy number nine, supported by a deeper, larger and gobbier strike partner caused issues for the back four initially, and OW's were lucky to escape with a corner when Duncan needed two saves to keep one dangerous attack out of the net. That effort proved ultimately futile however from the resulting set piece, as an unmarked player headed a far post corner down and goalwards. Duncan's desperate leftwards fling kept the ball out the net but not away from it, and the follow up was simple and decisive. One nil to Westminster.
Our chances didn't look to be getting and better when both centre backs went down with injuries within a couple of minutes of each other. First Nigel banged legs with some dastardly opposition player and stayed down. Dr Day sternly confirmed the particular bone involved, but due to this reporter's ignorance of such matters, the relevant word didn't even touch the sides of his brain. Lets call it a hurty knee. No sooner had said hurty knee been jogged off, than Baker wrenched out his lower back, an injury he would later blame on skipping his midweek Pilates. Mercer, his young apprentice, came on to replace the big man, and scored with his first touch, burying a far post corner with a striker's nonchalance. One one.
The rest of the first half was relatively even, though OW's had a little more by the way of shots on target, but we were all square at the break. Worryingly for Westminster, their right back's pulled hamstring in the dying moments made them regret not bringing a sub, forcing them to play the second period with only ten.
After the obligatory five minutes of Lucozade and truisms - keep it tight / get it wide / get it in / want it more / get it up etc. - OW's produced the lively start so conspicuously absent from the first half. Within minutes we had the lead, thanks to the type of casual play at the back from Westminster that had nearly undone OW's in the first half (and would rear its head again later on). Unable to shepherd the ball out under pressure from Masefield and Murray, the left back rolled the ball back towards the keeper, who didn't have time for the touch he took as Kiley steamed in, sensing one of his favoured tap-ins. The returning skipper flung himself in front of the attempted clearance, and beat the keeper to the resulting ricochet to roll the ball home from a couple of yards out. Injury was added to insult as the keeper smashed his right leg into the post in a desperate effort to atone for his mistake. Two one to OW's.
Now both a man and a goal up, OW's started to dominate things, and long range efforts from Prichard proved to be warning shots for OW's third. Merriot was dictating the tempo, and the Vernon/Mule axis of evil down the left was starting to cause real problems. But it was combination play down the right from several players that finished with the ball at the feet of Vernon on the edge of the area. His low drive beat the injured keeper’s somewhat hapless dive to give us a two goal cushion.
Should be simple from this point right? Well, in great OW's tradition, the unconscious decision was made to give the ten men their chance to get back in. A free header from a set play was put over from ten yards out to the relief of all, but Westminster were undeniably clambering back into the game. Minutes later, they had an indirect free kick from 10 yards out, after a Day backpass was sloppily mis-controlled by Duncan, who through retarded instinct used his forearm to control the ball as it bobbled up off his instep. All eleven OW players lined up on the goal line, and somehow scrambled it clear. Then an even better chance presented itself when Day was controversially ruled to have bundled over their nippy striker in the area when it looked like they were both barging each other. Duncan made up for his eccentric earlier moment, diving low and left to push the spot kick away. There was still time for a couple more shots that needed saving, and a panicked bit of 6 yard box pinball, but somehow the onslaught was survived and three points were in the bag. Onwards and upwards.
Old Wykehamist Football Club 1st XI 3 - 1 Old Westminster ()