Match Report - 21 Sep 2013, Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI drew with Old Berkhamstedians
With Skipper Blackett scouting on the Italian coast and senior pro Rann on international duty in Russia, this was a chance to bleed youth into the team.
Despite the pitch not having line marking, the goals not having nets and the referee not having a clue, this turned into one of the more memorable Old-Wyks matches in modern history, and certainly one that will live long in the memory. With a strong starting XI, a healthy looking bench and with the disappointment of the previous week, we were keen to make a quick start. And so it proved with some lovely 'tiki taka' football in the centre of the park between Halling and England and raw pace combined with trickery on the wings in the form of Master and Wilson. The back 4, superbly marshalled by Bouch and McGowan, looked impregnable.
However, as so often happens at this level, if you don’t take your chances the opposition will come back and bite you. Even so, whilst their goal was hard to take, it was a delightful goal which would have been at home gracing Dean Court in front of 10,000 fans rather than in front of 3 subs at Deer Park. A cross coming in from the right hand side looked to have evaded everyone in the box until their cultured centre mid (more of him later) swivelled mid-air to acrobatically hook the ball back over his shoulder beyond a helpless Gus Morse (more of him later too). Another spell of dominance by the Old Wyks was again disrupted by another Berkhamstedian goal, this time following some ‘Sunday league’ defending by stand in skipper Morgan. Calling for a header from a goal kick, he got nowhere near it as the old adage of ‘never let the ball bounce’ rang true. Shortly before half time it was again time for their centre mid, he of acrobatic goals, to score a second ‘bicycle kick’ and take the opposition in at the break with a ,surely, unassailable 3-0 lead. But as we all know football is a game of two halves.
The second half started in much the same way the first half had and with a determined Rob England barking encouragement throughout the team it was surely only a matter of time until we found a route back into the game. Wilson agreed and scored the first of his free kicks through a crowded box. The second goal will be debated for years to come, was it genius? was it luck? Only Oborne will know what went through his mind as the ball came to him 80 yards from goal. With his first touch, and with the vision that comes from years playing at the top level, Oborne unleashed. The ball flew towards their somewhat clumsy centre back who, on the edge of the centre circle, and on the volley, hacked at it sending it backwards and looping over the hapless keeper and into the net. 3-2, game on.
With the game becoming farcical with a less than average referee, tempers were flaring and unsavoury challenges were becoming the norm. After Wilson had a free kick deflected inches wide and missed a (free) header he bought parity to the match with his second goal from a set piece. This time taking a deflection of the wall and wrong footing their keeper, who looked like a chubby Fabien Barthez. He managed to get a hand to it, but not enough to stop the ball trickling over the line.
10 minutes to go and with us very much in the ascendency, we thought we had won it when Essex was sumptuously played through by the advanced Bouch but whilst his dinked shot beat the keeper, it didn’t beat the retreating defender who was on hand to clear off the line.
After Morgan had cynically pulled down their stroppy bald striker who was through on goal, the referee decided to award the free kick but no further action was taken, something that the Old-Berkhamstedians would later come to rue.
But it was the away team that thought they had won it with 5 minutes remaining, aforementioned baldy sweeping in from a counter attack.
Moments later and the game should have been beyond doubt. Gus Morse had other ideas though with a fantastic double save keeping us in the game. Spurred on by this and with just seconds remaining, we won a corner. Morse came forward and was immediately marked, leaving stand in skipper Morgan free at the back stick when Master whipped in a delightful delivery. Whether they had done their homework and knew Morgan had missed two headers last week only they know, but this week was different as he grabbed an equaliser with the last touch of the game. Points on the board and momentum certainly with us; bring on the Old Epsomian’s on Saturday.
Wilson*. 9/10 – Bagged a brace and looked lively throughout.
England. 8.5/10 – Hurried and hassled without the ball whilst oozing class with it. Great leadership
Morse. 8.5/10 – Taking one for the team filling in between the sticks. Fantastic double save to keep us in the game at 4-3 down, nothing he could do about any of the goals.
* Indicates man of the match
Old Berkhamstedians 4 - 4 Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI ()