Match Report - 17 Sep 2016, Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI beat Old Bancroftians AFC
Essex teams in the Arthurian League are a lot like Brangelina: they are easy on the eye and smarter than people think, but put them under pressure and their united front soon dissolves into acrimony. Not so the Old Wykehamists, who even when a team is comprised of mostly strangers, they manage to maintain a redoubtable semi-ironic esprit de corps when the chips hit the fan. So it proved on Saturday when a new-look 2nd XI got the better of a fractious Old Bancroftians side in a seven-goal thriller.
But it took more than guts and gumption to get the better of a talented Bancroft side. As often with the OWs the 60 minute mark signalled the beginning of 30 minutes of defensive panic, as the disorientating effect of a half-time lead and the tiring legs of titanic central midfield duo Pietro Emo and Davide Pricho prompted an orgy of line-clearing and last-ditch-tackle-making. It's fortunate that a) this manic defending was impeccably timed and unfalteringly courageous (especially from Cam and Will) and b) the Blues showed great quality in the final third, complementing the aged oaken shield of defensive solidity (Rann, Underwood, Morgan) with the rapier thrust of youthful incision (Court, Rowley C, Saunders).
All the goals had their virtues. the first, after only five minutes, was further confirmation of this season's biggest tactical rediscovery - kids, the long throw is back and sexier then ever. Chesney showed good strikers' instinct to head home from Le Prichard's flick on. A second followed not long after when Emo defied Euclid - and the 10k run he had done that morning - to slam home from an impossible angle after the keeper spilled. Bancroft rallied and pulled one back before half time when a wicked curler bamboozled stand-in custodian Rann. However, a two-goal lead was soon restored after the impetuous Saunders, like a latter day Tony Blair, moved rapidly into the centre from the left-wing and unleashed a deadly missile from twenty-five yards.
After the break, tempers started to fray and Bancroft threw men forward with the immediate reward of two quick goals. The Wykehamists switched on panic mode and almost all volunteered for a turn in nets. Lucky, then, that the tireless Chesney had the poise to pickpocket a defender and curl a wind-assisted shot of ethereal beauty over the keeper and into the top corner. Inspired by this, and fuelled by this quixotic generation-spanning camaraderie that some might attribute to communal travails like Michla or Div or Winkies or enforced monasticism, the 2s held on for a famous victory.
Old Bancroftians AFC 3 - 4 Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI ()