Match Report - 08 Nov 2008, Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI drew with Old Haberdashers II
The 2nd XI travelled down to Winchester with a point to prove and hungry for victory. The weeks break had only served to intensify the pain of undeserved back-to-back defeats against Old Brentwoods, who played like Bolton to Winchester's Arsenal. On the drive to the ground it seemed as though the mood of the weather mirrored that of the dressing room after the second defeat; with leaden skies and torrents of rain sheeting down in near-biblical proportions. As the car's wipers struggled to deal with the cascades of water James Arrandale summed up the player's commitment when he tentatively enquired “If the game is rained off, can we find a pub and watch the Man U – Arsenal game?”
Upon reaching Winchester the skies had cleared and the sun was shining. It was unfortunately shining off the proliferation of large puddles that dotted the playing fields. Whilst the ducks seemed to be enjoying the newly formed pond near the halfway line, the conditions seemed ill-suited to the multi-faceted joga bonito that Winchester like to play. A quick tour of all the pitches revealed that none was in a particularly dry condition. A brief discussion ensued. The groundsman waited nervously to see if his immaculate green sward, in a delicate state, would be spared from destruction. In the end it was decided that despite the centre circle being underwater and a small duck pond having formed near the halfway line, 20 minutes was probably not enough notice to call off the match without punishment and so the game went ahead.
Winchester started down the slope and kicked off out of the centre circle puddle to roars from the assembled person on the touchline. Haberdashers started as though the early kick-off had come as a bit of shock and the Friday-night sherbets were still to wear off. With Webbe and Underwood overlapping with aplomb and Walters rampaging down the left Winchester enjoyed all the early pressure and it was only a matter of time before they made Habs pay. The ball was whipped out on the right and Habs defence was left out of position and out of luck as the cross was lifted over Coleman and into the path of a rampant Foster, who made it two in two with the simplest of finishes.
With all the play, the benefit of the slope and a drying pitch, Winchester were in the ascendancy with their tails up and the sun on their backs. It was, therefore, something of shock when the equaliser came. Habs central midfielder and all-round star-player collected the ball 10 yards inside the Winchester half. Swerving his way through several tackles he put his head up and fully 25-yards from goal he wrapped his left-boot around a swerving, dipping shot that summoned up memories of a 16-year old Wayne Rooney's breakthrough goal for Everton against Arsenal as it looped over a blameless Morgan crashing off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
The Twos are made of stern stuff, however, and hadn't forgotten that the dominance that they had enjoyed earlier in the game. Lascelles and Dunn started to turn the screw in midfield and Habs were pushed back into their own half. Lacelles, in particular was imperious, dominating in the tackle and holding off players with ease before driving Winchester forward. It was thus fitting that he should put Winchester back in the lead, his deft flicked header guided into the side netting past a despairing Habs keeper.
Winchester kept pressing and Ed Foster, enjoying a stormer up front, was winning every header. Another joyous flick caught the Habs fall backs cold. Coleman collected with a sumptuous first touch and strode towards goal. Icy calm and sure-footed he picked his spot and struck the ball straight at the relieved keeper. The rebound was blasted high over the bar and the Wykehamists headed for half-time oranges a goal to the good.
The second half proved to be something of a curate's egg. Winchester's defence dealt easily with Habs' attacks. Hardiman and McGowan showed awesome form in marshalling their defence and despite the conditions underfoot, Elliott didn't put a foot wrong as the team pushed forward. Coleman once again found himself in the clear and one-on-one with the keeper. The shot was weak and too close to the keeper and was easily gathered, that chance went begging, and you couldn't help but wonder if Winchester would rue the misses.
As the half wore on Habs started to find their feet and managed to break clear. Their number 9 managed to take his inspiration from Coleman and slapped his shot against the post when clean through on the keeper. Winchester brought on Arrandale for Webbe and he made his mark with a good chance but didn't manage to beat the keeper. In the conditions both teams started to tire as the game neared a conclusion. With five minutes remaining Habs won a corner. The ball was whipped into the near post and a scramble ensued in the quagmire of the goalmouth. Somehow the ball dribbled over the line and Winchester found themselves suffering the disappointment of conceding a late goal for the second time running and with little time remaining the game petered out in a draw.
This result leaves Winchester second in the table but needing to rediscover their early season form in order to strengthen their push for promotion this season.
Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI 2 - 2 Old Haberdashers II ()