Match Report - 15 Nov 2008, Old Wykehamist Football Club 3rd XI drew with Winchester College 3rd XI
The third eleven made their annual outing to the School last weekend, and beyond giving an account of themselves which bodes very well for the current health of the club, pressed a case for expanding to a third team more regularly.
Hunter tent around 2pm might have been a scene akin to a Woks reunion dinners - such were the assembled generations, one of the side wasn't born when our most senior player left the school. Instead sentiment was pressed to one side by more businesslike concerns of finding out who everyone was and where they played. Purposefully, albeit with fourteen names and positions fumbling in the mists of a Saturday morning memory, we crossed the bridge to Gater..
The school kicked off on a soft surface, and began quite brightly. Our defence got to know each other swiftly, with Mackintosh and Day soon called on to deal with some incisive running. After the first ten or so, however, and for most of the rest of the half, OW imposed themselves. The core 4 of the centrebacks and centre mids were consistenly strong in the tackle and composed on the ball, while Ben Donald, defying the years and the effects of being father of two, caused real difficulties to the school down the left. One particular occasion saw him drifting in across the top of the box and rifling a shot at the suspect keeper.
In fact, OW's were unfortunate to enter half time without three or four to their account. Several excellent chances from crosses went narrowly wide, and Afshar and Del Vecchio, who played intelligently together in spite of their unfamiliarity to each other, also came close. In the end the rawness of the lineup also played a part - in many cases either the final ball to release the strikers wasn't quite there, or the ball was and the players weren't.
Half time was a happy place for OW's, the side looking forward to bossing the schoolboys out of it for the next 45. As it was, the second half surprisingly saw a more disjointed performance from us. Hull, Adams and Lewis came on for the start of the half and all soon contributed, Lewis running strongly on the right, Adams a cool head at fullback and Hull taking OW into a 1-0 lead with a goalmouth header. However, perhaps through the school's fitness or the unsettling effect of mass substitutions, the schoolboys began to find their own gears and put quick ball forward. While OWs were never overwhelmed, the game became much more open and soon after our goal, we conceded softly and began to rue the missed first half chances. Further second half substitutions were made - Burt came back on to show his capabilities in centre mid, and the strikers rotated - and the game became somewhat scrappy. However, the next goal came to OW's: good work on the left between Arrandale and Donald took the ball into the box... at which point the author's recollection disappears in the delirium that fullbacks occasionally experience in the opposition penalty area. Suffice to say there was a goal, and whoever took it took it well [well done!].
That, sadly, was not the end of things in normal time. OW's were unable to shut up shop, and the school claimed another soft goal, this time from a ball that bobbled around three of their players inside our box before finding a way under the unfortunate Morgan at the near post. Full time saw a 2-2 draw that they really hadn't deserved.
Justice was ultimately done on pens, in which the school's captain not only permitted us to take the first strike but then managed to miss his own. An excellent save from our keeper and a fourth cool strike saw us win 4-1, which cued delirious celebrations all round.
MOTM : Ben Donald - excellent work on the left all match, came close on several occasions. Experience obviously counted..
Freedman (Adams 45)
Burt (Lewis 45)
Afshar (Hull 45)
Old Wykehamist Football Club 3rd XI 2 - 2 Winchester College 3rd XI ()