Match Report - 22 Nov 2008, Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI beat King's Wimbledon Old Boys II
The pressure was on; without a win in three (in the league), the 2nd XI had slipped from top to third in the table. The OW press had latched onto rumours of rifts in the dressing room, after Alex Hardiman, captain and talisman, allegedly hinted at a lack of bravery in front of goal. Tallies for “goals scored” and “penalties given against” were nearing parity. The question on everyone’s lips: did we still have the stomach and fortitude to claim the Division Five crown? Only a win could realistically keep the dream alive.
A welcome break in the congested fixture programme for the 1st XI squad, meant that some made the step across to the 2nd XI; Ed Marsh for his wealth of experience, and Tom Godwin for his unquestionable presence at the heart of defence. Ed Duncan made a much anticipated return between the sticks.
The first ten saw a resurgent 2nd XI side dominate possession. Marshy made plenty of headway on the left, lazily twisting players and touchline before connecting well with the front two. Ed Lascelles and Nick Dunn were busy concocting clever triangles in the midfield, sucking the opposition in, before spraying balls to the wings. The back-line was standing strong as usual. With twenty gone, Lascelles’ dubious policy of arriving five minutes before kick-off was exposed when a lack of warm-up forced him off the pitch; Nigel Day replacing as like for like.
Then (as if that wasn’t enough), disaster struck, as a controversial penalty was thrown Kings’ way when Craig “MSD” Popat was deemed to have brought their left-wing to the ground inside the box. Ed Duncan was more than man enough for the challenge though, as he deftly saved with strong feet, the ball cleared during the ensuing melee. Kings increasingly seemed on the up and close to a breakthrough, with only Will Elliott at left-back to shake their fists at, after a wondrous goal-line clearance onto the bar prevented an almost certain opener.
Chances seemed few and far between, Marshy heading over twice from corners, and Ed Foster forcing a good save from their keeper. However, it was the man Foster who finally clinched the first goal of the game, a fizzing right-footed strike to the top right corner with five minutes of the first half to play.
With the second half under way, Alex Wheal found himself at right midfield, having replaced Craig. Some nice build-up play brought about a second, Nick Dunn firing a 20yd scorcher passed the keeper’s right. With the floodgates now wide open, Marshy soon found himself the proud owner of a brace, courtesy of some good link-up play, as Tristan and Foster took turns to drop and support with great effect.
At four nil up, cruise control was duly switched on. Shots rained down on the Kings’ goal, Wheal tapping home from a few yards, only to then find the gaol overruled. Later TV evidence showed Lascelles demanding the referee overturn the throw-in decision, which had lead to what would have been two in two for Wheal. Tantrums were spared for the post-match debrief.
During the last ten Kings came back into it, hitting the crossbar twice; but it was not to be their day, as the 2nd XI completed the double over the new boys. The dream lives on.
Scorers: Foster (40); Dunn (50); Marsh (55 & 60)
Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI 4 - 0 King's Wimbledon Old Boys II ()