Match Report - 31 Jan 2009, Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI beat Old Cholmeleians IV
After the euphoria of the penalty shoot out cup win the OW 2s were disappointed to have fallen victim to the weather last week. Hopes were high that after Sven Goran Hardiman had masterminded that tactical miracle (yes – he can play more than one formation) that this season’s bottom placed team would present little opposition to our promotion charge. However, on a cautionary note, the 2s’ league form over the last few seasons has been patchy – heroic cup runs and giant-killing one week and the next week defeats to teams we should beat in our sleep.
A strong 11 took to the field with Webby, Al, Woody (fresh from his own Marat Safin inspired street brawl) and Mulet lining up in front of Ed, an early contender for player of the season. Sven went for a diamond in midfield, over-ruled by Ed Lascelles midway through the first half: George protecting the defence Ed and Nick ball-winning and Tristan in his favoured position behind the front men. Ed Foster and Alf up front offered their usual combination of hard working team players, explosive skill and a telepathic understanding (Al asked me to write this so blame him).
In short the first half was disappointing. This team is more than capable of keeping possession and has the skill to play teams off the park but just didn’t. For all the possession, and in the absence of Opta Stats, I’m going to guess that 60-40 is generous to Cholms, there was little end product. “Too slow in defensive areas and too quick to pass upfront” was one comment at half time but that is almost too simple. The narrow midfield allowed no time to the usually comfortable ball players to put their foot on the ball and look for the best option and up front the lack of playing time between last season’s strike force was apparent as although the occasional neat interplay showed potential it just wasn’t quite coming off. Ed had alreaded demanded more width from the midfield when against the run of play the OWs found themselves a goal down – a moment of miscommunication allowed a Cholms strikeforce, who had previously shown all the potency of the Manucho-Helder Postiga frontline Panathinaikos tried last year, to give them a 1-0 lead. Ominously too, George had to leave the field to be replaced by the enigma that is Alex Wheal, possessor of the finest right boot in the squad but lacking that yard of pace (his words not mine) that served him so well last season. Embarrassed by conceding, for the first time the OWs did what the do best. Nice passing and a driving run from Ed drew the mistake from their keeper and as their defenders stood off, Alf gleefully slotted home into the empty net from 2 yards – another classic to add to the collection.
Half time brought the instructions to kill the game off and Taro began his long warm up. Having nearly scored from kick off after a delightful bit of control from Al Wheal on the left, his pinpoint cross was desperately cleared, the OWs took the lead when Alf flicked on a Webby throw and Tristan clinically drilled into the back of the net from a narrowing angle – a great finish. Cue the change – Taro came on upfront to bring his own brand of Tevez-like tenacity and the chipping skills of my nan. The passing looked better and Ed Foster was getting more and more into the game. His work rate often goes unappreciated but when he fires he brings other people into play and we look a better team. The moment of the second half came when Taro, keen to impress and for the most part succeeding, tackled his own man causing such confusion in the Cholms ranks that a penalty was conceded. Not satisfied with just tackling Wheal, he claimed penalty taking duties too, and calmly dispatched the third.
Now to press on and lay waste to Cholms – or not. A generous penalty was given against Al, who in the absence of Craig David took on responsibility for providing gifts to the opposition, and suddenly there was just one goal in it. The team battled on and a moment of brilliance from Ed Duncan kept out an unexpected Cholms surge. In truth though, other than that the defensive line stood firm and it was hard to pick a star performer. That said when Ed Foster turned and dispatched to make it 4-2 there was more than one player who breathed a sigh of relief.
The team can, and must, play better but a win is a win. There are 5 games left and realistically we must win all 5 to stand a chance of promotion. Bring on the cup this weekend and the hope of another brutal dispatching!
OW 2nd XI:
Duncan; Webbe, Hardiman, McGowan, Underwood; Dunn, Lascelles, Gervais, Christofides (Wheal, 35); Theodorou (Kiley, 50), Foster
Goals: Theodorou (40), Gervais (50), Kiley, pen (65), Foster (80)
Man of the Match: Webbe/McGowan
Attendence: 2 (a season high)
Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI 4 - 2 Old Cholmeleians IV ()