Match Report - 19 Sep 2015, Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI lost to Old Millhillians I
Jamie Rann writes:
Old Wykehamists 2nd XI vs Old Millhillians
At 12.30 Old Wykehamist 2nd XI kicked off their season. By 12.31 they were begging for it all to be over. Sixty seconds into the new term and the boys in blue were trailing by a goal, without even having touched the ball. A slick-looking Mill Hill side — all man-buns, beards and bibs for keep-ball — quietly tiki-taka’ed around the bedraggled Wykehamists before planting a diagonal pass in behind debutant full-back Peregrine ‘the Millennial Falcon’ Kitchener-Fellows. The ball gripped perfectly in the third-generation rubber crumb, right in the path of the incoming winger who was able to sidefoot the ball past disoriented stand-in keeper Zach Tiplady.
Veteran second-stringers feared that, here on the desolate plain of London Maccabi Lions astroturf, the Arthurian League’s chosen people would face armageddon. A pasting of Biblical proportions. But it was not to be.
Sure, the toiling Twos still lost (2-1), but like the eponymous Maccabees (no, not the band*) before them, they didn’t go down without a fight. This was a young side, with many new faces in it, new faces growing rapidly redder from the glare of the autumnal sun and incipient embarrassment. Given no time to get acquainted by the merciless Millhillians, the Wykehamists were forced to rely on very unwykehamical qualities: hard work and fighting spirit. Our founder must have been rolling in his goive.
Even the laidback Cheetham, a paragon of technical ability as ever, showcased a new willingness to put in the hard yards, and an unprecedented mean streak. A petulant kick at a Mill Hill midfielder after a robust challenge was justly rewarded: with a career-first caution from the ref, and a reciprocal shin kick from the slighted Millman. The ensuing handbags also gave new signing Nick ‘Leighton’ Baines a chance to emerge as a hardman (/Hardiman) for the future as he launched himself into the scrum like a Japanese flanker. Luckily, thereafter, his aggression was channelled into a series of fine, semi-legal slide tackles in a dogged display at full-back. And he was not alone: like David Cameron at a hog roast, the Wykehamists were not afraid to get stuck in.
Ably marshalled by the typically ubiquitous Halling, OWFC2 hauled themselves back into the game. Their increased competitiveness did not, however, translate into decent service for front-men Wilson and Parker (the latter also donning the blue for the first time), whose flicks and darts were threatening but infrequent, marooned as they were too far from the embattled midfield. Without the wherewithal to build possession and pressure, Winchester were at constant risk of rapid counterplay from their newly promoted rivals: luckily Underwood was putting in a shift at centre-back worthy of the holiday — Yamim Nora’im, ‘the Days of Awe’ — being celebrated all over North London; he was well supported by Ed ‘the Supremacy’ Bourne, who looks set to build on last season’s strong showings in the backline.
The promised land of parity seemed visible from the mountain-top of half-time, but, soon into the second period, OWFC’s defensive walls came tumbling down: Mill Hill’s pharaonic front man doubled their lead, latching onto a through-ball and outmuscling both Bourne and Parker (now deputising in nets) to place the ball in an unguarded goal.
This was not enough, however, to quell the bold spirit of the Blues. Much of their best play came down the left flank, where the brothers Zach ‘Phil’ and Gabriel ‘Gary’ Tiplady were combining effectively. Non-brothers Thurston and Wilson were making similar incursions on the right. These forays resulted in a flurry of corners, which in turn resulted in a goal-bound shot being stopped by a stunning left-handed reflex save… from the Mill Hill centre midfielder. Despite much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the guilty party, a penalty was given, which was coolly converted by a deserving Cheetham.
The last quarter belonged to the Wykehamists, but, despite increasing panic from the Barnet boys, they were unable to find an equaliser. Dehydrated, but not dispirited, they welcomed the final whistle — not as the end of a disappointing first chapter for the season, but as the beginning of a brand new story, perhaps the greatest story ever told, a story of triumph and joy, a story of emancipation, a story of promotion. All they need is a bit more luck, a bit more composure and this same fighting spirit. And a goalkeeper. Definitely a goalkeeper.
*Fun fact: at least ⅖ of meh indie band The Maccabees are eligible to play in the Arthurian League.
Old Millhillians I 2 - 1 Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI ()