Match Report - 27 Sep 2008, Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI beat Old Amplefordians
OWFC 2nds 3 - Ampleforth 0
Scenes of joy and pride as football school beats rugby school at football
Al Hardiman's boys continued a very satisfying start to the season, with a second three goal victory in a match that started evenly but ended up a one-sided drubbing.
A strong and experienced looking OW's side trekked down to alma mater to face a strong and hardworking Ampleforth side. Jamie Rann's return meant Gordon Baker switching to the big open spaces of central midfield, while Fred Bjorn moved wide right to accommodate Nick Dunn.
Playing up the Bulls Drove hill in the first half, OW's found the early exchanges tricky as the kitless Ampleforth, prompted by a gentleman in a natty sleeveless number, repeatedly got behind the back four. They should have scored when their striker was put through, took the long way round Ed Duncan's beergut only to find James Arrandale clearing the ball off the line while the rest of the defence filed their nails and discussed their holidays. Despite their pressure, they failed to create many more serious chances, with a header from a corner comfortably dealt with and a rising shot from the edge of the area turned over the bar. Meanwhile OW's were starting to cause problems, with Fred Bjorn heading narrowly over from close range and several shots flying just wide.
Gordon Baker strolled around the park like the lord of the manor, a privilege extended to him by George Christofides charging around (as always) with all the energy of an Essex boy in Ibiza after a few too may disco biscuits. But early on in the second half we saw that there's more to George's game than a demented puppy impersonation, as he completed a well constructed move which started with an excitable run from fullback by The Mule by spearing a drive from outside the area into the top corner of the net. As Alan Partridge would say "That......was a goal".
Ampleforth's first half confidence now abandoned them, as OW's greatly improved passing game after the interval proved too much, especially now they also had the advantage of the slope. The frustration was really beginning to show, particularly in their increasingly marginalised striker, who drifted deeper and deeper as the his service dried up to a trickle, leaving Rann with no one to kick for sometimes seconds at a time. He'd clearly had enough entirely towards the end, as a late, cynical and entirely deliberate swipe sent Baker sprawling to the ground. I suppose we should at least give him some kudos for choosing the biggest man on the pitch to take his irritation out on, rather than taking the more popular and conventional option of Alfie Theodorou. Speaking of whom, Theodorou's performance (like that of strike partner Dunn) was full of running and work, repeatedly offering options in the channel's and linking with midfield, but without the usual finishing aplomb of the Jimmy Greaves of Arthurian League Division 5. An early first half miss when the keeper fumbled the, now apparently compulsory, Bjorn 35 yard volley was as out of character as the selfless running of the second half.
An increasingly dominant OW's put the result beyond doubt when Alex Wheal was sent behind the defence on the left flank and pulled his shot across the keeper from a narrow angle to make it two. Ampleforth were finished. There was still time for James Arrandale to give the afternoon a surreal turn by lobbing the keeper on the half volley from 20 yards. Quite what the big left back was doing in the inside right channel will rightly sit alongside the disappearance of Lord Lucan, the identity of Jack the Ripper and Alex Hardiman's facial hair as one of the great mysteries of the ages, but such was his delight I think we can all forgive him spending the final minutes in a giddy daze, like a teenager who'd just seen breasts for the first time.
In the aftermath of a fine and comfortable victory, special notice must go to Jamie Rann, who according to freshly minted OPTA statistics was committing a foul for 83% of the time the ball was in play. In fact, in The Queen I'm pretty sure I saw him tug their strikers shirt when he tried to go for a slash. Alex Wheal's increasingly histrionic reactions to failures of touch late in the game were likewise a source of amusement to all present.
OWFC 2nd XI: Duncan; Underwood, Hardiman, Rann, Arrandale; Bjorn, Christofides, Baker, Wheal; Dunn, Theodorou
Goals: Christofides 55, Wheal 65, Arrandale 80
Referee: Small shoutie sunburnt man
Attendance: 3 (Jimbo and Rumo smoking; Ed Neale shouting "Mule")
MOTM: George Christofides (tireless performance and long range stunner)
Old Wykehamist Football Club 2nd XI 3 - 0 Old Amplefordians ()