Old Wykehamist Football Club

Match Report

Match Report - 12 Mar 2022, Old Wykehamist Football Club 1st XI drew with Old Tonbridgians

Regular readers will recall how we left the Dubz at the end of the last chapter: processing the implications of a bewilderingly strong 10-man victory against fellow languishers KCS Wimbledon.

Like waves, Arthurian League fixtures follow one another irresistibly this time of year. So loomed Tonbridge, perennial Premier Leaguers (think: West Ham), currently sitting fourth. Wonderful memories have been made in this fixture - veterans fondly remember Tom Goulding lodging two of his front teeth in Goalkeeper Lawrence Blackwell-Thale’s skull a few years ago, followed by the timeless question from a helpful OT, searching for the missing incisors: “did anyone bring any milk?”

Anyway, back to the game. We were blessed with the presence of 1st XI debutant Hugh Burden, and also with Tom Swart - back in action after serving a 6-day ban from league football, imposed by legendary hard-arse skipper Dawkins. Patrick Lloyd, too, was a very welcome re-addition to the squad, starting at centre back. Ollie Mitchell returned at left-back, and was able to speak fairly coherently before kick-off, raising hopes that he had slept for more than two hours.

The sides felt evenly matched at the outset, both putting together some fluid moves, without clear chances. Even this felt like a massive win, given our recent fetish for passing the ball to opposition strikers and conceding within 5 minutes. And in fact it was the Wykes who got out in front first, thanks to the usual combination of Hodnett and Essex working their way through on goal, forcing their keeper into a save, allowing Mikey to commit bravely to the rebound, and giving us the lead.

But the OTs are a decent side, and like the crescendo of a Tom Goulding technobeat, their knock on our door was getting louder and more persistent. Their break came when they kicked the ball into the arm of Ollie Mitchell in the box; Alan the referee decided that he couldn’t in good conscience draw a silhouette of Ollie with his arm in that position, and duly gave the penalty. Filthy decision. OTs scored.

An injury to Pete Fuller later, the Wykes felt the familiar sensation of a wall against our backs. Hugh Burden came on and instantly made a wonderful last-gasp challenge to deny the OTs a second goal. We huddled together in the dugout level at half-time.

Tension continued to mount in the second half. Exhaustion was beginning to set in; you could almost hear the sigh of despair when, after what felt like an eternity, Dawkins asked Referee Alan how long there was to go: 28 minutes left.

Despite Tonbridge keeping the ball well, we continued to threaten on the break. And the gods rewarded us when Goulding slipped a through-ball to Essex in the mythical channel between centre-back and full-back. James galloped in on goal, and, on the angle, toe-poked the trademark Essex early finish underneath the sprawling keeper.

Sadly, though, we couldn’t hold on for a glorious win. Tonbridge’s second goal stunk of offside, but so be it. The game ended 2-2, and with Old Foresters losing 13-0 to Charterhouse (lol), we are guaranteed to be playing Premier League football next season. Man of the match went to Tom Goulding for what critics described as a seminal performance - his two-touch passing and aggressive tackling embodying the spirit of the 1s renaissance. Our last game before we hit the beach for the summer will be against Bradfield.

Old Wykehamist Football Club 1st XI 2 - 2 Old Tonbridgians ()

Name Goals Details
1 Laurence Blackwell-Thale  
2 Peter Fuller  
3 Oliver Mitchell  Oliver Mitchell Yellow card
4 Alex Dawkins  
5 Patrick Lloyd  
6 Tom Goulding  Tom Goulding Yellow card
7 Mike Hodnett   1
8 Tom Swart  
9 Gus Morse  
10 Percival Winter  
11 James Essex   1
12 Hugh Burden