Sloppy Blues undone by high-flying KCS Wimbledon
- November 16th 2019, Philathletic Ground, 11am
- Premier Division
- Referee: Adam Knight
- Weather: Cloudy
- Pitch: Good
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|1||Fraser McGuinness (c)|
The OHAFC 1st XI were eventually overpowered by a well-organised, physically resilient KCS Wimbledon Old Boys side on Saturday afternoon, succumbing to a 4-1 defeat against the side emerging as the Old Carthusians main title challengers this season. The defeat stretches the 1s run to four games without a win and leaves them sixth in the Premier Division table.
Despite the continued absence of leading scorer James Breeden, celebrating the end of his accountancy exams with a well-earned holiday, skipper Fraser McGuinness was able to welcome back young striker James Tippett and name all three Barrett brothers and both Charlie and Harry Bick for the game – the first time in 1s history both sets of brothers have been included in the squad. Callum was named on the bench alongside Tippett and Jamie Jordache, with Kyle and Connor Barrett paired together at centre-back and Jonny Lalude and Harry Bick at full-back. Otherwise the side was a familiar one, with Alex Gilbert keeping his place as the spearhead of the attack.
Following the previous weekend’s rather dreary 1-1 draw at home to the Old Salopians, the opening ten minutes of Saturday’s game provided a welcome contrast, with both sides attacking from the outset and plenty of space opening up at either end. The hosts should have taken the lead inside the first five minutes when a ball through the inside left channel saw Gilbert advance on goal but his shot was too straight and blocked by the Wimbledon keeper, Will Bamford waiting for a pass square.
But the visitors also looked threatening and at one stage play resembled a basketball game in progress as play switched furiously from one end to the other, neither side able to prevent their opponents from raiding forwards at will.
The longer the half progressed however, the more the red shirts of Wimbledon grasped control, playing a very simple, direct style of football, firing the ball forwards down the channels and utilising the pace of their wide men. The Blues continued to try to play their way forwards from the back but were closed down too quickly and, as has been the case too often in recent weeks, appeared unsure as to what approach to adopt in the face of constant pressing from their opponents.
Despite the tide turning against the hosts, Wimbledon still enjoyed a large slice of fortune when they scored their opener ten minutes before the break, a cross from out wide being fired across the box, catching a deflection which sent the ball flying into Harry Bick’s knee and inadvertently inside the far post.
Half-time saw all three substitutes introduced in a bid to regain some momentum, a healthy crowd having gathered on the sidelines too in a bid to cheer on the home side.
Disappointingly, however, it was Wimbledon who cranked up the pressure, continuing to drive forwards with purpose both with and without the ball. The constant pressing high up the pitch forced the Blues into numerous stray passes out from the back, and with two giant centre-halves defending any high balls forwards, play became concentrated inside the Harrow half.
The result, unsurprisingly, was the concession of further goals, the red shirts pouncing three times on wayward Harrovian passes, finishing clinically each time past a frustrated McGuinness in the Harrow goal. Dan Firoozan’s late reply, courtesy of a trademark dribble around the Wimbledon keeper, provided little by way of a consolation and for the second week running the players trudged back to the Alcock Pavilion somewhat disconsolately.
KCS Wimbledon are a well-established, well-organised side and it is certainly no disgrace in losing to a side that remain unbeaten in seven Premier League games so far this season. But the Blues’ highly promising start to the season is now a fading memory and, as winter draws near, cold, hard reality is beginning to bite. A return to winning ways is badly needed, with a trip to the Old Tonbridgians, who currently sit one place and two points behind the Blues in the table, next up for the side.