Blues rue missed chances in Charterhouse defeat
- October 19th 2019, Charterhouse School, 12pm
- Premier Division
- Referee: Matt Cannon
- Weather: Cloudy
- Pitch: Excellent
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|1||Fraser McGuinness (c)|
The OHAFC 1st XI were left rueing several missed chances, including a rare failure from the spot by leading scorer James Breeden, as they fell to a second consecutive 3-1 defeat away to reigning Arthurian League champions the Old Carthusians down in Surrey on Saturday afternoon.
In a game that neither side was able to dominate for any length of time, the Blues could count themselves slightly unfortunate that they emerged on the wrong end of the result, the hosts proving the more clinical team in both penalty areas. The defeat keeps the OHAFC fourth in the Premier Division table ahead of the visit of the Old Alleynians next weekend.
A strong squad of fourteen travelled south, perhaps one of the most competitive 1st XI groups named by the club in recent seasons, although the suspiciously late arrival of Kyle Barrett and the two Bick brothers suggested the England rugby game had drawn their focus rather too much.
Nevertheless, the Blues began well, at a ground where they have won just once in seven previous attempts in the League over the past decade. The back four of Jonny Lalude, Alex Breeden, Kyle Barrett and Hamish MacIntyre, all hugely experienced, looked in control defensively although further forwards the midfield struggled to maintain possession for long spells, Charterhouse pressing higher and more purposefully than their opponents.
An early half-chance fell to James Tippett but, that aside, the Harrow attack flattered to deceive, with too many touches on the ball slowing the flow of play and allowing the Carthusians to get men back behind the ball.
With neither keeper having been truly tested with a little under half an hour played, the game suddenly sparked into life with chances at both ends. Breeden enjoyed the first for the visitors, drilling the ball straight at the keeper from a narrow angle on the left, although a lack of options meant he had little option but to go for goal.
Having escaped unharmed, the Carthusians broke up the other end, their right-back charging down the wing before winning a free-kick about 25 yards out from goal. The offence was spectacularly punished with a superb curling effort over the wall that left skipper Fraser McGuinness motionless in the Harrow goal. From their first shot on target the hosts had taken the lead.
McGuinness responded by making a couple of changes: Firoozan, who had been unable to exert much influence in the middle of the pitch, was taken off, Alex Breeden shifted into midfield, with Jonny Lalude moving into the middle and Henry Charatan coming off the bench to take his place at right-back. The youngster would go on to perform superbly for the remainder of the game.
James Tippett was also removed from the fray, his place taken up front by Alex Gilbert. And the substitute made an immediate impact, when he was sent clean through the middle courtesy of a perfectly-weighted through-ball from James Breeden. Disappointingly however, the striker fluffed his lines, allowing the onrushing keeper to block the shot with his feet and send the ball out for a corner.
As a result, when the half-time whistle blew the men in blue felt decidedly aggrieved at finding themselves behind on the scoreboard, having more than matched their hosts in the opening forty-five minutes.
But that was nothing compared to the disappointment felt just five minutes into the second period when Harrow’s leading marksman missed a golden opportunity to haul his side back on level terms. Referee Matt Cannon, a regular on the Veterans Sunday morning circuit, pointed to the spot when James Breeden was hacked down inside the box, but the striker’s powerful effort wasn’t wide enough or high enough and the keeper somehow managed to divert the ball up and over the bar – another huge let-off for the home side.
The visitors pushed forwards, enjoying plenty of the ball and continuing to suggest that a positive result was more than possible. Skipper McGuinness made a further change, winger Harry Bick replaced by Doug Morrison on the right, although in truth the visitors failed to play with enough width throughout, with the result that both Morrison and Will Bamford, who has been in excellent form recently, failed to have the desired impact on the game.
The hosts began to work their way back into the game and created a couple of half-chances but, gallingly, they were gifted their second goal courtesy of some sloppy play out from the back by the OHAFC. McGuinness tried to play a quick short pass to Lalude but the ball was slightly under-hit and Lalude was caught in possession by the Carthusian winger. Two touches later the ball was in the back of the Harrow net as it was thumped between the keeper’s legs with pace.
Harry Bick replaced the ineffectual Bamford but the change did little to divert the flow of the game and a third goal for Charterhouse sealed the win with a quarter of an hour remaining. Henry Charatan lost out in a foot race down the right, the winger crossed low into the six-yard box and although McGuinness got his hand to it first, the rebound was bundled into the net from close range courtesy of a fortunate deflection off the Carthusian striker.
The Blues continued to press forwards valiantly, unable to quite comprehend how they found themselves three goals behind. The hosts broke at pace, looking threatening on the counter several times, but it was, in fact, the visitors who had the last word, James Breeden safely converting a second penalty following a foul on Doug Morrison.
The late goal did little to assuage the frustration in the Harrow camp. Wins at Charterhouse are rarely available, but this was certainly one occasion when the OHAFC will feel they missed an excellent chance to place themselves in the thick of the title race at the expense of their opponents.
Nevertheless, confidence in the camp remains high and the performance was further confirmation that this squad are more than capable of competing with any side in the division on their day. There is little time to dwell on the result either, with another huge fixture looming. Prior to Saturday’s loss, the only other defeat the Blues suffered this season was the 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the Old Alleynians in late September. Alleynians now return to the Hill for the latest instalment in what is developing as a healthy rivalry between the teams. The chance for revenge for the somewhat embarrassing loss in south London a few weeks ago should provide plenty of motivation to the squad to return to winning ways at the earliest opportunity.
*Thanks to skipper Fraser McGuinness for his assistance with this report
*Match photos courtesy of Fred Woolley & Alex Gilbert