Glover double fires 3s to deserved first win of the season
- December 12th 2020, Philathletic Ground, 12pm
- Division 4
- Referee: Peter Spelman
- Weather: Cloudy
- Pitch: Good
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|1||Tom Mitchell (c)|
|11||William Glover||60', 70'|
The OHAFC 3rd XI earned their first win of the season, and the first League win for any OHAFC side on Saturday afternoon when they clinched a deserved 3-2 victory over fellow Division Four strugglers the Old Stoics on the Hill. Despite dominating the game for long spells, the Blues were made to fight hard until the end, eventually holding onto their lead to spark scenes of jubilation at the final whistle. Such is the fiercely competitive nature of Division Four this season, with the top three teams racing clear of the rest of the pack, all of whom are struggling for points, the Blues climb off the bottom and all the way up to fourth in the table.
With both sides having been dumped out of the Junior League Cup last weekend and firmly ensconced in the wrong half of the table, there was no doubting the importance of this Division Four clash. For the hosts, keeper Tom Mitchell again took the captain’s armband with neither Ed Nicholson nor Felix Tritton available for selection. Sebastian Mahal was handed his club debut in midfield alongside a promising front six that included regulars Ali Buckley, Matt Bailey and striker Will Glover. Charlie Dunn was making just his second OHAFC appearance, starting as the lone substitute.
After the sluggish start to their Cup defeat last time out, the Blues made sure there was to be no repeat on Saturday, racing out of the blocks to put the Stoics under immediate pressure. Wide men Cameron Mahal and Bailey were involved throughout and the source of much of Harrow’s promising early start with several dangerous cross delivered into the Stowe penalty area. But the hosts were made to wait until the half-hour mark to grab the goal their dominance deserved and when it arrived, it proved rather rudimentary in nature: a long ball over the top of the Stowe back four allowed Seb Mahal to stride through and calmly finish past the keeper to mark his debut in style.
The home side continued to dominate, spurning further opportunities to increase their lead, and they should have been made to pay for their profligacy when, from one of their rare forays into Harrow territory, the Stoics were awarded a penalty following a trip by Oli Corbidge. Fortunately, in keeping with the rest of their performance, the Stowe player blasted his effort wide of the mark and the Blues held their lead going into the break.
Charlie Dunn was introduced at the interval, with both Cameron Mahal and Toby Colehan spending time on the side during the second half. Skipper Mitchell urged his men to reproduce their first half display, with the prospect of a first win of the season firmly in their sights.
But this understandable optimism was immediately rocked as the visitors levelled within a couple of minutes of the restart. Harrow were guilty of over-playing at the back, allowing a Stowe forward to nip in and steal possession. The ball was crossed in from the right allowing a simple tap-in at the far post. Suddenly the Blues found themselves back at square one.
To their credit, the side responded quickly and with purpose, re-establishing their dominance from the first half, and they were rewarded ten minutes later with a second goal, Will Glover turning neatly on the penalty spot to fire in left-footed. It was all Harrow now as the Blues poured forwards in waves, creating and missing numerous opportunities. Fortunately, however, Glover was in the mood and ten minutes later further progressive play from the Harrow midfield saw him collect the ball on the edge of the box and produce another lethal left-foot shot, the keeper allowing the ball to squirm under his body and roll into the net.
The home side now had twenty minutes remaining to hold on for an excellent victory and initially it appeared as though they would do so with ease, continuing to enjoy the better of things. But, with just ten minutes left, the visitors were handed a lifeline when Adam Graham inadvertently deflected a cross from the left wing past Mitchell to make the score 3-2.
Buoyed by this unexpected gift, Stoics showed slightly more purpose in the closing stages, at least making the OHAFC rearguard work to earn their win. But earn it they did, the Blues seeing out the final few minutes in relative comfort. Understandably, the side were elated at the final whistle, enjoying some post-match food and drink in the White Horse to celebrate. It was a deserved win for the side that lifts them clear of trouble in Division Four as clubs head into their Christmas break. The 3s can once more look forwards with optimism to League action – hopefully – restarting sometime in the New Year.