3s left to rue missed chances following excellent performance
- November 20th 2021, Philathletic Ground, 11am
- Division 4
- Referee: Adam Birkett
- Weather: Cloudy
- Pitch: Excellent
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
The OHAFC 3rd XI were left to rue a catalogue of missed chances as they succumbed to an ill-deserved 2-1 defeat at home to the Old Stoics on the Phil ground on Saturday afternoon, a defeat that leaves the Blues firmly hoping for dropped points from others as Division Four edges towards the Christmas break. Despite dominating for long spells, the Blues could not put the ball in the back of the net and were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal when the Stoics broke twice either side of the break to cancel out the one Harrow effort that did find the net from Charlie Lupton.
Despite the lack of any tangible rewards to show for their efforts on the Phil, the 3s could take pride from their most complete performance of the season. Missing midfield stalwarts Olly Roberts and Ali Buckley, the side were bolstered by the presence of Will Monroe in midfield, with Khalil Baoku making his first start for the side following several substitute appearances. Mikey Watford and Adam Graham were the forward pairing with Toby Speed joined on the bench by debutant Rob McMahon.
On a cloudy, cold but clear day on the Phil, the 3s started excellently against a side that had beaten them 5-1 on the Harrow astroturf earlier in the season. The hosts worked the ball well down both sides of the pitch, creating numerous chances for the front two – sadly, both Mikey Watford and Adam Graham had left their shooting boots at home, with the Stoics keeper rarely called upon to make a save.
Instead, incredulously, it was the visitors who opened the scoring after twenty minutes, taking advantage of a breakaway to fire home past a previously underworked Tom Mitchell in the Harrow goal. The Blues responded well, regaining the initiative and hauling themselves back to parity courtesy of a free-kick effort from Charlie Lupton on the half-hour. In truth, the Stowe keeper should have done better, but having been so underworked previously, was almost caught by surprise, the ball slipping through his fingers and rolling slowly into the back of the net. It was the least the OHAFC deserved, the sides going in level at the break.
Skipper Ed Nicholson made two changes at half-time, Toby Speed and Rob McMahon coming on, the latter for his OHAFC debut, Mikey Watford and Khalil Baoku the men to make way. McMahon immediately showed himself to be a promising addition to the 3s ranks and alongside Jake Speed and Adam Graham the home side continued to create – and spurn – a plethora of chances. The crossbar was struck, an overhead kick went close, the priceless second goal continued to elude the navy shirts. And, once again, an isolated breakaway saw the visitors take another undeserved lead, firing past Mitchell with twenty minutes remaining. The Stoics then enjoyed their best spell of the game, forcing the Harrow stopper to make two fine saves to keep the lead to just a solitary goal.
The final few minutes saw the hosts threaten again, and again several chances missed their intended target, Spray, Watford and Baoku all going close but failing to convert. The final whistle was met with groans of disbelief from the home side, who continue to give an excellent account of themselves whilst finding points hard to come by. The 3s now have only four League games remaining and whilst they are in no immediate danger of relegation, the picture could rapidly begin to change as the sides around them catch up on their own fixtures.