Improving OHAFC undone by Bradfieldians quality
- October 9th 2021, Philathletic Ground, 11am
- Premier Division
- Referee: Raphel Headlam
- Weather: Sunny, calm
- Pitch: Excellent
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|1||Fraser McGuinness (c)|
Despite arguably producing their best performance of the season so far, the OHAFC 1st XI once more found themselves soundly beaten in a Premier Division fixture, losing 8-0 at home to the Old Bradfieldians on the Hill on Saturday afternoon. A scoreless first half an hour suggested there would be little to choose between the two sides, but three goals either side of the break – the first of which was incredibly fortunate – gave the visitors breathing space and they ran away with the game late on, scoring some high quality goals.
Unsurprisingly given their position at the foot of the table, without a point or a goal from their three previous matches, confidence is low among the OHAFC 1s squad. Skipper Fraser McGuinness was only able to name a bare eleven for this game, with Ibi Akhtar making his competitive debut at right-back and Rory Miller partnering Ed Beecham in the middle. Elsewhere, there was a settled look to the side, with an encouraging blend of youth and experience.
Despite Bradfield’s lowly position just a point and one place above the OHAFC prior to the start of play, the visitors began the game firmly on the front foot, pressing the Blues high up the pitch with surprising intensity. The home side coped relatively well, however, electing to allow their opponents comfortable possession inside their own half, before countering with their own press. As a result, the opening third of the match proved devoid of much goalmouth action, a few corners and half-chances for either side notwithstanding.
But as half-time approached, equilibrium was shattered courtesy of a hugely fortunate goal for the visitors. The ball broke down the left channel of the penalty area and a forward prepared to fire a shot across goal. As McGuinness steadied himself, the striker totally mishit his effort, scuffing the ball along the ground only for it to ricochet inside the near post off the onrushing centre forward’s shin. There was little the keeper or any of the defenders could have done. When the lead was soon doubled courtesy of a low cross and shot a few minutes later, the Blues suddenly found themselves with a mountain to climb.
At half-time the Harrow skipper urged his men to concentrate on keeping the ball better and sticking to the basics, and his men began the second half well, threatening to pull a goal back with a number of threatening breaks. But once more it was the visitors who struck, firmly against the run of play, when a ball through the middle of the Harrow defence was pounced on by a midfielder, who drilled a powerful low strike past McGuinness, the keeper’s vision partially blocked preventing a dive.
The fourth followed soon afterwards to confirm the result and this was the pick of the bunch, a delightful chip over the Harrow keeper who was barely five yards off his line, the ball striking the underside of the crossbar before bouncing down and into the net.
Understandably, Harrow morale dipped and the final half-hour was one-way traffic, Bradfieldians dominating possession and scoring four more goals, all courtesy of superb crosses delivered into the box from out wide, all three met with precise first-time finishes from a teammate. The Harrow skipper was powerless to prevent the onslaught, although even he was left to admire the sheer quality of the visitors’ efforts.
At the full-time whistle, the eleven Harrovians agreed this had been one of their most encouraging performances of the season, but with confidence low and no easy games in sight, things may well get worse for the Blues before they begin to turn the corner. Next week the Old Wykehamists visit the Hill with their unbeaten record on the line.