3s secure first win of the season with Atkinson wondergoal
- October 9th 2021, Philathletic Ground, 11am
- Division 4
- Referee: AL appointed
- Weather: Sunny, calm
- Pitch: Excellent
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|3||Ed Nicholson (c)|
|11||Daniel Graham||25', 35'||75'|
The OHAFC 3rd XI secured a deserved first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, defeating Old King’s Scholars 3-1 on Harrow Hill to move up to fourth in the Division Four table, their highest League placing of the season. Two opportunistic strikes from Dan Graham and a stunning volley from Ollie Atkinson proved more than enough to overcome a relatively weak Scholars side.
Having been cruelly denied a first win last weekend courtesy of a last-minute Wellintonian equaliser, the 3s made no mistake this time. The hosts got off to a fast start, having enjoyed a far more strenuous warm-up than their opponents. Ollie Atkinson looked threatening down the right and he was unlucky not to score from a couple of half-chances, with striker Dan Graham also lively. In contrast, King’s Scholars looked like a side still searching for their first point of the season, offering little by way of threat to a Harrow back four that had welcomed back Felix Tritton for his first appearance of the season.
The Blues continued playing with confidence, passing the ball fluently across the back and through midfield and they were duly rewarded for their efforts with a couple of goals either side of the half-hour mark. On both occasions it was excellent opportunism to take advantage of defensive errors and on both occasions it was Dan Graham applying the finish: for the first he intercepted a short backpass, rounded the keeper and slotted home, the second it was a sloppy defensive header that provided him with the chance to do likewise, again beating the keeper with ease. The home side were dominant and could have put the result beyond doubt, Mikey Watford spurning a couple of gilt-edged chances in particular.
As has become customary, half-time saw skipper Ed Nicholson ring the changes with all three substitutes coming on. There was also a change in the middle, Jose Linares, who had refereed the first half, passing the whistle to Charlie Dunn – it was the first time this season an OHAFC game had not had a match official supplied by the League – hopefully not a portent of things to come.
In fact, the break seemed to do the visitors some good, with the OHAFC becoming rather sloppy in their play and, for the first time in the match, looking second best. The skipper could sense the tide turning and urged more from his men, with the subs doing their best: Adam Graham won numerous headers, Jake Speed charged around in a clear bid to show his hangover wasn’t as bad as first feared…but the Blues were still second best. And, just as King’s had in the first half, they presented their opponents with a simple chance to score, a blocked shot fell loose in the Harrow penalty area, nobody reacted and the ball was smashed in.
But the 3s responded immediately with a fine passage of play, stringing together numerous passes from the kick-off. Adam Graham fed Jake Speed down the left, his cross flew over the head of Dan Graham, but Ollie Atkinson timed his arrival at the far post perfectly to smash home a volley and restore the two-goal lead. Unsurprisingly given the quality of the strike, his temmates celebrated effusively, comfortably the OHAFC goal of the season so far.
With the wind now taken out of Kings’ sails, the Blues saw the remainder of the game out with relative ease, the back four absorbing any late attacks the visitors could muster. The side now sit comfortably in mid-table but face a tricky challenge next up: the visit of leaders Shirburnians to the Hill – the two sides met on the opening weekend of the season in a hard-fought encounter, the Shirburnians running out 1-0 winners. The rematch could prove to be an even better game.