Haberdashers end 3s unbeaten run with strong second half display
- November 5th 2022, Harrow School 4G Astro, 10am
- Division 4
- Referee: Sachin Patel
- Weather: Rain, breezy
- Pitch: Astroturf
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|1||Tom Mitchell (c)|
The OHAFC 3rd XI’s three-game winning streak came to a disappointing end on Saturday morning as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to a strong Old Haberdashers side on the Harrow School astroturf. The Blues, who went into this encounter level on points with their opponents and having won both previous meetings between the teams in Division Four, gave as good as they got for the first half-hour. But the visitors slowly took control as the game wore on, earning the win with two second-half goals. The 3s stay in third in Division Four as a result, with Habs now just a point behind the unbeaten Kings Scholars at the top of the table.
With the Phil pitches deemed unfit due to the recent heavy rainfall, both sides convened on the other side of the Hill for this eagerly anticipated encounter. The teams had not met since the 2018/19 season when Habs were relegated and the Blues did the League double over their opponents by an aggregate score of 13-2. Skipper Tom Mitchell and Luke Berry were the only two survivors playing on Saturday who featured in the previous meeting in Elstree, but with a strong squad of fourteen named, there was plenty of optimism that a fourth consecutive League victory could be secured.
For the first half-hour that optimism appeared well-founded as the hosts made a strong start in the rain. Playing in their usual 4-3-3 formation, the Blues attacked well down both flanks, creating several decent chances. Wide man Olly Roberts was at the heart of much that was good about Harrow’s early play, he crossed from the right for Alvin Adefarasin – an excellent addition to the 3s squad this season – but his effort flew just wide of the post. Adefarasin then combined well with striker Adam Graham but his shot was fired straight at the Habs keeper.
With half an hour played, skipper Mitchell rang the changes, with all three Harrow subs coming on. One of them, Freddie Everett, was immediately in the game as another Roberts cross picked him out but he could only find the side netting. At this stage, the Harrow keeper had been little more than a spectator. But as the half came to a close, there were just signs that the visitors were beginning to take control, their excellent central midfield pairing dominating the ball and freeing the wide men on a consistent basis.
Further changes were made at the break, but the home side would fail to reassert their early dominance and the realisation soon dawned that holding on for a draw would become the extent of their ambitions against an ever-improving Habs team. Two breakaway goals ensured the Blues would fail in their endeavours: the first, midway through the half, saw the ball played down the inside left channel and the forward ignored the calls for offside to run through and finish inside the near post; then, with the home side pushing forwards in search of an equaliser, another ball down the left side saw a cross delivered to the near post and a simple finish from close range to put the result beyond doubt.
Despite numerous substitutions in a bid to regain the upper hand, the Blues couldn’t manage to build any momentum and the visitors saw out the closing stages with minimal fuss. There is little time for the 3s to feel sorry for themselves as their relentless run of games continues next week with the visit to the Hill of the previous team to defeat them – Old Brentwoods 3s.