Blues triumph at the death following see-saw encounter
- November 26th 2022, Hampton Sports Centre (3G), 12pm
- Division 1
- Referee: Chris Rigler
- Weather: Sunny, breezy
- Pitch: Astroturf
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|7||Daniel Firoozan (c)||59'(p), 87'|
The OHAFC 1st XI bounced back from their disappointing 2-0 defeat against the Westminsters with a superb 5-4 victory away to the high-flying Old Johnians on Saturday afternoon in a remarkable game of football that saw the visitors lead no fewer than three times before finally sealing the win courtesy of a free-kick from inspirational skipper Dan Firoozan in the 86th minute. The win was even more special given the need to call upon several players with just a handful of previous 1st XI appearances under their belts, including keeper Hassan Hammad, defenders Michael Brooks and Oscar Gairard and midfielder Fabian Dobree. The Blues move back up to sixth in the Division One table, although the side have played more games than three of the four teams below them.
With a disappointing, if undeserved, defeat against Westminsters behind them and several regulars missing for this trip to the artificial surface at Hampton Sports Centre in southwest London, the prospect of facing the second-placed Johnians could have proved a daunting one. But Firoozan and his men stunned the formbook to record the Blues’ most impressive win of the season.
Adopting a straightforward 4-4-2 formation, things started badly enough for the visitors when they fell behind after only eight minutes, the powerful Johnians striker holding the ball up and allowing the winger to run on and score past Hammad. The OHAFC were then forced into an early change when Oscar Gairard injured a toe in a challenge and had to limp off after twenty minutes, Toby Speed his replacement. But the side battled well and scored an excellent equaliser ten minutes before the break when Morgan Ward fed Michael Brooks on the right, he passed the ball inside to Firoozan who then fed Ollie Atkinson and his pass inside to Murray Barr was then flicked through for Ciaran Jordan to run onto and fire across the keeper from just inside the box – his third goal of the season.
With the game locked at 1-1 at the break and little to choose between the sides, there was hardly a hint of what was to follow in the second half. The final scoreline was even more remarkable with neither side adding to their tally in the first quarter of an hour of the second half. But once the visitors had taken the lead for the first time in the game, skipper Firoozan converting from the spot after he himself had been fouled following a mazy dribble that carried him past several players, all hell broke loose.
The lead lasted seven minutes, Johnians responding with a penalty of their own following a rather unfortunate handball decision. Three minutes later the OHAFC were back in front, Fabian Dobree scoring his first goal for the club when he tucked in a rebound from close range following Ciaran Jordan’s parried effort.
Again Johnians responded, this time with a header from a free-kick. The score had developed from 1-1 to 3-3 in the space of seventeen minutes, although the key detail – the two sides remaining level – meant that all was still to play for.
The Blues took the lead for the third time in the game with ten minutes remaining, Ollie Atkininson cutting inside from the right wing to fire a low shot inside the far post. But, incredibly, within three minutes Johnians had levelled again, a cross from the right was palmed away by the Harrow keeper but a Johnians player was on hand to volley in from close range.
The scene was set for one final moment of drama and, fittingly, one final moment of quality from the OHAFC skipper, who stepped up and curled a precise free-kick around the wall and just inside the far post from outside the box to send the visitors wild with delight. The Blues had taken the lead for the fourth time in the game with four minutes remaining – this time they held on and secured three vital points in their bid to climb up the Division One table.
A superb effort all round from all twelve players and the squad can look forwards with confidence to their final two fixtures of the year, both away trips on artificial surfaces, firstly in east London against Westminsters next Saturday, before a trip west to Chiswick to face the Salopians the week after.