Late goals again send 1s to frustrating defeat

Old Chigwellians 1st XI
4 : 2
Old Harrovians 1st XI
  • October 8th 2022, Old Chigwellians Club, 10:45am
  • Division 1
  • Referee: Peter Spelman
  • Weather: Sunny, calm
  • Pitch: Excellent
No. Starting XI Goals Yellow & Red Cards Subs On/Off
1 Johnny Bowie
2 Murray Barr
3 Morgan Ward
4 Cassius Kidston
5 Cyprian Owen Edmunds
6 Ed Beecham
7 George Taylor 10', 87'
8 Daniel Firoozan
9 Ollie Atkinson
10 Will Payne
11 Ciaran Jordan

Once more, the OHAFC 1st XI were level heading into the final fifteen minutes of a Division One match. Once more they ended well beaten, the Old Chigwellians scoring three times to clinch a hard-fought encounter 4-2 and keep the Blues firmly entrenched in the relegation zone having earned a solitary point from their four games played.

Once more, skipper Dan Firoozan struggled with availability, with again only a bare eleven up for selection for the trip around the North Circular. Morgan Ward made his debut for the side at centre-back, forming a new partnership with Cassius Kidston, whose previous appearances for the 1s had been in midfield. Elsewhere, there was a useful mix of youth and experience, with Ed Beecham asked to play a holding role in midfield, George Taylor and Firoozan ahead of him. Will Payne has now made the switch to the 1s from the 2s permanently and he lined up on the right wing, Ollie Atkinson on the left. Ciaran Jordan returned to lead the line.

Perfect conditions greeted the teams at the Old Chigwellians Club for a first ever League meeting in Division One: since 2009/10 the two sides had met ten times in the Premier Division, the Blues running out winners on seven of those occasions. And the visitors made an excellent start here, taking the lead after ten minutes when Cyprian Owen Edmunds curled a corner to the far post, the ball was headed back across goal by Ciaran Jordan and George Taylor was on hand to nod home from a few yards out for his first ever OHAFC goal.

The home responded with some decent spells of possession, but debutant Harrow keeper Johnny Bowie was well protected by his back four and chances were at a premium. The visitors looked dangerous on the break, both Jordan and Taylor spurning decent opportunities to double the visitors’ lead.

Just as though the Blues looked set to go into the break a goal to the good, they conceded. The Chigwellians attacking midfielder collected a loose ball inside the Harrow half, spread play to the right and a cross into the box was turned in first-time into the far corner, the home side level, probably deservedly given the balance of play.

Slightly bizarrely, the second half mirrored that of last week’s home defeat to the Old Marlburians with the Blues matching their opponents stride for stride for most of the half before capitulating late on. Again, with a quarter of an hour remaining the scores were level, the Blues having hit the woodwork twice courtesy of efforts from Beecham and Ward. But in a frantic final fifteen minutes, four further goals were scored, three of them by the hosts.

Chigs took the lead courtesy of a long free-kick that was pumped forwards into the Harrow box. The initial headed clearance thumped into the back of Ed Beecham, rebounding straight to the Chigs left winger and he made no mistake, firing across goal and into the bottom corner, despite a valiant dive from Johnny Bowie. Five minutes later the lead was doubled, the result apparently now beyond salvation. Chigs broke up a Harrow attack on halfway and sped forwards, the ball was played out to their right hand side and the winger sprinted forwards towards the box, clipping the bouncing ball over the onrushing Bowie and towards the empty goal. Owen Edmunds made a desperate late attempt to keep the ball out but could only assist in helping it over the line.

Despite the seemingly hopeless situation, the visitors did manage to respond, pulling a goal back with three minutes remaining to set up a frantic finale. Morgan Ward fired a long diagonal pass out to George Taylor on the edge of the Chigs penalty area and he took a touch before producing a superb finish off the far post.

3-2 down with three minutes remaining and suddenly there was renewed signs of life in the visiting team. But hopes of an unlikely comeback were finally extinguished two minutes into stoppage time when the Chigwellians scored their fourth, a slightly controversial goal that was Bowie parry an initial shot only for the rebound to be turned in by an attacker who appeared to be lurking in an offside position.

It was tough luck on a Harrow side that appears badly in need of a helping hand from Lady Luck in the near future. The Blues have put themselves in sight of decent results in all four games they have played this season, but remain with just a solitary point to their name. The goals scored and conceded columns tell where the problems lie: 11 goals scored is the second most in the division, behind only the Chigwelians; 16 goals conceded is the second most, behind only the Berkhamstedians and well ahead of everyone else. Better commitment from the squad would go some way to alleviating these late-game collapses.