Adefarasin red card sinks Blues' hopes of upset

Old Harrovians 3rd XI
2 : 8
Old Brentwoods 3rd XI
  • October 21st 2023, Philathletic Ground, 10:30am
  • Division 4
  • Referee: Andre Small
  • Weather: Rain, breezy
  • Pitch: Good
No. Starting XI Goals Yellow & Red Cards Subs On/Off
1 Johnny Bowie
2 Hugo Morrell-Roberts 45'
3 Alex Kenderdine-Davies
4 Henry Collins
5 Simon Nicholson
6 Charlie Dunn
7 Joss Awdry (c)
8 Luke Berry
9 Adam Graham 10'
10 Tobi Adebayo 45'
11 Alvin Adefarasin
Substitutes +o.g. 25'
12 Khalil Baoku 45'
13 Ollie Wilson 45'

The OHAC 3rd XI endured an afternoon to forget on the Phil as a first-half red card for forward Alvin Adefarasin cost the side dearly at home to a Brentwoods 3s side who sit on top of Division Four with a perfect record of five wins from five games. In miserable conditions on the Hill, the hosts led 2-1 midway through the first half courtesy of an excellent Adam Graham strike and an own goal following a cross from Charlie Dunn. But Adefarasin then saw red for a shove on a Brentwoods player following a tussle on the touchline and it was all downhill from then on. The visitors took full advantage of their numerical advantage to score twice before the break before going on to comfortably win the second half 5-0 and record a comprehensive 8-2 victory that keeps them clear at the top of the table.

Although the men from Essex are clearly the early favourites for promotion come the end of the season, it was a shame that this fixture was ultimately decided by the slightly contentious sending off. To that point, the game had been both hotly-contested and exciting, with the Blues responding to an early Brentwoods effort in strong fashion. An excellent move found Adam Graham in space on the edge of the box and he produced a fine shot to beat the keeper and open his account for the 3s for this season. When Charlie Dunn then curled in a dangerous free-kick from the left that forced a defender to head into his own net, the prospects of a stern challenge to Brentwoods’ perfect early season record seemed good.

But with just under half an hour played, the incident that would define the result occurred. Adefarasin collected a pass near to the left touchline inside the Brentwoods half but was held up by a challenge from behind. The Harrow player attempted to shield the ball, his opponent stepped in to try and win it. The ball rolled out of play, some pushing ensued, Adefarasin’s shove with his closed fist giving referee Andre Small the impression he had thrown a punch and a red card was produced.

On some occasions, a side defending with ten men can make life difficult for their opponents – the OHAFC 2s found this out to their great cost when conceding six to the Epsomians earlier this season, despite their opponents playing for seventy minutes a man down. But the effect was entirely the opposite here, with the Brentwoods suddenly able to take advantage of the extra time and space to devastating effect.

The visitors scored twice before the break and three more times in the half hour following the interval. Two further efforts late on ensured the scoreline reached embarrassing proportions for the hosts, the men in blue completely overrun well before the final whistle blew.

Clearly a day best forgotten, then, for the 3s, who couldn’t even raise their spirits later on with an England victory in the rugby – at least in that game, however, the drama lasted until the final few moments. The 3s now have a two-week break until their next run of games, a week off coming at probably the perfect time.