Shambolic Blues suffer dispiriting defeat

Old Harrovians 1st XI
0 : 5
Old Marlburians 1st XI
  • October 28th 2023, Philathletic Ground, 10:45am
  • Division 1
  • Referee: Thomas Festa
  • Weather: Sunny, calm
  • Pitch: Astroturf
No. Starting XI Goals Yellow & Red Cards Subs On/Off
1 Johnny Bowie
2 Jamie Jordache
3 Yunus Sert
4 Ed Nicholson
5 Alex Kenderdine-Davies 75'
6 Ed Beecham
7 Luke Berry 70'
8 Charlie Bick
9 Harry Bick
10 Will Payne
11 Alfie Hayes
12 Oli Acar 55'

A shambolic display from the OHAFC 1st XI saw them forced to play the opening twenty minutes of this fixture at home to the Old Marlburians in tracksuits and bibs, duly going on to record a humbling 5-0 defeat and thereby maintain a remarkable, and unwanted, record of losing all four of their home League games played against this opposition. The hosts were 3-0 down inside twenty minutes and conceded twice more midway through the second half. Although the Blues saw plenty of the ball, they were unable to trouble the Marlburians at the back and slipped to their third consecutive League defeat and fourth in all competitions.

The catalyst for Saturday’s chaos was the late arrival of Oli Acar to the Harrow astroturf, with the youngster forgetting he was in possession of the kit. Whilst the visitors warmed up as normal, the home side were forced to wear whatever clothes they could reasonably use – Luke Berry trying to play in chinos and a t-shirt one of the more ridiculous sights. Referee Thomas Festa, officiating his first ever OHAFC fixture, was less than impressed and informed the hosts that he was playing later that afternoon, so unless kick-off occurred no later than 10.45am – a quarter of an hour past the allotted hour – the match would have to be shortened.

With no sign of Acar, the Blues were therefore forced to begin proceedings in a rag-tag ensemble of tracksuit bottoms and bibs and it was hardly surprising that the visitors took full advantage of the chaos, forging into a three-goal lead inside the opening twenty minutes. The first was a simple cut back from the right turned in from close range, the second a through-ball that dissected the two Harrow centre-backs allowing a one-on-one and the third an almost carbon copy of the first.

The arrival of Harrow’s last man saw the game halted so that the hosts could don their proper kit and the second half of the first period saw the hosts gain some kind of foothold in the game, but for all their possession the Blues failed to trouble the Marlburian keeper, despite a potent front three of Harry Bick, Will Payne and Alfie Hayes.

Acar, following a profound apology, was finally allowed to enter the fray ten minutes into the second half, with the hosts still looking the more likely to score the next goal. But a suicidal pass out from goalkeeper Johnny Bowie gifted the ball to a Marlburian attacker and he was left with the simple task of squaring it to the striker for a tap-in. Five minutes later and it was Ed Nicholson’s turn to repeat the trick, passing into a dangerous area in midfield, gifting the ball to a Marlburian and then suffering the indignity of being nutmegged by the same man, who ran on to finish inside the bottom right hand corner.

Although the Blues continued to enjoy plenty of the ball, chances continued to prove hard to come by, the visitors defending stoutly and seeing out the closing minutes with relative ease. Having begun the season so brightly with two wins and a very unfortunate defeat to the Old Rugbeians in a game they dominated for long spells, the Blues have now lost their last three League fixtures, conceding at least three goals in each. A vast improvement is needed ahead of next week’s trip to the astroturf in Hampton to face the League leaders, the Old Johnians – a side who have won all six of their League games to date.