David hat-trick fires 2s to much-needed win

Old Epsomians 1st XI
2 : 4
Old Harrovians 2nd XI
  • October 28th 2023, Kings House SG 4G, 12pm
  • Division 3
  • Referee: Alban Bytyqi
  • Weather: Cloudy
  • Pitch: Astroturf
No. Starting XI Goals Yellow & Red Cards Subs On/Off
1 Rory Craig
2 Geoff Taunton-Collins (c)
3 Michael Brooks
4 Joss Awdry
5 Callum Barrett
6 Ludo Palazzo
7 David Lederman 37' 65'
8 Jack Dolbey 60'
9 Miles Kellock
10 Tristan David 8', 15', 31'
11 Owain James
12 Spencer Crawley 35'

A hat-trick from winger Tristan David and a superb strike from veteran David Lederman helped the OHAFC 2nd XI gain revenge for the awful 6-2 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Old Epsomians on the Hill back in September and ease to a 4-2 win that propels the Blues into the upper echelons of the Division Three table. The visitors were as clinical and sharp here as they had been shoddy and meek in the first meeting between the teams, scoring twice early on courtesy of David and going on to grab two more goals before the break, the second of which was a sublime dipping volley from Lederman from the edge of the box that glanced off the underside of the crossbar before nestling in the back of the net.

Having enjoyed a fortnight’s break since the rather frustrating last-minute defeat away to Haberdashers – a fixture which has since been expunged from the records after it was discovered the hosts had fielded several ‘ringers’ – the OHAFC were raring to go in this lunchtime kick-off at the brand new astroturf facility at the King’s House Sports Ground in Chiswick. Although the size and quality of the surface could not be faulted, the multitude of different coloured lines that allow a variety of sports to be played left many scratching their heads in confusion – the football pitch was outlined in dark yellow, the standard white lines denoting a rugby pitch.

A rather scrappy opening to the game saw the visitors play long rather too often, rushing their passing when, in fact, far more time on the ball was being afforded to them. Nevertheless, it was from a long punt downfield from keeper Rory Craig that the deadlock was broken, Owain James holding off a centre-half, bringing the bouncing ball under control and feeding Tristan David, who had cut in off the right wing, to carry the ball forwards and smash in from close range.

Shortly afterwards David scored his and his side’s second from a well-worked move that saw James again involved, this time playing Miles Kellock in on the left side of the penalty area. The winger’s well-struck effort came back off the post but David was on hand to smash in the rebound and now the Blues were in full control. Or at least they should have been, but some careless play inside the visitors’ own half gifted the Epsomians a route back into the game almost immediately. A poor pass forwards was cut out and the ball played through behind the Harrow back four. Lederman had tracked back but rather stumbled over the ball when trying to control and an Epsomian stole possession, ran on and beat Craig low at his near post.

Undeterred, the visitors reasserted their superiority with some more composed passages of play, not least involving both centre-halves Michael Brooks and Joss Awdry, and midfielder Ludo Palazzo, playing just his second game for the side and his first in the center of the pitch. Several chances were created and not taken, the hosts offering scant threat to the Harrow goal at the other end. Two goals of vastly differing quality, scored within six minutes of each other, turned the game firmly in favour of the visitors.

The livewire David, who had been involved in much of Harrow’s best work, was rather gifted his hat-trick courtesy of a keeping howler: collecting Lederman’s pass midway inside the Epsom half, the winger carried the ball to within 30 yards of goal and unleashed a powerful but direct shot straight at the Epsom number one – somehow the ball slipped through his grasp and rolled into the net in embarrassing fashion. But there was nothing fortunate about Lederman’s effort that followed shortly afterwards. Further Harrow pressure earned a corner on the left. Kellock’s near-post delivery was headed clear to the edge of the box where the veteran midfielder was waiting, connecting perfectly on the volley to send a first-time shot looping back over everyone, the ball grazing the underside of the bar before nestling in the back of the net.

With a three-goal lead, the visitors should have been able to control the second half with some comfort, Spencer Crawley coming off the bench for his first appearance in a Harrow shirt since the 2017/18 season. But the opening to the half was scrappy with Epsomians putting up some stiff resistance. The visitors were perhaps guilty of over-complicating their play in the final third, with a noticeable failure to test the clearly struggling keeper, and possession switched between the teams at a frequent rate.

It was hugely frustrating, therefore, that just as the away side started to regain their composure and dominate once more, a second goal was conceded, offering a lifeline to the men in green. Having been camped inside their half for a spell of concerted Harrow pressure, the Epsomians broke down their right and a cross was hoisted into the box. With only a lone striker there, the danger should have been cleared, but two Harrovians went for the ball, the lack of a clear shout palpable, with the result that neither made a convincing touch, the loose ball being gratefully turned in from close range.

But the final twenty minutes saw the Blues finally exert the control they had threatened to earlier in the game. The front trio of Kellock, James and David enjoyed themselves, with Kellock somehow failing to score despite a plethora of opportunities. Shots were fired wide, at the keeper and against the post, none of them ending up in the back of the net.

It didn’t matter, the result was secure and the Blues could celebrate a first win since the 1-0 victory over the Sennockians at the end of September. Those two sides meet again in a fortnight’s time down in Kent, with the OHAFC entertaining KCS Wimbledon 2s on the Hill beforehand.