Late Stonehill goal earns 3s scrappy win on the Hill

Old Harrovians 3rd XI
2 : 1
Old Kingstonians 1st XI
  • February 17th 2024, Philathletic Ground, 10:30am
  • Division 4
  • Referee: Kacper Ignatiuk
  • Weather: Rain, breezy
  • Pitch: Poor
No. Starting XI Goals Yellow & Red Cards Subs On/Off
1 Tom Mitchell
2 Ollie Wilson 60'
3 Charlie Dunn 75'
4 Henry Collins 75'
5 Hugo Morrell-Roberts 75'
6 Charlie Lupton 75'
7 William Brounger 75'
8 Rupert Stonehill 76' 75'
9 Adam Graham 75'
10 Alvin Adefarasin 75'
11 Moyo Adebayo 25' 75'
12 Khalil Baoku 30'
13 Euan Barr 30'
14 Joss Awdry 45'

The OHAFC 3rd XI just about held on to record their sixth League victory of the season on Saturday morning, scraping past Division Four strugglers the Old Kingstonians 2-1 on a wet and windy Harrow Hill. Moyo Adebayo, playing his first game of the season, opened the scoring for the hosts just before the half-hour mark but the visitors replied prior to the break. A scrappy second half on a heavy pitch saw both sides struggle to gain the ascendency, but Rupert Stonehill found just enough space on the right to drill a shot inside the far post with fifteen minutes remaining to earn the hosts the win.

Saturday’s victory was in stark contrast to the first League meeting between the teams this season back in late November. On the banks of the Thames in glorious late autumnal sunshine the OHAFC ran away with the game late on, recording a spectacular 6-2 win, the crowning goal a magnificent 30 yard effort from left-back Alex Kenderdine-Davies. This proved a rather less enjoyable occasion for both sides, with the Blues hanging on at the end in miserable conditions and the final whistle confirming relegation for the Kingstonians – a season after their promotion from Division Five.

Skipper Joss Awdry was afforded the luxury of naming a full fourteen-man squad for the encounter and he began on the bench (his knee still not fully recovered) alongside Khalil Baoku and Euan Barr – named in a 3s squad for the first time. Otherwise the side had a familiar feel to it with Will Brounger enjoying further game time in midfield alongside Charlie Lupton and Rupert Stonehill and a threatening front three of Adam Graham, Moyo Adebayo and Alvin Adefarasin.

It was perhaps slightly surprising that with rain during the week the lower of the two Philathletic pitches had been passed fit for play, with the warm-up confirming that conditions were likely to be heavy underfoot throughout. The steady rain that was falling as the players arrived only added to the gloom.

The hosts actually started well with some decent passages of play, the midfield trio looking well-equipped to provide plenty of possession for the men in blue. Chances proved hard to come by however and it wasn’t until the 25th minute that the breakthrough arrived, Moyo Adebayo scoring his first ever goal for the club with a jinking run and finish following an exchange of passes on the edge of the box.

But having failed to threaten for virtually the entire half, a couple of sporadic counter-attacks apart, the Kingstonians somehow levelled matters five minutes before the break, the ball falling kindly on the edge of the box and allowing the player to produce a precise low strike into the bottom corner beyond the reach of keeper Tom Mitchell.

Skipper Awdry remained a busy man throughout, juggling his troops as best he could with the dual purpose of both ensuring all fourteen players received ample game time, whilst also trying to ensure the three points remained on the Hill.

The second half proved a rather turgid affair as the pitch worsened and it became a real struggle for both sides to try and keep possession. The Blues were, at times, guilty of trying to force the ball forwards too quickly but perhaps this was a natural consequence of being unable to make any headway playing through midfield. As the game approached the final quarter of an hour it was hard to see where a goal would come from.

Fortunately, from a Harrovian perspective, a moment of inspiration from Rupert Stonehill decided matters. The young midfielder was played in down the inside right channel and he made no mistake with his finish, slotting the ball across goal and into the bottom corner. To the visitors’ credit they failed to lie down and made the home side scrap for every ball in the final minutes. Stonehill almost undid his moment of excellence when he inadvertently diverted a shot onto the underside of the Harrow crossbar only for the ball to bounce out. An almighty scramble ensued but the danger was finally averted and the hosts could breathe a sigh of relief.

The 3s finish their League season with another home game next weekend, this time against the Old King’s Scholars. The Blues will be looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat they suffered in their second game of the season over in east London but regardless of the result, the side are unlikely to budge from their current position of fourth.