3s hit back from poor start to earn creditable point on the Hill

Old Harrovians 3rd XI
2 : 2
Old Tonbridgians 2nd XI
  • January 20th 2024, Harrow School 4G Astro, 10:30am
  • Division 4
  • Referee: Kacper Ignatiuk
  • Weather: Cloudy
  • Pitch: Astroturf
No. Starting XI Goals Yellow & Red Cards Subs On/Off
1 Tom Mitchell
2 David Liu 65'
3 Joss Awdry (c)
4 Simon Nicholson
5 Hugo Morrell-Roberts 75'
6 Archie Maxwell
7 Charlie Lupton
8 Tobi Adebayo
9 Freddie Everett 70'
10 Ed Corswarem 70'
11 Alvin Adefarasin 40'
12 David Edevbie 30'

The OHAFC 3rd XI came from 2-0 down to earn a highly creditable 2-2 draw at home to the Old Tonbridgian 2s on the Harrow School astroturf on Saturday morning courtesy of goals from Ed Corswarem and Alvin Adefarasin. Things looked bleak for the Blues when they conceded twice inside the opening twenty minutes, but the hosts responded strongly to force a draw and ensure they take four points from a possible six against their opponents.

This Tonbridge game, played on the Harrow astroturf with the Alcock Pavilion on the Philathletic Ground still beset by boiler issues, provided the 3rd XI with a week’s respite from the unfortunate quirk of fate that has provided the side with two arduous away trips either side of it: last week’s trip down to Kent saw the Blues exit the Junior League Cup, this week coming sees the team travel to Essex to face the Old Brentwoods 3s in a League encounter. It was somewhat surprising therefore that with availability having proven so strong this season, only a squad of twelve was available, with a club debut for David Edevbie and a return to action for Archie Maxwell, who was representing the 3s for the first time in his OHAFC career. The availability of Tom Mitchell in goal, however, at least allowed Charlie Lupton to return to his usual spot in midfield, the vice-captain having been forced to don the gloves rather more often than he would have liked this season.

But even with Michell between the sticks, things did not start well for the home side, against a Tonbridge team they had beaten they had beaten 2-0 down in Kent in beautiful autumnal sunshine back in early October. Under very different conditions here, the visitors took advantage of a close call from referee Kacper Ignatiuk to open the scoring – the ball was deemed still in play down the Tonbridge right and the forward drove towards goal before firing a shot across from narrow angle. The ball almost struck Mitchell unwittingly before deflecting into the net and the hosts were a goal down inside five minutes. Things went from bad to worse fifteen minutes later when the visitors doubled their lead, a header from a cross beat the Harrow keeper after the original ball into the box had been cleared.

Things had to improve from here and fortunately they did, with the home side gradually working their way back into the game as the half progressed. Maxwell and Lupton began to take command of the midfield, the former excelling on his return to the fold, the latter showing just what a miss it is for the side when he is used as an emergency keeper. But trailing 2-0, the hosts needed a goal and they finally pulled one back five minutes before the break following an excellent move that started with skipper Joss Awdry at left-back, saw him switch play with Ed Corswarem on the right and his pass was brilliantly finished by Alvin Adefarasin who drilled the ball across goal and inside the far post. Had Freddie Everett taken advantage of several pristine chances, twice hitting the crossbar, the Blues could feasibly have even led before the half was over.

The timing of the goal undoubtedly gave the side momentum going into the second half, with David Edevbie coming off the bench for his Arhturian League debut. The Blues, imbued with a renewed self-belief, improved again in the second half and were the better team, the wide attackers who had combined for the first goal, Corswarem and Adefarasin, again looking dangerous. Everett failed to take advantage of another one-on-one, Corswarem missed an excellent opportunity. But he then made amends with twenty minutes remaining, curling in a superb free-kick from the edge of the box, catching the keeper off guard and earning the Blues the 2-2 draw their play had undoubtedly deserved.

The visitors did forge a couple of half-chances late on, but the Blues held on to ensure that, for now at least, they would remain ahead in the Division Four standings. The Blues have just three League fixtures remaining, with two very winnable home games to follow next weekend’s tricky trip to Old Brentwoods.