Adefarasin screamer fires 3s into DWT semis

Old Canfordians 1st XI
1 : 2
Old Harrovians 3rd XI
  • March 9th 2024, Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub 3G, 11am
  • DW Trophy
  • Referee: Kacper Ignatiuk
  • Weather: Sunny, breezy
  • Pitch: Terrible
No. Starting XI Goals Yellow & Red Cards Subs On/Off
1 Tom Mitchell
2 Toby Colehan
3 Henry Collins 70'
4 Hugo Morrell-Roberts 70'
5 Joss Awdry (c)
6 Charlie Lupton 70'
7 Daniel Graham 70'
8 Rupert Stonehill
9 Alvin Adefarasin 50' 65'
10 Alfie Hayes 29' 75'
11 Freddie Everett 70'
12 Ollie Wilson 30'
13 Tobi Adebayo
14 Jordan Holmes 35'

A screamer from winger Alvin Adefarasin helped the OHAFC 3s overcome a terrible pitch and doughty opponents in the form of the Old Canfordians to earn just a second ever appearance in the semi-finals of the David Woolcott Trophy in Gunnersbury Park on Saturday morning. The uneven, boggy surface, surely one of the worst used by an Arthurian League side, made this an uncomfortable encounter for the men in blue, but a first-half header from Alfie Hayes, stooping to head home from close range following Joss Awdry’s free-kick, and a superb effort from twenty-five yards out from Adefarasin early in the second half just about saw the visitors through, Canfordian’s effort – a fine free-kick from just outside the box – with ten minutes remaining ensuring that the final whistle was greeted with significant relief by the victors. The OHAFC must now wait to discover their opponents in the semis, with Brentwoods 3s and Merchant Taylors 2s not scheduled to meet for another three weeks.

Having not played for a fortnight, and with an 11am kick-off in a convenient location, there was excellent availability for skipper Joss Awdry to select from, with a full fourteen-man squad named for a first ever meeting between the two clubs. The Canfordians have endured a tough start to life in the Arthurian League and currently sit second from bottom in Division Five having won two and drawn two of their eleven games played. But a 4-2 victory over the Old Kingstonians in the previous round suggested that this would be far from a walkover for the Blues and the dreadful state of the playing surface only added to the possibility of an upset.

The home side threatened early with a long ball over the top but the finish lacked conviction, the ball chipped straight into the waiting arms of keeper Tom Mitchell – keen to impress his fiancée who was watching on from the sidelines. It didn’t take long for both sides to adopt a fairly rudimentary approach with balls being fired over the top to run onto. The visitors gradually began to string a few passes together, Stonehill firing just over the bar from range, before the Blues then concocted the best move of the half, switching the ball from right to left, Dan Graham overlapping Hayes and delivering a first-time cross to the far post only for Adefarasin’s volley to be blocked.

But moments later it was the Canfordians who almost broke the deadlock, a loose ball on the left of the Harrow penalty area was suddenly volleyed goalwards, Mitchell rooted to the spot and relieved to see the ball ricochet off the foot of the post before being cleared out for a corner. After this flurry of half-chances at either end, the game settled down for a short period, the play understandably scrappy given the conditions.

In fact, the final twenty minutes of the half saw little by way of goalmouth action except for the one moment that earned the visitors the lead. With half an hour played, Stonehill won a free-kick on the edge of the box and skipper Joss Awdry stepped up to shoot. His effort deflected off a less than secure Canfordian wall, in the process wrong-footing the keeper, who was only able to prevent the ball from crossing the line by flinging up his leg. Fortunately, Alfie Hayed had followed in on goal and was left with the simple task of heading in from a couple of yards out, the keeper still stranded on the ground.

Awdry immediately made the first of several triple substitutions with Wilson, Adebayo and Holmes all entering the fray for the first time. But the remainder of the half lacked incident, Mitchell showing good judgement to claim several overhit through-balls from the Canfordians but neither side coming close to creating a respectable chance.

Yet barely had five elapsed of the second half when the visitors doubled their advantage, again from almost nothing. The ball had been pumped into the Canfordian half and Adefarasin battled for it on the edge of the box. The hosts appeared to have plenty of cover, but the Harrow man showed strong persistence to continue scrapping for possession before he suddenly decided enough was enough, swivelling and smashing a shot with his left foot that flew into the far corner past a bemused Canfordian keeper.

The visitors were now in control and launched a couple of quick counters, Adebayo proving an excellent addition to the lineup with some strong forward runs. One such advance earned another free-kick in a promising position but this time it was Hayes who fired an effort straight at the wall and then came close to hitting the corner flag when he snatched at the rebound. Adebayo himself was then denied by the keeper after he had been played in by Stonehill.

The game gradually descended into a scrappy affair again, free-kicks and yellow cards littering the middle period of the half. With a two-goal cushion and little sign of an attacking threat from the Canfordians, the visitors should have been able to see out the tie in some comfort. But, against a determined effort from the hosts, the Blues rather panicked in the closing quarter of an hour, dithering on the ball and conceding numerous unnecessary free-kicks. One such effort was curled over the wall but well read by Mitchell, who shifted across to claim. But with just under a quarter of an hour remaining he was unable to prevent an even better strike from arrowing into the far corner, Stonehill having clumsily barged into the back of a forward on the edge of the box.

With just a single goal now separating the sides, nerves began to fray on both sides. But it was the men in blue who finished the stronger, Awdry almost catching the Canfordian keeper out with a long free-kick that almost bounced into the top corner – Freddie Everett then finding himself unmarked at the far post from the resulting corner only for his effort to hit the outside of the post. It was to prove the final chance of the tie, the OHAFC 3s successfully overcoming a potentially tricky opponent to earn themselves a place in the semi-finals. The Blues must now wait to learn their next opponents and are scheduled to face the winners of the Brentwoods 3s and Merchant Taylors 2s tie on the first weekend in April.