Vets narrowly lose League tie to Winchester

25 Nov 2019

A hotch-potch of an OHAFC Veterans side slipped to a narrow 3-2 defeat at home to the Old Wykehamists in a hard-fought Vets League fixture at the Bank of England ground on Sunday morning. The visitors raced into a two-goal lead only to be pegged back, the Harrow equaliser coming with just over five minutes remaining. But as limbs tired, the Wykehamists poured forwards one final time and grabbed the goal their overall play deserved to secure the points.

With numerous regulars unavailable for one reason or another, skipper John Wyn-Evans was forced to dig deep into his ever-expanding scouting network to secure the services of enough players to ensure the fixture could go ahead. Winchester arrived with a strong-looking twelve and their strangely enthusiastic warm-up across a stodgy Lower Redgate pitch at the far end of the grounds suggested they meant business.

And so it proved, with the white-shirted visitors pressing forwards with far more assurance in the first half, passing the ball with greater accuracy and purpose as befitting a side who had clearly played together many times before. In contrast, the Harrow side played as if they had never met before – which in some cases was absolutely the case, balls being played in front of or behind or, far too often, nowhere near the intended target.

It was little surprise the Wykehamists took the lead, in fact they scored twice midway through the half with similarly-created goals. Both times diagonal balls caught the Harrow back four out. The first goal was slightly fortunate in its’ execution, the second superbly taken, with a near post finish that left keeper Bobby Tindall with no chance of even attempting a save.

But the hosts gave themselves a lifeline shortly before the break courtesy of some route one football, Lederman pumping the ball over the top of the Winchester back four for Daniel Anderson to run onto, the striker finishing with aplomb into the roof of the net.

The second half followed the pattern of the first for long spells, with Harrow again struggling to pass the ball with any conviction on the increasingly soggy pitch. Winchester should have put the result beyond doubt but their shooting failed spectacularly to match the quality of their build-up play, the netting behind Tindall’s goal saving numerous efforts from travelling much further into the distance.

And the Harrow keeper played his part too in ensuring the difference remained just a single goal, pulling off an excellent near-post save to thwart what appeared another certain Winchester goal.

Amazingly, having barely threatened an attack of note in the second half, the hosts managed to salvage an equaliser with just over five minutes remaining when Lederman again opened up the square Winchester back four, this time playing in Simon McKeown to run through on goal. Despite looking as though his body could give up on him before he got into the Winchester box, the scouser maintained his composure to force the keeper into a save, fortunately debutant Dylan Hobson was on hand to turn the ball in from a few yards out.

But having gained parity with just a few minutes remaining, the tiring Harrow eleven failed to hold on. Possession was carelessly lost inside the Winchester half and the visitors sprang forwards, carving an opening through the middle of the hsots’ penalty area and, for once, making no mistake with a low finish into the bottom corner. It was no more than they deserved.

A disappointing ending then for the OHAFC, but on the balance of play there could be few complaints – Wykehamists had played consistently well and could, and should, have won more comfortably. The OHAFC now enjoy a long break over the festive period before returning to action with the serious business of the Vets Cup to look forward to on January 12th, the opposition will not be known until after next weekend.