OSFC 4th XI vs West Wickham 5th XI Lost 4-2
A tough encounter against a well organised and sparky West Wickham team saw us exit the League Cup on Saturday but it was a strong performance and on another day with better finishing we would have progressed to the next round. Indeed, the watching referee's assessor was of the view afterwards that we should never have fallen behind and probably had about 60% possession. The first 15 minutes saw us push forward and create several chances but without really troubling the keeper, shots going wide and high rather than goalbound, but it was encouraging to see our wingers getting crosses in with some regularity and the midfield trio was working hard to create chances. The oppo had some quality in midfield also and created a couple of chances from 25 yards but nothing to trouble our keeper.
So having begun largely in control we suddenly found ourselves a goal down, a toe poked shot finding the far corner of the net through a crowd after we failed to clear a corner effectively. At the other end we had just hit the post with a great shot from 18 yards with the keeper beaten and so marched back to the centre circle determined to get level quickly. A tight midfield battle ensued and we continued to press forward but the oppo were fast on the break and in the 10 minutes leading up to half time we conceded twice with their lively number 11 to the fore.
It felt strange to be 3 down at half time and we reckoned if we got the first goal after the break we could still find a way to win. We began the second half strongly and finally broke down the Wickham defence when Daniel Walsh cut in from his wing and unleashed a dipping shot into the far corner. Great finish and just what we deserved for the team's hard work. With Tom G prompting everyone and Jamie flying upfield to support the midfield we began to force a number of corners but could not get the final touch required. At the other end we restricted the oppo to a few long shots but as the game got stretched towards the end they broke free of our defence and found a fourth goal. Heads did not drop however, and with a few mintues remaining we got a further consolation goal from Harry Houldsworth's corner, the ball richocheting off a couple of defenders before finding the net at the far post. Harry reckons the ball was over the line direct from his corner but our new GOAL LINE technology proved afterwards in the bar that this was not the case! A decent performance overall against good oppo and if we can start to convert chances we will see a much more successful 4th XI this season.
OSFC 5thXI vs Alexandra Park 8thXI Lost 4-1
Simple report really. It doesn't matter what level of football you play, it's very hard for any team if it gives away three soft goals. Add to that a view firmly expressed by several of our players that their other goal was offside, well, really we all had the feeling that the scoreline does not reflect the effort that we put into the game; but the scoreline is the scoreline. Apart from losing, I think the team can be proud of the effort and endeavour put into the match. The opponents were physical and efficient, but a long way from being the toughest oppo we've faced this season. Whilst the lumpy uphill pitch that ally pally have was endlessly annoying, as ever contributing towards a physical game, as opposed to the more passing based play we prefer. The first half saw much of the early exchanges evenly contested, with neither team really creating any clear cut chances. As the half wore on we started to get the better of things, especially towards the end of the half, when suddenly disaster struck. In the space of 5 minutes we conceded two poor goals. The first from a corner kick that should have been easily cleared at the near post. The second resulting from a cross field pass across our defence that the oppo intercepted and made the most of. So, despite playing well, we suddenly found ourselves two goals down going into the break. Second half we stuck at it, and the game continued evenly balanced, although the oppo now had a two goal cushion. On about 60 minutes they got their third by playing a quick one-two around our left back, and converting with a goal into the top left hand corner that Karl got a hand to and nearly tipped over. There were complaints it was offside, and apparently the young referee put his whistle to his lips, and then didn't blow; so we wonder if that goal had been disallowed whether we'd have got back into the game. We had a third mistake unfortunately for their 4th goal, which really knocked the stuffing out of us. But there was time for John Murphy to poke home a goal mouth scramble with ten minutes to go, to at least get us a consolation. That's football. Sometimes you play well and lose. Sometimes badly and win. Over the season it all evens out, so let's not get too upset over a single performance, the season runs until April / May and there's plenty of football still to play.