|4 Nov 2020|
|OR Football Club|
Old Cholmeleians vs Old Reptonians - Arthurian League Division 1 - 31/11/20
Squad: Joe Fell (GK) Steve Kosmala, Aaron Clifford, Alex Evans, Luke Samra, Doug Redfern, Alex Monro-Jones, Fraser Lane, Jack O'Callaghan, Mike Watson (c), Callum McIntosh, Neil Twidle, Declan Blackwood, Andrew Jopson
As we are staring down the barrel of at least a month without another game due to lockdown looming, it was great for the ORs to pick up another win making it three in a row in all competitions. It looked a tough game on paper for the ORs. Old Choleleians are consistently competitive and a tough side to breakdown. Old Cholms, like the the ORs were coming into the game off the back off a strong outing in the AFA cup, having dispatched their oponents 7-1, while the ORs had stuck five past Brent FC. Were we in for a goalfest?
It was a blessing that the game had been moved to Maccabi London FC's 4G pitch. Old Cholms homeground historically has been a mud bath and with it being another wet weekend it was a wise move to switch venue to the modern 4G surface. If anything, it favoured the ORs passing style than Old Cholms more direct approach. The ORs were forced into five changes with various players away and injured, so it was a challenge to those incoming to prove their worth and stake a claim for their shirt.
In the opening 10 minutes it was probably Old Cholms who started strongest. They looked to attack down their left with pace and trickery but for all their possession they didn't really force the OR keeper into action. The ORs began to get some rhythm into their play with Watson on the left and Lane down the right providing the outlets for the ORs to get forward. McIntosh and O'Callaghan were looking lively up top and McIntosh tested the keeper with the ORs first chance but saw his effort palmed away to safety.
The ORs came inches away from taking the lead courtesy of a free kick. 25 yards out from goal and to the right, it favoured Al Evans' left peg rather than the OR's other deadball technician Redfern. Evans sized it up and whipped a curling shot goalwards, beating the flapping Old Cholms keeper only to see it come crashing it off the bar.
Redfern and Samra in the middle were starting to see more of the ball and were patiently getting the ORs going with their possession. Mike Watson had a decent shot parried wide for corner for the ORs. Obviously sizing up the keeper with his free-kick Evans realised it best to test his handling (or lack of) again. Al Evans produced a perfect in-swinger that evaded everyone and went over the head of the keeper and into the far corner for the OR lead. 0-1.
Unlike the last outing the ORs were unable to go on and grab a telling second. On the contrary, Old Cholms were the ones pushing harder and looked more likely to equalise than concede another goal. A powerful shot came through a ruck of bodies with Fell saving well, and Evans did enough to put the OC striker off at the last minute seeing his shot lifted over the bar.
OCs came close from a few corners themselves but couldn't break the OR lines. In a game with few chances for either side, credit where its due to the ORs for matching them and refusing to give up their lead going into the break.1-0 Half-time.
The half-time teamtalk was calm and considered from Manager Samra. The ORs had no doubt done well to edge in front but they certainly had played better first halves this season. The next goal was going to be telling and the ORs reacted with a formation change to try and combat some of the Old Cholms attacking threats. They had also seen Kosmala and Lane both pick up yellow cards for two reckless tackles so one more slip up for either could be telling. The switch meant a move from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 to give the ORs a bit more stability in the wide areas.
It was a similar story to the first half with neither team really able to take the game to one another and maintain consistent spells of possession. Jopson occupying the right wing showed his blistering pace leaving his opposite full back eating his dust before firing a shot on goal. The parried shot evaded all the on running strikers.
Old Cholms came close not once but twice to equalising. The first chance came after a high ball almost caught the OR keeper off guard in the wind. He did well to parry it down but it fell to the on rushing striker who couldnt quite keep it down and saw the ball go over the bar. A serious let off. Then the second chance came with Fell saving smartly low down to his right from a drive.
Monro-Jones, Redfern and Samra were starting to show glimpses of the prowess they have in midfield and their willingness to keep showing for the ball and try and create chances was great to see in a game that was a serious battle.
Then the telling moment with 15 minutes to play. Redfern engineered the chance for himslef after good work down the left, the referee had played advantage twice as the OR midfielder weaved his way goalwards. Finally he was stopped after being hacked to the ground resulting in a yellow for the OC player this time. The position of this deadball was certainly in Redfern's range. After what seemed an age, the Old Cholms protests were done, and with the whistle blowing, Doug Redfern stepped up and struck a sweet sweeping shot towards the top corner.As if in slow motion, It struck the underside of the bar and nestled nicely in the net sparking the OR celebrations. 0-2 ORs.
Sadly the ORs couldn't make it two clean sheets in a row. A speculative cross evaded everyone including the OR keeper and cannoned off the post but inside the goal to give Old Cholms some hope. It set up a nervy finish with five minutes to play. 1-2.
However much OCs pushed the ORs stood resolute. Defensively all over the pitch the ORs dug in to get the victory. It was a really pleasing away performance built on commitment, hard work and a couple of moments of magic when needed. As was pointed out, these types of wins can shape a season. In previous years the ORs have not been able to see-out games like this. While fitness levels have certainly improved, there is also a real togetherness to the side to put the hard yards in when needed.
Sadly I come back to how I started the report as by the end of this week we will be back in lockdown and as such the ORs positive start to the season will be put on hold. They have the momentum currently so the break couldn't come at a worse time for them. It will be a case of watch this space for the next OR outing. The ORs have moved up to second in the league after the weekends results and with two games in hand over many around them, its been a decent start to the campaign for the ORs.
With no game to plug for sometime now hopefully the ORs results and the reports have brightened up what has been a pretty strange year. We wish all our readers well and to stay safe during these difficult and crazy times!