With our keeper out of town this weekend, it was a relief to welcome back Hal Wardroper into the centre of defence after a 2 year absence, partnering Jimmy Dwyer which allowed Matt Rigg to don the gloves in his traditional annual appearance between the sticks. Mike Vale also came into the squad to make his season debut and completed a strong bench alongside Hornung and Dessain. Worth noting that also for the first time this season (and probably for the past few seasons) we had a complete team of 14 OA's all wearing black socks and shorts... remarkable.
We started how we have started most games this season, appallingly! We couldn't keep possession, we couldn't play a pass and we were abysmal at tracking their attackers. This period Westminster were certainly better than us and were on the front attacking foot although not able to find the right ball in the final third. We gradually pulled ourselves together and began being more confident on the ball, making the passes stick and winning the physical battles. We had a few chances to hit the target, Nick Outred was played in behind but his shot just dragged wide, a header from a corner also just landing wide of the far post. We were in the ascendancy but still by no means firing on all cylinders as we went in level at the break. Our defence had been solid throughout the half which gave us a platform to build from going into the second half. Off went Hal Forbes-Adam, Paul-Emmet and Nick Outred, and on came Dessain, Vale and Hornung.
The second half kicked off and the Westminsters first attack into the wind saw a low cross evade our defenders and fall nicely to their pacy number 10 who was left one on one from 12 yards out, looked up and slotted low into the far corner. 0-1 and once again we would have to fight back from behind if we were to win and keep our tremendous winning record going. We took the restart and played in Mike Vale over the top down the right flank who won the foot race against the defender and whipped in a first time cross which was headed home from outside the box by Ally Dessain for his first goal for the club. A truly sensational header which had enough power and height to clear the keeper and then dip in under the bar at the far post. We were behind for less than 60 seconds, going behind kicked us into playing a little more direct which paid off immediately. Harrow restarted the game and within 60 seconds we had won a corner which came back to the right hand side, Davis' chip came back out off the bar and the loose ball prodded home by Tom H to put us ahead no less than 3 minutes after going behind. 2-1 after 49 mins.
Old Westminsters heads had dropped, they started bickering amongst themselves and never threatened us again. We continued to threaten as we were improving our link up play, Davis and George working tirelessly down the flanks, Rambo mopping everything up in the centre and our defence looking solid, we were in control but needed that third insurance goal. Finally with 5 minutes remaining, we worked the ball down the middle and Dessain flicked the ball over his shoulder and in behind the defence which Jack Rogers raced onto and volleyed into the right corner off his left foot. 3-1 and the points secured. A phenomenal start to the league season, 5 wins out of 5 which is surely our best ever start. So many contenders for MOTM all over the pitch, from the centre halves all the way through the pitch to the strikers. But we're giving it to Ally Dessain who came on as a sub, scored our equaliser and set up that 3rd insurance goal.
Next week it's 1st vs 2nd against Harrow 3s