A solid 3s squad headed to the outer fringes of Wandsworth, looking to recapture their early 2020 form and upset a traditionally strong opposition on their home turf. The game started brightly, with the Wandsworth team well contained by some resolute defending. Eventual Man of the Match, goalkeeper Josh Rose, made some commanding early saves and it looked like OTFC would be able to build on some promising build up play from standout midfield Viking Frode, and popular YouTube sensations Tom & Jez.
However, with just a quarter of an hour gone disaster struck when a wicked cross was deflected into his own net by Owen Griffiths. The match was in truth finely balanced at this point, despite the 3s going a second goal down at around the forty-minute mark. To their dismay, the tide then turned dramatically against OTFC, with the game’s big decisions from the referee going against the purples and effectively ending the match as a competitive fixture.
Firstly, aforementioned vlogger Tom was hacked down on a counterattack with a studs up high challenge that wouldn’t have been out of place in the UFC. Much to OTFC’s vocal consternation, this went unpunished with the ref placating the visitors with the promise that a light touch approach to indiscipline “goes both ways”. It came as an understandable surprise therefore when, following a throw in, a robust shoulder charge by club stalwart Alex Cunningham resulted in a straight red.
Down on numbers, out of sorts and emotional, OTFC then unravelled, with four further goals notched up for Wandsworth, and the afternoon quickly became one to forget for the purples. Josh continued to shine between the sticks, despite having somewhat bizarrely appeared to widen the width of his goalposts, which was suitably fined in the post-match inquest. Praise too for debutant Adam Vowles who showed pace and guile on the right wing, which should help the 3s make the most of the games ahead.
Frode, Cunningham and Griffiths later shrugged off their disappointment with a restorative evening at club sponsors Joy, where Cobras and curries were consumed with aplomb, and moods were cheered as the wider OTFC family gathered to continue perfecting their mastery of Crisp Jenga. A home match with Clissold Park is next up for the purples, with the hope that a victorious Valentine’s weekend fixture at Grists will bring some much needed romance back to Saturday afternoons.
MOTM: Josh Rose