The Association win stylishly, undeterred by strength of OE team

Association: 4 Old Etonians: 2

A spirited effort from both teams in this traditionally tricky encounter contributed to an exciting spectacle that will have pleased ASJ. The match was divided into three thirty minute halves to accommodate the below-par fitness of both teams at this stage of the season, each period being in stark contrast to the others.

The OEs took a youthful form, many indistinguishable from the current crop and their superior strength threatened to upset the Association defence as has occurred in recent years. However real backbone was present, epitomised in the early aggression from Ellis and Morris, refusing entry to their elders.

Aggression from Ellis and Morris

The AW pairing of Lloyd and Haldane were combining well down the left in what looks like a potent combination come ties. Opening encounters displayed both side’s affection for a passing game, the Association looking particularly comfortable on the ball, confidently led by stand in captain James Lighton. However the deadlock was broken with a flash of brilliance from Damji, who found himself in possession on the edge of the area and nonchalantly directed the ball into the net with a finessed but assertive shot. The Association kept up pressure after the initial goal and this produced another excellent goal. A Lloyd cross was met by the athletic and unmarked Vedat who dully headed into the net, a goal that put current Etonians up 2-0 after the first 3rd.

“The AW pairing of Lloyd and Haldane were combining well …a potent combination come ties”

ASJ took advantage of his burgeoning “bench” by sending many substitutes including Keeper, Gayner. The energetic subs had the potential to pull away from the OEs with their superior fitness, however the lack of communication nearly proved the undoing of the Eton defence – previous hero, Damji, made a weak back-pass to Shaw that was intercepted by an alert OE. As the right back and co looked on in desperation, Shaw pulled out a wonderful reflex save, one of many that makes him such a solid no.1 ‘keeper.

The sincere OE reply came with a well worked move, passing around the Etonians to the extent that Shaw was left helpless against a two on one, the relieved OE striker stabbing the ball into the net. Rob Beeching led the riposte aided by nimble footwork of Ashe-Taylor, but this not a team wide effort. The OEs slowly cranked up the pressure, forcing Shaw into a series of excellent saves until after an Association attack that came to nothing, the OEs attacked with the pace of younger men and a flowing move culminated in an equalising goal. The whistle blew for the hour mark with the score at 2-2 and all to play for.

“Ashe-Taylor with a real pile-driver into the roof of the net”

An irritated ASJ blew life into the stodgy Eton outfit and they looked raring to go after the break. Morris, a consistent presence at the centre of defence kept the OEs out while his team mates surged forward. This new approach reached it’s zenith as Ashe-Taylor scored a real pile-driver into the roof of the net, certainly the highlight in a flamboyant match. The OEs were desperate not to lose to their younger representatives and ambitious (or desperate) passing ensued leading to them falling further behind. The ebullient Morris consolidated the lead with another powerful header, Eton good value for their win.

Nick Abel Smith