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The Association vs Old Etonians

Association 0-2 Old Etonians

Saturday, 17th November 2012

On a bitterly cold St Andrew’s Day Etonian footballers of the present, past and future produced an enthralling contest to warm the cockles. This game was only a ‘friendly’ by title but both sides showed considerable resilience and determination throughout. The current Eton side was hindered by the loss of key players, Messrs Collins, Chambers and Lyon, and so lacked a certain bite up front, but their absence also gave a welcome opportunity for some other exciting Eton footballing prospects to show off their skills on a significant stage.


The game was tight in the early stages, although an OE attack straight from the kick-off briefly threatened before petering out harmlessly. The OEs had begun the match at a higher intensity than their opponents, but the Association quickly grew in confidence and soon began to ping the ball neatly across their midfield. Indeed, the current Etonians proved to be easy on the eye throughout, despite their glaring orange kit! A vicious dipping effort from a Miller-Stirling free-kick soon provided the school’s first attempt on goal; unfortunately the keeper was equal to it and parried the shot wide. More disappointment followed, for just as Eton looked to be gaining the upper-hand, a lofted cross and a misunderstanding between Warrington in goal and the otherwise solid Harrington at the back post gave an OE attacker a simple tap-in to take the lead. 0-1.

Eton immediately sought to respond to this set-back and a Miller-Stirling through ball looked to have set Codacci-Pisanelli through on goal but for an effective clearance that was typical of a very solid OE defensive performance, led by last year’s captain and talisman, Jo Morris. Bossom and Davis were composure personified in the Eton midfield- the former, with all his class and flair, was the main source of all the school’s good attacking work in the game. One example of this was a particularly threatening counter attack in the first half that started with a delicious flick, continued with a striding run and was then dusted off with a pin-point through ball to set Codacci-Pisanelli into space, only for his cross to be cleared by the ever-stubborn OEs, who themselves looked dangerous when with the ball in the final third, although Eton restricted them in the most part to speculative efforts. The OEs did however have a spell of pressure towards the end of the first half, including a shot well saved by the imposing Warrington after a lovely disguised pass was played through to an attacker. Eton then had a chance of their own and almost grabbed an equaliser when a Bossom-led counter attack played Bannister in, the striker subsequently winning a free-kick on the edge of the box. Unfortunately this chance proved to be an anticlimax as the OEs stifled the whipped effort.  The half-time whistle blew, concluding a tight and impressive 30 minutes of football, and Eton would have felt justifiably aggrieved not to have been rewarded for their industry before the break.


After a short pause, Eton began the second half positively, an early effort from Wilders going high and wide, although  the OE rear-guard can justifiably claim credit for restricting him to what was undoubtedly an ambitious attempt. Eton lost no time in following up on this opportunity, as Bannister’s tenacious attacking play saw him almost capitalising on a rare defensive mistake from the OEs. Unfortunately the resulting cross was tame and easily claimed by the keeper. More disappointment followed as the OEs doubled the lead soon after-Eton were closed down in their own half, leaving the opposition with precious space in front of goal which wasn’t wasted; a cool finish to the right of a helpless Warrington took the score to 0-2. Warrington can take no blame for the two goals-he was impressive throughout and valiantly prevented a third OE goal later in the match by diving bravely at the striker’s feet, producing a save reminiscent of many a famous goalkeeper. The OEs clearly sensed blood yet failed to produce the decisive blow, missing a glaring opportunity presented by a goal-mouth scramble from a corner, although credit should go to Eton’s resilient defensive play. The current Etonians then had a chance to respond as Beardmore-Gray, tricky and persistent on the left flank, had a penalty appeal which, on another day, might have been granted.  On this occasion it wasn’t, and Beardmore-Gray instead managed to set up Wilders, who curled his effort just wide. The game then became more stretched as the OEs invariably became tired, and this presented further opportunities for Eton; Codacci-Pisanelli’s delicious hooked ball found Bannister in the area, but the striker’s vicious effort sadly crossed the touchline rather than the goal-line. A well-deserved Eton goal should then have come when Wilders found Beardmore-Gray in ample space, but his shot was blocked and Wilders was denied on the rebound by a last-gasp lunge from an OE defender which blocked the previously open goal. The game was to provide two further pieces of entertainment for the watching crowd in its closing stages as Warrington produced a good save from a testing OE strike and Bossom then provided a dipping effort of his own. The match concluded in a 0-2 defeat for the Association.


This will go down as a calm and composed display against very strong and determined opposition, but the team simply lacked the necessary attacking edge. The OEs were aggressive and impressive throughout, and lest we forget, they are former FA Cup Winners! The result was fair, but the match was ultimately about the performance and not the score-line, and Eton must take credit for showing signs of promise both with possession and without.  Given their midweek ISFA exploits and their depleted side, Eton can depart for short leave taking positives from today’s contest.


Eton Squad: Warrington, Harrington, Courtenay, Pearson, Bullman, Lehmann, Davis, Bossom, Miller-Stirling, Codacci-Pisanelli, Wilders, Beardmore-Gray, Nanji, Bannister, Mason-Apps.
 

SH

FH

Eton

 

OE’s

FH

SH

0

0

0

Goals

2

1

1

1

1

2

Shots on Target

8

4

4

5

1

6

Shots off Target

7

3

4

2

3

5

Corners

6

4

2

5

5

10

Free-Kicks

2

1

1

1

3

4

Shots on Target Blocked

5

2

3

3

2

5

Crosses

9

5

4

5

8

13

Throw-Ins

13

7

6

 

Anthony Beaumont (JDN)

 

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Date Posted: 30 November 2012
2012

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