St John's School, Leatherhead 1st XI vs Harrow School
On: Saturday, 04 Mar 2017
Venue: at Home
With a string of impressive performances in recent weeks beating St Paul's and Haileybury the 1st XI welcomed Harrow School to Linden Pit on Saturday. In recent years this has always been a hotly contested match and with their current form Henry Stevens' side fancied their chances, even without 4 members of the squad. The first half started with neither side gripping onto possession, although St John's remained a threat from set pieces but they should have taken a number of their chances. However, it was the away side that took the lead after some defensive miscommunication as their striker tucked the ball past Archie Dunnill, who continued to prove vital between the sticks as the game progressed pulling off some phenomenal saves. Conceding was far from ideal but it made the boys realise they needed to retain possession and relax on the ball and from that moment onwards the 1st XI began to mount pressure on the away side. As we used Tudor, who held the ball up superbly, to build from Coughlan, Adeboya and Neale were able to turn the screw with Hyne, who was superb alongside Bond, providing the grit and determination every side needs. The breakthrough came from Jordan Bond's fantastic left foot just on the edge of the box which powered into the bottom corner. It is safe to say that Bond has become the midfield general every team needs. For the rest of the first half Harrow managed to keep the game at 1-1 even if John's did have two penalty chances turned down. As the whistle went for half time we knew we had the away side on the ropes and the boys were intent on guaranteeing their efforts were rewarded.
The second half started with both sides cautiously approaching the game and with Harrow gaining more of the possession but John's did not have to wait long for their chance to come. From Bond's long range free kick Coughlan was manhandled and a penalty was given. The Ice Man stepped up and calmly slotted it in to give the 1st XI a 2-1 lead. Harrow mounted the pressure but St John's thanks to the Baker, Stevens and Dunnill axis remained firm with a mature display adding steel to Rogers and Parker's ability to play from the back. with 15 minutes remaining Adeboya pounced on defensive mix up and scored to give us a 3-1 lead. Harrow continued to throw the kitchen sink at John's and with 3 minutes remaining were awarded a penalty to take the game to 3-2, but nothing was stopping this St John's side from winning and as the final whistle went the boys knew they had achieved something pretty special.
This 1st XI have character, grit and ability in shed loads and they know that the next two games will prove vital if they wish to become champions. The pressure is on Tonbridge.