St John's School, Leatherhead Boys-U15A vs Harrow School
On: Saturday, 04 Mar 2017
Playing Harrow is usually a good way of assessing the progress and ability of a side, and so it proved. The hosts sought to pass the ball but they looked hesitant, especially when harried by forwards Ralph and Sellick, plus midfielders Loy and Bednall. St John's won much possession and moved the ball down the right, where Pagett was starting. The pace of Ralph and Sellick once again proved difficult for the home defence to handle. On nine minutes, a free-kick was won just outside the box and when Sellick fired it at the wall a gap opened and the ball ricocheted off one the defenders beyond the goalkeeper to open the scoring. The game ebbed and flowed from there on, with Loy and Bednall scrapping hard in the middle, supported by Salter and Thomas at the heart of the defence, who dealt with the Harrow forwards pretty comfortably. The threat Harrow posed came through the middle, as their two central midfielders ran with pace. As the first half wore on they came into the game more and more but shots went wide or were covered by keeper Farnsworth.
In the second period, the game followed a similar pattern and became stretched as the players tired on a large pitch. One of the midfield runs resulted in a shot that Farnsworth parried, but a Harrow forward followed up well to score from the rebound. That boosted the home team's morale but St John's worked and worked, playing some nice football in places. Loy and Bednall ran all afternoon and Sellick also worked back in defence. Salter and Thomas were assisted by Ballard and Eichelmann at full-back and they stuck to their task, preventing the wide men finding space behind the defence. Both Sellick and Ralph had further chances but were unable to convert, perhaps the most memorable being Sellick's lob in the dying minutes, which was followed by Harrow hitting the bar. Honours were even. St John's played with immense spirit and composure on the ball is improving.