Match Report
Radley College 3rd XI vs  Magdalen College School
On: Saturday, 27 Jan 2024
Venue: at Home

Crazy game! The start was delayed as the appointed ref hadn’t got the message he’d be reffing, so was in his casuals! (but his ‘dress down Saturday’ performance was exemplary on a bright Saturday on Sug 2). There was a very healthy parental (and grandparental) crowd, who were treated to an entertaining goal-packed match.

Pre-match rumours that MCS would be hopelessly weak did not turn out to be quite right. They had a quick large and skilful striker, who was able to find space to fire home the opener, which was rapidly levelled by Wade. But they scored an excellent second from the edge of the area to raise deeper questions. Thankfully, Ruddy and Wade were creating chances and Vickers was sending great corners into the far post area…. Eventually, we managed to get our noses 3-2 in front by half time with two more precision shots from Hector Wade (one was heavily deflected, but if you don’t shoot……). By the half time break it was clear we needed to get more precise with final balls and tighten up to stop the service to the MCS danger men up front….

Second half saw both teams raise their performance. And there were 8 (yes, eight!) more goals! (This is where the memory may fail…) But Radley got at least two without reply to establish command of the match. There was a fourth for Wade, who also created a great cross for Morley to stab home at the far post. There was a MCS reply, then a later penalty conceded when (for both) more basic defensive clearances would have kept us safe. But in general, the switch to the 3-man defence (Waller, Barlow & Vickers) was looking so much more dynamic than the starting ‘back 4’. Jacobs and Coke were very active, crucially snuffing out numerous counter attacks. There was an amazing Pilkington save from their star striker who bore down on goal in a one-to-one with George, who saved smartly with his legs. But the game had been made safe by this stage with increasingly eye-catching Radley team goals. The best (was it the 7th??) saw Vickers press forward purposefully from left defence, pick the perfect left channel pass to Wade, who rounded his central defender to cross for Max Deram to flick in a volley from shoulder height! Earlier, Ruddy had won a shoulder charge against his central defender before striking powerfully home from the edge of the box (centre). For a flourish, Wade scored a sixth (Radley’s ninth), knocking the ball wide left before firing in from inside the penalty area. An earlier Wade cross was narrowly headed wide by Morley at the near post.

Man of the match was hotly debated. After half a second in the post-match conference, it was unanimously agreed: Hector Wade, with 6 goals (one of which escapes me!) and at least one assist! But it was a very accomplished second half team performance, which bodes well for the rest of the season in this League (so far: Played 2, Won 2, GD +12)