Depleted OHAFC exit Cup to strong Brentwoods side
- January 12th 2020, Bank of England, 10:30am
- Derek Moore Veterans Cup
- Referee: Matt Cannon
- Weather: Cloudy
- Pitch: Fair
|No.||Starting XI||Goals||Yellow & Red Cards||Subs On/Off|
|8||John Wyn-Evans (c)||83'|
The OHAFC Veterans were knocked out of the Derrick Moore Vets Cup at the quarter-final stage on Sunday morning courtesy of a 4-2 defeat to the Old Brentwoods at the Bank of England Ground in south London. The visitors arrived in far better shape than their hosts, the Harrovians only managing to name a bare eleven for the game, one of whom, David Lederman, was operating well below his best due to a chest infection. In contrast, Brentwoods arrived with a full complement of fourteen and the difference eventually told, the visitors stretching away late on to secure an all-Essex semi-final away to the Old Foresters.
It was tough on the OH’s, but there was little else they could have done given the depleted numbers of available players. Bear McLean pulled out with a sore back in the days leading up the fixture and Lederman’s condition steadily worsened as the week progressed, leaving skipper John Wyn-Evans praying for no further withdrawals.
As it was, the home side put up a decent fight for long spells of the encounter, despite Brentwoods enjoying the lion’s share of possession. On a stodgy but decent surface, the opening exchanges saw the OHAFC produce some neat passages of play without really testing the visitors’ keeper. But the longer the half wore on, the more comfortable the opposition became, the Harrow strikers Dom Danos and Matt Davies forced ever deeper in search of the ball.
Having defended a couple of corners and threatening through-balls well, the hosts took the lead rather against the run of play courtesy of a small slice of luck. Paul Molloy collected possession outside the box and fired on goal only for the ball to cannon back off a defender onto the midfielder. As defenders and attackers stood still, Molloy reacted quickest, running through on his own before being brought down by a desperate lunge from behind. Referee Matt Cannon pointed to the spot and Danos stepped up confidently to fire home.
The lead was short-lived however as Brentwoods levelled from a corner soon afterwards. The initial ball in was cleared straight up into the air, and with goalkeeper Andy Butler temporarily grounded, a Brentwood player reacted quickest to rise up and head home from barely a couple of yards out.
The second half saw the action concentrated almost solely in the Harrow half, the black and white stripes unable to keep the ball for more than a few passes at a time. Although the Harrow back four of Chopra, Warner, Dalton and Rupert Hoffen, unusually playing on the left, coped well in the main, the visitors missed a couple of decent opportunities to score, keeping both sides interested going into the final twenty minutes.
Then it was the hosts’ turn to fall foul of Lady Luck, Butler uncharacteristically spilling a near-post cross just inside the goal to gift the visitors the lead for the first time in the game. Some confusion followed, as a hole in the goal netting appeared to suggest the ball may not have actually gone in. Following some rather convincing appeals for the referee to go and check the netting for himself, Piers Bourke displayed a hitherto unseen sporting streak by loudly proclaiming the goal to be perfectly legal and that was good enough for the man in black.
A few minutes later the tie was put beyond Harrow’s reach when a long free-kick from the halfway line sailed over the heads of the back four allowing a clear on goal for a midfielder. He took his chance beautifully, cutting inside before firing into the top corner.
The sides traded further goals in the closing minutes, Brentwoods scoring a fourth courtesy of a cross from their right that fell invitingly on the penalty spot for a midfielder to comfortably tuck home. But it was the hosts who had the final say, a fine crossfield ball from left-back Hoffen forcing Lederman into an unwelcome sprint down the right, he produced a pinpoint cross and skipper Wyn-Evans a trademark header into the bottom corner – in the process, according to his sums, becoming the oldest OHAFC player ever to score in a competitive fixture: 58 years and 154 days.
Although there was obvious disappointment at the Cup exit, the OHAFC fought hard on the day under a clear disadvantage given the difference in available squads. Good luck to Brentwoods in their semi-final with the Foresters.