OHAFC enjoy Founders Day win over the Beaks

5 Feb 2024

The return of the annual OHAFC vs The Beaks fixture, last played five or six years ago, brought an entertaining 5-3 win for the Old Boys as hostilities resumed on the glorious Sunley Field on Sunday morning.

As schoolboys and Old Harrovians mingled outside the Boyer Webb, enjoying their coffees and bacon rolls prior to playing Founders Day football of a different variety, the Sunley played host to a competitive and, at times, high-class game of the real thing.

The highlight of the morning was undoubtedly the opening goal of the game, scored after ten minutes by 2s regular Ludo Palazzo, who fired in an unstoppable shot from forty yards out that flew into the roof of the net like an exocet missile. When the OHAFC, who featured a mix of players from all three of their regular Saturday squads, led by injured 3s’ supremo Joss Awdry, doubled their advantage just four minutes later, it seemed as though the Masters could be in for a long ninety minutes. This goal was a far more collaborative effort, stemming from a short corner on the left that eventually saw Freddie Everett pull the ball back to Adam Graham inside the box and he fed Will Payne on the left to cut inside his man and beat the keeper from close range.

But to the Masters’ credit, the remainder of the half saw no further damage to the scoreline from their perspective, the OHAFC enjoying the majority of possession but unable to break down a resolute back four. Adam Graham spurned the best chance, heading over from eight yards out from a superb Will Monroe cross.

With the crowd building on the sidelines, the Masters raised their game at the start of the second half and, somewhat surprisingly given the balance of play in the opening forty-five minutes, found themselves back on level terms within ten minutes. Dr Crowe prodded in from close range after an initial shot had been parried by keeper Tom Haworth, before midfielder and professional coach Dan Edwards produced a moment of quality, taking advantage of the Old Boys’ goalie being caught out of position on the edge of the box to chip the ball back over his head and into the empty net from thirty yards out.

To the disappointment of the masters and their supporters, parity lasted barely two minutes as the OHAFC stormed back up the other end to force a corner and Ludo Palazzo, who has hardly threatened to score all season for the 2s, grabbed his second of the game with a neat back-heel flick after Everett’s header had been blocked on the line.

Understandably, given the advancing years of some on the pitch and the fact that many of the OHAFC side were enjoying their second game of the weekend having already played the day before, legs began to tire as the game entered its closing stages and space began to open up. Toby Gould tried a cheeky chip that drifted just over the bar, Payne and Walid Nsouli, watched on by his younger brother, did their best to find a way through a packed Masters defence.

Two goals in five minutes sealed the win for the Old Boys, Adam Graham swivelling to convert a low cross following a flowing move down the left, before Freddie Everett grabbed his second, firing in from six yards out after he’d been given the freedom of the penalty area. The Masters enjoyed the final word however, a fine inswinging corner from the right was flicked in at the near post by Mr Ayling with a deft header.

Once the final whistle had blown, both sides posed for a group photo in front of one of the goals, the event clearly a success with hopefully future editions to be played on a regular basis – particularly if the Sunley Field remains available!

OHAFC squad: Tom Haworth, Will Monroe, Yunus Sert, Ludo Palazzo, Murray Barr, Tom Walduck, Toby Gould, Walid Nsouli, Adam Graham, Freddie Everett, Will Payne, Tom Joyce, Joss Awdry