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February 14, 2024

Match Report: Success for the OP Football Club against SPS

Last Saturday saw a nail-biting penalty shootout decide the annual OPs match against St Paul’s School.

A fast start from OPAFC saw George Popovici curl one into the top right corner inside the first five minutes. SPS then started to grow into the game, dominating the ball. An outstanding finish into the top right corner brought SPS level, midway through the first half.

The second half started a lot more evenly with both sides playing some great football. SPS had the first big chance with a one-on-one saved by the OP goalkeeper. OPAFC then had a shot cleared off the line.

SPS got their second goal of the game after a good move down the right was sealed with a good finish at the near post. OPAFC responded instantly with a 4 pass move from kick off finished off by James O’Byrne (2010-15).

Full time, 2-2 and straight to penalties. Both teams scored their first two, then SPS missed their third after a save by the OPs keeper. The OPs didn’t miss a pen and the game was won after SPS put their last pen over the bar. A fantastic match with some great football on show and we hope the pupils enjoyed it so much that they play as an OP in the future.

The 2nd XI kicked off following the drama of the penalty shoot out to close out the 1s game, and within five minutes, the penalty spot was back in use. Ted James (2014-19) was fouled in the box, giving a chance to Nick Troen (1998-03) to stick it in the onion bag for the OPs. As the school grew into the game, they were definitely unlucky not to pull one back, with the OPs saved by the post. Chances ebbed and flowed between the two teams until the OPs went 2-0 up when miscommunication led to the ball dropping to Ed Wicken (2018-23), who chipped the ball in from 30 yards – well-taken chance and moment of quality that led to him winning Man of the Match after the game. Both keepers were kept sufficiently busy for the first half, with both producing excellent saves to keep the scores down – an indication of the attacking football that was on show by both teams.

After half time, SPS were once again unlucky to find themselves 3-0 down. The school’s keeper sensed half a chance to wipe out Mr Troen and the ball the ricocheted off him into the goal. The school finally got on the score sheet, Jonah Collett scoring from a well-worked corner where one or two of the OPs definitely tried to miss the ball rather than clear it. As the biblical rains started to fall, the OPs grabbed their fourth with some quick passing. A header scored by Henry Owen (2010-15) after an overload on the left-hand side created space for Harry Draper (2006-11) to find someone in the box for the first time this season.

It was a very enjoyable game and the production line of footballers seems to be in full flow at the school. The club very much looks forward to as many of them as possible continuing their football careers at the club both while and after university. If the game is anything to go by, the club will be in good hands.

Don’t forget that your support is always welcomed at Colets.

Written by James Grant.

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