Cornwall, making their first appearance in the final, proved to be very worthy opponents and gave us some anxious moments, especially in the closing stages of a hard fought but sporting game.
We started well and took the lead in the 9th minute when Nebay Haile out-jumped the Cornish defence to head Keagan Cole's wide free kick home.
However, this lead lasted less than a minute, as Cornwall swept into our penalty area from the restart and Josh Penrose equalised from close range.
Play fluctuated excitingly from end to end for the remainder of the half. A good team move ended with Harrison Livingstone’s shot just clearing the Cornwall bar. Then a thunderous shot from Keagan, following Callum O’Reilly’s cross, shaved the upright.
In the 36th minute, Lewis Todd, whose fitness was in doubt in the weeks leading up to the match, produced a brilliant flying save to keep out a well-hit drive by Cornwall’s Joe Adkins.
Then, in the 45th minute, Corey Watson leapt to head in Nebay’s corner kick for what eventually proved to be the winning goal.
However, we almost increased this lead before the referee brought proceedings to a close for half time. The Cornwall keeper had difficulty with a corner from the left and the ball fell into the vicinity of the goal line, from where it was cleared by defender Josh Otto. It seemed, from Josh’s position behind the line that at least a part of the ball had entered the goal. This was apparent from the reactions of our players.
Half time score: Middlesex 2 Cornwall 1
Harrison Livingstone’s shot stretched Luke Gwilliam, the Cornwall keeper. Some midfield trickery enabled Keagan to release Harrison but the move finished with Nebay firing over.
Harrison blasted wide just before he was substituted in the 62nd minute. Then a furious Cornwall onslaught ended when Josh Penrose shot wide.
Cornwall’s skilful forward, Tiago Soares came on as a substitute and immediately made an impact. He set up an attack which concluded with Lewis Todd brilliantly pushing a goalbound shot away.
Keagan fired too high from Ethan’s pass and at the other end, Matt Buchan nodded wide.
Cornwall attacked strongly in the closing stages and Brandon Watts was cautioned for a reckless challenge. However, our defence stood firm.
The referee indicated that an additional 6 minutes would be played and Cornwall introduced striker Jack Rapsey for full back, Josh Otto.
We broke away and Ethan was tripped on the edge of the Cornwall penalty box in full flight. The offender, Joel Allen was cautioned but Keagan was off target with the resulting free kick.
The proceedings became heated in the final minutes and a mass confrontation, which was out of character with the rest of the match, occurred. Referee Anthony Backhouse, who had a very good game, dealt with it efficiently. He cautioned Keagan and Matt Buchan of Cornwall.
Final score: Middlesex 2 Cornwall 1
The joy of our players at the final whistle and after the presentation of the trophy by FA Chairman Greg Clarke, was a pleasure to behold. Their victory was well deserved. Each one of them performed magnificently and we should all be proud of them.
MIDDLESEX: Lewis Todd (North Greenford United), Brandon Watts (Hampton & Richmond Borough), Jeremy Aglohor (Wingate & Finchley), Ryan Kukoyi (Cheshunt) (capt), James Taylor (Hayes & Yeading United), Corey Watson (Uxbridge), Callum O’Reilly (Hampton & Richmond Borough), Malachy McGovern (Hendon), Harrison Livingstone (Hampton & Richmond Borough), Keagan Cole (Hendon) and Nebay Haile (Staines Town).
Substitutes: Ethan Mooney (Edgware Town) for Harrison (62 minutes), Charlie Malin (Beaconsfield SYCOB) for Ryan (77), Alex Hadjithemistou (Wingate & Finchley) for Malachy (83). Zayn Daniels (AFC Hayes) and Bailey Mulhall (North Greenford United) (gkpr) were not used.
Manager: John Fletcher Assistant Manager: Darrel Gyngell Coaches: Wayne Little, Remi Bignall, Vince Purdue, Danny Gyngell and Brian Axtell Physio: Jameel Shah.
CORNWALL: Luke Gwilliam (Camelford), Josh Otto (Mousehole), Max Roberts (RNAS Culdrose), Joel Allen (Porthleven), Charles Hambley (Camelford) (capt), Cameron Turner (Newquay), Josh Penrose (Camelford), Ed Harrison (Camelford), Matt Buchan (Helston Athletic), Joe Adkins (Camelford) and Oliver Walker (Falmouth Town).
Substitutes: Tiago Soares (Godolphin) for Joe Adkins (71 minutes), Jack Webber (Porthleven) for Max Roberts (83), Jack Rapsey (Newquay) for Josh Otto (91). Alfie Flack (St Austell) and Dan Stedman (Wendron United) (gkpr) were not used.
Manager: Glynn Hooper Assistant Manager: Alan Yendell Coaches: Jamie Day, Andrew Graham and John Fabby Goalkeeper Coach: Dennis Annear Physio: Toby Wellington.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse (Cumberland) Assistant Referees: Abbas Khan (Leicestershire & Rutland) and Callum Walchester (Suffolk) Fourth Official: Richard Hulme (Somerset).
Photos from the game were taken by Middlesex FA photographer, Chris Benn and can be found here.