The first of the season’s Middlesex FA cup finals, the Under 15 final, was hosted by Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC, at their fine Bob Parker Stadium, last Sunday morning.
Both finalists, Cockfosters Youth and Wingate & Finchley Youth currently play in the Eastern Junior Alliance League. Cockfosters FC youth team, which was formed as recently as 2014, are current holders of the Middlesex FA Under 14 Cup. Wingate & Finchley Youth won the Under 15 Cup in the 2010-11 season.
Both teams must be congratulated on their spectacular progress to the final. Cockfosters had scored 26 goals and conceded just 4 in their 5 matches. Wingate & Finchley had found the net 42 times without reply.
The match officials, Tony Anderson, Ricky Ansher, Carl Gibson and Bruce Attack should also be congratulated, on their prestigious appointment. Veteran referee, Tony Anderson, used his experience to control a difficult match, which involved him making some difficult decisions. Fourth Official, Bruce Attack had a very busy time controlling the occupants of the team benches.
Wingate & Finchley were worthy winners of a very competitive match, with a goal in each half but fortune did not favour their opponents.
Luke Mercer, the Cockfosters’ goalkeeper received a potentially serious head injury in the 6th minute of the game while contesting a ball with Wingate & Finchley’s powerful striker, Kevonte Willoughby. Luke was taken to hospital by ambulance but thankfully, could be discharged later in the day.
Play was restarted after a delay of almost an hour, with the versatile team captain and defender, Ben Bellman, initially replacing Luke between the posts and performing very well.
The game flowed from end to end and Cockfosters were unfortunate to have a goal disallowed for offside in the 16th minute, despite the fact that the ball had been headed into the net by a defender.
Wingate’s Avonia Brown shot narrowly wide from 25 yards and Kevonte Willoughby headed just past the post. Wingate keeper, James Holden got a strong hand to Bailey Stevenson’s low drive to turn it for a corner. Ben Bellisario bounced a cross on top of the Wingate crossbar.
Wingate’s Justin Domfeh had a shot saved by the stand-in keeper’s feet but then put his team ahead from close range in the 36th minute.
As the interval approached, Cockfosters had a penalty appeal turned down and keeper James Holden saved at full stretch from Harry Martin.
HALF TIME SCORE: COCKFOSTERS 0 WINGATE & FINCHLEY 1
Bailey Stevenson finished a powerful run with a close-range shot, which was turned over the bar by the Wingate keeper.
Hodge Almeida-Joaquin doubled Wingate’s lead after 68 minutes with a thundering shot into the top corner of the net from around 35 yards.
After Wingate’s Liam Mulligan twice tested the Cockfosters’ keeper, Joshua Fajobi headed a corner onto the Wingate cross bar. The ball bounced down onto the goal line but didn’t cross it. Then James Holden did well to save a low drive by Bailey Stevenson.
In a flurry of action, the Cockfosters keeper kept out a low shot from Liam Mulligan. The ball rebounded to Rigert Rama, whose shot was cleared out from under the bar by Jake Burton.
A foul by a Cockfosters’ defender in the 76th minute, provoked an unsightly mass confrontation, involving most of the players and occupants of both technical areas. Following this fracas, David Ola (Wingate) and Bailey Stevenson (Cockfosters) were dismissed from the field.
FINAL SCORE: COCKFOSTERS 0 WINGATE & FINCHLEY 2
The Guest of Honour, Derek Mennell, Middlesex FA Director and Immediate Past President, presented the trophies and medals after the game. He chose Hodje Almeida Joaquin of Wingate & Finchley as Player of the Match.
Our grateful thanks are given to Ashford Town (Middlesex) FC for staging the game and for their superb hospitality. The attendance was 89.
COCKFOSTERS: Luke Mercer, Joe Scantlebury, Ylli Elezi, Ryan Murphy, Ben Bellman (capt), Josh Cohen, Ben Bellisario, Samuel Cahill, Finn Harvey, Dylan Coleman and Bailey Stevenson.
Substitutes (repeat substitutions are used in this competition): Joshua Fajobi, Jake Burton, James Pinto and Harry Martin.
Manager: Brett Cahill
WINGATE & FINCHLEY: James Holden, David Ola (capt), Massimo Symeou, Harry Morgan, Bello Ngomabie, Justin Domfeh, Avonia Brown, Liam Mulligan, Zak Nashnush, Rigert Rama and Kevonte Willoughby.
Substitutes: Callum Nightingale, Jonathan Agamez Benitez, Rhys Quilley, Hodge Almeida Joaquin and Fabio Fernandes,
Manager: Peter Mulligan
Photos from the game taken by photographer, Chris Benn, can be found here.