As a result of our defeat by the AFA on the previous Thursday, we started this game in third place in the South East Counties Youth Championship table on 7 points. The AFA led the table with 12 points having finished their fixtures. Kent were second, with 9 points but although a win against us would have put them level on points with the AFA, they would not have taken the title because the deciding criteria, in this situation, is the result between the 2 counties. The AFA had beaten Kent 2-0 when they had played.
So, as a result of our 3-2 victory, we finished in second place on 10 points.
Jayden Gibson, a very skilful wide player for Middlesex throughout the game, made a penetrating run immediately after the kick off. However, his finishing cross did not find a colleague.
After 2 minutes, Kent took the lead. A run by dangerous striker, Louis Collins forced a corner, which was headed home by George Porter.
The game moved rapidly up and down the pitch. James Bromley couldn’t force the ball over the line after another good run by Jayden Gibson. Good approach work by Kai Peters set up Kiaro Applegarth, whose shot cleared the crossbar.
We equalised in 11th minute following some more incisive approach work by Jayden, who beat a couple of defenders on the right and squared for the incoming Kai Peters to net.
Then Jayden cut in again and shot against the Kent post. Keeper Henry Lovering kicked clear from James Bromley. At the other end, Louis Collins burst through and squared across goal. Fortunately for us, nobody managed a touch.
However, Kent regained the lead after 18 minutes, when Louis Collins crossed for Joe Sharp to beat Josh Bierne with a header.
James Bromley was fouled at the side of the penalty box but Kai Peters’ free kick was blocked. Emre Top hit James Bromley’s pass over the bar. Kent keeper, Henry Lovering saved at close range from James Bromley and then from Emre Top, after good approach work by Jayden Gibson.
Just before the interval, a timely tackle by skipper Michael O’Neil foiled a goal-bound Louis Collins.
Half time score: Middlesex 1 Kent 2
Middlesex took the initiative after half time, and pressured the Kent rearguard, in search of an equaliser.
An in-swinging corner from Kiaro Applegarth set up an almighty scramble in the Kent goalmouth before the ball was eventually hacked clear. A long free kick by Alex Charalambous was saved by Henry Lovering.
Kai Peters progressed up the wing and passed inside to Emre Top, whose shot was turned for a corner. Alex’s corner kick was headed over by Michael O’Neil. Kiaro had a couple of attempts. One passed wide and the other was saved low down at the expense of a corner.
We equalised in the 66th minute. James Bromley released Harry O’Donohue, who netted over the advancing keeper.
Middlesex continued to attack and produced several pleasing passing movements. Jayden Gibson, in particular, continually tested the visiting defence. Just after the keeper had bravely saved at his feet, when he was in full flow, he laid on the winning goal. He produced yet another defence-splitting run and passed to Emre Top, who finished clinically. This score came in the 79th minute.
Final score: Middlesex 3 Kent 2
Referee Ian Skull and his Assistant Referees, Paul Savva and Michael Plumridge controlled proceedings very well and contributed to an entertaining match.
Our thanks are given to Bedfont & Feltham FC for hosting this match for us and for their superb hospitality.
Middlesex: Josh Bierne (CB Hounslow), Morgan Whittick (Ruislip Rangers), Kiaro Applegarth (Bedfont Sports), Alex Charalambous (AEK Youth), Michael O’Neil (Harefield United) (capt), Frankie Harper, Jayden Gibson, Mikun Adeosrn, James Bromley (all Pinner Albion), Emre Top (Rap-aid Youth) and Kai Peters (AEK Youth).
Substitutes: (repeat substitutions are used in this competition) David Oppong-Waite and Harry O’Donohue (both Pinner Albion)..
Manager: Darrel Gyngell Coach: Wayne Little Physio: Gary Strudwick
Kent: Henry Lovering (K Sports), Scott Jarvis (Bromley), Kian Pomphrey (Hollands and Blair), George Porter (Bromley), Craig Cooley (Hollans and Blair), Beau Landau, Josh Stirman (both Maidstone United), Dillon Cole Hollands and Blair), Louis Collins (Bromley) (capt), Joe Sharp (Hollands and Blair) and Matt Weller (Maidstone United).
Substitutes: Ethan Rutherford, James Jeffrey (both Maidstone United) and Charlie Deinenger (Ebbsfleet United).
Manager: Ian Varley Physio: Katie May.
Photos from the game are available here courtesy of matchday photographer, Chris Benn.