The Middlesex FA Under-16 team travelled to London Colney on Sunday to play their Amateur Football Alliance counterparts in a South East Counties Youth Championship match. They were a little unlucky to suffer the second odd goal defeat in both their games in this season’s competition.
Our hosts, the AFA and London Colney FC, made us very welcome as usual but unfortunately their hospitality didn’t extend to the events on the pitch.
The AFA dominated the match territorially in the first half and retained possession of the ball for a large percentage of the play. We didn’t test the home goalkeeper until the last minute of the half. However, we defended resolutely and went in at the interval on level terms.
The scenario was different in second period. The AFA went ahead in the fifth minute of the half but we hit back 4 minutes afterwards and had the better of the exchanges until disaster struck us five minutes from time. We were attacking, in search of a winning goal but our hosts broke away and netted to take the spoils.
The AFA put us under pressure at the start of the match and forced a succession of corners. Ayas Kazi cleared off of our goal line. Lewis Horne-Hayes hit our crossbar with a free kick and the rebound was forced wide. Josh Gunter cut in dangerously but keeper Eric Negaru saved at his feet.
The big home striker, Tomiwa Oni kept our defence busy with some persistent runs. He burst through the middle and lobbed over Eric but fortunately for us, just cleared the cross bar.
We came into the game late in the half and Josh Bennett-Chetwynd’s well struck free kick flew just over the angle of bar and post. Then, in the 40th minute, a fierce low drive from Ronan Hutchings forced AFA keeper, Ricardo Pacheco, into his first save.
Half-time score: AFA 0 Middlesex 0
Michael Zuckowski broke through the middle of our defence and slipped the ball past our advancing keeper to put the AFA ahead in the fifth minute of the half.
However, we levelled four minutes later, when Ronaldo Flowers gleefully converted Joshua Uwaifo’s cross.
Tomiwa Oni had fired wide of our post but we then exerted considerable pressure on the AFA defence. Ronan Hutchings and Josh Bennett-Chetwynd provided neat approach work and Ronaldo Flowers produced some dangerous runs on the left. However, we were not able to get the ball into the AFA net again. The nearest that we came was when Ronaldo volleyed Rhys Mungrah’s cross narrowly wide from close range.
We had left ourselves open to a counter attack and Tomiwa Oni netted for the AFA, after Eric Negaru had turned Keiron Lake-Bryan’s shot onto the crossbar. Although this effort was ruled out for offside, AFA scored a late winning goal. Lewis Horne-Hayes picked up a loose ball on the edge of our under-populated penalty area and hit it low into the corner of our net.
Isaac Ogundere and Tyla Tavier-Stuart both tested the home custodian in the closing minutes but could not redeem the situation.
We can take encouragement from our second half performance against a very good AFA side. They have consistently fielded formidable teams at Under-16 level in recent years and won this competition last season.
Referee Deryll David handled the match very well indeed. He received good support from his assistant referees.
Final score: AFA 2 Middlesex 1
Amateur Football Alliance: Ricardo Pacheco (Bishops Stortford), Keiron Lake-Bryan (Wingate & Finchley), Charlie Powell (Bishops Stortford), Ewan Bland (capt) (Cockfosters), Fin Conway (Wingate & Finchley), Rayon Atkinson, Josh Gunter, Aden Brazil, Tomiwa Oni (all Cockfosters), Michael Zuckowski (Old Bealonians) and Lewis Horne-Hayes (Compton School)
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Emmanuel Atia (Enfield Town), Fin Rushton (Wingate & Finchley) (goalkeeper for second half)
Manager: Gary Harrowell
Coach: Pat Folan
Physio: Jameel Shah
Middlesex: Eric Negaru (Sandgate), Rhys Mungrah (Potters Bar Town), Ayas Kazi (Belmont), Ben Lester (capt) (Hayes & Yeading United), Ibrahim Elhaouari (Wingate & Finchley), Isaac Ogundere (Hayes & Yeading United), Marco De Rosa (Whitton Wanderers), Josh Bennett-Chetwynd (Harrow Club), Brandon Clarke (Wealdstone), Ronan Hutchings (Harefield United) and Ronaldo Flowers (Brentford Development)
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Costa Portu (Belmont), Joshua Uwaifo (Soccerlution), Tyla Taverier-Stuart (Magix), Giovanni Leon-Rivera (Celtic) and Adam Holder (Textbook Academy) (goalkeeper)
Manager: Darrel Gyngell
Coaches: Wayne Little, Vince Purdue and Remi Bignell
Physio: Gary Strudwick
Referee: Deryll David
Assistant Referees: Jamie DeSouza and Dylan Ellis (all AFA)
please click here for a full selection of images from the game, courtesy of Chris Benn