The Middlesex FA Under-16 team opened its competitive season on Sunday 21 October, with a home game against Kent. This South East Counties Youth Championship fixture was the first Middlesex representative team fixture to be played at our brand-new Rectory Park HQ.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t celebrate with a victory, as our visitors won an evenly balanced but fairly low-key match by a solitary goal. With the exception of this breakthrough, both sides lacked the necessary firepower to take the chances which occurred.
Kent made the early running and our ‘keeper, Adam Holder, made a good fingertip save from the well-placed Gerald Sithole.
We got more into the game and a well weighted ball up the middle by Giovanni Leon-Rivera was seized by Kent ‘keeper Connor McDonnell from the oncoming Brandon Clarke. Then a close-range effort from Giovanni was kept out by Connor’s outstretched foot.
Kent striker, Bobby Dunn, shot narrowly wide from a free kick taken just outside our penalty area. Then, following a corner, Adam Holder saved low down by his post from Patrick Jackson.
After 30 minutes, Kent’s Hamid Ishola was tripped and sent flying in our penalty area. Bobby Dunn hit the resulting penalty kick low to Adam’s left, but wide of the upright.
Giovanni picked up a loose ball and advanced on the visitor’s goal but his shot from around 25 yards was saved by the ‘keeper. Hamid Ishola cleverly worked his way through our defence but his shot was blocked.
Tyla Taverier-Stuart was fouled by Kent defender, Patrick Jackson just outside the box but Josh Bennett-Chetwynd’s free kick was scrambled away.
Our back four of Rhys Mungrah, skipper Ben Lester, Nrip Lama and Moray Hickson had looked solid but was caught up-field four minutes before the interval, when Kent’s Hamid Ishola broke clear following one of our attacks. He sped towards our goal, brushed aside a challenge from Anas Geedi and stroked the ball past Adam Holder.
Half-Time: Middlesex 0 Kent 1
Kent deserved their interval lead, but Middlesex had the better chances in the second half .
However, there were no more goals.
Marco De Rosa tested Connor McDonnell with a lob but the visiting ‘keeper saved at full stretch.
Gerald Sithole burst through our defence but shot wide with only our advancing goalkeeper to beat.
Then Adam made a good low save from the same player.
Nrip Lama headed wide from Josh’s deep cross. Marco made a good run down the right but his cross bounced on top of the goal net. Nrip advanced up-field again to head narrowly wide following a corner. Anas was tripped just outside the Kent penalty area but Josh curled the resulting free kick just past the upright.
At the other end, Hamid Ishola put Robbie Roberts clear but Adam came off of his line to clear with his feet.
The visiting ‘keeper took a high cross off of Yunas Mohamed’s head. Josh crossed for Marco to swivel and shoot fractionally too high. A good four-man move ended with Connor saving Giovanni’s long shot. Giovanni released Hassan Omar up the middle but he was thwarted by Harry Sargent’s saving tackle.
Kent almost doubled their lead just before the final whistle. Hamid Ishola dispossessed Nrip, took the ball into our box and placed it past the advancing Adam. However, Nrip redeemed the situation by racing back and diverting the goalbound ball around the post for a corner.
The match officials, all appointed by Middlesex FA, did an excellent job.
Final Score: Middlesex 0 Kent 1
Middlesex: Adam Holder (Textbook Academy), Rhys Mungrah (Potters Bar Town), Moray Hickson (Eclipse), Tyla Taverier-Stuart (Magix), Ben Lester (capt) (Hayes & Yeading United), Nrip Lama (Sandgate), Marco De Rosa (Whitton Wanderers), Josh Bennett-Chetwynd (Harrow Club), Brandon Clarke (Wealdstone), Giovanni Leon-Rivera (Celtic) and Ronaldo Flowers (Brentford Development)
Substitutes (rolling subs were used): Hassan Omar (Abbey), Erion Tola (Belmont), Anas Geedi (Magix), Yunas Mohamed (Belmont) and Eric Negaru (Belmont) (GK)
Manager: Darrel Gyngell
Coaches: Wayne Little and Remi Bignell
Physio: Gary Strudwick
Kent: Connor McDonnell (Dartford), Patrick Jackson (Bromley), Billy Edwards, Dan Watson, Harry Sargent (all Dartford), Adam Jones (K Sports), Gerald Sithole (Kennington), Kayden Turner (capt) (Bromley), Hamid Ishola (Kent Football United), Bobby Dunn (Bromley) and Robbie Roberts (K Sports)
Substitutes: Sid Gurung (Kennington), George Osborne (K Sports), Caleb Edorh (Maidstone United) and Joe Goad (Kings Hill)
Managers: Ian Varley and Lee Suter
Referee: David Lea
Assistant Referees: Mark Sennett and Dean Baily