The tremendous amount of work put in by Middlesex FA Under 18 team Manager, John Fletcher and his coaches, in watching players, organising trial matches and moulding a team, were rewarded with a stunning 14-0 victory in their FA County Youth Cup second round match.
In a repeat of last season’s second round pairing, we were again drawn at home to Wiltshire FA, after receiving a bye in round one. We played this season’s game at Earlsmead, home of Harrow Borough FC last Saturday.
The early play gave no indication of what was to follow. The action in the first 15 minutes or so was mainly in the Middlesex half of the field. However, we gradually got into our stride and started to stretch the visiting defence. A penetrating run by Radu Stefanoaica set up Ruben Carvalho, whose low shot shaved the post. A raid up the left wing by full back Miles Dumba ended with his cross being deflected onto the crossbar. Then Wiltshire keeper, Harry Pickering saved from Radu, who had made ground after collecting Ruben’s incisive through ball.
We went ahead in the 17th minute through Ruben, who hit an unstoppable free kick from around 25 yards into the top of the net.
Femi Azeez advanced up the middle and rounded the keeper but took the ball too wide to net his finishing shot. However, he made amends in 20th minute, when he headed Ruben’s cross home to put us two up.
A superb cross field pass by Lewis White released Femi, who forced Harry Pickering into a good low diving save. Then Middlesex keeper, Jonti Purdon was in action, saving at Louis Wilkins’s feet.
Middlesex went three up in the 28th minute through Ruben’s spectacular volley into the roof of the Wiltshire net.
The fourth goal followed two minutes later. After good approach work by Radu, Eisa Azab dispossessed a defender and netted with a cross shot.
Our full backs were taking opportunities to participate in the action. Ricardo Matos just cleared the crossbar with a lob from around 40 yards and Miles Dumba’s great run ended with his shot being headed off of the goal line.
Further misfortune struck Wiltshire in the 40th minute, when they were forced to reorganise their defence after their goalkeeper, Harry Pickering limped off with a ligament injury. Captain and central defender, Dan Watts took his place in goal.
The fifth Middlesex goal followed a minute afterwards, through Eiza, who scored after a series of shots had been charged down. The sixth came in the 42nd minute, when Femi converted Radu’s centre.
Half time score: Middlesex 6 Wiltshire 0
Miles joined the attack again in the 50th minute and was tripped in the penalty area. Femi completed his hat trick by hitting the resulting spot kick low to the keeper’s left.
Wiltshire didn’t give up and Jonti was forced to save with his foot from striker Louis Wilkins.
It took the joint efforts of 3 visiting defenders to stop Radu’s penetrating run up the middle.
Efraim Difuamna-Hgungi, who came into the action as part of a double substitution in the 59th minute, soon made an impact. He worked his way through the Wiltshire defence several times and pulled a couple of efforts narrowly wide. Also, he was tackled in the act of shooting after picking up Femi’s pass.
Efraim was not to be denied though and scored the 8th and 9th Middlesex goals within a minute of each other. He netted from close range in the 69th minute, after good approach work by Ruben and Radu. The valiant Dan Watts got a hand to Efraim’s shot but could not keep it out of the net. Dan also touched Efraim’s second scoring effort, from around 20 yards.
Wiltshire came back at us and Louis Wilkins fired a low shot narrowly wide. We resumed the attack and a last ditch tackle was necessary to stop the ever menacing Radu.
Ruben took our score into double figures with a low shot to complete his hat trick in the 74th minute and central defender, Michael O’Neill then netted, following a corner, 2 minutes later.
Dan Watts saved low down in the 79th minute but could not hold onto the ball, which was gratefully collected by Femi to add our 12th goal and his 4th.
The 13th Middlesex goal, in the 83rd minute, was headed home by Michael from Femi’s corner and Radu completed the scoring in the 85th minute, after working his way through the defence.
Referee Mario Stetakovic was impressive. He kept firm control, handled some challenging situations efficiently and used the advantage clause sensibly. He was well supported by his Assistant Referees.
Despite the scoreline, the Wiltshire players never gave up trying and their attitude was a credit to their County.
Final score: Middlesex 14 Wiltshire 0
Middlesex: Jonti Purdon, Ricardo Matos (both Wingate & Finchley), Miles Dumba (Wealdstone), Lewis White (Harefield United), Michael O’Neill (Hayes & Yeading United), Sukru Yildiz (Potters Bar Town), Ruben Carvalho (Wingate & Finchley). Mason Tunbridge (C) (Enfield Town), Radu Stefanoaica (Uxbridge), Eisa Azab (Hendon) and Femi Azeez (Wealdstone)
Substitutes: Liam Bakry (North Greenford United) (for Sukru Yildiz 59 minutes), Efraim Difuamna-Hgungi (Hanwell Town) (for Eiza Azab 59), Felix Amoah (Hendon) (for Ruben Carvalho 77) and Caolan Doyle (Northwood) (GK)
Manager: John Fletcher
Assistant Manager: Darrel Gyngell
Coaches: Vince Purdue, Remi Bignell and Danny Gyngell
Physio: Gary Strudwick
Wiltshire: Harry Pickering (Melksham Town), Dinesh Gurung (Chippenham Town), Charlie Trinder-Sage, Connor Robb (both Cirencester Town), Daniel Watts (C) (Melksham Town), Isaac Parker-Scott (Corsham Town), Eddie Swain (Melksham Town), Jack Lewis (Chippenham Town), Louis Wilkins, Jack Baker (both Melksham Town) and Owen Taylor (Winchester City)
Substitutes: George Craig (Swindon Town) (for Harry Pickering, 40 minutes) and Tommy Campbell-Smith (Laverstock & Ford) (for Dinesh Gurung 55)
Manager: Stuart Beeho
Assistant Manager: James Goddard
Coaches: Gerwyn Griffiths and Paul Hughes
Physio: Jack Sullivan
Referee: Mario Stetakovic (Bedfordshire)
Assistant Referees: Paul Bennett and Matt Topp (both Berks & Bucks).
Our grateful thanks are given to Harrow Borough FC for making their superb facilities available to us for this match and for their excellent arrangements on the day.
We have been drawn away to Liverpool FA in the third round. This match must be played by Saturday 8th December.