History was made last Tuesday evening, in what is already a significant era for Middlesex Football Association, when we staged the final of our most prestigious competition, the Senior Challenge Cup, at Griffin Park, home of Championship club, Brentford FC.
The finalists were Brentford B and Harrow Borough. Harrow Borough had previously won the Senior Cup 3 times in their 86 year history, the last occasion being in the 2014/15 season. Brentford FC started their B Team system as recently as 2016. However, the club, which was formed in 1889, won this trophy in 1898 by beating the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards 3-2.
Brentford B deservedly won this final 4-0 but both sides contributed to a memorable evening’s football. Brentford B fielded a formidable array of talent, which included youth international players from 6 different countries, as well as a player who had been capped at full international level.
Harrow Borough matched Brentford B for much of the match but finally succumbed to a flurry of goals late in the game.
The game started with both sides apparently carefully weighing each other up. Harrow Borough’s Gary Ross was the first goalkeeper to be brought into action, in the 14th minute, when Joe Hardy shot straight at him from around 25 yards. Gary was more seriously tested soon afterwards, when he pushed a well struck swerving drive from Cole Dasilva for a corner.
Harrow Borough’s Michael Bryan released Joshua Andrew, who sped up the right wing but Joshua’s square pass failed to find a colleague.
Cole Dasilva’s drive hit Borough defender, Nathaniel Oseni and rebounded high to the keeper. Then Joe Hardy broke clear but Gary Ross managed to gather the ball.
Michael Bryan dispossessed Cole Dasilva and made ground but Ryan Moss headed wide from his cross.
Further scoring chances fell to both sides. Brentford’s Jan Zamburek just cleared the bar from wide on the right. Jarvis Edobor released Jan again but the Czech midfielder was intercepted in the penalty area by Joshua Andrew. Brentford keeper, Patrik Gunnarsson beat Anthony O’Connor to Nathaniel Oseni’s ball up the middle. Then Patrik saved Frank Keita’s low shot after Frank had won the ball from a defender.
Theo Archibald almost made contact with Cole Dasivla’s through ball following a perceptive diagonal run. Joe Hardy, under considerable pressure from Harrow defenders, headed Cole’s left wing cross over the bar from close range.
Lewis Cole’s in-swinging free kick into the box from around 30 yards, evaded several Harrow Borough attackers and passed just wide of the far post.
Half time score: Brentford B 0 Harrow Borough 0
Brentford took the initiative at the start of the second half. Ali Coote’s incisive run into the Borough penalty area ended with Gary Ross parrying his shot. Joe Hardy netted the rebound but was adjudged to be off side. Theo Archibald gained possession but Nathaniel Oseni blocked his close-range strike. Then Joe Hardy fired narrowly wide.
At the other end, Frank Keita released Anthony O’Connor, who placed the ball wide.
Cole Dasilva produced a burst up the wing but his low cross evaded everyone in the Harrow goalmouth.
Brentford took the lead on the hour through Joe Hardy. Cole Dasilva’s run and pass set up Theo Archibald, whose shot was stopped by keeper Gary Ross’s feet. Joe netted the rebound.
Gary Ross was then forced into a double save. Joe Hardy set up Theo Archibald. The keeper pushed Theo’s shot out to Ali Coote, whose follow up effort he turned for a corner.
Frank Keita had a good opportunity to equalise for Harrow Borough. He took a pass from Anthony O’Connor and tried to place the ball into the net to Patrik Gunnarsson’s left but the lack of power in the shot enabled the keeper to save.
Harrow Borough’s Lewis Cole was a little fortunate to only receive a yellow card after a clumsy tackle on Theo Archibald.
Joe Hardy scored his and Brentford’s second goal in the 84th minute from Ali Coote’s pass.
Fredrik Hammar made the score 3-0 in the 89th minute, after good approach work by Theo Archibald and Gustav Mogensen. Gustav added Brentford’s fourth goal almost immediately, capitalising on Theo Archibald’s pass.
Gustav almost scored again with last kick of the 3 additional minutes allowed by the referee but his lofted ball was kept out by Gary Ross’s feet.
Final Score: Brentford B 4 Harrow Borough 0
Congratulations are due to the four match officials on their well merited appointments to Middlesex FA’s most senior cup final. Referee Dan Simpson, supported by his team, controlled the proceedings very well. It was very noticeable however, that one of the Assistant Referees seemingly baulked at running on the plastic surface of the pitch surround.
Guest of Honour, Middlesex FA President, John Davies, was introduced to both teams and to the match officials before the game and presented the cup and the individual mementoes afterwards. John chose the lively and talented Brentford B striker, Joe Hardy, as Player of the Match.
Our thanks are given to Brentford FC for letting us use their superb facilities and for their invaluable assistance on the night.
The attendance was 876.
Patrik Gunnarson, Jarvis Edobor, Luka Racic (Jonny Mitchell 63 mins), Jaako Oksanen, Cole Dasilva, Fredrik Hammar, Joe Hardy (Gustav Mogensen 87 mins), Ali Coote (capt), Jan Zamburek (Kolbeinn Finnson 72 mins), Theo Archibald and David Titov.
Substitutes not used: Simon Andersson (goalkeeper) and Jaden Brissett.
Head Coach: Lars Friis
Assistant Head Coach: Allan Steele
Coaches: Jani Viander, James Purdue and Lewis Jordan
Physios: Liam Horgan and Richard Potts
Gary Ross, Joshua Andrew, Ryan Haugh, Shaun Preddie, Nathaniel Oseni, Frank Keita, Anthony O’Connor (Mark Bitmead 83 mins), Mark McLeod (Jordan Ireland 69mins), Ryan Moss (capt), Michael Bryan and Lewis Cole (Excellence Muhenba (78 mins).
Substitutes not used : George Fenton and Max Holland.
Manager: Steve Baker
Assistant Manager: Jesse Smith
Coach: Darron Wilkinson
Physio: Magenta Ross
Referee: Dan Simpson
Assistant Referees: Aurel Onita and Fernando Costache
Fourth Official: Adam Hughes
please click here for a full selection of photos, courtesy of chris benn