The final of the Middlesex FA Sunday Intermediate Cup was contested at Wembley FC’s Vale Farm ground on Thursday evening last, 18th April. The finalists, Shire United and UB6 United served up a keenly fought and evenly contested match, in which the final result was in doubt until the very last kick. Shire United eventually triumphed in a penalty shoot-out, after the preceding 90 minutes play had failed to produce a winner.
Play was largely confined to midfield in the first half. Solid defensive work by both teams ensured that neither keeper was troubled very often. Nevertheless, the athleticism and sure handling displayed by Dwayne Esprit in the UB6 goal was impressive.
The first direct shot of the game, by Shire United’s Taylor Gough, was hit straight at Dwayne, who took it comfortably. Then UB6’s lively winger, Nickyle Dacosta, cut in from the right and ran across the front of the penalty area before shooting marginally wide with his left foot.
A long freekick from Shire’s Adam Piggott was taken high up, under considerable pressure, by Dwayne Esprit. Shire’s Taylor Gough got his head to Jamie Miles’s cross but was unable to direct it goalwards. A run down the right by Jamie set up Ryan Blake, whose shot was just wide. Dwayne took a dangerous high cross from Jamie in impressive manner.
UB6 skipper, Rowan Simon fired wide from just inside the box and Shire had two further scoring attempts. Tom Betts finished a penetrating run with a low drive, which passed wide of the post and Adam Piggott’s high shot was competently taken by Dwayne Esprit.
The first half ended with a freekick, awarded for a foul on UB6’s Hussein Mohamed, being blazed over the Shire crossbar.
Half time score: Shire United 0 UB6 United 0
The tempo of the match increased in the second half but the respective defences remained unbeaten for almost all of it.
Nickyle Dacosta’s shot across the Shire United’s goal passed just beyond the far post. Shire custodian, Richard Pike, knocked down an in-swinging corner from Rowan Simon. Nickyle received a telling through ball from Hussein Mohamed and cut in but his shot was blocked.
Shire United substitute, Danny Barham, entered the fray and made an impression on the right. He created an opening for Tom Betts, who shot low across the penalty area. A dipping volley by George Crack cleared the Shire cross bar.
Shire striker, Andrew Juett, came closest to scoring with three consecutive strikes on goal, in an exciting passage of play. One was blocked by a defender and the other two were kept out by Dwayne Esprit’s feet.
UB6 defender, Richard Thompson made a couple of saving tackles and, at the other end, Craig Hodges released Beola Coker, who skied his shot.
Dwayne Esprit bravely held on to an in-swinging corner, under considerable pressure. In doing so, he collided with a goal post and needed attention.
Danny Barham scored for Shire United in the 90th minute, just as we were bracing ourselves for a penalty shoot-out, by heading Tommy Mooney’s centre home from close range.
However, Shire’s jubilation and everyone else’s (except UB6’s) relief at avoiding the lottery of the shoot-out, were cut short, within a minute, by Craig Hodges, who found the bottom corner of the net from close range.
Score after 90 minutes play: Shire United 1 UB6 United 1
The goalkeepers, especially Richard Pike of Shire United, excelled in the penalty shoot-out.
Shire United started badly by failing to score from their first two kicks but eventually triumphed 3-2.
Shire United went first. Dwayne Esprit saved Tommy Mooney’s shot and Hussein Mohamed scored to put UB6 United 1-0 ahead.
Jack Mullan smashed his penalty against the crossbar and Richard Pike saved from Perry Mahoney. (1-0).
Taylor Gough opened Shire’s account and Richard Pike saved from Juvhan Kellar. So the score after three kicks each was 1-1.
Tom Betts for Shire United and Skye Case for UB6 United both scored. (2-2).
Harry Driver converted for Shire and then Richard Pike made his third save, this one from Craig Hodges, to win the cup.
Penalty Shoot-out result: Shire United 3 UB6 United 2
Referee, Neil Fyfield, controlled the match in a firm, efficient and pleasingly unobtrusive way. He was well backed up by his excellent support team.
The Guest of Honour, Middlesex FA Councillor, John Jackson, was introduced to the teams and match officials before the game and he presented the cup and the individual mementoes afterwards. John chose UB6 United’s influential midfielder, Hussein Mohamed as Player of the Match.
Our thanks are due to the Wembley FC for allowing us the use of their fine facilities and for their splendid hospitality on the day. The playing surface was in a superb condition.
The attendance was 83.
Richard Pike, Jamie Miles, Oscar Johnson, Taylor Gough, Adam Piggott (capt), Harry Driver, Ryan Blake, Jack Mullan, Andrew Juett, Tommy Mooney and Tom Betts.
Substitutes: (repeat substitutions are used in this competition): Matthew Grave, Calvin Newton, Danny Barham, George Marks and Blieu Huskinson.
Manager: Peter Cornhill
Assistant Manager: Blieu Huskinson
Coaches: Mark Elms and James Cornhill
Physio: Sam Light
Dwayne Esprit, Jayvon Case, Skye Case, Richard Thompson, Rowan Simon (capt), Hussein Mohamed, Nickyle Dacosta, Juvhan Kellar, Leon Johnson, George Crack and Stefhan Kellar.
Substitutes: Alex Mugwagwa, Perry Mahoney, Craig Hodges, Beola Coker and Reece Cardoza.
Manager: Sami Labib
Coaches: Deen Labib and Darren Halliday
Referee: Neil Fyfield
Assistant Referees: Debbie Hartley and Robert Alderton
Fourth Official: Lee Tilbury
Please click here for a full selection of photos, courtesy of Chris benn