The concluding rounds of this prestigious competition were held at Middlesex FA’s Rectory Park HQ on Sunday last, 22nd June. The final day’s programme consisted of four matches of 20 minutes each way, namely the two semi-finals, the third v fourth game and the final.
The four teams, from the nine participating county associations, that survived the group matches and the quarter finals to reach the semi-final stage were Reading Deaf FC, Sutton United FC Pan Disability, Charlton Athletic Deaf FC 2nd team and last season’s winners, The Sussex County FA Disability Representative Squad.
The respective squads were:
READING DEAF FC: Cameron Hickman, Jack Arnold, Harry Perry-Lewis. Freddie Barrett, Amaan Hussain, Luke Bryant, Aaron Summers (capt), Charles Hawes, Tom Collard, Billy May, Reece Mclellan, Kyle Henry, Rej Muharemi, Fayed Ahmed and Rahul Pankhania. Team Manager: Craig Peters.
SUTTON UNITED FC PAN DISABILITY: Mark Heritage, Alex King, Joe Hales, Ben Wilson, Ryan Ford, Matt Ford, Barry Phillips, Bradley Dixon, Shaun Mills, Ryan Cheeseman (capt), Josh Taylor, Chris Dunn, Harry Evans, George Beadle and Paul Hayward. Team Manager: Steve King.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC DEAF FC: Emanuelis Silinkskas, Adewale Shodiende, Adrian Gubala, Andre Preston-Morley, Ashley Chang, Duncan Rowley (capt), Hussein Omar, Kola Oni, Lukas Goda, Pedro Gomes, Ridwan Ojetola, Ugur Canatan, Jonny Nelson and Habib Oseni. Team Manager: Jonny Nelson.
SUSSEX COUNTY FA DISABILITY REPRESENTATIVE SQUAD: Bradley Troncone, Marcos Moore, Dylan Greaves-Lord, Nicole Webley, Tristram Phipps, James Francis, Danny Alnutt, Tim Partridge (capt), James Smith, Dave Lambert, Josh Lomas, Tom Rogers, Leon Dobson-Walker and Ben Wray. Coaches: Ian-Hickley-Smith, Pam Chandler and Steve Atkins.
Semi-Final 1 – Reading v Sutton United
Josh Taylor put Sutton United ahead, with a well-placed low drive, in the 3rd minute, after being set up by Shaun Mills. Shaun doubled this lead in the 11th minute, following good approach work by Josh and captain, Ryan Cheeseman.
As the half time interval approached, Reading put the Sutton defenders under pressure and they survived several dangerous attacks. Billy May pulled a goal back when he slipped the ball past keeper Mark Heritage from close range. Mark then ensured that Sutton took their narrow lead into the interval, with two splendid saves from Tom Collard free kicks, taken from almost identical positions just outside the corner of the penalty box.
However, two minutes after half time, Shaun Mills beat keeper Cameron Hickman to defender Harry Perry-Lewis’s back pass to restore Sutton’s two goal lead.
There were no further goals, but Ryan Cheeseman twice went close for Sutton. He hit the Reading bar with a drive from the edge of the box and then netted Chris Dunn’s pass but was adjudged to be offside.
Result: Reading 1 Sutton United 3
Semi-Final 2 – Charlton Athletic v Sussex Representative team
Dave Lambert put Sussex ahead with a cross shot after 5 minutes and he then headed home, following a corner kick taken by James Smith after 17 minutes. Dave was foiled by the goalkeeper Emanuelis Silinksas’s feet immediately after the half time interval but completed his hattrick 5 minutes into the second half, when he collected the ball in his own half, ran on and placed it wide of the custodian.
Sussex were awarded a penalty in the 14th minute of the second half, after a dangerous challenge by the Charlton keeper. Tim Partridge converted this for the 4th Sussex goal. Dave Lambert completed the scoring in the final minute with a thunderous shot from outside the box, which entered the net via the underside of the cross bar.
Result: Charlton Athletic 0 Sussex Representative team 5
3rd v 4th Match – Reading v Charlton Athletic
The nearest that either team came to scoring in the goalless first half was when Charlton’s Lucas Goda headed against a post following a corner kick.
Both sides had chances after the interval. The Charlton keeper punched away a wicked in-swinging corner by Billy May, from under his bar. A long free kick by Charlton’s Habib Oseni bounced on top of Reading’s bar. A good Reading move ended with Fayed Ahmed shooting across the face of the goal from an acute angle. Jonny Nelson’s high shot was parried by the Reading keeper at close range.
However, Jonny scored the only goal of the match midway through the half. After he had released Ashley Chang, whose shot was parried by the keeper, Jonny netted the rebound.
Reading pressed for an equaliser but despite several attempts could not break through Charlton’s solid rear-guard which was dominated by Lukas Goda and Hussein Omar.
Result: Reading 0 Charlton Athletic 1
Final: Sutton United v Sussex Rep team
Sutton United took the lead after 6 minutes, through Ryan Cheeseman, who benefited from a defensive mix up. Sussex equalised and then went ahead inside a further two minutes. Both goals were scored by Dave Lambert. He finished off good approach work by Danny Alnutt and Tom Rogers for his first goal and then hooked the ball into the far corner of the net for his second.
Tim Partridge scored a third goal for Sussex from a seemingly impossible angle, on the stroke of half time.
Sussex largely dictated play in the second half but there were no further goals. Dave Lambert continued to lead the line superbly and Tom Rogers and James Smith also had chances. Defender Tristram Phipps advanced upfield to narrowly clear the bar in the closing stages.
Result: Sutton United 1 Sussex Representative team 3
Sussex played excellent football in both of their games and thoroughly deserved to retain the title.
Referees Graham Wilkins (Berks & Bucks FA), Andrew Kowalski and Adam Hughes (both Middlesex FA) controlled the day’s proceedings admirably.
Middlesex FA President, John Davies, who presented the trophy to the winning team, rightly praised the quality of football exhibited and the excellent sportsmanship displayed throughout the day.
Mention must also be made of Colin Williams, the Middlesex FA Disability Football Development Officer, who organised the event and Cindi Chatha, Colin’s Essex FA counterpart, who assisted him on the day. Our thanks are also due to the Rectory Park Centre staff for their usual wonderful support.