North Greenford United's Under-18s become the first winners in 2019's County Cup finals.
The Middlesex FA 2019 Cup Final programme commenced in fine style at the Beveree, home of Hampton & Richmond Borough FC, on Wednesday 6 March. This opening match, for the Jeff Ritson Senior Youth Cup, was contested by the Under-18 squads of North Greenford United FC and Bedfont Sports FC.
Jeff Ritson, a former President of Middlesex Youth FA, was an iconic figure and an enthusiastic and tireless worker for youth football in the County. He would have been very pleased with the cup final that was produced in his name this season. It was a very watchable, skilful and hard-fought game, played at a tremendous pace throughout.
Before the kick-off a very well observed silence was held in memory of the much-respected former South Middlesex Referees Society Training Officer, Tom Croad, who sadly passed away on 28 February.
Bedfont Sports took the lead in the fifth minute. An incisive run by Isaac Thompson provided Jay Reader with the opportunity to place the ball just inside the post, wide of keeper Lewis Dean’s right hand.
This lead lasted less than three minutes before the speedy North Greenford striker, Milo McNulty, eluded his markers to gleefully hit the ball past Devon Gordon.
Two goals in the first eight minutes of the match indicated that the game might become a goal-fest. However, it was not to be! Both defences then took a firm grip on proceedings and there was no further scoring during the originally allotted ninety minutes. Despite some promising passing movements in midfield, particularly by Bedfont Sports, for whom Isaac Thompson was outstanding, solid defending ensured that neither goalkeeper was seriously tested.
After the early goals, the best scoring chances in the first half went to Bedfont Sports. A last-ditch tackle on Chris Sawyer by defender Michael Adjei prevented a seemingly certain score and a well struck shot by Jay Reader, from Didi Nbombe’s cross, was kept out by ‘keeper Lewis Dean’s feet.
William Plummeridge marshalled the Bedfont defence extremely competently. However, he was cautioned in the 12th minute for a hefty tackle.
Half-Time Score: North Greenford United U18s 1 Bedfont Sports U18s 1
It was much the same story in the second-half. Excellent defensive work ensured that, despite the intense midfield battle that took place, the respective custodians were only occasionally troubled.
A low drive by Bedfont’s Isaac Thompson was narrowly side. A free-kick, taken by skipper Joe Mills from a dangerous position at the side of the penalty area, failed to find any North Greenford heads. United ‘keeper Lewis Dean’s feet kept Didi Nbombe’s low shot out. Another free-kick by Joe Mills brought a diving save from Devon Gordon.
Referee Steve Conway brought the first 90 minutes to a close shortly after Isaac Thompson’s free-kick had been deflected for a corner.
Score After 90 Minutes: North Greenford United U18s 1 Bedfont Sports U18s 1
Unsurprisingly, scoring opportunities arose more frequently in extra time, as the players tired. Some of them suffered with cramp.
A penetrative five player move by Bedfont Sports ended with ‘keeper Lewis Dean saving comfortably.
three minutes of extra-time, Bedfont regained the lead. Didi Nbombe was brought down in the penalty area, took the kick himself and scored.
Then Lewis Dean saved well, low down from Bedfont’s Ryan Snook. A low shot from Joe Mills was saved by Devon Gordon with his feet. Lewis positioned himself well for a fierce drive from Isaac Thompson.
A back pass to Lewis Dean produced an indirect free-kick to Bedfont Sports in the North Greenford penalty area. The resulting brief melee ended with the ball being fired over the cross bar.
North Greenford equalised seconds before the change of ends, through substitute Mark Webb, who took the ball up the middle before slipping it past the outcoming Devon Gordon.
Then Mark Webb went close, after being released for a raid up the right by Kai Brosnon. Bedfont skipper, Jordan Clark hurt himself in turning sharply to tackle Mark and had to briefly leave the field for attention.
North Greenford’s Milo McNulty talked himself into a caution for dissent.
Then, the ever dangerous Didi Nbombe’s shot, from Ryan Snook’s pass was saved by Lewis Dean.
Kai Brosnon won the game for North Greenford United in the 28th minute of extra-time, with a headed goal from a cross from the left. He was unmarked, a situation that certainly wouldn’t have occurred earlier in the match.
Didi Nbombe was set up by Jordan Clarke, during the two minutes added at the end of extra-time but was stopped by a timely interception.
Final Score: North Greenford United U18s 3 Bedfont Sports U18s 2
Experienced referee Steven Conway controlled the match very well, assisted by his equally experienced assistants, Paul Savva and David Lea. Fourth official David Tsenti also played his part, particularly with his impressive wielding of the electronic substitutes board.
The Guest of Honour, Middlesex FA Chairman John Taylor, presented the medals and the cup at the conclusion of the match. John chose the talented all-action Bedfont Sports midfielder, Isaac Thompson, as Player of the Match.
Our grateful thanks are due to Hampton & Richmond for allowing us the use of their superb facilities and for their excellent hospitality during the evening. The attendance, on a wet evening, was a gratifying 230 brave souls.
NORTH GREENFORD UNITED
Lewis Dean, Michael Adjei, Ariwajoye Agbede, Lewis Crowley, Liam Bakry, Franki Pashias, Dillon De Abajo, Charles John, Joe Mills (capt), Milo McNulty and Kai Brosnon
Substitutes: Mark Webb (for Franki Pashias 73 minutes), Kieran O’Donoghue (for Dillon De Abajo 82), Kyroe Chaplin-Cole (for Ariwajoye Agbede 106), Kian Martin and Alex Gibbs (Goalkeeper) (both unused)
Manager: Colin Jones
Coaches: Paul Mills and Andy Martin
Physio: Mark Warwick
Devon Gordon, Patrick Kavanagh, Troy Reader, Patrick Quinn, Will Plummeridge, Jordan Clark (capt), Isaac Thompson, Chris Sawyer, Jay Reader, Harry Lal and Didi Ndombe
Substitutes: Reiss Spencer (for Jay Reader 55 minutes), Ryan Snook (for Chris Sawyer 62), Luca Robinson, Frank Church and Steve Kamgoue (goalkeeper) (all unused)
Manager: Stewart Brown Assistant Manager: Mark Osborne Physio: Maria Serpant
Referee: Steven Conway Assistant Referees: Paul Savva and David Lea Fourth Official: David Tsenti