The Middlesex FA Under-16 squad travelled to Croydon on Sunday last, to play their London FA counterparts in a South East Counties Championship match. Our resulting 7-1 defeat was very disappointing and completely unexpected, especially considering the start that we made
After narrow defeats in their first two matches of the season, against Kent at home (0-1) and the Amateur Football Alliance away (1-2), our players had produced some excellent football to come from behind and beat Essex (3-2) at Aveley in their last game. So, we entered this game with expectations of continuing in the same vein and improving our league position.
Furthermore, London had experienced a very difficult season thus far and were bottom of the table, after losing all three of their matches, conceding 15 goals and scoring 6. However, they had reorganised under their new manager, Francis Aderlye, who had previously been their coach. The methods and superb team spirit that Francis and his management team had introduced into the team were obvious and they should be congratulated on their performance.
Our cause was again not helped by several late withdrawals from the originally named squad, which left us with only two players on the substitutes’ bench.
We got off to a flying start and went ahead in the first minute, through a low drive from Shane McGuiness. London then took the game to us and completely dominated play for the remainder of the first half.
Our hosts levelled the scores in the seventh minute through Andreas Aranganathan, who easily made ground and hit a low shot into the corner of our goal to the right of ‘keeper, Adam Holder, who was unsighted by a hesitant defender.
Andreas put London into the lead in the 20th minute, when he beat Adam Holder and Ibrahim Elhaouari to a bouncing ball, which finished in the net after a collision involving all three players. Andreas was injured and had to receive treatment.
London continued to make chances and Kalan Rock picked his way through our defence to set up Andreas, whose shot was charged down. They were not denied for long and in the 32nd minute, central defender, Georgi Steeds advanced to head a corner home to make the score 3-1.
In the 38th minute, Ibrahim Adi scored from close range after Andreas had found him with an astute pass.
Half-Time Score: London 3 Middlesex 1
We showed some improvement at the start of the second half and took the game to London for a while. A well struck long range effort from Ronan Hutchins was narrowly off target. Then, after some good approach work by Yunas Mohamed, Shane McGuiness was thwarted by the combined efforts of three defenders.
However, London further increased their lead after 54 minutes, through Deshawn Hodge, who hit a spectacular shot, from about 25 yards into the roof of our net.
Two minutes later the London captain, Jonathan Erhabor added a sixth goal, in a goalmouth melee, following a corner.
London continued to make chances. Adam Holder saved well from Deshawn Hodge. Andreas jumped to reach Dwayne Clarke’s cross but couldn’t direct it into the net. Adam did well to push away a fierce free-kick by Georgi Steeds, from just outside the penalty box. However, Georgi was in position to volley home the resulting corner, taken by Dwayne Clarke. This goal came in the 73rd minute.
London had one further good scoring chance before the final whistle but Michael Opoku drove his shot narrowly wide.
Final Score: London 7 Middlesex 1
Our thanks are due to the members of the London FA Representative Team Committee for their usual warm welcome and to the members of AFC Croydon Athletic for allowing us the use of their superb facilities and for their excellent hospitality.
London: Rhys Frederick, Theodore McKenzie (both Bromley), Kalan Rock (Dulwich Hamlet), Daniel Abolorinwa (Hampton & Richmond Borough), Georgi Steeds (Welling United), Jonathan Erhabor (Chipstead) (capt), Treyel Gordon (Bromley), Deshawn Hodge (Dulwich Hamlet), Andreas Aranganathan, Marcos Sablier and Ibrahim Adi (all Bromley)
Substitutes (repeat substitutions were used): Luis Martinez, Dwayne Clarke (both Doverhouse Lions), Ricardo Morrison (Croydon), Michael Opoku (Glebe) and Idris Belazregue (Holmesdale)
Manager: Francis Aderlye
Assistant Manager: Andre Thomas
Coach: Daniel Anthonio
Middlesex: Adam Holder (Textbook Academy), Erion Tola (Belmont), Ayas Kazi (Belmont), Josh Bennett-Chetwynd (Harrow Club), Leo Hill (Potters Bar Town), Ibrahim Elhaouari (Wingate & Finchley), Marco De Rosa (Whitton Wanderers), Ronan Hutchins (Harefield United), Brandon Clarke (Wealdstone), Yunas Mohamed (Uxbridge) and Shane McGuiness (Brentford Development)
Substitutes: Ben Lester (Hayes & Yeading United) and Tyler Taverier-Stuart (Magix)
Manager: Darrel Gyngell
Coach: Wayne Little and Vince Purdue
Physio: Gary Strudwick
Referee: Jason Keen
Assistant Referees: Karl Parker and Nikolai Nikolov (all London FA)
PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM THE GAME, COURTESY OF CHRIS BENN