MFA Full back slips the ball past the goalkeepr to extend the lead.


Jim Taylor
Our Under 18 players resumed their South East Counties Youth Championship programme against Bedfordshire last Sunday.

Our Under 18 players resumed their South East Counties Youth Championship programme last Sunday, 19th January, at Rectory Park their counterparts from Bedfordshire. They recovered their devastating early season form and almost banished the memories of their FA County Youth Cup exit, with a very convincing 5-0 victory. The score-line did not flatter Middlesex, who would have scored even more goals but for an outstanding display by visiting goalkeeper, Adi Connolly. Adi not only performed numerous fine saves but also showed commendable courage in diving at the feet of our rampaging strikers on several occasions.


This victory means that a draw in our last Group A match, away to Northamptonshire on Sunday, 16th February will ensure our place in the final against the winners of Group A. It looks likely that this will be Sussex, who also need just a draw in their concluding Group match, against London, also on 16th February.


We dominated possession from the start and had some early chances. Khalil Francis was prominent and skimmed the bar after being set up by Bryant Okono Bilongo. Adi Connolly then saved at Ryan Morgan’s feet, from Khalil’s cross.


Trevan Robinson made several penetrating runs up the left wing. He was tripped in a wide position and Adi saved the resultant free kick from Teo Kurtaran low down. Then Khalil again went close with a long drive and Adi gathered Teo’s free kick after Trevan had again been illegally stopped.


A long shot from Teo was taken high up by Adi Connolly and a drive by Ryan Morgan crashed against the visitors’ crossbar.


We eventually scored in the 20th minute, through Albi Balaj, whose long shot evaded Adi’s finger tips on its way into the top corner of the goal.


Although the game continued to follow much the same pattern, no further goals were scored before the half time break. Bryant made a great run which ended with Khalil firing wide from close range.


In a rare Bedfordshire attack, our keeper, Eric Negraru was called into action, diving at Josiah Ramsey’s feet.

Khalil made a great run through the middle and went down, under pressure, in the penalty area. Referee Andy Kowalski, who handled the match very well, ruled against a spot kick.


Adi Connolly made saves, low down from Lonit Talla and high from Ryan Morgan, palming the ball for a corner. Then Ryan nodded the ball through to Khalil, whose shot was too high.


Eric Negraru’s last contribution to the match, before handing over to Harry Cawdron at half time, saw him saving at Flynn Knowles’ feet.


With half time approaching, Trevan was tripped on the edge of the penalty box but Teo’s free kick cleared the bar.


Half time score: Middlesex 1 Bedfordshire 0


Manager John Fletcher changed his formation after the interval and introduced some of his substitutes. One of them, Kevin Nyarko, made an immediate impact. He won the ball, took it wide and hit it low across the goal area. Nobody managed to get a touch. Then his low shot from Lonit’s pass was tipped wide.


Our long awaited second goal arrived in the 60th minute, when Kevin netted from close range, after the keeper had stopped Albi’s shot.


This opened the flood gates and within another 11 minutes, we were 5-0 ahead. After Felix Amoah’s low drive had been pushed around the post, Lonit added our third goal in the 67th minute, with a low cross shot which went in off of the ironwork.


Within a minute, Kevin intercepted a clearance and beat Adi Conolly with a low shot. Our 5th goal followed almost immediately, through Bryant, assisted by Trevan.


Although we didn’t add to our score, we continued to dominate. This was a performance to relish. We had further improved as the match progressed and had finally overwhelmed a good Bedfordshire side, who to their credit, never gave up the fight


Final score: Middlesex 5 Bedfordshire 0


Match Statistics:






On target

















Middlesex: Eric Negraru (Uxbridge), Bryant Okono Bilongo (Hanworth Villa), Albi Balaj (Hanwell Town), Teo Kurtaran (Hanworth Villa) (capt), Declan Skura (Hanworth Villa), Michael Koscien (Edgware Town), Hassan Habimana (Hanworth Villa), Lonit Talla (Uxbridge), Kahlil Francis (Edgware Town), Ryan Morgan (Wealdstone) and Trevan Robinson (Hanwell Town).


Substitutes (rolling substitutions were used and everyone contributed: Harry Cawdron (Hanworth Villa) (kept goal for second half), Felix Amoah (Edgware Town), Connor Manning, Kevin Nyarko (both Hanworth Villa) and Jack Warburton (Wealdstone).


Manager: John Fletcher Assistant Manager: Darrel Gyngell Coaches: Vince Purdue and Danny Gyngell Physio: Gary Strudwick


Bedfordshire: Adi Connolly (Leverstock Green), Dylan Fitzpatrick (AFC Dunstable), Kieran Floyd (Crawley Green and Stotfold), Adam Tilson (AFC Dunstable), Hayden Scantlebury (Barton Rovers and Hitchin Town), Josh Dooley (AFC Dunstable), Callum Shortt (Kempston Rovers), Ben Moore (Shefford Town and Campton) (capt), Pemiwa Aderoju (Bedford Futsal), Josiah Ramsay (AFC Dunstable) and Lucas Preston (Leverstock Green).


Substitutes: George Onwunsonye (Crawley Green), Chukwudi Nwankwo (Stotfold), Flynn Knowles (Kempston Rovers) and Jurgen Neziri (Crawley Green and Luton Borough).


Manager: Josh Spavins Coaches: Marc Di Carlo and Ollie Watton.


Referee: Andy Kowalski Assistant Referees: Andy Tooley and Daniel Harvey (all Middlesex FA).



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