MFA Photographer, Chris Benn focussed on the semi-final of the Middlesex Junior Cup between Springfield and Hayes & Hillingdon, at West Hendon Playing Fields, on Saturday last, 5th June.
This proved to be a very good choice. Those of us fortunate to be present were treated to an entertaining, hard fought, sometimes explosive semi-final, between two very good sides. In common with many of the Middlesex FA Cup matches which Chris and I have visited since lockdown was eased, it emphasised the wisdom of the Adults Cup Sub-committee’s decision to continue with their competitions. Both teams gave everything and strained every sinew to progress to the final. It really was a pity that there had to be a loser.
Referee, Mark Jacob, kept a cool head throughout and controlled the match impeccably, ignoring the “advice” which he received from the side-lines. He successfully diffused the potential flashpoints. Mark was ably assisted by his colleagues, Ricky Ansher and Vishaal Patel.
Springfield’s path to the semi-finals had been impressive. They beat Wilberforce Wanderers 1-0 away in round 1, and then recorded home wins against Indian Gymkhana Reserves (4-0 in round 2) and Southall Athletic (7-1 in the quarter-final). Hayes & Hillingdon received a bye in round 1, and then beat OIR away, in a penalty shoot-out, following a 2-2 draw. They beat London Titans 5-3 at home, in the quarter finals.
Following some early pressure, Springfield took the lead in the 5th minute, with a well struck long shot from Daniel Horgan. Jamie Somers had a good chance to increase this lead but his shot passed just wide of the far post.
Daniel Horgan (#22) strikes the ball perfectly to put Springfield 1-0 up...
However, Springfield did score again in the 25th minute. After a tremendous scramble in the Hayes & Hillingdon goal area, the ball was forced into the net. Conor Roach had the last touch for Springfield.
...the ball finishing it's journey into the net
The visitors manufactured several openings in the first half but could not capitalise on any of them. The nearest that they came to scoring was in the 40th minute, when home keeper, Roberto Beschizza’s foot denied Ryan Lloyd, who had raced clear of the defence.
David Callanan pulls a goal back for Hayes & Hillingdon
Hayes & Hillingdon pressed at the start of the second half and Danny McDonnell forced Roberto into a good low save.
Springfield captain, Liam O’Brien released Harte Aidan, who put the chance over the crossbar.
The visitors reduced the arrears after 70 minutes, with a goal which was very similar to Springfield’s second one. David Callanan forced the ball home, following a goalmouth scramble.
Then Roberto Beschizza saved bravely at David Callanan’s feet to temporarily deny him an equaliser. However, David was not to be denied and in the 86th minute, he headed home a cross from the right.
David Callanan leaps to equalise for Hayes & Hillingdon
Score after 90 minutes: Springfield 2 Hayes & Hillingdon 2
The quality of the kicks in the penalty shoot out was exceptional. The first 9 kicks were all successful. Thomas Waters, Aiden Lynam, Daniel Horgan, Liam Holly and Frank Lynam all scored for Springfield. However, the Hayes and Hillingdon keeper, Daniel Corbyn did well to get a hand to Daniel Horgan’s shot but he couldn’t prevent it crossing his goal-line.
Roberto Beschizza dives to his right to save brilliantly from Hayes & Hillingdon's Danny McDonnell in the penalty shoot out...
David Callanan, Connor Goodliffe, Luke Jones and Reece Woolmore netted for Hayes & Hillingdon before Roberto Beschizza dived to his right to save brilliantly from Danny McDonnell’s well struck kick.
...the congratulations start
Result of Penalty shoot-out: Springfield 5 Hayes & Hillingdon 4
The other Middlesex Junior Cup semi-final finished Hillingdon Abbots Seniors 2 Kulture Klub Athletic 3. The final is scheduled for Saturday, 19 June (ko 4pm).
Our official photographer Chris Benn, as ever, has provided some fantastic imagery from the game. If using these photos please give credit.
Chris has selected 10 highlight images which can be found here
Readers wishing to view the full gallery of images can find these here