The Sunday Intermediate Cup final, the sixth of this season’s Middlesex FA finals, was contested on Sunday last, 10th April at Northwood FC’s excellent Fenton Civil Engineering Stadium. The competing teams, Ashford Town (Middlesex) Sunday and Highgate Albion 2nds, came from opposite ends of the County. Our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter), attended the match.
30 teams entered the competition this season.
Ashford Town (Middlesex) Sunday had progressed to the final, after being drawn away in every round. They beat AFC Grove 2-1 in round 1, West Drayton 3-2 in round 2, AFC Rose Blue 2-0 in the quarter-final and Ruislip Rangers 2-0 in the semi-final. They currently play in the Leatherhead and District League Division 2.
Highgate Albion 2nds beat United House (H) 3-1 in round 1. They then required penalty shoot-outs to overcome FC Beaconsfield (H) after a 2-2 draw in round 2 and Larkspur Rovers Sunday Reserves (A) after another 2-2 draw in the quarter-final. They then beat Whetstone Wanderers U23 (H) 2-0 in the semi-final. They are members of the Barnet Sunday League Division 1.
Play flowed rapidly from one end to other in this hard-fought and very enjoyable cup final. Highgate Albion scored the only goal of the first half, added to it midway through the second period and appeared to be coasting to victory. However, with 15 minutes left, a goalkeeping error allowed Ashford Town to pull a goal back. Highgate Albion then restored their two goal advantage but they conceded again in the 2nd minute of added time. They then had to survive the remaining 7 minutes of added time.
Ashford Town were the first to mount a meaningful attack. Spencer Murphy made a run into the Highgate penalty area. He was dispossessed and the ball ran loose. Following the goalmouth melee that developed, Aaron Fraser placed the ball wide. Next, a long-range effort from Town’s James Sutherland brought a diving save from Jonti Purdom.
Luke Fitzgerald (10) heads just over the bar
When it was Highgate’s turn to attack, Luke Fitzgerald got his head to a free kick from out wide by Lee Flynn and just cleared the crossbar. Then Lee Scott had a good chance to put his side ahead in the 14th minute, when he was put through but he shot wide.
Lee Scott (5) shoots wide from a good position
Striker Darren Butler, who never stopped working and who had an outstanding match for Ashford, dispossessed a defender and let fly from around 25 yards, just clearing the Highgate bar.
Luke Fitzgerald headed a cross home in the 19th minute, to give Highgate Albion the lead.
Luke Fitzgerald heads Albion into the lead
Ashford hit back. Albion keeper, Jonti Purdon just beat Spencer Murphy to a through ball to kick clear. Darren Butler then set up Spencer but Jonti saved low down. Darren burst through the middle of the defence but was thwarted by a timely tackle from Shane McNamara. Kevin Karanja made ground and got the ball to Aaron Fraser who placed his shot wide.
Highgate Albion’s skipper, Daniel Glaude, who had attracted the referee’s attention earlier, was cautioned for a bad tackle and seemed to be walking on thin ice. He was substituted ten minutes after halftime.
The last scoring attempt of the first half was made by Albion’s Luke Fitzgerald, who fastened onto a free kick into the box and skimmed the bar with his drive.
Half time score: Ashford Town (Middx) Sunday 0 Highgate Albion 2nds 1
Albion’s Joe Seabrook bustled through the Town defence but was stopped by central defender Oskar Prokop’s last-ditch tackle.
Town pushed for an equaliser and had a succession of corners and also a very dangerous free kick, just outside the penalty box on the goal line, which was headed over the cross bar by a defender for a corner. Matthew Butler tested Jonti Purdom from 35 yards and the keeper saved at the feet of Rob Martyn Jones, after a run by Darren Butler.
Alfie Francis puts Albion 2-0 ahead
However, Highgate Albion doubled their lead in the 66th minute, when their top scorer, Alfie Francis pounced on a rebound, following a save by the Ashford keeper.
Max MacLeod dispossesses the Albion keeper...
Ashford Town pulled a goal back in the 76th minute. Max Macleod robbed the keeper, who appeared to be trying to dribble the ball clear and Darren Butler placed the ball into the empty net.
...and Darren Butler reduces the deficit
Six minutes later, Alfie Francis restored Albion’s two goal margin by netting to finish a good team move.
Alfie Francis (9) makes it 3-1
Ashford Town received a further set back, when Josh Murphy was sent to the “sin-bin” for 10 minutes for dissent. Nevertheless, they kept pressing and Kevin Karanja was brought down in a central position, just outside the Albion box. Spencer Murphy lobbed the free kick just over the bar.
Darren Butler nets Ashford's second goal
Darren Butler scored his and Ashford Town’s second goal, from close range, in the second minute of added time. The nearest that Town came to equalising in the remaining additional time was in the very last minute. Oskar Prokop fired the free kick over the bar after Spencer Murphy had been fouled outside the Highgate penalty area.
Final Score: Ashford Town (Middx) Sunday 2 Highgate Albion 2nds 3
Referee Fadi Mansour had a very good match. He was well supported by his Assistant Referees.
The match officials and team captains
In the unfortunate absence of the chosen Guest of Honour, Middlesex FA Councillor, Steve Reuter, who was unwell, the duties were shared between Chief Executive, Leigh O’Connor and Chairman, John Taylor. Leigh was introduced to the players and match officials prior to the kick off and John presented the Cup and mementoes at the end of the game. John chose Highgate Albion striker, Alfie Francis as Player of the Match.
Our grateful thanks are once again given to the Northwood FC management, for allowing us the use of their splendid facilities for this final and also for their invaluable help on the day. The attendance was 173.
Ashford Town (Middlesex) Sunday: Luke Munns, Luke Tomany, Jay Guttridge, Oskar Prokop, Rob Martyn Jones (capt), James Sutherland, Spencer Murphy, Darren Butler, Aaron Fraser, Kevin Karanja and Jon Lloyd.
Rolling substitutes: Callan Campbell, Max Macleod, Josh Murphy, Reagan Bamford and Matthew Butler.
Manager: Gary Tomany Coaches: Angela Tomany and Scott Cartwright.
Highgate Albion 2nds: Jonti Purdom, Shane McNamara, Lee Scott, Lee Flynn, Tony Dowsett, Daniel Glaude (capt), Luke Fitzgerald, Joe Killingback, Tre Thompson, Joe Seabrook and Ryan Clarke.
Rolling substitutes: Alfie Francis, Ashley Drey, Ramie Rifat, Jon McNamara and Luke Morgan.
Manager: Michael Slowey Coaches: Paul Reid and Sam McMullen.
Referee: Fadi Mansour Assistant Referees: Darren Fenner and Mark Jolley. 4th Official: Arles Henriquez Ulloque.
We thank Chris & Jim for joining us on a pleasant Spring morning at Northwood, they have selected their favourite shots from the game, as shown throughout the report. Chris has also very kindly provided a full album of imagery from the game.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full album courtesy of Chris Benn