The last 2 matches of the 25 Cup competitions organised by Middlesex FA this season, were contested at Rectory Park, on Sunday, 22nd May. They were the finals of our Under 15 and Under 16 Cups.
Our second game of the day and the last one of our season was the Graham Rigby U16 Cup Final between Ruislip Rangers Reds and Isleworthians Youth Reds.
The U16 Cup was first played for during the 1971-72 season, when it was won by Oxford & Kilburn FC. Because of the pandemic, this is the first final in the competition to be played since 2019.
68 teams entered this season.
Ruislip Rangers Reds received a bye in round 1 and then reached the final by overcoming Ruislip Rangers Clarets 3-1 at home in round 2, Ickenham Youth Bucks in a penalty shoot-out after a 3-3 draw at home in round 3, Whetstone Wanderers Youth Jaguars in another penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw at home in round 4, Northwood Youth Red 5-1 away in the quarter-final and Wembley Youth Red 3-0 at home in the semi-final.
Isleworthians Youth Reds also received a bye in round 1 and then beat Celtic Red 2-0 at home in round 2, FC Starz Red 6-0 away in round 3, Brunswick Red 8-1 at home in round 4, Enfield Borough Youth Panthers in a penalty shoot-out after a goalless home game in the quarter final and Enfield Borough Youth Leopards 2-0 away in the semi-final.
Ruislip Rangers Reds play in the Wycombe & South Bucks Minor League and Isleworthians Youth Reds in the Surrey Youth League Premier Division.
The duration of matches in this cup is 40 minutes each way.
As expected, the afternoon was very warm under a clear blue sky. This was ideal for watching but not for playing and this eventually took its toll on the players. Despite the referee ordering drinks breaks and water being freely available during the increasingly frequent stoppages, some of the players were showing signs of fatigue, as the game progressed. There were many cases of cramp. The match contained comparatively little goalmouth action and was won by a single goal, scored by Ruislip Rangers midway through the first half. This victory gave Ruislip Rangers the distinction of being the first club to win this cup 4 times.
The pre-match presentations
The start of the match was marred by an unfortunate accident. Henry Christie-Shand of Isleworthians was injured making a tackle on Alexander Grant, for which he was cautioned. Unfortunately, after a lengthy period of treatment on the pitch, he was unable to continue.
Henry Christie-Shand is unable to continue
Alexander Grant shoots...
Alexander Grant finished Rangers’ first serious attack with a low shot which Isleworthians keeper, Roan Strong pushed away for a corner.
At the other end, Isleworthians’ top scorer, Kieran Collins, did well to keep the ball in play and made progress up the wing. He passed to Eshan Ahmed, whose shot was too high.
Zain Sutterwalla put Rangers ahead, from close range after 20 minutes.
Zain Sutterwalla scores for Ruislip Rangers
Oliver Duffau (15) in a good position...
Isleworthians’ striker, Oliver Duffau worked himself into a good position but decided to pass to Kieran Collins, rather than shoot. Kieran’s shot was wide.
...passes to Kieran Collins (9), who shoots wide
Joe Povey-Donohoe, Isleworthians’ set-piece specialist, put a long free- kick into the Ruislip penalty area but Sandahlu Pereira’s header cleared the bar.
Kian Hyland beats the keeper to the ball...
Rangers’ Kian Hyland beat the keeper to a through ball but his lob missed the target.
Joe Povey-Donohoe tried a shot from 30 yards but was too high.
Rangers’ Joe Reade went close with an overhead kick, following a rebound off of a defender.
Joe Reade goes close with an overhead kick
Joe Povey-Donohoe cleared the Ruislip Rangers’ bar again, with a free kick from a central position, 30 yards out.
Half time score: Ruislip Rangers Reds 1 Isleworthians Youth Reds 0
Ruislip Rangers’ Danny Rainbird was off target with a long free kick from wide on the right.
Kieran Collins hit a shot from 25 yards, over the Rangers’ crossbar. He then fed Matthew Hyde, whose low shot was saved by Harry Danns. Sandahlu’s long shot was also saved by Harry.
There was a lengthy break in play because of an injury to Rangers’ Danny Rainbird, who developed a nosebleed.
Oliver Duffau broke clear through the middle but he was thwarted by Harry Danns.
Oliver Duffau is thwarted by Harry Danns
Play was becoming ragged and subject to stoppages, due to injuries and cramp.
The Isleworthians’ keeper, Roan Strong beat Kian Hyland to Fraser Benn’s long ball. Then Alexander Grant’s drive was too high.
Harry Danns saved a low shot from Jordan Renner-Thomas.
A goal, from either side, was now looking increasingly unlikely, especially with both goalkeepers so dominant when they were called upon. So, unsurprisingly the score remained unchanged, despite the fact that the referee allowed more than ten minutes added time.
Final score: Ruislip Rangers Reds 1 Isleworthians Youth Reds 0
Experienced referee, Andy Kowalski was excellent throughout and handled the match sensibly and sympathetically. He received good support from his colleagues. I was very pleased to see that my old friend, Nick Andrea is still going strong.
The match officials and team captains
The Guest of Honour was Middlesex FA President, John Davies. John was introduced to the members of both teams and the match officials before the match and presented the Cup and personal mementoes afterwards. He chose Zain Sutterwaller as Player of the Match.
Ruislip Rangers Reds: Harry Danns, Danny Rainbird, Jeremy Scholz, Requane Kirunda, Ethan Morgan, Jack Campbell, Joe Reade, Fraser Benn, Kian Hyland, Alexander Grant and Zain Sutterwalla.
Rolling substitutes: Raphael Farrar, Muhammed Hussain, Asha Blaize, Milan Walker and Gio Haddad.
Manager: Rob Benn
Isleworthians Youth Reds: Roan Strong, Matthew Hyde, Alex Weir, Henry Christie-Shand, Gov Merbay, Ashly Williams, Jordan Renner-Thomas, Oliver Duffau, Joe Povey-Donohoe, Kieran Collins and Sandahlu Pereira.
Rolling substitutes: Luca Myers, Nicholas Schutter, Tom Reid, Finn Peacock and Eshan Ahmed.
Manager: Julian Renner-Thomas
Referee: Andy Kowalski Assistant Referees: Anthony Morris and Nick Andrea Fourth Official: Melkamu.Anshebo
We would like to end the final match report of the 2021/22 season with a message of thanks to both Chris Benn & Jim Taylor, who have been hard at work all season, covering games across not only the County, but the Country. This has seem them travel down to Dorset, up to Hertford Town and across to Milwall, covering, not only Middlesex County Cup matches, but the many successes of our local clubs, including promotions for Hanwell Town, Southall, and the culmination of a remarkable season for Hanworth Villa, who went the whole season unbeaten in League Action. As with all of these reports, Chris & Jim have spent some time handpicking their favourite shots from this match. These can be seen throughout the report, Chris has also very kindly provided a full album of his imagery.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn