The Quarter Finals of the Middlesex FA’s U12 Girls’ Cup were scheduled for Saturday last 19th February. Our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter) visited the match between Denham United Ladies and Ickenham Youth Hurricanes Girls, played at the former club’s excellent home ground, The Den.
Matches in this competition are 9-a-side and comprise of 2 halves of 30 minutes each. If the scores are level at the end of the 60 minutes, kicks are taken from the penalty spot to decide the winners. Up to 5 substitutes are permitted for each side and they can be used on a roll on/roll off basis.
The match was played on a grey, bitterly cold morning but fortunately for the participants and the enthusiastic audience of parents and supporters, the anticipated rain held off until the closing minutes of the match. The teams playing in the Middlesex U16 Quarter Final on the venue’s adjacent pitch were not so lucky, as the duration of their match was 80 minutes and it then went to a penalty shoot-out.
The players overcame the conditions and produced a very watchable and evenly contested match. Ickenham held a deserved lead at the interval but Denham lasted the pace better and hit back strongly with 3 second half goals. The visitors were handicapped by the fact that they only had nine players available and therefore could not rotate their team.
Ickenham started strongly and took the lead in the 7th minute, through a low shot by Bella Lopez, into the far corner of the net.
Bella Lopes wheels away in jubilation after giving Ickenham the lead
Leona Kwentua was prominent in a spell of Ickenham dominance and had a high shot fly just wide. She then made a threatening run but ran out of space.
Ickenham keeper Paige Lopes foils Zuhal Newman in a one-on-one
Denham came into the game and visiting keeper, Paige Lopes saved from Zuhal Newman and then won a one-on-one situation against her. However, in the 16th minute, Zuhal ran through the middle of the Ickenham defence and blasted the ball home to equalise.
...and scores for Denham United to make it 1-1
Denham’s Abbie McKenzie connected with a corner from Evie Stewart but cleared the cross bar.
Abbie McKenzie (10) clears the bar following a corner
Ickenham regained the lead in the 24th minute. Leona Kwentua took the ball out of her own half and down the wing, before cutting into the box and slipping it past the keeper.
Leona Kwentua (6) puts Ickenham Youth 2-1 ahead
Leona then had a shot from close range turned over the crossbar for a corner.
Half time score: Denham United 1 Ickenham Youth Hurricanes 2
Juanita Bester hit the Ickenham post from an acute angle. Then Leona Kwentua’s shot struck the Denham crossbar.
Juanita Bester (out of picture) makes it 2-2
Denham started to get the better of the exchanges, as the half progressed. Juanita and Zuhal both had shots blocked and a long range effort from Evie was narrowly wide.
Two goals, both scored in the 45th minute, dramatically swung the game in Denham’s favour. Juanita hit an equaliser and then Zuhal took the ball through the Ickenham defence to put her side ahead for the first time.
Zuhal Newman (right-most Denham player) makes it 3-2
Denham continued on the offensive and Ickenham’s Indie Banfield had to make a last-ditch tackle on Zuhal Newman. Zuhal shot just past the post and was then tackled in the act of shooting by Olivia Belle Norden.
Evie Stewart, Zuhal Newman and Abbie McKenzie all had further chances before Zuhal made the game safe with a low shot in the closing minutes,
Final Score: Denham United 4 Ickenham Youth Hurricanes 2
DENHAM UNITED LADIES: Kerry Ragg, Erin Ragg, Jaunita Bester, Evie Stewart, Henny Evans, Isla Slessor, Zuhal Newman, Abbie McKenzie and Miley East.
Substitutes: Brooke Bracey-Thorpe, Roop Mangat, Grace Rowntree, Ruby Mayley and Isobell Dolland.
ICKENHAM YOUTH HURRICANES: Paige Lopes, Amber Abouzeid, Bella Lopes, Elena Seferi, Leona Kwentua, Evie Young, Indie Banfield, Olivia Belle Norden and Edey Kestell.
REFEREE: Amelia Kyriakides, who had a very good game.
Denham United will be away to London Bees WFC Academy Girls in the Semi Final.
As always we say thank you to Chris Benn & Jim Taylor who were out in less than perfect footballing conditions covering this match for us. As usual Chris & Jim have reviewed their exploits and selected their favourite shots from the match that can be seen throughout the report. Chris has kindly provided a full album of imagery alonside this.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn