The Quarter Final matches of The FA Sunday Cup took place on Sunday last 6th March. Our roving team of Chris Benn (photographer) and Jim Taylor (reporter) travelled to Hertford Town FC’s pleasant Hertingfordbury Park ground for Highgate Albion’s home game against Club Lewsey.
Highgate Albion had beaten Burghfield FC, from Reading, 2-0 in the 3rd Round of the competition and had received walk-overs in Round 1 (v Skew Bridge) and Round 2 (v Falcons). Club Lewsey, from Luton, had won a penalty shoot-out against St Josephs (Luton), following a 3-3 away draw in Round 1. They then won 3-0 at Wixams Wanderers in Round 2 and 2-0 at home to St Josephs (Watford) in Round 3.
Highgate Albion deservedly won a fiercely fought match and in doing so, played some superb football on the 3G surface. After surviving some early pressure, they took the lead in the 11th minute and doubled it on the stroke of half time. They then scored a 3rd goal in the opening minute of the second period. Club Lewsey pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, in the 63rd minute and then briefly enjoyed their best spell of the match. Albion netted their fourth goal in the 73rd minute and then proceeded to run riot, cutting through the visiting defence at will for the remainder of the game.
Club Lewsey went onto the offensive from the kick-off and forced 2 quick corners. They put pressure on the Highgate Albion goalkeeper, Alex Gauriloaia, who punched the first corner away. However, he took a hefty blow in the melee following the second one. There was a lengthy delay while he recovered and was supplied with a new jersey to replace his original bloodstained garment. He bravely continued, to withstand some more robust treatment.
Albion keeper Alexandru Gauriloaia is injured
Albion went ahead through a good counter attack in the 11th minute. The move was finished by Solomon Ofori, cutting in at speed from the right.
Solomon Ofori scores Albion's first goal...
Highgate Albion continued to make chances. Jake Cass shot on the turn from Akram Mohamed’s pass but cleared the cross bar. Solomon, who was giving Club Lewsey a lot of problems on the right, made another penetrating run and cut in but shot into the side netting. Hamza Semakula was also prominent and fired a shot across goal, just missing the far post.
Club Lewsey hit back and central striker, Nathan Fraser stung Alex Gauriloaia’s hands with a well struck low drive.
Jake Cass was now getting into his stride and becoming increasingly prominent in Highgate Albion’s attacks. He was twice brought down just outside the Club Lewsey penalty area. Keeper Mark Blower saved the first resulting free kick from Hamza and the second, taken by Jake, skimmed the bar.
Alex Guariloaia left his penalty area to head clear and break up a visiting attack.
Jake Cass (8) leaps to head Albion's second goal
Jake Cass increased Albion’s lead in the 45th minute, when he outjumped the defence to head home Solomon Ofori’s corner kick.
Score at half time: Highgate Albion 2 Club Lewsey 0
Highgate Albion’s situation further improved immediately after the interval. A diagonal kick straight from the kick off was headed out to Hamza, who was fouled just outside the penalty box. He took the free kick and found the corner of the net via a fumble by the keeper.
Hamza Semakula's free kick for Albion's third goal
Kyle Lincoln reduced the arrears from the penalty spot, following a foul on Liam Brooks in a goalmouth melee.
Kyle Lincoln (far right) scores from the spot for Club Lewsey
This encouraged the visitors, who pressed Albion for a while. Liam Brooks went on a run and forced Alexandru into a low save. The keeper then tipped a header from Alisan Ann, from Newman Carney’s corner kick, over his cross bar.
Alexandru Gauriloaia tips a header over his crossbar
Jake Cass scored Albion’s 4th goal, in the 73rd minute, in spectacular fashion. He ran through the defence, burst into the box and drove the ball into the top left corner of the net.
Jake Cass embarked on another dangerous foray and was brought down. The keeper saved Solomon Ofori’s free kick. The rebound went to Jake, who netted but was adjudged offside.
Solomon Ofori scored Albion’s 5th goal and his 2nd in the 81st minute, capitalising on some good approach work by Billy Hayes.
Solomon Ofori hits Albion's fifth goal
There were several more near misses for Albion, including Solomon hitting the goal frame with an angled shot and Mark Blower saving well from Jake, before the latter completed his hat-trick with another spectacular drive high into the net, in the 88th minute.
Jake Cass completes his hat trick
Referee, Michael Ryan and his two colleagues kept an impressively firm grip on the proceedings.
Final Score: Highgate Albion 6 Club Lewsey 1
HIGHGATE ALBION: Alexandru Gauriloaia, Robert Magwood, Kyle Brindle, Pele Riley (Billy Hayes 60 mins), Ian Maitland (capt), Aaron Scott, Solomon Ofori, Akram Mohamed (Hassan Sheikh 73) , Jake Cass, Hamza Semakula and Tage Kennedy (Adam Tripp 79).
Unused Substitutes: Akinola Payoyin, Excellence Muhemba, Recce Lambert and Jayden Clarke.
Manager: Adam Shahein.
CLUB LEWSEY: Mark Blower, Adam Hughes (Moses Olaleye 46) , Kyle Lincoln, Ryan Frater (capt), Newman Carney, Alisan Ann, Leon Cashman, Damon Pickering, Nathan Fraser (Graham Clarke 50) , Jordan Mongey (Courtney Massay 74) and Liam Brooks.
Unused Substitutes: Mitchell Howe (goalkeeper), Jake Kissiedu, Jordan Boyce Fuller and Callum Frater.
Manager: Mark Pontefract.
Referee: Michael Ryan Assistant Referees: Derrick Laing and Alex Mathieson.
Highgate Albion have drawn Mayfair FC from Liverpool in the semi-final. The match will be played at a venue to be arranged by the FA, on Sunday, 27th March.
As ever we thank Chris & Jim for giving up their time, and making the reasonable drive to Hertfordshire, as always they have selected their favourite shots from the match, which can be found across this report. Chris has also very kindly supplied us with a full album of imagery.
Chris & Jim’s Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn