The Middlesex FA Sunday Junior Cup final was contested on Sunday, 2nd April at Green Lane, the home of CB Hounslow United FC. The teams involved were CP Royals, who play in the Harrow Sunday Challenge League and Sheen Park Rangers of the Southern Sunday League. CP Royals were formed in 2021 while Sheen Park Rangers have been in existence since 1981,
The Sunday Junior Cup was first competed for in the 1968-69 season, when it was won by Harefield FC.
32 teams entered the competition for the current season (a nice tidy number for a cup – no byes necessary in the first round).
CP Royals reached the final by beating AFC Heathrow Sunday 11-0 (H) in round 1, FC Cricklewood 6-1 (A) in round 2, Highgate Albion 4ths 2-1 (H) in the quarter-final and North West Jets 1-0 (H) in the semi-final.
Sheen Park Rangers beat Hare & Hounds 3-2 (A) in round 1, received a walk-over against FC Burnham Village in round 2 and then won against Middlesex Arms 4-2 (A) in the quarter-final and Larkspur Rovers Sunday Reserves 4-1 (A) in the semi-final.
Both teams were obviously determined to enjoy the occasion. They had both beaten some good teams enroute to the final and were both “up for it”. To quote the Sheen Park Rangers’ manager, “It is probably safe to say that in our 42 years as a club, this game is the biggest in our history”. He went on to say that, whatever happened, his team would give it everything they had.
CP Royals were obviously of the same mind and the teams produced a hard-fought, exhilarating match, which was played in a good spirit. However, the defences were generally on top and a lot of the attempts on goal were long range ones. Sheen Park Rangers eventually won 2-0, with a goal in each half, the first from a freekick and the second from the penalty spot.
Tom O'Brien (crouching) heads over from a corner
Sheen Park Rangers’ Michael O’Brien had the first attempt on goal but his shot went over the Royals’ crossbar. Rangers continued the attack and Steve Kettle took the ball around keeper, Joe Mooney but his subsequent shot was charged down and went for a corner. Tom O’Brien headed over from the subsequent corner kick.
Luke Jerome tried a long-range effort for Royals, which went far too high.
Rangers’ Chris Whitworth headed wide from a long throw-in.
Richard Thomas saves from Bernando da Silva (11)
Royals’ Bernardo da Silva brought a good save from Rangers’ keeper, Richard Thomas, after being released through the middle by Roberto Silva.
Roberto Silva (14) shoots...
Then Richard Thomas dived to tip Roberto’s low drive around his post.
...and Richard Thomas saves
Royals’ keeper, Joe Mooney saved a left-footed drive from Leon Burnett.
The game was halted for a lengthy period after 20 minutes play, following an unfortunate accident to assistant referee, Luke Partington, who injured an ankle. Luke had to be stretchered off. Fourth official, John Noblemunn took over on the line and Cup Final Co-ordinator, Nick Phipps took on the fourth officials’ duties.
Luke Foot of Royals tried a long shot, which went well wide. His team-mate, Jordan Aston Woods, followed suit and was a lot closer.
Michael O'Brien (2) takes a free kick for Rangers...
Sheen Park Rangers took the lead in the 33rd minute. Shahid Qureshi won the ball and was brought down, around 30 yards from goal in a central position. Michael O’Brien hit the freekick into the corner of the net via a defender, who was vainly trying to stop it.
...and scores their first goal
A long-range effort from Royals’ Jay Jarvis was taken by Richard Thomas.
Rangers’ Tom O’Brien set up Leon Burnett, who took the ball around advancing keeper, Joe Mooney. However, Joe managed to regain his position to save Leon’s subsequent shot.
Joe Mooney recovers his position to save from Leon Burnett
Royals’ Luke Jerome made one of several timely interceptions to break up a Rangers’ attack.
Michael O’Brien’s shot from over 30 yards flew wide of the Royals’ goal.
George Dalling was through on the Rangers’ goal but was thwarted by Richard Thomas.
Shahid Qureshi had a good scoring opportunity for Rangers but he shot wide from close range.
Jay Jarvis was felled 35 yards out from the Rangers’ goal. The resulting freekick, taken by Bernardo da Silva was blocked. Then a long range shot by Bernardo was saved by the Rangers’ keeper.
Half-time score: CP Royals 0 Sheen Park Rangers 1
CP Royals took the initiative immediately after the break. Bernardo da Silva made a good run and passed to Jordan Aston Woods, whose shot was blocked. Bernardo embarked on another run but was blocked by Steve Kettle. George Dalling skimmed the bar from around 25 yards. A shot by Bernardo was too high. Then Jordan’s free-kick from wide on the left was taken high up by Richard Thomas.
Joe Mooney made a brave save at Leon Burnett’s feet. Rangers’ Matt Cefai shot too high. Then Leon Burnett was through on goal but was stopped by Luke Jerome, at the expense of a corner.
Michael O’Brien’s freekick, from just outside the box was taken low down by Joe Mooney. Joe then saved a header from Matt Cefai and a shot from Simon Shaw.
Leon Burnett bursts through...
...and is brought down by Joe Mooney...
In the 85th minute, Joe brought down Leon Burnett, who had burst into the penalty box. Tom O’Brien put the kick out of his reach into the top corner of the net for Rangers’ second goal.
...Tom O'Brien converts the penalty
Shahid Qureshi of Sheen Park Rangers and Jay Jarvis of CP Royals, the latter with a curling free-kick, both went close before the final whistle.
Final score: CP Royals 0 Sheen Park Rangers 2
The game was immaculately controlled by referee Sam Gregory. Sam was well supported by his team, including its emergency member, Nick Phipps. The unfortunate injury to Luke Partington threw a shadow over the day for all of us. Luke’s ankle was fractured and it will be in plaster for some time. He has the best wishes of all of us for a speedy return to action.
I performed a dual role for this match. In addition to writing this report, I was privileged to be the Guest of Honour. I was introduced to all 3 teams before the match and had the pleasure of presenting the cup and the individual mementoes afterwards. Another pleasure was selecting the Player of the Match. I chose CP Royals centre back, Luke Jerome, who was a pillar of strength for his team, throughout the 90 minutes.
Player of the Match - Luke Jerome
Our thanks are given to CB Hounslow United FC for the use of their fine facilities and for their kind hospitality on the day.
CP Royals: Joe Mooney, Alfie Devine, Rob Vince Frost, Luke Jerome, Fernando Reis, Jay Jarvis, Luke Foot, George Dalling, Roberto Silva (capt), Bernardo da Silva and Jordan Aston Woods. George Dalling took over as captain, when Roberto Silva was substituted in the 71st minute.
Rolling substitutes: Sidney Burton, Danny Lewis, Bradley Connor, Bradley Foot and Danial Homer.
Manager: Glen Howley Coaches: Tommy Tucker, George Mole and Joe Brown Physio: Shane Perrin
Sheen Park Rangers: Richard Thomas, Theo Cefai, Tom O’Brien (capt), Steve Kettle, Michael O’Brien, Shahid Qureshi, Chris Whitworth, Ade Owolana, Jamie Kilkenny, Matt Cefai and Leon Burnett.
Rolling substitutes: Simon Shaw, Dominic Rice, Nathan Johnson, James Brewster and Jimi Salah.
Manager: Conn McIlvanney Physio: John O’Brien.
Referee: Sam Gregory Assistant Referees: Luke Partington and Pat Klosinski Fourth Official : John Noblemunn.
As ever we thank Chris & Jim for covering the match, they have selected their favourite shots, and Chris has kindly provided a full album of imagery from the match.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn
Photography - Chris Benn