The semi-finals of this season’s Middlesex Sunday Junior Trophy were played on Sunday last, 26th February. Your roving team covered the match, played on the vast Enfield Playing Fields, on a bitterly cold morning with a biting wind, between Club Internacional de futbol Manresa 24 and Armenian Youth Association. We were warmly welcomed by the players and management of both teams and rewarded with a competitive and entertaining match, played in a sporting spirit. Both clubs were a credit to the Barnet Sunday League, of which they are both members. Before the kick off, the teams and match officials joined in a minute’s applause in tribute to the late John Motson, who had had connections with the League.
30 clubs entered this season’s competition. Inter Manresa reached the semi-finals with impressive away victories over Camden Town Athletic (10-2) and Bedfont FC Dons (4-0), followed by a 4-3 home win over Harefield United Sunday, in the quarter-final. Armenian Youth were given a bye in round 1 and then recorded home victories over Maxwell Pricemann (9-1) and NLR (2-0).
Inter Manresa went ahead late in an evenly contested first half and held their lead until Armenian Youth equalised 30 minutes into the second period. However, with a penalty shoot out threatening, Inter regained their lead and consolidated it with a third goal in added time.
The first scoring attempt came from Inter’s Glenn Nightingale, who fired across the goalmouth.
Then AYA’s Gio Pilides headed Masis Sarakaya’s centre over the crossbar.
Alen Duvarciyan gathers Ruben Bartlett-Antwi's shot
Ruben Bartlett-Antwi of Inter tried a low shot, which was safely gathered by AYA custodian, Alen Duvarciyan.
Play continued to move quickly from end to end. Andy Symeou of AYA had a couple of shots from long range. His first shot just cleared the home crossbar but his second effort got caught in the wind and drifted well wide.
Following a spell of goalmouth action during, which 2 Inter shots were charged down, Ruben Bartlett-Antwi worked past several AYA defenders before he was foiled by the defence. Emmanuel Antwi then shot into the side netting. A flick by Ruben released Shaun Bailey, who fired wide.
Ruben puts Inter 1-0 ahead
Ruben Bartlett-Antwi finished a good move by netting from close range, to put Inter ahead after 39 minutes.
Ruben had a chance to extend Inter’s lead but he fired over the bar, after being put through on goal.
AYA’s Oddy Basha had a couple of scoring attempts, as the interval approached but he was off target both times. The strong wind was not helping.
Score at half time: Inter Manresa 1 Armenian Youth Association 0
Inter keeper, David Siddall palmed Oddy Basha’s well struck drive over his crossbar.
Drew Thomas-Bissmire's header is tipped over the bar by Alen
At the other end, Drew Thomas-Bissmire’s header from Andrew Michael’s cross was tipped over by Alen Duvarciyan. Emmanuel Antwi then fastened onto a good through ball but shot straight at the keeper.
AYA’s Arek Djerrahian saved a dangerous situation with a good tackle on Ruben Bartlett-Antwi, who had been put through by Shaun Bailey.
A clever back-heeled pass by Ruben set up Joseph Akwaboa, whose shot on the turn was saved by the keeper.
Inter’s Shaun Bailey earned an unnecessary caution by hitting the ball high over the bar, after the whistle had been blown for offside.
Ruben released Gilbert Quaye, who was thwarted by a close range save by Alen Duvarciyan.
Some good AYA approach work enabled Oddy Basha to level the scores in the 75th minute.
...and equalises for Armenian Youth Association
Six minutes later Gilbert Quaye had a good chance to restore Inter’s lead when he was again released by Ruben but he shot wide.
The ever dangerous Ruben cut in towards the AYA goal but was intercepted by Masis Sarakaya, at the expense of a corner.
Joseph Akwaboa netted from close range, in the 87th minute, to restore Inter’s lead.
...and restores Inter's lead
Gio Pilides hits a free kick...
Less than a minute later, AYA won a free kick, just outside the Inter penalty area but Gio Pilides hit his shot too high.
Ruben nets Inter's third goal...
With AYA committed to trying to salvage an equaliser, Inter made several dangerous breaks during added time. They eventually added to their score in the 7th additional minute, when Ruben netted after Troy Raymond’s shot had been saved by Alen Duvarciyan.
...and turns to Troy Raymond in triumph
Final score: Inter Manresa 3 Armenian Youth Association 1
Alexander Molloy, one of our rising referees, enjoyed a very good match. He was well supported by his assistants, Senior County Referee, Simon Cudner and Josh Helm-Cowley. We are indebted to Josh, a Hertfordshire referee, who was sourced by Alexander and stepped in, after the originally appointed Middlesex official withdrew on Friday evening.
Inter Manresa: David Siddall, Drew Thomas-Bissmire, Emmanuel Antwi, Shaun Bailey, Ertush Zeqiri, Andrew Michael, Joseph Akwaboa (capt), Gilbert Quaye, Glenn Nightingale, Daniel Bailey and Ruben Bartlett-Antwi.
Rolling substitutes: Troy Raymond, Terry Appiasi, Javan Odegah and Matthew Daly.
Armenian Youth Association: Alen Duvarciyan (capt), Vatche Cherchian, Andreas Savva, Masis Sarakaya, Sav Papachristou, Erhan Suvari, Aren Stevens, Gio Pilides, Jamal Iyoyo, Oddy Basha and Andy Symeou.
Rolling substitutes: Nikash Hurkoo, Alex Ohanessyan, Eser Mustu and Arek DJerrahian.
In the final, scheduled for Sunday, 23rd April at CB Hounslow United FC, Inter Manresa will play Banstead Eagles, who beat Hearts of Teddlothian 2-0 at home, in the other semi-final match.
We thank Chris and Jim for giving up their Sunday to cover this match, as ever they have selected their favourite shots from the match. Chris has also very kindly provided a full album of imagery from the match.
Chris & Jim’s Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn