The winners with the cup


Jim Taylor

The final of the Middlesex FA EPL Grieg Under 18 Cup was played on Wednesday, 11th May at Berkeley Fields, the home of North Greenford United FC.  The teams involved were Enfield Borough Panthers and Harrow Stars Youth.    Panthers play in the Eastern Junior Alliance and the Southern Counties Midweek League while the Stars compete in the Watford Friendly League.  

This Harrow Stars team were deprived of a Middlesex cup final appearance in 2021 due to Covid and reached the quarter-final (as an under 17 side) last season, before going out in a penalty shoot-out to finalists, Whitton Wanderers.

The Under 18 Youth Cup was first competed for in the 1968-69 season, when it was won by Edgware United.

68 teams entered the competition for the current season.   Enfield Borough Panthers and Harrow Stars both received byes in the first round and then went on to reach the final with some impressive victories.

Enfield Borough Panthers beat Hendon Youth U17 Red 8-0 (at home) in round 2, Edmonton Rangers Sharks 4-3 (away) in round 3, Abbey Youth Hawks 6=0 {at home) in round 4, Omonia Youth Silver 9-0 (at home) in the quarter-final and Whitton Wanderers Youth Hawks 5-2 (at home) in the semi-final.  

Harrow Stars beat Enfield Borough Leopards 3-1 (away) in round 2, Pitshanger Red 3-0 (away) in round 4, Hampton & Richmond Borough Youth 4-1 (at home) in the quarter-final and St Joseph’s Youth ’88 Red 6-3 (at home) in the semi=final.   They received a walk-over against Norsemen Youth U17 Blue in round 3.

The teams were evenly matched and they both played skilful and intelligent passing football, which provided a fitting final to the competition.   The Panthers went ahead in the 13th minute and the Stars immediately equalised.   The Panthers regained the lead in the 30th minute and then, soon after the half time interval, extended it to 3-1.   However, the Stars hit back in the 57th minute, with a second goal and then pressed hard for an equaliser.   The Panthers defence successfully repelled them and kept the score at 3-2.

Both sides exhibited early aggression.   A good move involving several Panthers’ players finished with Josh Elash’s shot being blocked for a corner.   At the other end, a freekick from wide on the right, for a foul on Kade Smith, was hit into the Panthers’ goalmouth by Mohammed Abdulkadir.   Keeper, Harry Cooke pushed the ball for a corner kick, which he then punched out.

Aaron Asimeng shoots...

Aaron Asimeng put Panthers ahead in the 13th minute, beating keeper, Sam Buckland at his near post from a wide angle on the right. put Panthers 1-0 up

Makael Scott heads Tyler Witter's long ball...

Stars levelled within a minute, through Makael Scott, who headed home a long ball from Tyler Witter.

...and equalises for Stars

Lucas Hardy and Kade Smith combined to set up Makael again but he was foiled by Harry Cooke, at the expense of a corner.

Keeper Harry Cooke foils Makael Scott

Then Tyler Witter worked his way through and released Lucas, whose shot was saved.

Panthers’ Rory Connolly Harding laid the ball back for Noah Gray, whose first-time shot was just too high.

Jordan Okwor makes space...

Panthers regained the lead in the 30th minute through Jordan Okwor, who made space on the right of the penalty box and shot high into the net.

...and nets Panthers' second goal

The Stars hit back and William Ascough was narrowly wide with a freekick from just outside the box.   A good run by Lucas Hardy finished with Harry Cooke safely gathering the ball.  

Jordan Okwor’s run up the wing for Panthers released Rory Connolly Harding, whose shot was blocked.   Then Panthers’ tall central defender, Jacob Mazionas, went forward for a freekick but he was thwarted by the keeper.

Half-time score: Enfield Borough Panthers 2   Harrow Stars Youth 1

Santino Polledri (10) shoots...
Enfield Borough Panthers increased their lead in the 48th minute, through Santino Polledri, who found the corner of the net with a low shot, from the edge of the box. put Panthers 3-1 up

Kade Smith was released up the middle but he ran into heavy traffic and had to settle for a corner.   However, the Stars pulled a goal back in the 57th minute.  They were awarded a freekick for handling, in a central position, around 35 yards from goal.  

Hayden Barnes hits a long range free kick...
...the keeper parries it...

The goalkeeper parried Hayden Barnes’ kick but the ball bounced away from him to William Ascough, who netted it.

...but William Ascough nets the rebound

Harrow Stars pressed for an equaliser and had the majority of scoring attempts in the final quarter, although Panthers were still dangerous on the break.

Stars’ skipper, Kade Smith, was involved in the majority of his teams’ attacks.   However, they were unable to break through the Panthers’ defence again.   The back four, with tall central defender, Jacob Mazionas, prominent, was solid and keeper Harry Cooke dealt efficiently with anything which got past it.

Final score: Ealing Borough Panthers 3   Harrow Stars Youth 2

The winners with the cup

Referee, Robert Reid controlled the game in a calm impressive manner.   He was well supported by his assistants, the very experienced Steve Conway and Marius Gisco.   Fourth Official, John O’Kane, efficiently marshalled the activity around the technical areas.

The Guest of Honour, Middlesex FA Director and North Greenford United FC Secretary, Barbara Bivens, was introduced to the teams and match officials before kick-off and she presented the Cup and mementoes after the match.   It was great to see her back in action and looking so well, following recent major surgery.

Barbara chose Harrow Stars striker and captain, Kade Smith as Player of the Match.

Our thanks are given to North Greenford United FC for allowing us the use of their fine facilities and for their warm hospitality, which contributed to a successful evening.


Enfield Borough Panthers: Harry Cooke (capt), Aaron Asimeng, Harry Phantis, Jacob Mazionas, Noah Gray, Rory Connolly Harding, Stefan Symeou, Anish Sharma, Santino Polledri, Jordan Okwor and Josh Elash.

Rolling substitutes: Grisiano Kadriu, Naeeb Alamyar, Clement Jeans, Cedrik Hildabrandt and Leo Bomba.

Manager: Pan Symeou   Coaches: Emanuel Asare, Marvin Walker and Andy Symeou.

Harrow Stars: Sam Buckland, Marley Rochester Stein, William Ascough, Alexander Chemali, Mohammed Abdulkadir, Makael Scott, Kade Smith (capt), Tyler Witter, Lucas Hardy, Aston Ellard and Hayden Barnes.

Rolling substitutes: Mirko Jovanovic, Omar Abdallah and Ayman Goudari.

Manager: Ali Abdulkadir   Coach: Ben Burlikowski   Physio: Ray Santamaria.

Attendance: 134

Thank you to Chris & Jim for covering this match, as always 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

Photography - Chris Benn