The finals of the Middlesex FA Under 12, Under 13 and Under 14 Youth Cups were all contested on Sunday, 14th May at Rectory Park. We started with the Dudley Harper Under 12 Cup final between London Athletic Red and Bessingby Park Rangers Red.
Both teams competed in the Premier Division of the Harrow Youth League this season. London Athletic finished second in the table, a point behind the winners. They also topped the JPL in their first season in that competition.
The Middlesex Under 12 Youth Cup was first competed for in the 1975-76 season, when it was won by Discus.
62 teams entered this season’s competition.
London Athletic Red reached the final by beating Enfield Town Youth 6-1 (at home) in round 1, Pro FA Red 2-0 (at home) in round 2, Limitless Football Club 4-1 (away) in round 3, Wealdstone Youth Red 4-0 (away) in the quarter-final and Parks (Youth) 4-0 (at home) in the semi-final.
Bessingby Park Rangers Red recorded victories over Omonia Youth Gold 6-1 (at home), London Athletic White 14-2 (away) and Chiswick FFF Red 3-0 (away). They had a walk-over against Cademy White in the quarter-final and then beat Ashford Town (Middlesex) Juniors Warriors in a penalty shoot-out, after a 2-2 draw in the semi-final.
This match, which took place on a pleasant spring morning, was keenly contested but played in a sporting spirit. It was convincingly won by London Athletic Red, who dominated possession in the first half but only led by a single goal at half-time. They continued to make scoring opportunities after the break and converted two of them to finish 3-0 winners.
Matches in this competition are 9 a side, with rolling substitutes employed and are played over 30 minutes in each half.
London Athletic went onto the attack immediately. Striker, Jaden Aforo picked up a loose ball and hit a powerful drive, which flew wide. Then, on the 6th minute, he tried a lob, which keeper, Ben Anderton turned for a corner. Romari Johnson headed home from Isley Akanezi-Norton’s resulting corner kick to open the scoring.
Romari Johnson (26) heads London Athletic's first goal
Jaden won the ball and fired across goal. Ben Anderton saved Fabian Sykut’s high shot. Then he stopped Romari’s close-range effort.
Jaden burst through the middle but shot wide. Jayeden Hedges picked up a loose ball but his shot was too high.
Diego Chinyowa tried a shot for Rangers, with a freekick from midfield but was off target.
Romari directed his header wide from Isley Akanezi-Norton’s corner.
Jaden brought a good diving save from Ben Anderton.
Half-time score: London Athletic Red 1 Bessingby Park Rangers Red 0
London Athletic, marshalled by the energetic efforts of skipper, Jayeden Hedges, continued the onslaught on the Rangers’ goal.
Jaden took the ball through the defence but was thwarted by Ben Anderton.
Ben Anderton saves at point blank range from Jaden Aforo
Luca Allen headed Jayeden Hedges’ long throw onto Jaden, whose shot was saved at point blank range by Ben.
Ben Anderton saves Jaden's free kick
Emil Faizal was fouled while working his way through the Rangers’ defence. Jaden took the kick, which Ben saved lowdown, despite a deflection.
Jaden made a run down the left and delivered a low cross. Ben was hurt saving at Islay’s feet.
...and Ben Anderton saves at Isley Akanezi-Norton's feet
Jaden’s shot was blocked and he hit the rebound wide.
London Athletic’s keeper, Redon Imeri was brought into the action, saving Rishil Bharadwa’s shot.
Ben Anderton foils Jaden Aforo
Ben Anderton foiled Jaden Aforo from close range.
Fabian Sykut (hidden) hits the Rangers' crossbar
Fabian Sykut hit the Rangers’ crossbar in a goalmouth melee.
Romari Johnson nets a penalty for Athletic's second goal
With 5 minutes remaining, Athletic were awarded a penalty for handball, which was converted by Romari Johnson.
Jaden Aforo (far right) shoots from an acute angle...
Four minutes later, Isley’s freekick was charged down but Jaden netted from an acute angle for Athletic’s third goal.
...and scores Athletic's third goal
Ben Anderton saved shots from Jaden and Emil Faizal, before the final whistle.
Final score: London Athletic Red 3 Bessingby Park Rangers Red 0
Our thanks are given to both teams and to the match officials for an enjoyable final. Congratulations to London Athletic on their impressive win and condolences to Bessingby Park Rangers. They resisted well and it is to their credit that the result of the match was in contention right until the closing stages.
The game was meticulously controlled by referee Harry Jacobs. Harry was well supported by his colleagues. All four match officials are in their teens and their impressive performances promise a good future for them in refereeing.
We were delighted to welcome back to Middlesex, as Guest of Honour, our former CEO, Leigh O’Connor, who is now the FA Regional Manager, supporting the County FAs in the West of England. Leigh was introduced to the teams and match officials, prior to kick off and presented the cup and mementoes after the match. He chose London Athletic captain, Jayeden Hedges, as Player of the Match.
London Athletic Red: Redon Imeri. Romari Johnson, Jayeden Hedges (capt), Fabian Sykut, Alex Szymcyk, Emil Faizal, Taironas Abakas, Luca Allen, Vincent Gentely, George Barton, Samuel Olayiwola, Natey Irvine, Jaden Aforo and Isley Akanezi-Norton.
Manager: Chelsey Storey
Bessingby Park Rangers Red: Ben Anderton, Simas Rasimas, Archie Leeming, Niall Baker, Diego Chinyowa, Albie Carroll, Daniel Bangard, Joss Harvey, Tate Cadore (capt), Jack Crofts, Rishil Bharadwa. Olly Doona and Aiden Aram-Minasian.
Manager: Trevor Cadore Coach: Dan Carroll.
Referee: Harry Jacobs Assistant Referees: Franky Wheeler and Sebastian Rohan Fourth Official : George Finch.
As always we thank Chris and Jim for covering the match. They have chosen their favourite shots of the match, some of which can be found in this report, Chris has also very kindly provided a full album of imagery from the game.
Chris & Jim's Picks
Full Album Courtesy of Chris Benn
Photography - Chris Benn