The finals of the Middlesex FA Under 12, Under 13 and Under 14 Trophies were contested on Sunday, 21st May at Rectory Park. These competitions were introduced to provide an extra level, with an increased chance of success, for the boys’ teams of Middlesex affiliated clubs, playing in the lower divisions of their leagues. This is the second season that these finals have been held. Although the three competitions commenced in season 2020-21, only one round could be played that season, before the arrival of the covid pandemic.
Our first match of a busy day was the final of the Jim Taylor U12 Trophy between Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles and Sport London E Benfica.
Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles currently compete in Division One of the Surrey Youth League and finished 3rd in this season’s table with 42 points from 42 matches. Sport London E Benfica play in the Camden Youth League.
49 teams entered this season’s competition.
Whitton Wanderers Eagles were given a bye in the first round and then reached the final by beating Sandgate Youth Colts 4-1 (away) in round 2, NPL Youth Rays 4-0 (at home) in round 3, Whitton Wanderers Youth Hawks 6-1 (away) in the quarter-final and Omonia Youth Green 2-1 (at home) in the semi-final.
Sport London E Benfica recorded victories over Brent United Red 19-0 (at home) in round 1, Harefield United Youth Reds 4-2 (at home) in round 2, Kefa 4-2 (away) in round 3, Harrow St Mary’s Youth Red 6-0 (away) in the quarter-final and Chiswick FFF White 2-0 (at home) in the semi-final.
This match, played on a pleasantly warm spring morning, provided splendid entertainment for the enthusiastic crowd at Rectory Park. Benfica dominated the first half. They went ahead in the 6th minute and then added 4 more goals to lead 5-0 at half time. However, the Eagles fought back well in an evenly contested second half. The final score was 7-2.
Matches in this competition are 9 a side, with rolling substitutes employed and are played over 30 minutes in each half.
The first attack came from Whitton Wanderers Eagles, when Benfica keeper, Alexander Vanbrabant beat two attackers to Luka Grahovak’s through ball.
Benfica then took over. Shots from Fadi Kamal and Djad Lahrece were narrowly wide. Jace Ramos brought a diving save from Eagles goalkeeper, Tyler Brackenbury. Nicholas Duckett fired in the rebound, which Tyler saved at the cost of a corner.
Chris Tcheuani (13) squares...
A strong run by Chris Tcheuani set up Djad Lahrece, who netted from close range, to open the scoring in the 6th minute.
...and Djad Lahrece (26) scores
A low shot from skipper, Jace Ramos, brought another diving save from Tyler Brackenbury. Chris Tcheuani made another good run and fed Djad Lahrece, who was dispossessed by a timely tackle.
Djad Lahrece shoots to put Benfica 2 up
In the 9th minute, Fadi Kamal displayed excellent control with a mazy dribble to set up Djad, who shot home his second goal to make the score 2-0.
Jace Ramos (10) shoots...
Just over a minute later, Benfica scored their 3rd goal. A long-range effort from Dhylan Leonty was blocked and Jace Ramos netted the rebound.
At the other end of the field, Eagles’ Kyle Williams headed Luka Grahovak’s corner over the bar.
Fadi Kamal skilfully collected the ball, dribbled past several defenders and released a drive, which Tyler held at the second attempt. Fadi then shot wide, after another incisive dribble.
Fadi opened up the defence again and released Djad, whose shot was turned for a corner. Then Djad hit the crossbar.
Djad Lahrece completes his hat trick
In the 25th minute, Chris Tcheuani set up Djad, who completed his hattrick and made the score 4-0.
Alexander Vanbrabant saved a long range shot from Eagles’ Luka Grahovak.
A block by Dhylan Leonty (5) denies Ethan Jeffreys (9)
Tyler Brackenbury saved shots from Fadi and Djad. Then a timely block by Dhylan Leonty denied Eagles’ Ethan Jeffreys.
Djad Lahrece (far right) makes the score 5-0
Benfica’s 5th goal arrived in the 29th minute, when Chris Tcheuani made another run through the middle and passed to Djad, who netted what was his 4th goal of the game.
Half-time score: Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles 0 Sport London E Benfica 5
The Eagles fought back well in the second half. A defensive reshuffle enabled them to combat the threat posed through the middle by Chris Tcheuani.
The first attack of the second half was initiated by Fadi Kamal, who released Nicholas Duckett. George Keeley intercepted at the expense of a corner.
Rio Washington broke through for Eagles and was stopped by Dhylan Leonty’s tackle. Dhylan then made another interception on Rio, who had picked up Joseph Lacherie’s pass.
Rio Washington fastened on to a through ball but keeper, Raphy Seresin saved at his feet.
Ted Dolan's long range free kick reduces the deficit
In the 47th minute, Eagles skipper, Ted Dolan pulled a goal back for his side, with a beautifully struck freekick, from around the halfway line.
Euale Tedros (77) shoots...
Within 2 minutes, Euale Tedros restored Benfica’s five goal margin, with a left footed drive, after working his way across the penalty area.
...and makes the score 6-1
Jace Ramos was fouled outside the Eagles’ penalty box in the 52nd minute. He took the freekick and placed the ball into the top left-hand corner of the goal to make the score 7-1.
Jace Ramos' free kick into the top corner of the goal makes it 7-1
Eagles came back again two minutes later and Ethan Jeffreys scored their second goal with a low drive.
Eagles' supporters celebrate their second goal, scored by Ethan Jeffreys (out of picture)
Jace Ramos fired just wide after playing a one-two with Euale Torres.
A mass confrontation resulted in Benfica’s Adam Khattar receiving a yellow card (his second of the match) and consequently being dismissed.
A Jace Ramos freekick was pushed onto the crossbar by Tyler Brackenbury.
Final score: Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles 2 Sport London E Benfica 7
Our congratulations are due to Sport London E Benfica on their convincing win. Our commiserations are given to Whitton Wanderers. They should be proud of the fighting spirit which they showed during their second half come-back.
The game was very well controlled, in a calm and capable manner, by referee Luca Van Dorp. He received good support from his colleagues.
I performed a dual role for this match. In addition to writing this report, I was privileged to perform the duties of the Guest of Honour. I had the pleasure of being introduced to the teams and officials before the match and of presenting the trophy and individual mementoes afterwards. I chose the non-stop Benfica midfielder and inspiring captain, Jace Ramos as Player of the Match. I was also pleased to present a match ball, signed by our President, John Davies to Benfica striker, Djad Lahrece, to commemorate his hattrick (he actually scored 4).
Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles: Tyler Brackenbury, Ted Dolan (capt), Arthur Woods, Jack Madigan, Luka Grahovak, George Keeley, Kyle Williams, Ethan Jeffreys and Rio Washington.
Rolling substitutes: Liam Gaffney, Joseph Lacherie, Frank Madigan, Eduard Dobusch and Jacob Akhlagi-Hayes.
Manager: Patrick Madigan Assistant Manager: Colm Dolan.
Sport London E Benfica: Alexander Vanbrabant (2nd half Raphy Seresin), Dhylan Leonty, Jamie King, Adam Khattar, Chris Tcheuani, Jace Ramos (capt), Fadi Kamal, Djad Lahrece and Nicholas Duckett.
Rolling substitutes; Nathan Salcedo, Subeer Hassan and Euale Tedros.
Manager: Jesse Reynolds Coach: Jose Viana.
Referee: Luca Van Dorp Assistant Referees: Dominic De Silva and Louie Dixon Fourth Official :Mohammed Kausar.
Thank you to to Chris & Jim for covering the game, as ever they have selected their favourite shots from the match, some of which are in the report. 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