Highgate Albion hosted SE Dons in Round 2 of the FA Sunday Cup on Sunday last, 12th November at Haringey Borough FC and your roving team were there. SE Dons had eliminated Albion at the Quarter Final stage of last season’s competition.
Both teams reached Round 2 of this season’s competition with 3-2 victories. Albion beat Sungate away from home while SE Dons had a home victory over Grand Athletic.
Highgate Albion won a very exciting match 2-1, after trailing at the interval. The winning goal was scored 2 minutes from the end of normal time. Then, despite SE Dons pressure, Albion retained their lead for the 8 minutes of added time.
The match kicked off 12 minutes later than advertised. This was initially due to the difficulties that the referee and his assistants had in getting both teams onto the pitch at the same time, following the pre-match warm-up and subsequent return to their changing rooms. “Herding cats” was an expression that readily came to mind. Then, before he could start the game, the referee had to deter the SE Dons from attempting to beat the Guinness Book of Records total for the number of bodies in a pitch-side dugout.
Albion had the balance of possession in the first half but failed to convert any of the chances which they created.
The first sortie into either penalty box was made by SE Don’s Nathan Palmer. The sting was taken out of his shot by a timely tackle by Albion’s Ian Maitland.
At the other end, a low ball across goal by Richard Ennin was parried by SE Dons’ Keeper, George Kahurasi. Then Excellence Muhemba fired wide, after being set up by a good run and cross from Luke Alfano.
George Kahurasi parries Richard Ennin's low shot
Luke then went down following a tackle in the area but the Albion’s claims for a penalty were in vain.
A spell of Dons’ pressure followed. Jordan Johnson Palmer’s freekick into the Albion box was met by Nathan Palmer, whose touch took it to the keeper.
Then Stefan Wright’s cross, from the right, eluded two oncoming Dons’ players. Mo Kamara released Stefan, who was thwarted on the bye line by keeper, Alexandru Gavriloaia, at the expense of a corner. The kick, taken by Jordan Palmer, flew across the face of the goal without attracting a touch.
Albion’s Richard Ennin made a run up the middle but was halted by Michael Aziya’s intervention. Keeper, George Kahurasi. blocked a close-range effort by Leon Lobjoit, at the expense of a corner.
George Kahurasi blocks Leon Lobjoit's close range shot
George and his defence then repelled further efforts on his goal, from Lonit Talla, Richard Ennin, Leon Lobjoit and Luke Alfano.
Nathan Palmer put SE Dons ahead in the 36th minute with a spectacular drive from around 27 yards.
Highgate resumed the attack. Excellence’s low shot was pushed out. Richard fired just wide from a goalmouth melee. Hamra Semakula tested the keeper from the edge of the area.
Half-time score: Highgate Albion 0 SE Dons 1
George Kahurasi pushes out a low shot from Excellence Muhemba (out of picture)
Highgate Albion tore into SE Dons from the restart in search of an equaliser. Leon Lobjoit released Excellence, whose shot was turned for a corner. Excellence’s header, from Lonit Talla’s corner was blocked on the goal-line. Ian Maitland joined the attack but his shot was blocked.
In the 53rd minute, Leon Lobjoit headed a cross on to Ian, who nodded the ball into the net for the equaliser.
Leon Lobjoit heads to Ian Maitland
... who heads the equaliser
Albion kept up the bombardment of the visitors’ goal. George Kahurasi saved Leon Lobjoit’s low drive. An incisive run by Excellence ended with Noel McFarlane heading off of the goal-line. Lonit’s ball into the box was scrambled away. Hamra Semakula fired wide from Richard Ennis’ pass.
Excellence won a freekick wide on the right. Leon’s resultant shot was headed away. Excellence’s drive from the edge of the box was blocked.
Excellence was brought down in a central position, following another run through the Dons’ defence. Harry Gallagher’s freekick hit the defensive wall.
Richard Ennin finished a penetrative run by shooting narrowly wide. Then Richard set up Leon but George Kahurasi saved low down.
Harry Gallagher put Albion ahead for the first time in the match, with an even more spectacular shot than the one that gave the Dons their goal. He hit an explosive freekick, from a similar distance into the top corner of the net.
Harry Gallagher's (6) free kick puts Highgate Albion ahead
During the added time, SE Dons won a freekick around 30 yards from goal and their giant goalkeeper, George Kahurasi went up-field to make his presence felt.
The SE Dons goalkeeper joins the attack
Joshua Palmer took the kick, which eventually produced a corner. George stayed up for the corner kick which was cleared and he was still stranded in midfield when Leon Lobjoit put the ball wide of his goal. However, this did not deter George, who was back in the Albion penalty area when the referee blew the final whistle.
Result: Highgate Albion 2 SE Dons 1
Albion put the ball wide of the empty net
: Alexandru Gavriloaia, Hermes Gbio, Ian Maitland (capt), Nnambi Harold-Egole, Alvin Kyeremeh (Harry Gallagher 73 mins), Excellence Muhemba (Solomon Ofori 81), Luke Alfano, Lonit Talla, Hamra Semakula (Teddy Stacey 89), Leon Lobjoit and Richard Ennin,
: Pele Riley, Louie Remy and Ashley Dray.
: George Kahurasi (capt), Noel Relon McFarlane (Rory Hill 63), Michael Aziya, Miles Mitchell Nelson (Osman Proni 82), Stefan Wright, Mohamed Kamara, Dom Pires, Kieron Campbell, Jordan Johnson Palmer, Junior Aikhionbare (Tobi Coker 68) and Nathan Palmer.
: Adam Adimi, Malachi Robinson, Sam Johnson and Zak Ansah.
: Terence Dawkins, who handled the match very well.
: Jim Taylor
Photography: Chris Benn