The first round of this season’s Middlesex Sunday Junior Cup was contested on Sunday 8th October and your roving team were attracted to the tie between Roving Reporters and Larkspur Rovers Sunday Senior 2nd Reserves.
Roving Reporters FC have been running for more than 53 years and were formed by the legendary John Motson and two other members. They are the longest serving club and founders of the Barnet Sunday League.
Larkspur Rovers are another well established club with a rich and successful history. They are even older than their opponents and were formed in 1950.
We were pleased with our choice. The match was played in a fairly secluded and leafy part of Enfield Playing Fields, on a comfortably warm autumn morning. The players and management of both teams made us feel very welcome and provided an exciting morning’s entertainment.
The match was hard fought by two enthusiastic sides - a typical Sunday morning cup tie. Thanks to the calm demeanour of experienced referee, Mike Afxendi, common sense usually prevailed.
Roving Reporters went ahead in the 17th minute but Larkspur Rovers equalised 6 minutes later. The Reporters regained the lead and went 2 goals ahead as half time approached.
Rovers fought back after the break, reduced the arrears to 3-2 and pressed for the equaliser. However, The Reporters resisted and scored again with 5 minutes of normal time remaining. Larkspur scored their third goal just before the start of added time but Roving Reporters held on to win 4-3.
After some early sparring, Larkspur launched the game’s first serious attack, when Abdikafi Afrah sped up the wing and crossed the ball low for keeper Maxemillion Papacosta to save comfortably.
Roving Reporters were awarded a freekick wide on the halfway line. This was taken by keeper, Maxemillion – something he did frequently throughout the match. He lofted the ball into the box, where Larkspur keeper, Vojche Petrov saved Joshua Francis’ header.
However, Joshua gave his side the lead in the 17th minute. Reporters’ central defender, Demetris Christodoulou took a perfectly judged freekick on the left, around 40 yards from goal and Joshua leapt to head the ball home.
Joshua Francis leaps to head Roving Reporters' first goal
Some skilful play by Rovers’ Wayne Harvey, who showed many fine touches throughout the match, set up Luke Oakley, who shot narrowly wide.
Then, Reporters’ Leon Aliu shot wide from close range, following Panayiotis Lambrou’s cross.
Larkspur Rovers equalised in the 23rd minute. The Reporters’ keeper made a good diving save from Lucas Williams, at the expense of a corner and Wayne Harvey headed the resulting cross home.
Wayne Harvey (far left yellow) heads the equaliser
A low ball across the hosts’ goalmouth from Rovers’ Scott Brown failed to attract a touch.
Another long freekick by keeper Papacosta enabled Roving Reporters to retake the lead in the 29th minute. Joshua Francis netted after the Larkspur keeper had failed to hold the ball, while attempting to catch it.
The Larkspur keeper fails to hold a long free kick and Joshua Francis nets
The Roving Reporters increased their lead in the 42nd minute, through Panayiotis Lambrou, who made ground up the left wing and shot across the goalkeeper into the far corner of the net.
Panayiotis Lambrou (out of picture) scores Roving Reporters' third goal
Keeper Petrov leapt to save a high freekick from Nicholas Constandinides.
Score at half time: Roving Reporters 3 Larkspur Rovers Sunday Senior 2nd Reserves 1
Goalkeeper Vojche Petrov takes a high free kick
Larkspur Rovers applied pressure. Scott Brown hit a freekick from around 25 yards into the defensive wall.
Jamie Workman reduced the arrears 12 minutes after the interval, finding the corner of the net, after being put through by Scott.
Jamie Workman (9) scores Larkspur Rovers' second goal
The home keeper prevented an equaliser by diving at Wayne Harvey’s feet, after the winger had been released by James Bear.
Then Demetris Christodoulou came to his side’s rescue with a crucial interception on Jamie Workman, who had worked himself into a shooting position in front of the goal.
Demetris Christodoulou makes a crucial interception
At the other end, Demetris was felled and took the freekick himself but hit the wall. Then keeper Petrov saved low down from Nicholas Constandinides.
Abdikafi Afrah crossed low for Jamie Workman, who was thwarted by keeper Papacosta.
Nicholas Constandinides burst through and got clear of the Larkspur defence but put his shot wide. However, in the 85th minute, a good move involving Nicholas and Joshua Francis enabled Panayiotis Lambrou to net for Roving Reporters’ 4th goal.
Panayiotis Lambrou nets Roving Reporters' fourth goal
Larkspur Rovers hit back and keeper Papacosta had to leap high to reach Luke Oakley’s lob. They reduced the arrears again in the 90th minute, through Wayne Harvey, who headed home from Scott Brown’s corner.
Result: Roving Reporters 4 Larkspur Rovers Sunday Senior 2nd Reserves 3
Wayne Harvey heads Larkspur's third goal
: Maxemillion Papacosta, Leon Aliu, Demetris Christodoulou, Zac Theodorou, Panayiotis Lambrou, Nicholas Constandinides, Joshua Francis, Joseph Ocran, Ryan Lu, Daryl Smith and Michael Stavrou.
Rolling substitutes: James Wilks, Reece Sinclair and Isaac Hagan.
Larkspur Rovers Sunday Senior 2nd Reserves
: Vojche Petrov, Sam Cheshire, Reece Toms, Aiden Hurley, Chris Smith, Luke Oakley, Scott Brown, Lucas Williams, Abdikafi Afrah, Jamie Workman and Wayne Harvey.
Rolling substitutes: Ozer Halil, Tom Surey, Hamza Mohammed and James Bear.
: Mike Afxendi.
It was disappointing to see that, due to vandalism and the financial position of the Enfield Council, the central changing rooms were no longer in use, meaning that the teams and officials had to come already changed for the match. This will be very unacceptable during the winter months.
Report: Jim Taylor.
Photos: Chris Benn.
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Full Album courtesy of Chris Benn