Senior Challenge Cup final match photo


Jim Taylor

The final of this season’s Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup was played on Wednesday evening, 17th April at the Honeycroft, the home of Uxbridge FC, between the holders, Hayes & Yeading United FC and Rayners Lane FC.

The Senior Challenge Cup is the Middlesex FA’s oldest and most prestigious competition. It has been running since 1888 and the first winners were Clapton FC.  Hendon FC have the most victories (16). 22 teams entered this season’s competition.

Hayes & Yeading United are the current holders of this trophy, having convincingly beaten Harrow Borough 5-0 in last season’s final at Hanwell Town’s Powerday Stadium. 

They currently play at step 3 of the Non-League Pyramid, in the Southern League Premier South Division.

They were formed in 2007 by a merger between Hayes FC and Yeading FC. Before last season’s triumph, 2010-11 was their most successful one in the Senior Challenge Cup, when they lost 3-2 to Staines Town in the final. Before the merger, Hayes had been winners 9 times and finalists on 10 occasions and Yeading had experienced 2 wins and a penalty shoot-out final defeat.

Rayners Lane, who won the Middlesex Premier Cup last season, by beating British Airways in the final, were breaking new ground by making their first appearance in this final. 

They have earned their inclusion in the Senior Challenge Cup by their elevation to non-league step 5 in the Combined Counties League, where they are currently members of the Premier Division North. They were formed in 1933.

Hayes and Yeading United had a bye in round 1. They then progressed to the final by beating Brentford B team 2-0 at home in round 2, St Panteleimon 1-0 at home in the quarter-final and Hendon in a penalty shoot-out in the semi-final, after a 1-1 away draw.

Rayners Lane beat Spelthorne Sports 4-0 away in round 1, Hampton & Richmond Borough 4-0 at home in round 2, Harrow Borough 4-0 away in the quarter-final and North Greenford United in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 semi-final home draw.

The two teams produced an excellent final, one of the best in the competition in recent seasons. Rayners Lane dominated the early stages, went ahead midway through the first half and soon doubled their lead. Hayes & Yeading United reduced the deficit from the penalty spot, in the time added on at the end of the half and then equalised 10 minutes into the second period. However, Rayners Lane regained the lead almost immediately and held it until the end of the match.

Rayners Lane’s Rio Connell’s shot, from a wide angle, deflected off  Cole Brown for a corner. Then Frank Keita, who was to consistently trouble United’s rearguard, released Aaron Minhas, who shot narrowly wide. Keita was then involved in a good move, which set up Marco Correia but the latter was adjudged to be offside. Troy Perez-Duah’s dink through the middle was scrambled away.

Frank Keita was brought down just outside the United penalty box. Aaron Minhas hit the resulting freekick just wide.

United came into the game and Amos Nasha’s shot was charged down after Norman Wabo’s sortie up the wing. Then Rayners Lane keeper, Jack Smith left his area to kick clear from Ayo Faniyan.

Frank Keita gave Rayners Lane the lead in the 22nd minute, when he fired home, to finish a move which he started in his own half.

Frank Keita shoots...

... to put Rayners Lane ahead

United’s Norman Wabo won the ball and took it past a defender but was thwarted by the outcoming Jack Smith.

Norman Wabo is thwarted by Jack Smith

Marvel Ekpiteta broke into the Lane box but his cross shot into the goalmouth was cleared.

Frank Keita combined with Elliott Buchanan, before hitting a scorching shot into the corner of the net from just inside the box, to double his side’s lead.

Frank Keita nets Rayners Lane's second goal

United’s Ayo Faniyan deflected Cole Brown’s ball into the Lane goalmouth onto the crossbar.

Elliott Buchanan set up Troy Perez-Duah but United keeper, Dillon Addai saved his low shot.

United’s Ayo Faniyan was brought down in the box by Marco Correia, in added time. Cole Brown hit the penalty kick into the top corner of the net.

Ayo Fanayan is brought down...

Cole Brown converts the penalty

Half-time score: Hayes & Yeading United 1 Rayners Lane 2

Ayo Faniyan took the ball through the middle and pushed it past the advancing Jack Smith to put his side level in the 57th minute.

Ayo Fanayan takes the ball through the middle

... to score United's equalising goal

However, this situation lasted for less than 2 minutes, before Elliott Buchanan demonstrated a superb technique, by collecting the ball with his back to goal and hitting it home as he turned.

Elliott Buchanan turns...

... and hits Rayners Lane's third goal

Rayners Lane keeper, Jack Smith misplaced a clearance to Ayo Faniyan, who placed his shot wide.

Frank Keita’s shot on the turn passed marginally wide. Jack Buchanan was put through by Rio Connell but his shot was saved.

Buchanan released Aaron Minhas, who was thwarted by keeper, Dillon Addai.

Jack Smith saved Paul Field’s high shot.

United’s Jerry Wiltshire made a good incisive run. He shook off a challenge and survived an attempted trip but his cross was just too high for Billie Busari.

Final score: Hayes & Yeading United 2 Rayners Lane 3

The winners with the cup

Referee Tom Wyatt had a very good match. In common with all 3 members of his excellent support team, Tom has come through the Middlesex Referees’ Academy. After the game Academy supremo Liam Walshe said that seeing them delivering the Senior Cup final, makes the time and effort that has been put into their development all worthwhile.

The Guest of Honour, Middlesex FA President, John Davies, was presented to the teams and match officials before the kick off and presented the Cup and mementoes after the match. He chose Rayners Lane’s dominant midfield player, Frank Keita as Player of the Match.

Our thanks are given Uxbridge FC for allowing us the use of their fine facilities and for their kind assistance on the night.

Our thanks are also given to the members of the Middlesex Wing RAF Cadet Band, under the direction of Wing Bandmaster Sgt Daniel Hill RAFAC, who entertained the crowd before the match and during the half time interval.


Hayes & Yeading United: Dillon Addai, Cole Brown (capt), Sanmi Odelusi (capt)  (Charlie Owens 81 mins) ( Amos Nasha took the armband), Norman Wabo, Luke Gambin (Billie Busari 74). Ayo Faniyan, Paul Field, Will Salmon, Marvel Ekpiteta, Amos Nasha and Max Hudson (Jerry Wiltshire 74).

Unused substitutes: Jack Williams, Tarik Moore-Azille.

Manager: Andy Leese   

Assistant Manager: Simon Lane   

Coaches: Delroy Preddie and Clark Jenner   

Physio: Gus Payne.

Rayners Lane: Jack Smith, Marco Correia, Callum Webb, Keano Robinson, Jordan Ajanlekoko, Troy Perez-Duah, Frank Keita, Aaron Minhas (capt), Elliott Buchanan (Bradley Bubb 85), Hassan Jallo (Kyel Reid 62) and Rio Connell (Oliver Sprague 75).

Unused substitutes: Manny Folarin and Josh Williams.

Manager: Gary Meakin   

Assistant Manager: Wes Daly   

Coach: Nick Lacey   

Sports Therapist: Lewis Dixon.

Referee: Thomas Wyatt   

Assistant Referees: Andy Tooley and Daniel Harvey   

Fourth Official: Silvio Fernandes.

Attendance: 485.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn