Intermediate Cup final match photo


Jim Taylor

The Middlesex FA Intermediate Cup final was played on the evening of Wednesday, 24th April at Silver Jubilee Park, the home of Hendon FC. The teams involved were the holders, Bush Hill Rangers, who play in the Premier Division of the Herts Senior County League and Larkspur Rovers (Saturday) of the Middlesex County League Premier Division.

Bush Hill Rangers, who were formed in 2003, groundshare at Cheshunt FC. Larkspur Rovers, who are based at Lord Halsbury Playing Fields, Northolt, were formed in 1950.
The Middlesex Intermediate Cup, which was first competed for in the 1930-31 season, is the 4th oldest of our current trophies. Enfield Reserves were the winners in its first two seasons. 14 teams entered this season’s competition.

Bush Hill Rangers won this trophy last season, by beating Staines & Lammas (Middlesex) in a penalty shoot-out, after a goal-less draw at North Greenford United FC’s Berkeley Fields.

Bush Hill Rangers received a bye in round 1 of this season’s competition and then beat AFC Spelthorne Sports Club 4-0 (at home) in the quarter-final and Indian Gymkhana 1-0 (away) in the semi-final.

Larkspur Rovers were drawn at home in all 3 of their games on route to the final.   They beat Kodak Harrow (3-2) in round 1, Brook House Reserves (6-1) in the quarter-final and CB Hounslow United Reserves (4-3) in the semi-final.

Bush Hill Rangers got into their stride quickly and dominated the opening stages of the match, playing attractive passing football. They went a goal up in the 5th minute. However, they were unable to add to their lead. Larkspur Rovers contained them and came more into the match as it progressed. Rovers did not mount many successful attacks themselves and consequently, there was very little goalmouth action in the second half, as the teams largely cancelled each other out. Bush Hill comfortably contained Larkspur but largely replaced their own passing game with long cross-field passes and through balls. None of this detracted from the hard- fought intensity of the match or the enjoyment of the committed audience. The single goal margin kept everyone on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.

Tom Beadle crossed for Tashan Richmond to head home for Rangers in the 5th minute.

Tashan Richmond heads Tom Beadle's cross...

... to put Rangers ahead

Then Larkspur keeper, Ryan Gulati, saved Claudio Abagnale’s well struck drive.

Claudio Abagnale shoots...

... and Ryan Gulati saves

At the other end, Anthony Byfield’s long throw into the Rangers’ goal area was dealt with by the defence.

Rangers resumed the offensive, with Claudio Abagnale prominent in their moves. His shot brought a diving save from keeper, Ryan Gulati.

A diving save by Ryan Gulati

A penetrative run by Jerrell Cato released Claudio, whose shot was blocked.

The Rovers keeper dived into a forest of legs to save the situation for his side.

Another shot by Claudio passed just wide.

Jerrell pulled the ball back for Kerem Ismail, whose shot was turned for a corner by the keeper. 

Tom Beadle’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected for a Rangers’ corner, which was headed behind for another corner. That corner was headed back by Tashan Richmond to Kerem, who headed wide.

Rovers’ first shot on goal, in the 32nd minute, by Delux Mwengula, was saved low down by a diving Tyler Forde.

Tom Beadle set up Keram Ismail, who fired wide.

Deluxe Mwengula made a strong run into the Rangers’ box but ran into heavy traffic and was dispossessed.

Rangers’ Eri Akintimehin burst into the Rovers’ penalty area but mishit his shot. Ryan Gulati then saved Claudio Abagnale’s low cross shot.

Score at half-time: Bush Hill Rangers 1 Larkspur Rovers 0

Dushain Sathiyaseelan fired just wide for Larkspur Rovers.

Hamza Abdulle’s through ball released Keram Ismail, who fed John Cush but John’s shot was cleared.

Tyler Forde saved Bradley Morris’s long range shot.

Bradley Morris shoots...

... and Tyler Forde saves

Claudio set up Keram, whose low shot was saved by Ryan Gulati. Then Eri cut inside and Ryan saved again.

Claudio played an excellent ball up the right wing to release Eri, whose cross shot bounced on the top of the Rovers crossbar.

Eri broke up the right again and crossed for Abdul Khamis, whose shot was too high.

The Rovers’ keeper made a good save at Eri’s feet.

Ryan Gulati saves at Eri Akintimehin's feet

Despite the anxiety of their supporters, Rangers played out the 8 minutes of added time fairly comfortably.

Final Score: Bush Hill Rangers 1 Larkspur Rovers 0

Referee Rob Alderton impressed with his calm, polite but no-nonsense approach. His positioning and fitness were excellent. I quote the Middlesex Referees’ Academy Co-ordinator, Liam Walshe, who said, “I enjoyed the game, which was played in a competitive spirit. However, what I enjoyed most was the performance of the ‘Men in Black’. 

Rob Alderton orchestrated the final, with a performance worthy of the ‘Last Night of the Proms’. He was well assisted by Alfie Davidson, Ricky Ansher and Pat Griffen. An all-round solid display by the Middlesex Quartet.

The Guest of Honour was Middlesex FA Chairman, John Taylor, who was introduced to both teams and the match officials before the match and presented the cup and individual mementoes afterwards. John chose Bush Hill’s impressive Claudio Abagnale as Player of the Match.

John Taylor presents the Player of the Match award to Claudio Abagnale

Our grateful thanks are due to Hendon FC for allowing us to use their fine pitch and facilities for the evening.

The winners with the cup


Bush Hill Rangers: Tyler Forde, Tom Beadle, Anton Johnson, Hamza Abdulle, Tashan Richmond, John Cush (capt), Jerrell Cato, Rocheim Stewart, Eri Akintimehin, Claudio Abagnale and Kerem Ismail.

Rolling substitutes: Abdul Khamis, Halil Mustafa, Leon Wildman, Theo Madekurozwa and Lamar Cato.

Manager: Ali Mustafa   

Coaches: Emmanuel Marfo, Glenn Sanko and Soner Mustafa   

Physio: Abdi Abdisafan.

Larkspur Rovers (Saturday): Ryan Gulati, Ryan Durrant, Okera Lewis, Andrew Ingram, Anthony Byfield (capt), Liam McKinley, Lathoosan Jeyathevan, Bradley Morris, Dominic Manhica, Liam Walford and Deluxe Mwengula,

Rolling substitutes: Diogo Castro, Tunde Akinpelu, Omar Sargvon, Miguel Camara and Dushain Sathiyaseelan.

Manager: Bradley Morris   

Assistant Manager: Alan Rayner   

Coaches: Barry Morris and Tyler Morris   

Physio: Tyrone Godwin.

Referee: Robert Alderton   Assistant Referees: Alfie Davidson and Ricky Ansher   Fourth Official: Patrick Griffin.

Attendance: 249.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn