Sunday Premier Cup match photo


Jim Taylor

The first semi-final of the Middlesex Sunday Premier Cup was contested on Sunday last, 11th February at St Aloysius Playing Fields, between the holders, Highgate Albion SFL and Ivy Leaf WD. 

The Sunday Premier Cup is our top Sunday cup and was first played for in season 1977-78, when Kilburn Seniors were the winners. This prestigious competition and the Middlesex Premier Cup are both being sponsored this season by The Gym Kitchen. Our thanks and welcome to them, for what we are sure will be a very successful partnership.

22 clubs entered this season’s competition. Highgate Albion reached the semi-final by beating Indian Gymkhana Sunday 10-2 (at home) in round 1, Olympia on penalties (away) following a 2-2 draw in round 2 and Abbey 6-0 (away) in the quarter final.

Ivy Leaf WD beat Panda NDL 6-0 (at home) in round 1, Mill Hill Club de Futbol 3-1 (at home) in round 2 and Jolly Coopers 4-2 (away) in the quarter final.

Highgate Albion won this trophy last May by beating Heavy Hitters 5-1, in the final at Northwood FC’s Skyline Roofing Stadium. 

They won Sunday’s game by the convincing score of 5-1, with their usual entertaining, passing football. However, Ivy Leaf must also be commended for their contribution to a very entertaining action-packed match. Highgate Albion led 2-0 at the interval and added a 3rd goal shortly after it. Ivy Leaf did not give up and pulled a goal back midway through the second half. They then had an opportunity to put Albion under pressure in the final stages but failed to take it. Albion scored a 4th goal almost immediately, to make the game safe and then added another one.

Referee Mark Jacob had an early opportunity to stamp his authority on the match, when he had reason to caution Ivy Leaf’s Ollie O’Neill, for a foul on Tage Kennedy, in the 3rd minute. Mark remained in firm but sympathetic control throughout the game, ably supported by his assistant referees.

Albion keeper, Charles Taylor, thwarted Ivy Leaf’s Marcus Gibbs twice in quick succession. He left his penalty area to kick clear from Marcus and then saved with his legs when Marcus broke clear of the defence. 

Highgate Albion then mounted a series of attacks. Tage Kennedy set up Lewis Toomey, whose close-range shot was deflected for a corner by keeper, Jamie Cooper. Isaac Stones’ fired across the goal area, just out of the reach of Christopher Regis. Lewis Toomey’s low cross was taken by Jamie Cooper.

Solomon Ofori hit Tage Kennedy’s square pass against the upright. Striker, Isaac Stones was leading the line well. He worked his way through the defence and forced a corner and then brought a close range save from Jamie Cooper. Isaac then fed Tage Kennedy and another corner resulted.

Jamie saved with his feet from Solomon Ofori.

Isaac headed Tage’s cross into the net but was adjudged to be offside.

Isaac’s clever flicked header released Tage, who set up Solomon. The latter’s shot produced another corner.

A move, involving Tag and Josif Jevdjic, ended with Isaac’s shot being blocked on the goal-line.

Highgate Albion eventually went ahead after 30 minutes, when Solomon Ofori made a run on the left and crossed low for Tage Kennedy to net from close range.

Tage Kennedy (23) puts Highgate Albion ahead

A raid from Ivy Leaf finished with Aaron Harriott shooting low at the keeper. 

Albion doubled their lead after 32 minutes, when Isaac Stones’ header released Christopher Regis, for him to net from the edge of the penalty box.

Christopher Regis shoots...

... to put Highgate Albion 2-0 up

Isaac Stones worked through and set up Hermes Gbio, whose shot was turned over the bar by Jamie Cooper.

Charles Taylor saved low down from Ivy Leaf’s Jose Perez.

The Ivy Leaf keeper took a freekick in the corner of the pitch, to the right of his goal area. He miss-hit the ball to Isaac Stones, who placed his shot at the empty goal the wrong side of the upright.

Tage Kennedy sped up the wing, past two defenders but his cross didn’t find a teammate. The half finished with Jamie Cooper making a finger tip save from Isaac Stones’ header.

Half time score: Highgate Albion 2 Ivy Leaf WD 0

The Highgate Albion manager, Adam Shahein, made full use of his substitutes during the second period.

A lob from Aaron Harriott, from around 25 yard,s cleared the Albion crossbar.

Solomon Ofori finished a multiple passing movement, which travelled the length of the pitch, to register Albion’s 3rd goal in the 51st minute.

Solomon Ofori hits Highgate Albion's third goal

Charles Taylor saved Marcus Gibbs’ header from Josh Raeburn’s cross.

Charles Taylor saves from Marcus Gibbs

A good cross-field pass found Solomon Ofori, who took the ball on and chipped it over the bar, with just the keeper to beat.

Ivy Leaf’s Jake Girt fired narrowly wide.

Paul Murphy pulled a goal back for Ivy Leaf in the 70th minute, with a shot from  outside the box.

Paul Murphy shoots...

... to score for Ivy Leaf

Isaac Stones set up Tage Kennedy, whose shot was scrambled off of the goal-line. Then, an intricate Albion build-up ended with Christopher Regis blazing high over the bar.

Ivy Leaf had an excellent opportunity to further reduce their deficit in the 80th minute. A good move enabled Connor Tunstall to put Marcus Gibbs through. However, Marcus’ shot went tamely to the keeper.

Marcus Gibbs' shot is saved

Connor then shot narrowly wide from 25 yards.

Lonit Talla finished a good move to score Albion’s 4th goal in the 84th minute and scored again, with a deflected drive from a wide angle, less than a minute later. He then missed out on a hat-trick by hitting a shot over the ball.

Lonit Talla shoots...

... and scores Highgate Albion's fourth goal

Highgate Albion's fifth goal, scored by Lonit Talla (out of picture)

Result: Highgate Albion 5 Ivy Leaf WD 1


Highgate Albion: Charles Taylor, Lewis Toomey, Josif Jevdjic, Shehzad Anwar, Hermes Gbio, Jardell Sterling, Solomon Ofori, Lonit Talla, Isaac Stones, Christopher Regis and Tage Kennedy.

Rolling substitutes: Alvin Kyeremeh, Teddy Stacey, Harry Gallagher, Aaron Scott and Richard Ennin. 

Ivy Leaf WD: Jamie Cooper, Daniel Gibbs (capt), Ollie O’Neill, Jose Perez, Lewis Logan ,Mark Smith, Marcus Gibbs, Paul Murphy, Curtis Tunstall, Aaron Harriott and Max Hubbard.

Rolling substitutes: Connor Tunstall, Josh Raeburn, Reece Jerham, Jake Girt and Dean Tucknell.

Referee: Mark Jacob   Assistant Referees: Petros Mitsinoti and Harry Jacobs.

The other semi-final in this competition, between AFC Hammersmith Town and Grenfell Athletic is scheduled for next Sunday, 18th February.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn