Premier Cup match photo


The two finalists for this season’s Premier Cup are now known. Both semi-finals were played on the evening of Tuesday last, 20th February. Your Roving Team chose to visit the game between Rising Ballers Kensington and Kensington Dragons at North Greenford United’s Berkeley Avenue venue, where Rising Ballers groundshare.

The Middlesex Premier Cup, which is open to clubs that play at levels 6 and 7 of the non-league pyramid and the reserve or under 23 sides of senior clubs, was established in 1980-81, when it was won by Yeading FC. Rayners Lane are the current holders. 20 clubs entered this season’s competition.

The Middlesex Premier Cup and the Middlesex Sunday Premier Cup are both being sponsored this season by The Gym Kitchen. Our thanks and welcome to them, for what we know will be a very successful partnership.

Rising Ballers, who play in Division One of the Combined Counties League, received a bye in round 1. They beat Harrow Borough u23s 3-2 (away) in round 2 and CB Hounslow United 2-0 (away) in the quarter final.

Kensington Dragons, who are members of the Middlesex County League Premier Division, also received a bye in round 1 and subsequently overcame Ealing Borough 2-0 (away) and Civil Service in a penalty shoot-out, after a 1-1 home draw.

The teams produced a very entertaining cup tie. They both deserve credit for the quality of their play, on a pitch which was best described as sticky, despite the herculean efforts of the hosts throughout the day, to make it playable. Rising Ballers went ahead in the 9th minute and increased their lead immediately after the half-time interval. They made the game safe, with a third goal, two minutes from the end of normal time. Dragons registered a consolation goal from the penalty spot during added time.

Referee, Grisha Zeigermaher, also deserves a mention. His impressive and sympathetic performance in difficult conditions was a credit to the Middlesex FA Referees’ Academy. He was very well supported by his assistant referees, Jake Martin, also a product of the academy and Nima Hosseinali.

Rising Ballers took the lead in the 9th minute, when Kushon Lewis-Thomas netted the rebound, after keeper, Juan Fedirico had saved Tyler Hayles’ shot from outside the penalty box.  

The keeper saves from Tyler Hayles (out of picture)...

... and Kushon Lewis-Thomas (obscured) nets the rebound...

Kushon Lewis (7) wheels away after scoring the first goal

Rising Ballers keeper, Sanghyun Baek saved Jamie Campbell’s low cross shot.

Play continued to move up and down the field. A freekick from around 40 yards by Rising Ballers’ Mouman Sahnoun evaded everyone in the box and went harmlessly for a goal-kick.

Mouman made several runs up the left but appeared reluctant to cross with his left foot and on several occasions cut across the outside of the box, where he ran into heavy traffic and was dispossessed.

A shot from 30 yards by Dragons’ Ahmed Belgane was just too high.

Kushon Lewis-Thomas’ awkwardly bouncing effort was held comfortably by Juan Fedirico in the Dragons’ goal.

Tyler Hayles got into a good position inside the Dragons’ penalty area but he shot just too high, from close range.

Tyler Hayles (10) shoots from close range

... but his shot is too high

Dragons’ Arthur Baldwin tried a high shot but he was also off target.

Jamie Campbell’s freekick from wide on the halfway line, into the Rising Ballers’ goalmouth, was scrambled away just before the referee signalled the end of the half.

Half time score: Rising Ballers Kensington 1 Kensington Dragons 0

Rising Ballers doubled their lead two minutes after the resumption. The referee played an excellent advantage in midfield, following a foul by a Dragons’ player. The ball was played to the right wing to Kushon Lewis-Thomas, who proceeded to dance around at least 5 defenders and before netting. Middlesex FA Referees’ Academy supremo Liam Walshe described his run as “Ricky Villa Like”.

Kushon Lewis_Thomas runs through the Dragons defence

... and nets

A freekick from the left by Mouman Sahnoun hit the face of the Dragons’ crossbar in the 67th minute.

A period of Rising Ballers’ pressure contained several dangerous in-swinging corners from the left by Mouman.

The Dragons had a very good chance to reduce the deficit in the 71st minute, when Zakaria Saidi’s curling free kick into the Rising Ballers box was hit over the crossbar, from close range, by Tyler Blanco.

Dragons’ keeper, Juan Fedirico left his area to foil the oncoming Mo Ihid. Mo then had a shot charged down.

Rising Baller’s made the game safe in the 88th minute, when substitute, Sangjoon Baek headed home from Saeed Darankai’s long ball into the box. 

Saeed Darankai's long ball into the box...

... is converted by Sangjoon Baek (29)

Mo Ihid then fired across the Dragons’ goalmouth, without attracting a touch.

Dragons’ Caleb Meir was brought down in the home penalty area in the 5th minute of added time and the resulting spot kick was converted by Sebastian Philogene.

Caleb Meir is felled in the box...

Sebastian Philogene (obscured) scores from the spot

Result: Rising Ballers Kensington 3 Kensington Dragons 1


Rising Ballers Kensington: Sanghyun Baek, Mo Abdi, Ben Sarr, Zak Otto, Aaron Braine-Edwards, Sean Basaye (capt), Ali Haddadji, Saeed Darankai, Kushon Lewis-Thomas, Mouman Sahnoun and Tyler Hayles.

Substitutes: Youssef Bouimane (68), Bilal Bakali (68), Sangjoon Baek (56), Mo Ihid (68) and Ilyias Mohamed (56).

Kensington Dragons: Juan Fedirico, Jamie Campbell, Tayler Jessimer, Tom Devine-McCauley (capt), Jermaine Haughton, Kyer-Ore Edghill, Nana Nisim, Arthur Baldwin, Ahmed Belgane, Tyler Blanco and Sebastian Philogene.

Substitutes: Diogo Da Silva (83), Ashley Flanore (79), Zakaria Saidi (53), Caleb Meir (56) and Dashain Moise (79).

Both teams used their full quota of 5 substitutes. The minute of the match during which they entered the action is shown in brackets after their name.

The other semi-final in this competition, was won by Brook House, who recorded a 3-2 home win over British Airways. The final is scheduled for Wednesday, 3rd April at a venue to be confirmed.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn