Sunday Cup match photo


Jim Taylor

Highgate Albion, who reached the FA Sunday Cup final in 2022, continued their exciting run in this season’s competition on Sunday last, 25th February, with an away 5th round game, against St Joseph’s (South Oxhey). This match, which was played on Hertford Town FC’s 3G surface, was originally scheduled for the previous Sunday, at Northwood FC, when it was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Albion had reached this stage of the competition by beating Sungate (away) 3-2 in round 1, SE Dons 2-1 (at home) in round 2 , The Wall 4-1 (at home) in round 3 and Flaunden (at home) 7-6 in a penalty shoot-out, after a 2-2 draw in round 4.

St Joseph’s (South Oxhey) had been drawn at home in each of the 5 rounds. They had a walkover in round 1, because of the withdrawal of FC Beaconsfield and they then beat Strafford Arms (2-1), RCS Classics XI (4-3) and Market Hotel (4-2).

After some early sparring, the first quarter of the match was evenly contested but Highgate Albion, playing their usual passing game, took control as the first half progressed. They failed to take some scoring opportunities but went ahead in the 27th minute and then added a second goal just before half-time. Albion scored again immediately after the break and then dictated play to win 6-0. It was an impressive all-round team performance based on good build ups, out of a solid defence.

Highgate Albion’s Alexandru Gavriloaia was the first goalkeeper in serious action, in the 12th minute, when he saved Harry Seabrook’s header.

At the other end, Richard Ennis fed Isaac Stones, whose ball across the box didn’t attract a contact.

A well struck high shot from Nick Kerley tested Alexandru, who pushed it over his crossbar.

Nick Kerley's (7) high shot is punched over the bar by Alex

Some neat Albion approach work released Isaac Stones and then Richard Ennin but both were foiled, at the expense of corners.

Alexandru advanced 20 yards out of his box, to head clear from Liam Smyth.

Excellence Muhemba headed home from Richard Ennin’s cross to put Albion ahead in the 27th minute.

Excellence Muhemba (7) heads Albion's first goal

Alex saved low down, after Nick Kerley had hooked the ball back from the byline. 

Luke Alfano headed a cross down to Isaac Stones, who shot over the bar from close range. A good move involving Hamza Semakula and Richard Ennin ended with St Joseph’s keeper, Tyler Tobin, taking Richard’s cross ahead of Isaac Stones.

Isaac Stones shoots over from close range

Tyler made a double save, firstly from Richard and then from Isaac, who fastened onto the rebound.

Isaac set up Excellence Muhemba, whose angled shot hit the side netting. Excellence then released Isaac on the right but Tyler Tobin left his area to kick clear.

Excellence Muhemba shoots into the side netting

Albion doubled their lead in the 44th minute, through Isaac Stones, who converted Luke Alfano’s low cross.

Isaac Stones scores Albion's second goal

Half-time score: St Joseph’s (South Oxhey) 0 Highgate Albion 2

Within a minute of the restart, Isaac Stones banished any thoughts of a St Joseph’s comeback, by hitting Albion’s third goal, after two shots had been blocked.

Isaac Stones (25) hits Albion's third goal

Albion continued to dominate the game. Excellence shot against an upright and Alvin Kyeremeh’s header from Lonit Talla’s freekick was saved low down.

Hamza Semakula scored Albion’s fourth goal, with a drive from just inside the box, in the 59th minute.

Hamza Semakula (8) shoots...

... to put Albion 4-0 ahead

Tyler Tobin saved well from Solomon Ofori and then, in a rare home attack, Alex saved Daniel Griggs’ header from Ronnie Blagdon’s freekick.

Alex saves Daniel Griggs' header

In the 76th minute, Solomon took the ball through the home defence and pushed it through the goalkeeper’s legs for Albion’s 5th goal.

Solomon Ofori scores Albion's fifth goal

St Joseph’s were reduced to 10 players in the 85th minute, having used all of their permitted three substitutions, when Louis Bamgboye had to retire with an injury.

After some more goal attempts by Albion, Lonit Talla completed the scoring with a superbly struck shot from the edge of the box, which entered the net at the angle of the post and the crossbar.

Lonit Talla (4) hits Albion's sixth goal

Final score: St Joseph’s (South Oxhey) 0  Highgate Albion 6


St Joseph’s (South Oxhey): Tyler Tobin, Dean Brinton, Louis Bamgboye, Sam Tring, Lewis Smith, Harry Seabrook (capt), Nick Kerley (Paolo Deritis 60), Ronnie Blagden, Daniel Griggs, Lewis Davis (James Yallop 79) and Liam Smyth (Keane Fullwood 52).

Unused substitutes: Reid Sims and Hassan Al-Murtada 

Highgate Albion: Alexandru Gavriloaia, Billy Hayes, Hermes Gbio, Luke Alfano (capt) (Chris Regis 60), Jardell Sterling, Alvin Kyeremeh (Harry Gallagher 68), Lonit Talla, Richard Ennis, Isaac Stones (Solomon Ofori 60), Hamza Semakula and Excellence Muhemba (capt from 60).

Unused substitutes: Josif Jevdjic, Pele Riley, Charles Taylor (gkpr) and Jake Cass.  

Referee: Chris Poole.

Highgate Albion have been drawn against Home Bargains FC from Liverpool, in the semi-final, to be played on Sunday, 24th March at Kidderminster Harriers FC  .

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn