The quarter finals of this season’s Middlesex Junior Cup were contested on Saturday 20th January and your roving team chose to cover the match at Bushy Park Sports Club, between NPL Saturday Second team and Old Aloysians.
The Middlesex Junior Cup was first competed for in the 1891-92 season, when it was won by Millwall Athletic Reserves. It is the second oldest of our cup competitions, starting just three years after the Senior Challenge Cup.
NPL Reserves had reached this stage of the competition by beating Indian Gymkhana 2-1 (away) and Kensington Dragons Blues 3-1 (home). Old Aloysians had recorded home victories against London Europeans 12-1 and Celtic 3-0.
NPL deservedly won a very good cup tie between two sides playing attractive attacking football. After a goalless first half, during which NPL had the better of the possession, Old Aloysians went ahead 10 minutes into the second half. Their lead only lasted for 4 minutes before NPL equalised with a freekick. The home side then netted the winner, with another free kick, in the 78th minute.
Old Aloysians’ Josh Maraney had the ball in the NPL net inside the 2nd minute, after being put through by Callum Robins. Unfortunately for him, he was adjudged offside.
A free kick by Raj Mannick, from wide on the halfway line found Liam Todd, whose header was saved. Then NPL keeper, Chris Ashton, saved at Josh Maraney’s feet.
Chris Ashton saves at Josh Maraney's feet
At the other end, Sam Riddett finished a good NPL passing move by firing just over the bar. Then Steven Sargent’s awkward low drive was turned around the upright by keeper, Luca Marrelli.
Luca Marrelli saves Steven Sargent's awkward drive
A long ball from Steven Sargent released Sam Riddett, whose low cross sped across the face of the goal before being turned for a corner. Sam Riddett then fired high across the goal area.
Old Aloysians’ Liam Todd burst through the middle but was dispossessed by Jeremiah Debayo.
A dangerous corner, taken by NPL’s dead ball expert, Sam Riddett evaded the goalkeeper but was scrambled away. This was the first of a succession of corners taken by Sam, who was undoubtedly the player of the match.
One of Sam Riddett's many corner kicks
An incisive run by Sam himself, produced one of these corners, which keeper, Luca Marrelli punched away. Then Steven Sargent fired across the goalmouth.
A corner from Sam Riddett is scrambled away
Old Aloysians’ Liam Todd made a good break and keeper Chris Ashton saved his low cross shot at the near post.
NPL’s Richard Wittekind ran onto a through ball and fired over the bar, while under pressure.
Half time score: NPL Reserves 0 Old Aloysians 0
Richard Wittekind (18) clears the bar under pressure
NPL resumed their offensive and Sam Riddett netted but was offside.
Old Aloysians broke away in the 55th minute. Chris Ashton saved from Josh Maraney but the ball ran to Daniel O’Donoghue, who put his side ahead.
Chris Ashton saves from Josh Maraney
... but Daniel O'Donoghue (10) nets the rebound to put Old Aloysians ahead
NPL equalised in the 59th minute. Louis Holmes was felled just outside the penalty area. Referee, Anjam Mirza awarded the free kick and then dealt appropriately with the very vociferous Holmes, who insisted that the incident had occurred inside the area. Sam Riddett settled the argument by cleverly placing the free kick around the defensive wall, into the corner of the net.
Louis Holmes is fouled just outside the box...
... and Sam Riddett's free kick levels the scores
NPL continued to dominate play, passing the ball well out of defence.
However, Old Aloysians could have regained the lead, when a long free kick by Raj Mannick found Liam Todd, who headed just over.
Luca Marrelli saved Sam Riddett’s cross shot at the second attempt. Richard Wittekind’s shot across goal passed narrowly wide of the far post. Luca then took an awkwardly bouncing effort from Luke Willis.
Luca Morrelli saves Sam Riddett's cross-shot
The keeper saved Richard Wittekind’s deflection from Steven Sargent’s cross. Luke Willis tried an overhead kick, from a ball bouncing in the goalmouth but his effort was blocked. A passing movement, involving several players, released Steven Sargent, whose shot was off target.
Sam Riddett scored the winning goal in the 78th minute, with a well struck free kick, from a central position around 30 yards out, over the goalkeeper into the top of the net.
Sam Riddett's free kick wins the tie for NPL
Old Aloysians pushed forward, unsuccessfully, in search of an equaliser. Raj Mannick’s long free kick into the box was headed away. Liam Todd was narrowly wide with a header.
Result: NPL Reserves 2 Old Aloysians 1
NPL Reserves: Chris Ashton, Oscar Shearing, Shaun Gibson (capt), Louis Holmes, Andrew Juett, Danny Cain, Richard Wittekind, Luke Willis, Sam Riddett, Steven Sargent and Jeremiah Debayo.
Rolling substitutes: Samuel Fernandes Taveres, Simon Humphries and Alfie Rose.
Old Aloysians: (squad) Luca Marrelli, Toby Petyt, Sean Newey, Callum Robins, Karl Rogers, Daniel O’Donoghue, Tom Davies, Raj Mannick, Josh Maraney, Declan McGarry, Julian Giraldo, Julian Ramirez, Santiago Roa, Patrick McNamara and Liam Todd (capt)
Referee: Anjam Mirza, who handled the game very well.
The results of the other quarter final matches in the competition were:
Westminster & Kensington 4 SL Benfica 4 (pens 4-5)
Norsemen 5 Ruislip Town Red 0
London Cheetahs 6 AFC Southall 1
Report: Jim Taylor
Photography: Chris Benn