The quarter finals of this season’s Middlesex Intermediate Cup were played on Saturday 27th January and your roving team chose to cover the match at Bushy Park Sports Club, between NPL Saturday and Indian Gymkhana.
The Middlesex Intermediate Cup was first competed for in the 1966-67 season, when it was won by Harefield. Indian Gymkhana have made a big impact on the competition in recent years. They reached the final in 2021, when they lost a keenly contested match with Spartans Youth by a single goal. They last won the trophy in 2018, beating Laleham 3-0. Previous to that they beat Chiswick 1-0 in the 2013 final.
NPL had reached the quarter final of this season’s competition by beating Staines & Lammas U23 3-0 at home, while Indian Gymkhana had won a penalty shoot-out against Civil Service Reserves, following a 1-1 home draw.
Indian Gymkhana won a hard fought and volatile affair, which was full of interesting action for the neutral observer, by 3 goals to 1. NPL had the better of the possession in the even opening stages but Indian Gymkhana took the lead after 26 minutes and then scored twice more to lead 3-0 at the interval. They subsequently kept a tight grip on the match but their task was considerably simplified by the dismissal of two home players, just after an hours play. NPL scored a consolation goal with 5 minutes of normal time remaining.
Referee, Tom Fondie deserves praise for the way in which he managed a very difficult game. He dealt with some awkward situations, including several mass confrontations, with calm fortitude. However, the afternoon’s events support the view that official assistant referees should be appointed for games of this importance. Tom would certainly have appreciated some assistance in dealing with the actions of the players and officials of both teams.
The early action was mainly in midfield. Visiting keeper, Bilal Khan saved at the second attempt at the feet of Jacob Bennett, who had cut in from the left.
NPL’s Charlie Holmes released Francis Darko but again the keeper intervened. Bilal then pushed out Charlie’s low shot from around 25 yards.
Bilal Khan pushes out Charlie Holmes' (out of picture) low drive
Gymkhana’s attempts on goal, during the opening period, were limited to a couple of long-range attempts by Pavandip Kang, which went high and wide.
The visitors’ first serious attack, in the 18th minute brought the game’s first goal. Alexander Owuadey was brought down in a central position, 30 yards from goal Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram’s well placed freekick was headed back across the crowded goalmouth, for Manuel Kingsley-Nyinak to net from close range.
Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram's free-kick...
... is headed back across goal...
... for Manuel Kingsley-Nyinak (10) to net
Alexander Owuadey doubled his team’s lead 5 minutes later, by dribbling through the NPL defence and planting the ball into the net.
Alexander Owuadey (9) scores Indian Gymkhana's second goal
The visitors kept up the pressure on the home defence. Karanjeet Pal made an incisive run and fed Nauman Quraishy, whose close-range shot was saved by keeper, Massimo Chiesa.
Massimo Chiesa saves from Nauman Guraishy (11)
Jeysiva hit a freekick, from just outside the penalty box into the defensive wall. Then Massimo saved at Alexander’s feet.
NPL were reduced to 10 men by the sin-binning of Charlie Holmes for dissent. They managed to hold out until his return to the action in the 39th minute, although Alexander was twice close to adding to his sides’ lead.
Israel Kabengele made progress up the wing and released Alexander, whose shot was blocked.
Gymkhana’s 3rd goal arrived in bizarre circumstances in the 43rd minute, when Jermaine Queensborough’s misdirected pass back to his keeper rolled slowly over the line and into the net.
Half time score: NPL Saturday 0 Indian Gymkhana 3
The ball rolls slowly over the line for Gymkhana's third goal
NPL resumed, determined to reduce their deficit and Jack Buckle nodded the ball down to Adam Willis in front of the Gymkhana goal but Adam hit his shot wide.
Manuel Kingsley-Nyinak just cleared the NPL crossbar from around 30 yards.
A long-range effort from Charlie Holmes was taken, underneath his bar by Gymkhana keeper, Bilal Khan.
Francis Darko made a good run for NPL but his cross was turned for a corner. Jamie Dobson won the ball and advanced through the visitors’ defence but he overhit his final ball.
Nauman Quraishy set up Alexander, whose shot was turned around the post by keeper Massimo Chiesa.
Massimo turns Alexander's shot around his post
A low shot by Charlie Holmes was saved by Bilal Khan.
The atmosphere was now becoming heated. There were several multiple confrontations. During this period the NPL bench were shown a yellow card. Then in the 61st minute, NPL’s Jamie Dobson and Jordan Willis were both dismissed for violent conduct.
Referee Tom Fondie sorts out one of the multiple confrontations
Indian Gymkhana now took complete control of the match against NPL’s 9 men and the ill feeling between the participants lingered.
The home keeper saved from Jeysiva, at the expense of a corner. He then caught Jeysiva’s headed attempt from the corner kick. Alexander accelerated through the home defence but his shot was saved.
A good passing movement, involving Amanjit Haggar and Israel Kabengele was finished by Karanjeet Pal, whose shot was saved low down.
With 5 minutes remaining, Jacob Bennett pulled a goal back for NPL with a low shot from outside the penalty area.
Jacob Bennett (blue on left) shoots...
Result: NPL Saturday 1 Indian Gymkhana 3
... and scores a late consolation goal for NPL
NPL Saturday: Massimo Chiesa, Jamie Dobson, Connor Rodgers, Ben Harrison, Jermaine Queensborough, Jordan Willis (captain), Jack Buckle, Jacob Bennett, Francis Darko, Adam Willis and Charlie Holmes.
Rolling substitutes: Luke Watts, Dan Buckle, Anthony Oaks, Innigo Anderson and Omri Kedem.
Manager: Chris Evans
Indian Gymkhana: Bilal Khan, Karanjeet Pal, Hammad Taj (captain), Jeysiva Sivapathasundaram, Prabhjot Lidhar, Manuel Kingsley-Nyinak, Nauman Quraishy, Israel Kabengele, Alexander Owuadey, Mohmin Zaheed and Pavandip Kang.
Rolling substitutes: Kagan Aulakh, Gurwinder Singh, Aaron Alleyne-Anstey and Amanjit Chaggar.
Manager: Gurwinder Singh Assistant Managers: Hamza Sayed and Harpreet Sangha.
Referee: Tom Fondie
The results of the other quarter final matches in the competition were:
The Wilberforce Wanderers 5 Kodak Harrow 3
Bush Hill Rangers 4 AFC Spelthorne 0
Larkspur Rovers 6 Brook House Reserves 1
Report: Jim Taylor
Photography: Chris Benn