Graham Rigby Under 16 Cup match photo


Jim Taylor

The Middlesex FA Graham Rigby Under 16 Cup final took place on Tuesday, 30th April, at the Powerday Stadium, the home of Hanwell Town FC. This season’s finalists were Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles and Northwood Youth EJA. Both clubs have impressive youth set-ups and their teams play attractive and skilful football. Whitton Wanderers Youth were formed in 2005 and currently play in the Premier Division of the Surrey Youth League. Northwood FC was formed in 1926 and their U16 team compete in the Eastern Junior Alliance Yellow Division. 

The Under 16 Youth Cup was first competed for in season 1971-72, when it was won by Oxford & Kilburn FC. The current holders were Parkfield Youth Red, who beat Isleworthians Youth White 2-1, in a close encounter at the Powerday Stadium last season. 82 teams entered the competition this season.

Both teams had a bye in the first round and then notched up impressive records, in reaching the final.

Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles scored 38 goals in their 5 games. They beat Ashford Town (Middlesex) Juniors Warrior 16-0 away in round 2, Powerhouse Whites 10-0 away in round 3, Hampton & Richmond Borough Youth in a penalty shoot-out after a 3-3 away draw in round 4, 360 Talent FC 2-1 at home in the quarter-final and Cademy Red 7-1 away in the semi-final.

Northwood Youth EJA beat Kensington Dragons Youth Red 8-0 at home, Omonia Youth Gold 5-1 at home, Harrow Stars 2-1 away, ProElite 3-2 at home and Colney Heath Youth EJA 1-0 away.

Matches in this competition consist of 40 minutes each half.

Both sides performed impressively, in an evenly balanced and competitive encounter. Whitton Wanderers took an early lead but Northwood scored twice within a period of two minutes to lead at halftime. The Eagles equalised early in the second half. The winning goal for Northwood was scored by the outstanding Michael Kelly midway through the second half.

The Eagles went ahead in the 8th minute, through Thomas Madigan, who cut in from the left before hitting the ball home.

Thomas Madigan (8) shoots to put Whitton ahead

A well-judged tackle by a Northwood defender thwarted a goal-bound Toby Dane.

James O’Connor netted for Northwood but the score was disallowed for offside.

Northwood’s Bilal Sajid hit the post with a well struck drive.

However, Northwood equalised in the 16th minute, through Joseph Navarro, who converted Michael Kelly’s low cross, from close range.

Joseph Navarro converts Michael Kelly's cross to make the score 1-1

Northwood went ahead 2 minutes later. Michael Kelly was the provider again. He took the ball around the goalkeeper and pulled it back for Tobi Faleye to net.

Michael Kelly rounds the keeper...

... and Tobi Faleye puts Northwood 2-1 up

Whitton keeper, Leo Walsh dived to save Enzo Tabima’s header.

Enzo Tabima heads...

... and Leo Walsh saves

Half time score: Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles 1 Northwood Youth EJA 2

Kayden Brimah’s freekick over the defensive wall, from around 30 yards, was brilliantly saved by Northwood keeper, Dante Mayers.

Kayden Brimah hits a free kick...

... and Dante Mayer saves

The Eagles equalised in the 49th minute through Vinnie Cheal, who seized upon a defender’s header from Thomas Madigan’s corner.

Vinnie Cheal (25) levels the scores at 2-2

Dante Mayers saved from Oliver Makowski in a 1 on 1 situation.

Wanderers’ keeper. Leo Walsh then made good saves from headers by Chase Matthew and Michael Kelly.

Michael Kelly hit the winning goal for Northwood in the 65th minute.

Michael Kelly (middle red) scores the winner

Leo Walsh made a fine save from Bilal Sajid, who was through on goal.

Final score: Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles 2  Northwood Youth EJA 3

The winners with the cup

Coincidentally, Referee, Nima Hosseinali, who had a very good match, was the 4th Official on this final last season.

Middlesex FA Finance Director, Steve Grover, was the Guest of Honour. Steve was introduced to the players and match officials before the match and presented the cup and the individual mementoes afterwards,

Steve chose Northwood’s outstanding left winger, Michael Kelly as Player of the Match.

Our grateful thanks are due to Hanwell Town FC for once again allowing us the use of their fine facilities for this final.


Whitton Wanderers Youth Eagles: Leo Walsh, Oscar Marques, Kabir Sandhu, Toby Barnes, Thomas Madigan (capt), Kayden Brimah, Yusuf Hewivatarne, Maxime Yazdanbakhsh-Gola, Oliver Makowski, Oscar Mo and Toby Dane.

Rolling substitutes: Oliver Byron, Zepaniah Fyleman, Vinnie Cheal, Jake Symington and Alex Gavin-Manuel.

Manager: Lewis Walsh   

Coaches: Rajab Hewivatarne, Joe Ratcliffe and Pat Madigan   

Physio: Jamie Fyleman.

Northwood Youth EJA: Dante Mayers, Dylan McManus, Kyle D’Austin, Enzo Tabima (capt), Chase Matthew, Joseph Navarro, Freddie Ford, Bilal Sajid, James O’Connor, Tobi Faleye and Michael Kelly.

Rolling substitutes: Ethan Sylvester, Santiago Tabima, Amar Singh, Alessandro Pellizzon and Archie Baker.

Manager: Selina McManus

Coaches: Mark Smyth and Desmond Sylvester   

Physio: Andy Navarro.

Referee: Nima Hosseinali   

Assistant Referees: Harry Sweales and Dylan Spiers   

Fourth Official: Widanalage De Mel.

Attendance: 221

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn