AFA v Middlesex match report
SOUTH EAST COUNTIES YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
QUALITY GOALS PROVIDE STARTING WIN
AMATEUR FA u16's v MIDDLESEX FA
SUNDAY 18th NOVEMBER 2018
COLNEY HEATH FC KO 13.00
A bright, sunny afternoon on an excellent pitch at the picturesque Colney Heath ground was the setting for a very good opening match in the Amateur FA's target of retaining the South East Counties Youth trophy.
Three late call offs created problems for manager Gary Harrowell and led to some reshuffling and players adapting to new positions. Nevertheless we started the game well and dominated play for long periods of the first half without scoring, although we came very close on several occasions.
The Middlesex keeper, Negaru, recovered well from a hesitant start, when his miscontrol almost let in the AFA, to save well at the feet of Lewis Horne-Hayes as he cut into the box from the right after a good move had put him away. Then after good work down the left by Tomiwa Oni had forced a corner and then another AFA corner had been cleared off the line, he thwarted Horne-Hayes again by tipping his shot onto the bar before the rebound was knocked wide.
We were having success down both flanks and a good move down the left forced another corner. Oni was a constant threat to the Middlesex defence with his skill and work rate making life very difficult for them. He almost put the AFA ahead on 20 minutes when a move was built through midfield and put him through on goal. He skilfully lobbed Negaru but the ball landed just over the crossbar. Shortly after a long clearance found the strong running Oni and he almost forced the ball home.
Middlesex had managed to build some attacks but were kept at bay by good closing down by the AFA midfield and good covering by their defence.
Their clearest chances fell around the half hour mark when a good move finished with a shot that just went wide and a free kick from the right that was also just wide of the far post. The last chance of the half fell to the AFA when a ball in from the right was dropped by Negaru but Middlesex were able to scramble clear.
It was a good first half which the AFA had dominated without converting their opportunities.
At the start of the second half Fin Rushton replaced Ricardo Pacheco in goal, though it was not to be the end of his afternoon.
Play continued much as the first half had finished with AFA attacking. On 43 minutes Middlesex defender, Lester, was cautioned for a foul on Horne-Hayes but the resultant free kick from Charlie Powell went into the side netting. Then, just 3 minutes later, a good move built through the midfield put Michael Zuchowski through as he ran into the box and, as Negaru advanced, he was able to knock it past him to put us ahead.
At this time our other substitute, Emmanuel Atta replaced Keiron Lake-Bryan at right back.
It is often said that teams are at their most vulnerable shortly after they have scored and this rang true on 50 minutes when Middlesex centre half, Elhaouari, had his cross from the right deflected to beyond the far post where it found the dangerous Flowers, who cut back across Atta and drove home at the near post. Rushton got a hand to the ball but the pace was too much.
The game was now much more even and Middlesex were creating good moves through Bennet-Chet and Hutchings in midfield and Flowers was a constant threat on the left.
For the AFA Oni was continuing to be a problem for our opponents and on 58 minutes he pressurised a Middlesex defender into a mistake and his driven shot was just wide of the far post. Lake-Bryan returned in 61st minute for Zuchowski, playing further forward and almost scored just 3 minutes later when his shot was mishandled onto the bar by Negaru. Oni was on hand to put home the rebound but, unfortunately, was in an offside position when the original shot was struck.
The next 10 minutes or so were dominated by Middlesex and they went close on a couple of occasions with a shot over the bar from a good ball in from DeRosa and a cross from Flowers that went across the AFA goal without a Middlesex forward able to get a touch.
They paid for this with 6 minutes remaining when very good interplay through the AFA midfield put Horne-Hayes clear in the inside left position. He picked his spot and drove the ball across Negaru into the far corner of the net to restore the AFA lead.
Unfortunately Lake-Bryan then picked up an injury which necessitated his withdrawal and Pacheco returned to play the last 4 minutes and added time up front and chased everything to put Middlesex under pressure. His replacement in goal, Rushton, then ensured the win with a save on his line from a corner and another, easier save from a shot.
Overall a very pleasing performance given the circumstances and a good start to the season.
The match was excellently refereed by Deryll David, very ably assisted by Jamie DeSouza & Dylan Ellis.
The scheduled match v London for next week has been postponed.
1. Ricardo Pacheco. (Bishops Stortford)
2. Kieron Lake-Bryan. (Wingate Finchley)
3. Charlie Powell. (Bishops Stortford)
4. Ewan Bland. (Cockfosters)
5. Fin Conway. (Wingate Finchley)
6. Rayon Atkinson. (Cockfosters)
7. Josh Gunter. (Cockfosters)
8. Aden Brazil. (Cockfosters)
9. Tomiwa Oni (Cockfosters)
10. Michael Zuchowski. (Old Bealonians)
11. Lewis Horne-Hayes. (Compton School)
12. Emmanuel Atta. (Enfield Town)
23. Fin Rushton. (Wingate Finchley)
Gary Harrowell. - Manager
Pat Folan. - Coach
Jamie Shah. - Physiology
Deryll David - Referee
Jamie DeSouza. Assistant Referee
Dylan Ellis. Assistant Referee
Photo Credit: Chris Benn