AMATEUR FA UNDER 18s CONTINUE THEIR WINNING CUP RUN
FA COUNTY YOUTH CUP 2nd ROUNDJERSEY FA v AMATEUR FA
SATURDAY 7th DECEMBER 2019
SPRINGFIELD STADIUM, ST. HELLIER,
A party of 15 players, 3 management & 8 supporters, including 2 parents travelled over to Jersey to take on our hosts. This is always a difficult venture as Jersey are invariably a very good side and the journey itself also has to be overcome. Fortunately, we had a trouble-free flight over on Friday night and were well accommodated at the Ambassadeur Hotel.
The players rested well overnight and were well prepared by the team managers before the game. The weather was dry and not too cold and we arrived at the Stadium full of hope.
Unfortunately, the match did not get off to the best of starts. After just 3 minutes an innocuous pass down the Jersey right-wing seemed well under the control of David Ola as he guided the ball back to the keeper, Harry Hauserman. There followed some miscommunication and hesitation and Jersey winger, Frankson, nicked the ball away and squared to centre forward, Marcinko, to tap into the empty net and put Jersey ahead.
The great positive from this was that both David & Harry put this slip up behind them and gave excellent performances overall, symptomatic of the AFA spirit displayed all match. Additionally, although the setback initially took the wind out of the AFA sails, the whole side responded and got stronger as the game went on.
Both sides fashioned half chances without taking them and the standard of football was very high. It became a very competitive match, with both sides fully determined, but excellently controlled by referee Charlie Bullock and his assistants. The tackling was strong but fair and both sides should be proud of their efforts, skill and contributions to an excellent match.
The first half saw Jersey as the better team, but there always seemed to be an AFA tackle or interception to stop them, together with some poor finishing on 3 or 4 occasions. In the 13th & 19th minutes, Hauserman was quick to anticipate attacks and claimed the ball at the feet of incoming forwards, whilst in between these he palmed over from point-blank range, although the Jersey forward was subsequently adjudged offside, and competed well at a corner to force a Jersey player to head wide. This was after Rigert Rama had got back to divert the ball away from a dangerous position.
The AFA had their own moments but, after going a goal down, were perhaps forcing things a little too much with passes being slightly over hit or miscued or defence pressure from Jersey preventing shots on goal having sufficient power to bother the keeper.
The Jersey full-backs were both good and the battles between them and Rama & Justin Dumfeh were entertainment in themselves. Kevonte Willoughby -Williams was trying everything to get the better of the Jersey central defenders and Josh Gunter was fighting hard to support him from midfield. Behind them, Finn Harvey & Eddy Mombanza were showing both tenacity and skill to close down attacks and create opportunities. Ryan Murphy & Ben-Yvan Silva were having identical battles as their Jersey counterparts with dangerous wingers and got more and more on top as the game progressed, whilst David Ola & Jude Elliott-Brown provided a shield in front of the AFA goal.
Up in the stand, we were beginning to think that a one-goal deficit at half time was not bad, given the possession that Jersey, enjoyed and then in 2 minutes the match changed. With 8 minutes to go to the break Jersey launched another attack and looked certain to score but Silva, Ola and then Hauserman blocked 3 shots in succession from point-blank range to deny them.
The AFA went forward and on 39 minutes forced a throw-in midway into the Jersey half. The throw was delivered to Willoughby-Williams to the right of the penalty box. He controlled the ball well, beat his defender on the turn and rifled the ball home from 20 yards as he cut in. The Jersey keeper, Le Lere, had no chance.
This stung Jersey and their winger Rai Dos Santos drove down the left past 2 defenders and crossed, only for the resultant shot to be blasted over. The referee deemed an attempted foul by Murphy to be a cautionable offence but, unfortunately, booked Harvey by mistake.
The AFA started well on the resumption and, within 2 minutes, Gunter & Willoughby-Williams combined well to provide the latter with a half-chance, but he couldn’t get room to get sufficient power on his shot and Le Lere saved. Gunter was then put in by good work by Rama, beat the centre half but his shot was straight at Le Lere. This was Rama’s last contribution as he was forced off with a sore foot on 57 minutes and replaced by Aden Brazil.
The game was now becoming more open and the AFA were getting on top. This was evidenced by a couple of substitutions to try to restore the equilibrium and Jersey’s excellent midfielder Ritzema, effecting a late tackle which earned him a booking.
Harvey & Mombanza were now dominating the midfield and Finn Harvey, in particular, was everywhere, making tackles and interceptions and distributing the ball well. Indeed on 31 minutes he picked up the ball in midfield and fed Willoughby-Williams, it was passed on to Gunter and his cross found Harvey, who held off a defender but shot at the keeper.
Our tails were up and just 2 minutes later Harvey & Mombanza combined again in midfield, the ball was swept out to Dumfeh on the left and he crossed to the far post. A Jersey defender reached the ball first but was only able to knock it square back across goal where Mombanza had continued his run. He expertly controlled the ball and drilled it past Le Lere into the bottom corner to deservedly, on their second-half performance, put the AFA ahead.
Jersey responded immediately but Hauserman was on hand to save. Then the ball was down the other end and Brazil was forcing Le Lere to save at the expense of a corner.
The game continued like this in the final few minutes, with Jersey putting in a good cross from the right which was missed, then Gunter & Dumfeh were denied by last Dutch tackles at the other end.
Into injury time and Jersey were trying all they could but they couldn’t get past Harry Hauserman, who made a great double save in the last minute to ensure the win.
All of the players deserve high praise for their performances both on the pitch and off, where they were described as exemplary ambassadors for the AFA. This includes unused substitutes Ewen Bland, Emeka Ukaegbu & Rayon Atkinson, who will no doubt get their chance in the South East Counties Championship, and who fully contributed to the success of the trip.
The skills of manager Pat Folan and coach Gary Harrowell were evident again for the second half performance and to physio Bob Leeds, whose first aid skills were fortunately not required but did a great job doubling up as kit manager.
An excellent win which made the trip worthwhile but is only a part of our path to try to reach and win the final. A trip to Devon comes next, most likely in January and, as we have now reached the quarter-final stage, we will have to work as hard and be as equally committed to be successful again.
Harry Hauserman; Ryan Murphy, David Ola, Jude Elliott-Brown, Ben-Yvan Silva; Finn Harvey, Eddy Mombanza, Josh Gunter; Rigert Rama, Kevonte Willoughby-Williams, Justin Dumfeh. Substitutes- Aden Brazil, Ewan Bland, Emeka Ukaegbu, Rayon Atkinson.
Pat Folan (Manager), Gary Harrowell (Coach), Bob Leeds (Physio)
Referee - Charlie Bullock (Berks & Bucks) Assistant Referees - Peter Dingle & Mark Gidman (Sussex)
David Dunn, Tony Julian, Mark Freedman, Ray Holmes, Lewis Holmes, Geoff Salmon
Special thanks to Mike Brown, who did so much of the pre-match administration but could not attend for family reasons.