The County Representative Teams performed admirably in their latest matches, played against Surrey at the Concorde Club in Cranford on Saturday 14th December. Both the Under-16 and Under-15 teams secured victories, while the Under-14 squad gave a good account of themselves in a narrow defeat.
Middlesex needed to win the Under-16 match against a very good Surrey team in order to maintain their hopes of reaching the knockout phase of the LC Hill Trophy.
Surrey arrived at the Concorde Club with an unbeaten record to defend and the home management team of Keith Young and William Wright stressed to their squad that the match was a “must win” fixture. Knowing that defeat would effectively end their season, the Middlesex squad displayed an excellent attitude from the start.
Middlesex took the lead it the 20th minute when Ash Hameed fired a free kick into the net from 20 yards out. Although Surrey fought hard to get back into the match, a second free kick, this time from 25 yards, saw Hameed curl the ball around the wall to give his team a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Surrey started the second half strongly and reduced the arrears 15 minutes into the second half. However, midway through the second period, Middlesex made it 3-1 when Hameed completed his hat-trick with a run and a thunderous strike from 35 yards out. To their credit, Surrey never let their heads drop and pulled a second goal back, but Middlesex secured the points with a 3-2 win.
After the match, manager Keith Young said that Hameed’s third goal “was one of the best strikes I’ve seen in years. The whole team’s commitment, desire and passion was fantastic. We deserved to win the game; we gave them their goals, we created ours and that was the difference.”
The Under-16 team have one match remaining, at home to Buckinghamshire on 15th February. A win will ensure that Middlesex finish in the top two places in their group and advance to the semi-finals.
Middlesex: Adam Bullock (Highfields), Harlaine Mbayo (Christ College Finchley), Assef Rahman (Christ College Finchley), Sinn’ Kay Christie (Barnhill Community High), Hussaine Garbuja (Wembley Hig)h, Ash Hameed (Crest Academy), Kevin Holden (Preston Manor), Adrian George (Salvatorian College), Tyler-Trey Crosbie (Salvatorian College), Anthony Mozie (Whitmore High), Muntasir Elnaeem (Heathland School), Fisal Bawa (Heathland School), Remi Gyimah (Wren Academy), George McIntyre (East Barnet), Nyv Bogaire (Jewish Free School).
Having gained their first point in their previous fixture, the Under-15 squad (pictured) was determined to finish their season on a high and claim their first win. They started very positively, putting Surrey under immense pressure from the kick off but couldn’t find a way to convert that pressure into a goal. This continued for much of the first half and Surrey were limited to very few chances leaving keeper George Simpson with little to do.
After half time, Surrey came back into the match without really threatening to score until a wonder strike from their left sided midfielder flew into the top corner to give them an unlikely lead. Middlesex had it all to do yet again, however they have learnt from previous experiences and showed fantastic character to draw level. The goal came from a Wilson Chingoka corner that was rifled in, Ned Clarke hitting a fantastic volley into the net. Clarke then latched onto the end of Imani Matthews’ ball across the box to fire Middlesex into the lead with 15 minutes to go. Middlesex kept up the pressure on their guests and managed to seal the game with another cross being turned into the net by one of Surrey’s defenders to make the score 3-1.
Team Manager Mr Saxton remarked that “The team secured their first win and showed just how much they’ve improved by comfortably beating a side that may well progress from the group. They have now shown just what they could achieve next season. Well done to all.”
At the same time, the Under-14 squad took on an in-form Surrey. Middlesex took the lead through Harry Russell (JFS) in the early stages. Soon after this, Surrey took control and created a number of chances to score, but the home defence held out until just before half-time before Surrey scored a deserved equaliser.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first. Middlesex regained the lead shortly after the interval, thanks to a well struck free kick from captain Steven Cairns (Gunnersbury Catholic School), who drove his low shot past the keeper’s right hand. Again, Surrey took a grip on the game and equalised in good time before scoring a late goal to end the resistance of the brave Middlesex team.
The Middlesex Player of the Match was James Harpin (JFS) (pictured, right).
Middlesex: Dylan Hickman Singh, Dominic Thompson, Sharmake Muse (all Queens Park Community College), Calvin Osborne (Claremont High School), James Harpin, Harry Russell, Jordon Green, (all JFS), Jay Beckford (Highgate Wood), Reece Clement, Joshua Bennai Steven Cairns (all Gunnersbury Catholic School), Henry Histon, Anthony Williams (both Finchley Catholic High School), Leandro Ribeiro (Salvatorian College), Mentor Ramadani (Park View), Rhys Jones (Bishopshalt), Zayn Botchway Daniel (Acton High), Kraig McLeod (Kingsbury High), Jean-Paul Antwi (Enfield Grammar).