An excellent defensive performance from Brent’s Odain Donaldson and a superb strike from Reece Weekes were not enough to stop the Middlesex U14 Representative Team losing 4-1 at home to Kent in in their opening South East England Schools’ FA fixture.
The outcome of the match could have been so different had Middlesex capitalised on a period of dominance in the second half. Kent started the match strongly, taking a two goal lead early on. Weekes pulled one back with a fierce cross shot from the edge of the box into the corner of the net following good work from Rasharn Rampton. There was no further scoring in the first half.
After the restart, Middlesex had their visitors under pressure. Captain Ethan Stacey started to win the midfield battle supported by Leo Grace who made an impressive debut at centre-back. Cai Burrows came off the bench and had an instant impact as Middlesex started to pass better and attack. Midfielder Altan Aydin blasted a screamer from 25 years that smashed against the bar, Ali Alanezi had an effort cleared off the line and Weekes blasted two rocket shots just over the bar before the visitors launched a counter attack to score a third.
Middlesex continued to press and keeper Joe Ringer made two fine saves but against the run of play Kent counter-attacked and scored to put the game beyond Middlesex and the final score line 4-1. Middlesex coach Chris Ampofo commented: “I congratulated the players on their effort today. If one of those chances had gone in I think we would have gone on to win the game. It is a new team and we will take the learnings from today and improve.”
Middlesex: Reece Weekes, Cai Burrows, (St Gregs) Tobi Aleshe, Christopher Thorpe (St Tomas more), Djinho Itshary (Grieg City), Zacharic Bawabin (Winchmore), TJ Clarke (Preston Manor), Joe Ringer, (Harefield) Ethan Stacey captain (Hayden), Ali Alanezi , Ahmed Alanezey (London Academy).Altin Aydin (Mill Hill), Leo Grace (Finchley), Rasharn Rampton (Friern Barnet ), Odain Donaldson (Capital City).
That match came a week after the squad staged a courageous comeback in a friendly against Spelthorne to rally from 3-1 down to draw level but eventually lost 4-3.
Damani Ayre led the fight back, scoring with a header. Then Tobi Aleshe coolly slotted home a penalty before smashing home the equaliser from close range to cap an impressive debut. However, Spelthorne sealed the victory with a long range effort 5 minutes from time . Middlesex coach Chris Ampofo said: “The players showed great team spirit. They worked hard for each other . It was great preparation for the game against Kent.”
Middlesex: Damani Ayre, Kyle Mathews (Wembley), Reece Weekes, Cai Burrows, Michael Adjei, Jakub Lasia (St Gregs), Odain Donaldson (Capital City), Tobi Aleshe, Christopher Thorpe (St Thomas More), Djinho Itshary (Grieg City), Zacharic Bawabin (Winchmore), Jordan Gugan (Vyners), TJ Clarke (Preston Manor), Joe Ringer, Abdi Issa, Ramarne Griffith , Tyler Burey, Luke Robinson (Harefield) Ethan Stacey (Hayden).