Surrey 4-3 Middlesex
The Middlesex Schools’ FA Under-14 squad put together another superb team performance “away” to Surrey at the excellent Hampton School 3G pitch in South-West Middlesex, but were undone by a goal in the last minute of the game, eventually losing 4-3.
Middlesex attacked the hosts from the kick off and were awarded a penalty after five minutes when Gareth Balekomoso was adjudged to have been pushed in the box. Reece Weekes stepped up to take the spot kick but the keeper dived to his right and saved well. This energised Surrey who surged forward to score two goals in quick succession.
It looked as though Surrey might extend their lead, but in-form ‘keeper Joe Ringer made an excellent point blank save to deny the hosts. Then just before half time the inspirational Middlesex captain Michael Adjei hit an inch perfect diagonal ball into the Surrey box, striker Ali Alanezi provided a glancing header into the corner of the net and made the score 2-1.
The goal restored belief into the Seaxes and the second half started with Middlesex on the attack. Hohmann came close with two efforts and Alanezi had a shot cleared off the line before Surrey broke to restore their two goal lead.
The hosts thought it was game over but Middlesex had other ideas. Josh Bird was brought on to bolster the midfield and he provided a neat pass to Kyle Mathew who unleashed an unstoppable shot from an acute angle into the top corner to reduce the arrears.
Middlesex began to get the upper hand and William Lahti played the ball to Ben Sullivan, who played a neat one-two with Weekes and slid the ball to Alanezi but his shot was agonisingly inches wide. Keiano Josephs was brought on up front and his pace and movement caused major problems for the home side. Josephs burst through beating two defenders but his shot was pushed past the post by the ‘keeper.
Middlesex were now dominant. Sullivan, Mathew and Bird were winning the midfield battle and the movement of Josephs seemed to create space for the industrious Alanezi. Five minutes from time the Surrey keeper hesitated with a clearance, Alanezi nipped in skilfully to toe-poke the ball around him and coolly passed the ball into the empty net to level the scores at 3-3.
In a show of defiance Alanezi collected the ball from the back of the net and sprinted back and placed the ball on the centre spot. The stage was set for a dramatic comeback. Middlesex regained possession straight away and pushed for the winning goal. Mathew fired just wide and Josephs came close but Surrey countered and scored with the last kick of the game.
Middlesex coach Chris Ampofo “The team showed great courage and team spirit today. They showed that they can now compete with anyone. The group has gelled and improved with every game and will be even stronger next season. Surrey also played some great football and we wish them well in the next round”
Middlesex- Michael Adjei (Capt), Gareth Balekomoso, Cai Burrows, Reece Weekes (St Gregs, Leo Grace (Finchley), Emile Hohmann (Highgate), Kiran Ali, Kush Garara ( Kingsbury), Kyle Mathews (Wembley High) Keiano Josephs (Claremont). William Lahti (Newman) Joe Ringer, Ben Sullivan (Harefield), Josh Bird (Hayden),