The Middlesex Schools’ FA Under-14 Representative Team bowed out of the ESFA Playstation Inter-County Trophy following a 3-1 defeat in Oxfordshire.
Middlesex nearly had a dream start to this cup tie, which was played under floodlights at Milton United FC, when Brent’s Cai Burrows intercepted and put a slide rule pass to Damani Ayre to put him in on goal. Ayre outpaced the defense and smashed the ball past the goalkeeper only to see it come back off the post.
Shortly afterwards, Middlesex captain Leo Grace combined with Michael Adjei down the right, who passed to Keiano Josephs who shot inches wide of the post. Middlesex kept up the pressure, with debutant Ben Sullivan in outstanding form, breaking up attacks and then countering with Reece Weekes down the left. Sullivan fizzed over a cross and though Josephs lost his marker his header flew just over the bar. Middlesex pinned the hosts in their half as midfielder Kyle Matthews saw a volley well saved but the Seaxes couldn’t score and the first half ended 0-0.
Having survived the pressure Oxfordshire began to hit the Seaxes on the counter-attack. Jordan Gugan made a good save and Middlesex skipper Leo Grace cleared a shot off the line to keep the score level. Kieran Ali impressed on his debut in midfield but Oxfordshire sensed this might be their day and against the run of play scored on the break to lead 1-0.
Middlesex battled bravely but conceded again from two set pieces, which put the hosts firmly in the driving seat at 3-0. Altan Aydin scored the goal of the game with a 25 yard drive into the top corner but it was too late for Middlesex and served only as a consolation.
Middlesex Coach Chris Ampofo said: “The team played some great stuff at the start of the game. I’m really proud of the way the lads battled and worked for each other. The team are improving. If they show that fight the results will come”.
Middlesex: Odain Donaldson (Capital City), Keiano Josephs, Jaevon Brathwaite (Claremont),Kiran Ali (Kingsbury) Leo Grace (Finchley), Ben Sullivan, Joe Ringer (Harefield), Ali Alanezi (London Academy), Altan Aydin (Mill Hill), Cai Burrows, Michael Adjei, Reece Weekes (St. Gregory’s), Saul Mensah (Twyford), Jordan Gugan (Vyners), Damani Ayre, Kyle Mathews (Wembley High).