On 22nd September, SJFA embarked on a new venture in joining an 11 a side league. To kickstart the season we had a pre-season friendly against Chalfont.
Under a gloomy dark scene, SJFA warmed up. Under a constant splattering of rain against our heads, the squad of 15 players came under the management of Hussein Uncle, Abbas Uncle and Shams Uncle.
The squad chosen for this initial friendly was:
Hassan Merali Dewji
Muhammad Mahdi Panju
Ali Hadi Govani
Kazim Ali Abbas Ismail
Husayn Yahya Merali
SJFA started in a 4-4-2 formation, with Jameel and Sami up front, and Ali Abbas Suleiman between the sticks.
We did not start the game well. A few misplaced passes led to chances well-defended but SJFA were clearly second-best. We struggled to keep possession, but we stuck in there and did not let their strikers score.
However, this did not last long. A long shot spilled out of Ali Abbas’s grasp and was quickly poked in by an oncoming forward – 1-0 to Chalfont.
We had to pull ourselves together, and try and get an equaliser. We began to pass the ball around, trying to get ourselves back in to it. SJFA had a few chances, Jameel hitting over from the edge of the area and then having an effort blocked from close-range by the keeper. There was also bright play from Mohammed Mahdi, Hassan and Sami.
A through-ball from Husayn Yahya found Sami in the area. Good hold-up play from him drew a foul from the defender, and a penalty for SJFA. He coolly converted to shouts from his team-mates as SJFA equalised, 1-1.
We then were a bit complacent, and they showed their class, scoring twice in quick succession to lead 3-1, with their attacking skill showing us how it’s done. We then got back into it, giving their keeper something something to think about, before they poached a last goal in the dying moments of the first half. 4-1 at half time.
A half time talk brought 4 subsitutions, with Kadhim, Ammaar, Ali and Muhammad Mahdi Panju coming on for Jameel, Ali Abbas Suleiman, Kazim and Yousuf. We then restarted the match, trying to get a result. SJFA started off well. A few passing manouvres brought Ali Khatau into play on the wing, and Mohammed Mahdi Jahnmohammed was getting into the action.
Then the ball bounced well for Mohammad Mahdi, smashing it in from outside the area for a dipping beauty that ended up nestling into the top left corner – 4-2 SJFA.
We had the momentum going forward, before they scored from a freekick inside the area, for a backpass. It was a good finish, and the keeper had no chance.
Another goal from SJFA was soon to come. Ali Khatau with the ball in the area was tackled to the ground, the referee pointing to the penalty spot straight away. Hassan Merali Dewji decided to take this one, calmly slotting it towards the left of the keeper.
SJFA started to compete more before one of their players smashed it into the corner, a brilliant goal, leaving the keeper no chance whatsover. The end of a very entertaining game and a good start to the season. 6-3 away from home, with Hassan Merali Dewji MOTM.
Written by Husayn Yahya Merali