Abbas Alloo (GK)
Ali Reza Hamir
Ali Rayhan Merali
The “Golden Generation” had finally arrived in Tier 4!
Their first game of the season was against Youngs of Wembley. The coaches were waiting to see if their undoubted talent could be mixed with some steel and aggression which would be needed against the bigger and more physical teams that they will meet in this tier.
Youngs were a good, strong and skilful team. SJFA started tentatively, being pushed off the ball too easily by the Youngs boys but, after going down a couple of goals in the first half, the team recovered very well to come back and equalise to 2-2 at half time. Ali Dewji scored from range and then set up Abid-Hasan Ravji (who really settled the team down after coming on off the bench) for the equaliser with a very composed finish. Belief was now there.
The second half started much better. Immediately on the front foot and we went 3-2 up. Special mention to Jaabir Walji who was controlling the midfield. I would ask other players to watch how he plays. Nothing over complicated but very effective in breaking down the opposition attack and being brave when the team really need him.
Physically though we were waning. Youngs took advantage of this and scored a couple of quick goals on the break. One of them will definitely be a learning point at the next training session as we learn how to defend free kicks.
After that though, the boys they had their best spell of the game. Really pushing hard and taking the game to the opposition, it was an onslaught as Youngs tried to hold on. We hit the crossbar twice but ultimately could not get that final touch or goal.
We lost 4-3 but there was no doubt in any of players’ minds that with more training and physical work we could come back and beat Youngs next time.
Youngs’s coach approached us the end and said he could not believe that we were not playing in a league and insisted that we meet again later in the season as his boys had been given a very tough game which he wasn’t expecting.
We will look forward to that rematch with high expectations of this team.