It was a sunny day overhead for the first league match for the U15 SJFA League team against Harefield United. Unfortunately, the sunny vibes were not reflected in the scoreline, but was definitely shown in the performance. Suffering from a few dropouts, the squad began their account with this formation:
Ali Hadi Govani
Aliabbas Suleiman (GK)
Muhammad Mahdi Panju
Hassan Merali Dewji
Youssuf El Jabouri
Husayn Yahya Merali
It was a squad that has been tinkered with – the movement of Jameel to CB as well as the constant reshuffling of Ali Hadi around the pitch gave this squad an element of unfamiliarity.
The game began and the first 20 minutes was completely even – no goals for either side. We challenged for every ball and matched them. A few subs changed it up a bit and a few moments of magic from their players as well as poor defending left them 4-0 up at halftime, despite showing a really good first half performance.
After the break an injury to Abbas Asaria left us even lighter with squad depth, and our fitness was really exposed after the break. We were second to every ball, and left chasing at shadows for some part of the half. We were physically not up to the task, and let in some poor goals. If it wasn’t for a 10 minute spell by Sully, who did well to restrict the scoreline to 8-0. Amongst the 8 were some very good finishes high and powerful into the back of the net.
In fact, our second half problems were espoused by someone ducking at the front post when the corner was swung in. There was plenty to consider for the coaches, but the scoreline was a blemish on a very good performance by SJFA U15, where some very nice football was played against the runaway champions of last year.
Man of the match: Husayn Yahya Merali
By Husayn Yahya Merali