SJFA vs. Westwood Park Jets
Date: 16 February 2019
What a rollercoaster of a match – We were up then we were down and then we were up again…..
The penultimate home game of the season for SJFA U8s drew in the largest crowd of supporters for the boys against one of our favourite teams the Jets from Westwood Park, a fantastic effort from the parents helped the coaches setup in record time ready for an on time kickoff.
Coach Nazir Rajvani was Ref once more looking like Howard Webb, Coach Jamil Merali got the boys ready for the first of four quarters, Westwood won the toss and elected to kick off from right to left.
Off went the whistle for the first 10 minute quarter with Westwood taking the initiative early on with a great first 3 minutes putting Abbas and Jaabir in defence under pressure but the boys were resolute defence holding firm with Mikhial Rashid in goal. Shabar and Adam hassled well in midfield to keep westwood at bay. Westwood had the better of the first quarter and a close call from Westwood striking wide woke up our boys.
0-0 in the first quarter
Change in formation with Hussein going in goal and Mikhial playing pitch. Shabbar and Abbas took a rest with Zain and Hussein coming on. A great spell of attack from SJ spearheaded by Abbas running between defenders and suddenly he found himself in space in front of the goal wound his foot up and it goes narrowly wide, not to worry 2 minutes later Abbas once again down the right, cuts in towards goal passes towards Ali, the ball strikes a defender but then falls kindly to Ali who finishes to take SJ 1-0. SJ quickly capitalised with another wonderful attack from the back started with a ball from Hussein in goal to jaabir and then to Ali who snaked through the defence like Mo Salah and then got the ball to Zain who took a first time shot through the defence and into the bottom left corner SJ 2-0.
However, Westwood were able to put some pressure on SJFA looking for a goal. A great set of passes from the back slices through the SJ defence leaving our Hussein in goal one on one and there was nothing we could do to stop a great shot from Westwood 2-1.
Mikhial was enjoying his time in defence and was making some great tackles and one excellent through ball to Ali from right to left, but unfortunately that didn’t come to anything.
2-1 after the 2nd quarter.
A few more changes with Ali and Mikhial getting a rest after running their socks off. Shabbar and Abbas were back on with Aadam going in goal this quarter. SJFA started well and good defending from Abbas and Jaabir and some industrious play in midfield from Hussein and Shabbar trying to find an opening. Westwood were getting more of the ball and kept up the pressure and won a corner as a result. With a packed area, westwood take the corner with a hard strike into the middle of the box. The ball deflects off two SJFA players and into the back of the net. 2-2
Both teams then played some good football and Westwood got the ball clear with SJFA getting hit on the counter. Aadam made a clearance which went to their striker who hit it 1st time to take the lead. 2-3 to Westwood. This was may have been only the second time SJFA U8 had been behind in a league game. So this was going to be a test for the boys to come back and get a result.
The SJFA subs on the bench were anxious and were urging coach Jamil to make changes. The coach told them to relax and believe in their ability and not panic!
An accidental handball by Westwood on the ground by the halfway line gave SJ a free kick, Zain suddenly becomes Kevin De Bruyne and blasts the ball all the way to goal unluckily it falls straight into the keeps hands.
We finish the half 2-3 to westwood.
The final quarter did result in changes with Ali and Mikhial on for Aadam and Shabar. SJFA needed to pull something out the bag and looking for a comeback worthy of Man Utd, I’m not sure what pep talk Jamil “Ole” Merali (not sure he will appreciate that given he is a Liverpool fan – maybe Jamil “Jurgen Klopp” Merali might be a better gave analogy) but suddenly there was a renewed energy for our players, Zain attacking down the right takes a shot which hits a defender, jumps over the goalkeeper and to the feet of Ali who calmly slots it in. 3-3.
Suddenly jokes of Man Utd don’t seem so far away as Abbas takes on the midfield looks up to find Zain in space who doesn’t hesitate with fantastic shot into the net to take SJ 4-3 up. SJFA were bouncing and you could see the westwood coaches were hoping that didn’t happen.
Coach Jamil immediately changed the formation to sure up defence to ensure we didn’t let the lead slip, but the boys were not going to let this get away and Mikhial was solid in goal and Jaabir didn’t take any chances and booted it from the back at every opportunity.
We are down to the last 4 minutes when a throw in by Jaabir down the line to Ali who had been a constant threat all morning. Westwood coahes were constants heard saying “mark number 11” [11 being ali’s shirt number]. Ali wriggled his way through and a 1-2 with Zain got Ali in space in-front of goal, and a great slicing strike from Ali misfoots the goalkeeper with the ball flying into the net. 5-3.
A great performance by both teams in what will be a match remembered for a long time by both sides. Shakes all around and great to see the continued development of the boys over the season.
Final Score SJFA 5 – 3 Westwood Park Jets