SJFA U9 vs Croxley Green

Friendly match played on 28/01/17

Match report
The SJFA Tier 3 has almost 60 registered players, a manager, and three coaches.

Croxley Green vs SJFA
We played a Croxley Green development side at their home ground in Rickmansworth. Our squad consisted of a mixture of year 4 and year 5 players, managed by Bruce:
Aqeel Bhimani (GK)
Adam Valjy
Ali Mehdi Abbas Ismail
Husayn Gulamhussein
Abbas Chandoo
Husayn Ali Abbas Ismail
Hassan Merali
Sajjad Suleman
Hussein Merchant

First half
It was a cold day and despite my usual hints and nudges, none of the parents brought any tea. Never mind, the football on show soon warmed up all the Khojas.

Aqeel Bhimani was making his debut in goal.

For a while now, I have felt that we have a naturally attacking tier; therefore, for this match I was able to experiment a lot with the formation and positions. We initially lined up as 2-1-3, with Abbas Chandoo and Husayn Gulamhussein in defence, Adam Valjy in midfield, and Hassan Merali, Ali Ismail, and Husayn Ismail in attack.

This immediately paid off. From the start, we dominated possession and should have scored a bunch of goals. It took a little longer than expected but Hassan Merali provided a composed finish to put us in the lead. After this, SJFA played some delightful passing football, scoring goals at regular intervals.

Adam Valjy was putting through some great passes. Hassan Merali was a constant threat on the left wing. Ali Ismail was putting in great crosses. Husayn Ismail managed to score a first half hat-trick. The back two of Abbas Chandoo and Husayn Gulamhussein were solid and played very intelligently from the back. Sajjad Suleman was pivotal in midfield and broke up the opposition attacks. Hussein Merchant slotted in at the back and pulled off the tackle of the game with a great slide tackle. Aqeel pulled off a great save low top his left.

Second half
The opposition played with 9 players, against our 7, to which we happily agreed.

I replaced Aqeel with Husayn Ismail in goal. Aqeel played very well in the middle, and gave the Croxley Green defence a hard time.

Somehow, Croxley managed to score a goal, which was deserved.
After this Aqeel went back into goal and the whole team rallied brilliantly, and scored a few more.

I think virtually every player got the chance to play in 2 or 3 different positions and this gave me the chance to see them in different roles.

Result and goal scorers
Croxley Green 1 – 13 SJFA
It was a great sign to see that we had a lot of different scorers:
Husayn Ismail – 5
Ali Ismail – 4
Abbas Chandoo – 2
Hassan Merali – 1
Adam Valjy – 1

I was very impressed with the Croxley Green players. They showed good attitude and battled to the end, despite the score line. They lined up and shook our hands at the end and this was great to see.

What we learned

  • Our attacking formations seem to be working
  • I would like to see our players taking a few more clinical shots, especially from range

Selection for games
Every week at The Hive, the coaches will be looking out for two key qualities: ability and attitude. Such players will be invited to play in the games. At times we may only be able to field one team, but at other times we will be able to field more; this is mainly dependent upon the opposition and their own numbers and set up. We will always try to field as many teams as we can.

It is very important that the players take The Hive practices seriously, and demonstrate their skills every week.

Our motto
The motto of our Tier this year is: we back our skills, no matter who the opposition. This means that we want the boys to be excellent in their technical abilities and understanding of the game, and they have the confidence to back themselves to deliver those skills no matter what the format, who the opposition, or what surface they play on.

Manager – Tier 3, SJFA