SJFC kicked off 2022 with a 3-2 home win against Aldenham Reserves, in what was a much cagier affair than the 5-1 win against the same side in the away fixture earlier this season.
SJFC started off on the front foot with a freekick from Amirali Merali and a shot on goal from Mahdi Hemraj in the first 2 minutes.
Shortly thereafter an incisive through ball by Aldenham put their number 9 in behind the Stanmore defence and round the keeper. With a seemingly open goal in sight, the number 9 looked to pass the ball into an empty net, only for it to be heroically cleared off the line by Irfan Kanji.
In the 15th minute, Murtaza Merali curled a cross into the far post from a free kick, which met the forehead of an unmarked Mo Karim and slotted neatly into the top-right corner. 1-0 SJFC.
33 minutes in and SJFC have the ball on the left flank halfway up the pitch. After a silky move to get the ball onto the right wing, Mahdi Hemraj plays a through ball to put Abbasali Merali 1-on-1 with the keeper, and he calmly places it in the back of the net with only his 4th touch of the ball after 18 months out injured. SJFC go 2 up.
Just before halftime, a misplaced pass by SJFC at the back sees the Aldenham number 9 in-behind with only the keeper to beat, which he does with an expert finish. 2-1.
After a scrappy start to the second half, Aldenham Reserves win a penalty in the 66th minute, which they slot into the bottom right corner. Tied game, 2-2.
Following a number of acrobatic saves from MZ Kalyan to keep us in the game, SJFC pick up the ball deep in our own half in the 90+4th minute. A good passing move leads to Yaseen Valjy playing Amirali Merali through on the edge of the box – he takes a touch, shifts it to his stronger right foot, and slots it in across goal into the bottom left corner to give SJFC the last-minute win. 3-2 SJFC, full time.