SJFC 1st Team vs Hemel Hempstead Rovers Reserves

Date: 16th October 2021
Time: 2.30pm
Venue: Sun Sports and Social Club,
Bellmount Wood Avenue
Watford
WD17 3BN

Squad:

Stanmore Jafferys 1st Team produced arguably their best performance of the season, only to come away with regret over agonisingly close missed chances rather than 3 deserved points.

The boys were in good spirits arriving at the changing rooms, and after a tactical debrief, set about an intense and thorough warm up set up by coach Abrar. A healthy-looking squad of 15 – a rare occurrence for Stanmore – gave the team a strong look with 4 more than able substitutes ready to come on.

Stanmore started brightly and immediately launched a few attacks, breaching the away side’s defence through the guile of Mutz Blue and wing backs Mahdi Hemraj and Zaamin Valjy. Around the 10th minute, this became too much for Hemel to handle, and a swift attack resulted in a back post tap in for Mahdi Hemraj to put Stanmore into the lead.

Hemel responded strongly, and a long ball over the top saw Hemel’s pacey striker latch onto the ball and finish well to equalise. Minutes later, Stanmore lost possession trying to work their way out from the back, and suddenly found themselves behind to the side sitting second in the league table. However, instead of heads dropping, the complete opposite happened. Stanmore dominated the game, defending resolutely and controlling possession of the ball, working Hemel from side to side and leaving them chasing shadows. The story of the season however, continued into this game – we just could not find the finishing touch.

Abrar delivered a strong half time talk, and the boys went back out for the second half determined to get back into the game and take the 3 points. Wave after wave of Stanmore attack followed, with Hemel barely able to get out of their own half. Stanmore’s tidy football and pacey wing backs were too much for Hemel to handle, and their tactic to stop us scoring soon became clear – take us down by any means necessary.

Dangerous tackles were flying in from Hemel, but Stanmore continued to threaten. This led to a penalty being awarded to Stanmore, but a rare miss from the spot kept the game at 2-1 to Hemel. Stanmore threw everything forward at Hemel, who continued with their dirty tactics and stopped at nothing to take Stanmore players down. With a referee who could barely keep control of the game and was having an overall shocking performance, it came with no surprise that a Hemel player booted a Stanmore defender in the head whilst he was lying on the ground and yet got away without even a yellow card. Stanmore created at least 10 chances in the second half alone and retained the ball for about 80% of the game, but there was just no way through.

The final whistle blew, and despite not taking the deserved 3 points, the team were heavily encouraged by an amazing performance, emphasised by Coach Abrar and captain Gibran Pirbhai at the end of the game. The team looks forward to next week and the next opportunity to take home the W.

Match report by Shahid Abbas Jaffer