SJFC U8 vs Kings Church (Amersham) U8 Forrest

Squad:

Hussain Dhalla
Aliabbas Dharas
Qasim Khoja
Noah Hussein
Mehdi Lakha
Ali Husayn Walji
Mehdi Bhimji
Muhammad Jawad Tejani
Zaynali Mohamed
Mahdi Hassan Lalji
Danyaal Panju
Muhammad Moosa

STANMORE put in a battling performance but were unable to overcome Kings Church Amersham.

In the team’s first seven-a-side fixture of the year, the solid 2-3-1 formation initially kept KCA at bay as the U8s put in some tough challenges before trying to hit the visitors on the counter.

It was the opposition who struck first, however. SJ’s low block wasn’t allowing anything through thanks to the hard work of wingers Hussain Dhalla and Qasim Khoja – but a sweetly struck effort from distance gave them the lead just before the end of the first quarter.

The team immediately hit back, however, executing the high press strategy perfectly – led by Ali Husayn Walji – and forcing an own goal.

The bizarre joy was short-lived, however.

They took the lead and extended it in similar fashion, with a wonderful cross from the right finished on the half-volley before another long-range effort past our heroic keeper Zaynali Mohamed, who had made a number of saves up to that point.

Half-time rolled around and while the third goal was deflating, there was still plenty of time to turn it around.

It was just after the break when SJ perhaps scored their best team goal of the season.

After good defensive work, the ball was played out from midfield to Mahdi Hassan Lalji, who went past two players and put in a dangerous ball to Mr Poacher himself, Muhammad Moosa, who nutmegged the keeper with a first time finish.

Mehdi Bhimji then went close with a couple of efforts from distance after winning the ball high up the pitch, but the visiting keeper was equal to it.

The dagger came just before the third quarter closed, with a counter attack from a corner finished after a solo effort from the speedy opposition striker.

A renewed effort in the fourth wasn’t enough as KCA set up solidly and were happy to hit on the counter as the U8s pushed forward, with the visitors notching their fifth to put the game to bed.

It was a decent effort from the U8s, who had lost more convincingly to this team earlier in the season and could have got a point here if the chips fell our way. The team spacing in attack and some of the passing combinations were fantastic, but some unfortunate missed tackles may have cost the game.

Mehdi Lakha, Danyaal Panju and Aliabbas Dharas kept the visitors at bay for most of the game, while Mr James Milner – MJ Tejani – and Mehdi Bhimji were excellent in driving the ball forward from midfield.

Hussain Dhalla and Mahdi Hassan Lalji were perhaps given their toughest test of the season against quick and strong full backs but kept battling away till the end, which was great to see.

Some would say that the main entertainment came after the game, however. Every player received a personalised certificate detailing their progress over the season and their contribution to the team at the end-of-season breakfast.

It’s fair to say this squad has not only become more united on the pitch, but off it too. The coach is still more keen to see them playing like Arsenal, however.