SJFC U9 vs Westwood Park U9 Panthers

STANMORE’S defensive resilience and scintillating counterattacks gave them more than a shot of getting a result at home to Westwood Park – but the U9s just fell short.

Captain Danyaal Panju and Aliabbas ‘Van Dijk’ Dharas set the standard from the start by putting up a defensive brick wall in front of the Westwood attack.

Noah Hussein went up the other end and curled a long-range strike home after a brilliant tackle and lay-off from Hassan Daya to give SJFC the lead.

Ali Hussain Sumar built on his man-of-the-match performance last week with another stellar showing between the sticks, with Mehdi Lakha rotating into the defensive partnership smoothly. Mahdi Kermali and Ehsaan Dhanji were crucial in relieving pressure thanks to some tireless and intelligent forward runs when SJFC won the ball.

Muhammad Jawad Tejani’s destructive performance in the middle of the park ensured Stanmore went into half time 1-0 up.

The third quarter proved more difficult as the away side threw caution to the wind and pushed one of their two defenders up front to create an overload.

The pressure told as SJFC conceded two quick goals but – crucially – held on till the fourth.

With the ‘pace-first’ front four now in operation, SJFC were able to get a number of opportunities attacking downhill.

Hussain Dhalla continued his good form in front of goal with a long-range bullet that was too powerful for the keeper to save.

Late on, SJFC had a couple of overloads on the counter but just couldn’t find that final ball to equalise.

The performance was deserving of at least a point, but at this age, it is the performance and effort, not the final score, that matters.