St Peters Iver Youth U8 Lions vs SJFC U8

STANMORE fell just short in an entertaining, end-to-end affair away at St Peter’s Lions.

It didn’t matter that it was Ramadan, nor that the starting centre-back Aliabbas Dharas was fasting – the lads were keen to play and turned up to faraway Iver in their numbers.

After a tense opening few minutes, SJ struck the first blow, with Noah Hussein slotting home after some excellent pressing from the front three.

The hosts grabbed a foothold in the game and worked their way back in, scoring direct from a corner to level things up.

SJ then lost the ball in a dangerous area and the Lions took the lead with a first-time half-volley into the top corner.

But on the stroke of half-time, the U8s gave themselves a life line.

Mahdi Hassan Lalji won a free kick after a mazy dribble in a dangerous area on the right side.
After consulting with his manager, Mehdi Bhimji drilled in a low cross to the far post where, typically, Muhammad Moosa popped up with a poacher’s finish.

SJ had much the better of the third period, but conceded the third after going close from their own corner and free kick. The Lions striker eventually found a way past Mehdi Lakha, who had put in an imperious shift both in defence and in goal, and the fourth followed.

What came next was perhaps the most wonderful moment this season.

After collecting a pass from Danyaal Panju – the man of the match – from the left, Hussain Dhalla was unlucky to pull his shot wide and his head went down, with SJ struggling to get back into the match.
But in a show of support, he was greeted by rapturous applause and encouragement from parents on the sideline, and the entire team seemed to perk up.

Less than a minute later, Dhalla collected the ball in a similar position and curled it straight into the top corner.

The fourth quarter was frantic – the Lions put in their final goal to go 5-3 up but with minutes left, Ali Husayn Walji beat the onrushing keeper to poke home SJ’s fourth.

As time ticked on, SJ camped out in the hosts’ half, and had a stonewall handball appeal turned down in the final minute.

The final whistle blew and no points would return to Stanmore – but the attacking movement and finishing was on full display. 

Squad:
Ali Husayn Walji
Noah Hussein
Hussain Dhalla
Aliabbas Dharas
Mehdi Lakha
Muhammad Moosa
Danyaal PanjuMahdi Hassan Lalji
Mehdi Bhimji