Muhammad Zayn Kalyan
On the back of an entertaining 6-6 duel the previous week, Stanmore Jaffery FC were supposedly motivated and ready for the upcoming fixture. Unfortunately, they fell to a negative start. Not long after Jameel had played a nice ball over the top, the opposition played a simple forward pass which was poorly defended and Stanmore suffered a 0-1 deficit early on. It was the same old complacency that meant that the opposition’s lead doubled soon after. After a period of dominant possession, the speed of Mahdi Hemraj on the wing was followed by a great cutback across goal but was finished just over the crossbar. Again, it was a story of unfinished chances which haunted Stanmore when the lead tripled just before halftime to 0-3, leaving a steep hill to climb in the second half to earn a result.
During the break, a deserved stern talk by the coach appropriately conveyed his frustrations with the lack of resilience and grit shown by the Stanmore players. Fortunately, his words seemed to have reached the players’ minds because the majority of the remaining 45 minutes was a completely different story.
A greater intensity and a resort back to footballing basics resulted in Abbas pulling back the deficit early on. Another period of persistence was rewarded with a second goal for the home side when the ball fell to Yaseen who finished it in the bottom right corner. This dominance was then met with some challenges when a lapse in concentration enabled the opposition to counter before dragging the ball just wide of Muhammad-Zayn’s post. Nearing the end of the match, the lead that the opposition was clinging onto was cancelled when a through ball found Mahdi Hemraj who slotted the ball into the left side-netting. Now was the time for Stanmore to push on and snatch all the three points. Unfortunately, a controversial penalty call in the dying moments of the game allowed the opposition to reclaim the lead and, ultimately, all three points.
During a match of questionable referee calls, inappropriate conduct by the opposition, and a pitch heavily affected by the rain, numerous excuses could be made to blame today’s defeat on. However, a serious mental shift and improvement in game management will be required by the Stanmore squad in order to further push on the development made during the start of the season.
Many thanks must go to the coordinators of the match and the spectators, most notably our chairman – Uncle Mo – who passionately supported us throughout the whole 90 minutes but whose desire to win was not matched by the Stanmore squad on the day. Without doubt, this has been a gloomy day that will leave a bad feeling in the Stanmore squad after being so close to claiming a share of the spoils. Nevertheless, this will hopefully form as a motivation to avoid days like these and look forward to a positive rest of the reason.