Westwood Park U9 Lions vs SJFC U9

STANMORE put in a battling performance away to Westwood but fell at the very last hurdle after leading for much of the game.

The game – which almost didn’t go ahead in freezing conditions – was a cagey affair for much of the first quarter, with SJFC taking the lead just before half time through Hussain Dhalla.

Chances were squandered to make it 2-0 and kill the game off before Westwood equalised late in the third quarter and poked home the winner at the death.

But the performance was more than enough to satisfy the managerial team and even the opposition coach, who praised Stanmore after the final whistle.

The first quarter saw Westwood take control of proceedings but fail to create any clear cut opportunities thanks to the disciplined defensive structure of the away side. Aliabbas Dharas, Mohammed Haji, Mehdi Lakha and Danyaal Panju held the backline together with impressive focus and aggression.

Up the other end, Muhammad Moosa almost took advantage of a defensive mix up but his effort was well saved from close range.

Stanmore gained a foothold in the game in the second and, having sat in their half for much of the game, got their deserved reward.

Mehdi Bhimji slipped Moosa through down the right flank, who in turn played in Dhalla.

The wily winger, who has been consistently impressive through the season – even drawing comparisons to his Watford heroes Bayo and Joao Pedro – outpaced the opposition defence and slotted home confidently.

The players did not let up after half time, with Noah Hussein speeding through on goal before seeing an effort well parried away.

Ali Husayn Walji, returning to the team, led the press throughout to create a number of opportunities, including winning a corner which Dhalla almost converted.

With three excellent quarters coming to a close, the Westwood striker cut in from the left, went past two tackles and hammered home.

The fourth quarter was end-to-end – with chances for both sides – but a slight mix up playing out of the back allowed Westwood to tap home into an empty net.

SJFC roused themselves for one last chance, with Noah leading a three on one counter attack before seeing his late attempt whistle just wide.

Manager Kumail Jaffer said: “This was by far our most focused and disciplined performance of the season.

“Every player applied themselves and could well have come away with the victory here.

“This kind of game is exactly what the coaches have wanted to see, with many elements built on in training.”

Squad:

Ali Hussayn Walji
Hussain Dhalla
Mohammed Haji
Mehdi Bhimji
Mehdi Lakha
Aliabbas Dharas
Danyaal Panju
Noah Hussein
Muhammad Moosa