Ali Hussain Sumar
Muhammad Jawad Tejani
SJFC endured a difficult Saturday away at one of the toughest teams in the division but can take pride in their hard work.
While Westwood Park certainly had the better of possession and territory, the scoreline did not reflect the game and SJFA had a number of chances to get on the scoresheet.
On another day, we could even have seen a score draw – but the players will learn that if they come out the wrong end of a 50/50 challenge, it could lead to conceding a goal.
The hosts certainly started stronger and scored through a long range dart into the bottom corner.
But the U9s remembered their counter attacking philosophy and put it into action, with Hussain Dhalla slotting Muhammad Moosa through on goal. But last year’s third top scorer saw his strike sail just wide.
Noah Hussein then took the game by the scruff of its neck, testing the keeper twice before rattling the crossbar.
Unfortunately, Westwood Park weathered the storm and slotted in a couple more to create some breathing room.
A defensive mix-up saw the fourth go in, while an arrow into the top corner from a free kick saw SJFC go into the break with their heads lowered.
The manager’s half-time talk was simple. Reset the game to 0-0 and remember what got the results last season.
With Ali Hussain Sumar having a blinder in goal and Mehdi Lakha and Zaynali Mohamed aggressively marshalling the defence, the second half started well.
However, SJFC could not take advantage of some good opportunities to spring the counter attack. With men flying forward to outnumber the Westwood defence, too often the ball was overhit or not released quickly enough – but the positioning and ability was encouraging. New signing Ehsaan Dhanji popped up at the end with a chance after some great pressing but the goalkeeper smothered it well.
Westwood eventually made their territory count and smashed in a couple more to round off a complete performance from them.
For SJFC, some old habits die hard – but the team is moving in the right direction.