Brent 5-1 Camden & Islington
Middlesex Schools' FA Bower Cup, 7th October 2017
Brent's Under-14 squad continued the new season with a home fixture against Camden & Islington District, keen to put last week's away defeat to Barnet behind them.
The game with high intensity and a high tempo from both teams. This made the first ten minutes of the game a little scrappy but highly competitive.
Brent were resilient and after this frenetic period, began to control possession and take the game to Camden. The defensive unit of James Wall (Captain), Romario Rowe, Aaron Williams and Jamie Alcantata-Sacopon looked solid and were showing great composure on the ball, passing out from the back when possible and winning any balls that came into Brent's defensive third with well timed challenges and strong defensive headers. This allowed the midfield of Joel Desmond, Malikai Ekpenyong, Mamadou Diallo, Marc Valderrama and Richardo Rus to dominate their opponents. They were resolute and relishing the battle, showing fantastic desire to win first and second balls. Desmond, Ekpenyong and Diallo made some great early tackles and interceptions to set the tone and all of the midfield five showed some classy touches to create space and set up attacks for lone striker, Jamian Russell.
The first goal came in the 16th minute after some great work down Brent's right hand side from Wall, Diallo and Russell and the first corner of the game was won. Diallo whipped in a dangerous delivery and Rowe rose above everyone to win a towering header and dispatch the ball to give Brent a deserved lead and make it 1-0.
Brent were now playing with confidence but still had to be wary of a Camden team that were still showing strength and ability when going forward. The couple of chances the visitors did create were swept up by goalkeeper Kyro Taylor, who showed calmness and assurance throughout.
The game continued in the same vein until the 33rd minute when Russell received the ball with his back to goal, resisted the defender's challenge and with a sharp turn got a powerful shot away, the Camden goalkeeper could only parry it into the path of first half substitute Tyrese Okello, who slotted the ball away with a calm finish to make to game 2-0.
Camden reacted and with a minute to go before half time, equalised with a great strike from 25 yards out, leaving Taylor no chance, to make the game 2-1 at half time.
It was clear that the start of the second half had the potential to shape the result of the match. The game ebbed and flowed and both teams were showing quality under pressure in all areas of the pitch
After an attack from Camden broke down in the 59th minute, Taylor thought quickly and with a pinpoint pass, found Man of the match Alcantata-Sacopon (pictured). He broke free from the Camden defence and with pace and precision slotted the ball home with a deft finish to make the game 3-1 and restore Brent's two goal cushion.
This goal was the turning point in the match and Brent went from strength to strength. Substitutes Teejay Kabala and Jeremy Stewart had a fantastic impact on the game, their passing was controlled and decisive and allowed Brent to really turn the heat up on Camden. The fourth goal came shortly after the third, when Russell was set free following a great team move and finished with a perfectly placed finish. Russell had lead the frontline with great skill and enthusiasm all game and deserved the goal.
However, Brent's best goal was yet to come. With the game drawing to a close and with Brent in the ascendency, Ekpenyong won the ball in midfield, showing the pace and power he had displayed all game and drove to the left hand side of the box. Running away from goal, Ekpenyong wrapped his left foot around the ball and curled the ball into the far top corner of the goal to make the game 5-1 and finish the game in style.
After the game, manager Kim James stated: "I am very pleased that the boys reacted after last week's defeat. They showed togetherness and team spirit and should be very proud of all their performances. Last week we struggled in possession and lacked a creative edge but this week was the complete opposite. Today we showed why we won the inter-district league last year and I know the boys really want to retain the title. We must now continue to work hard and channel our energy in a positive and productive manner so there is consistency in our performances.”
Squad: Kyro Taylor, James Wall, Romario Rose, Aaron Williams, Jamie Alcantata-Sacopon, Joel Desmond, Malikai Ekpenyong, Richardo Rus, Mamadou Diallo, Marc Valderrama, Jamian Russell, Jeremy Stewart, Teejay Kabala, Tyrese Okello, Omar Zemmouri
Schools: Kingsbury High, Queens Park Community School, Saint Gregory's Science College, Marylebone Boys School, Michaela Community School, Ark Academy, Ark Elvin