The U12 Boys (pictured, left) defeated Hounslow 3-2 at Capital City Academy to secure their first win of the season at Capital City in the Watkin Cup.
Brent dominated the game and could have scored more goals. Shaydon Joseph was Man of the Match, by virtue of scoring twice.
The team were lifted by the excellent support that they had from friends and family on the touchline.
At the same time, Brent’s U12 Girls made history on a cold, wet windy morning in Regents Park, by playing in the Association’s first ever ‘girls against boys’ match since its formation in 1966, taking on the boys from Mallinson FC. This was an opportunity the Brent team grabbed with both hands.
Brent started brightly causing many problems on both flanks, where Chloe and Giuseppina gave the opposition defence something to think about, both with and without the ball. Brent deployed a high press which caused the boys to make a number of mistakes and they seemed to be startled by the fast start of the girls, who seemed to be chomping at the bit to get at the opposition.
Brent were passing the ball well, but struggled to find the crucial final pass and to find the time and space needed to create clear-cut chances.
Scout Waddington, Brent’s top goalscorer, was managing to use her pace and strength to get in behind the opposition defence, only to struggle to deal with the heavy pitch and surface water.
As a group, the girls settled well into the first half, forcing a number of smart saves from the Mallinson goalkeeper and showing great grit and determination to topple their male opponents.
As the half went on, the speed with which Brent had started the match began to take effect. As fatigue set in, the boys began to find an edge as they managed to get the ball down and create sequences of passes. This enabled Mallinson break through the Brent defensive line, which had been solid and unwavering.
The deadlock was broken with about 5 minutes to go in the first half. Mallinson counter-attacked down Brent’s right side on a counter attack and outnumbered their visitors. A bit of a scramble ensued before the ball was poked over the line to open the scoring.
Four minutes later the girls conceded a second goal. Mallinson created a well-worked move, down the Brent left hand side this time, where from an acute angle the ball was smashed into the roof of the net.
Half time came and the girls looked a little dejected, but should have been proud of their display thus far!
As you’d expect in any friendly, a number of changes were made at half time, including the substitutions of both central defenders, and the centre forward.
This clearly affected the balance of the team, but Brent continued to work hard, against a team that was now growing in confidence.
A number of chances came and went begging, through a combination of poor finishing and great goalkeeping from Brent goalkeeper Milly-May Blue. The boys also hit the bar and a shot just went over after a succession of corner kicks, which were defended pretty well in the end.
Brent ventured forward for a rare foray into the attacking half midway through the second period, before a counter attack that saw Brent caught out by a momentary lapse of concentration. This led to Mallinson being awarded a penalty after their striker was adjudged to have been tripped just inside the box.
The striker brushed himself down and got up to take the penalty, but Blue stood firm after moving to her left and saved deftly, throwing a leg and arm back to her right to prevent the ball crossing the line, then diving, cat-like upon the loose ball.
Brent seemed to be buoyed by the penalty save and went on an attack themselves which saw Maya put the defender on his backside with a Mo Salah-style run, but was unfortunately unable to find a Brent shirt when hitting the ball with her weaker left foot.
In the closing 5 minutes, there was some entertaining end-to-end football, albeit without any clear-cut chances. The Brent team changed again seeing fresh legs come on to peg the boys back.
A very frustrated team shook hands with their opponents Mallinson at the final whistle. Brent might have been defeated, but they definitely deserved a goal from their efforts today.
Brent chair Chris Ampofo commented after the match: “Girls football in Brent is thriving. I spoke to (former Brentford player) Gus Hurdle and UCFB coach Kjell Sung who took the team and they said that it was a very close game and if Brent had managed to take one of their chances it would have been even more interesting. It was a great experience for the team. We are very proud of them. They are a real credit to the borough of Brent”
Brent squad: Milly-May Blue, Sophie Kew, Keeley Dibley-Dias, Laiba Mir, Chloe O’Donoghue, Giuseppina Carnavale, Scout Waddington, Apollonia Margetson, Lizzie Ulusele, Raya McIntosh, Maya Rosenberg