On Saturday 15th June, the Middlesex Schools' FA U14 Girls' Representative Squad welcomed their equivalents from Essex to Rectory Park, the home of Middlesex County FA, for the South East England Schools' FA (SEESFA) Cup Final.
The visiting squad included some 12 Regional Talent Club players and had won the national Inter-County Trophy. The fixture therefore represented a significant challenge for the Middlesex side, which included no fewer than six players from Brent.
Both teams started the game by moving the ball around well but it was Essex who broke the deadlock from a corner that was bundled in. Middlesex didn’t allow their heads to drop and responded well, making the Essex goalkeeper make some great saves before Caitlin Star Boodram played a great through ball into Lena Williams who fired the ball into the net.
At the start of the second half, Essex came out of the blocks with 'all guns blazing' and scored a superb goal from outside the box to regain the lead. Once again, the setback seemed to galvanise Middlesex and a superb run from Brent players Shakira Kafero Roberts caused a panic in the Essex box, leading to a penalty for Middlesex. Lena Williams stepped up and calmly slotted home to make the score 2-2.
With the game heading towards extra time and with both sets of players becoming weary, Brent's Macey Bannerman-Lloyd slipped the ball through to Caitlin Star who slotted home to give Middlesex a 3-2 lead with just moments left in the game.
There was still time for Noelani Agyeman to make a crucial tackle to keep Essex at bay and with the referee's final whistle Middlesex became SEESFA champions for the first time since 2010. To claim the title is a truly momentous achievement considering the team was not back in existence until 8 months ago. This is now a platform for Middlesex girls to now kick on and try and better this season's effort.
Middlesex Manager Adem Ali commented: “We knew coming into the game we were up against a fantastic squad. Taking on the National Champions was all the motivation the girls needed and they all put in superb performances.”
After the game Middlesex Schools' FA Vice-Chair and Brent Schools' FA Chair Chris Ampofo said “We would like to thank our colleagues at the Middlesex County FA for hosting the Final at Rectory Park, with special thanks to MCFA President John Davies for coming today and presenting the trophy. It was a fantastic game and both teams should be very proud of their performances. This is a wonderful way to end the season and a great reward first and foremost for the players and their coaches but also for the many teachers, volunteers and match officials in Middlesex who give their time to support schools' football. It is great to have a platform for the talented girls in the county and wonderful to see so many Brent girls playing at a good standard.”