After a long journey to Hazelmere near High Wycombe on a cold and wet Saturday morning the U8s were ready. On kick off HT Strikers attacked swiftly and in numbers. Abbas Rajvani and Hassan Valjy worked very hard in midfield trying to win the ball back, several occasions Mikhial had come of his line to make some sharp blocks. Occasionally Ali Nurhmohammed would break free allow him some half chances from distance but nothing with a clean connection yet. The first quarter ended 0-0 with Jaabir Merali and Hussain Bhaloo’s stout defending. The boys soon realised that they were in for a match.
HT Strikers picked up where they left off in the first quarter but the U8s starting growing into the match. Zayn Khatau and Abbas Juma busy in midfield. A loose ball picked up by Jaabir Merali and passed to Abbas Rajvani who squares it to Ali Nurhmohammed but his shot is saved.
More Industry from our midfield results in a throw in. Jaabir Merali takes it long to Ali Nurmohammed who shoots wide. As the quarter progresses more chances started to appear. Abbas Rajvani goes on amazing run beats the keeper but is cleared off the line. Another meandering run from Abbas Rajvani and the pass finds Ali Nurhmohammed who blasts it just over the bar!
A great tackle from Zayn Khatau and the ball breaks for Ali Nurhmohammed who shoots from a tight angle but again saved by the keeper. The half ends with nothing between the two teams at 0-0.
The second half began with the match now in the balance with a lot of hard battles in midfield and the defences coming out on top for both teams. Jawad Dhalla and Hassan Valjy were defending from the front and winning the ball back early, they tried to get the ball back to Ali Nurhmohammed who ran in on goal, opened his body up to slot it far corner but the keeper read it and got down sharply to save. Interception by Hassan Valjy of a pass out from their keeper resuted on an attempt on goal, but again the shot was saved by the keeper. However it wasn’t all SJ. Several times the HT striker’s forwards broke free from the midfield press, but when they did the rock in the SJ defence,Jaabir Merali was there to snuff out the danger. Soon afterAbbas Rajvani who came off the bench steals the ball in midfield and stormed down the pitch, laying it off to Ali Nurmohammed who finds himself in space and slots it home 0-1! HT Strikers rattled were keen to get back on level terms soon, Hassan Valjy and Hussein Bhalloo battled hard in midfield. HT Strikers got a corner. SJ were unable to clear from the corner, the ball fell kindly for a HT forward who struck it cleanly. With all the bodies in the box, Mikhial saw it late and it nestled in the bottom corner. 1-1. with that goal the quarter ended and it set up the final quarter on a knife edge with the crowd anticipating a thrilling finish.
The energy and commitment shown throughout the match from both sides continued into the final quarter, with both teams feeling they could win it. First Ali Nurhmohammed runs in on goal and hits a rasping shot which hits the far post and deflects out. Then Zayn Khatau intercepts the ball high up the field and takes a shot, which rebounds of a defender. Hassan Valjy follows up but the shot is just wide, again Abbas Juma breaks up an attack. Abbas Rajvani picks up the ball, runs with it and then squares it for Ali Nurmohammed who taps it in 1-2! SJ were desperate to protect what they had and defended resolutely with Hussein Bhalloo and Jaabir Merali protecting the goal and Zayn Khatau screening the defence. Abbas was box to box collecting the ball and passing to Ali Nurmohammed who had the shot saved. The final act of the game was Abbas Rajvani picking the ball up on the edge of his box and running the length of the pitch like a young Diego Maradona in his pomp, but he was unable to apply the finish past the on rushing keeper.
The match ended 1-2 to SJFA U8. A brilliant performance from all the boys and a highly entertaining match to watch!
Match report by Hassan Rashid