The Hive Sunday 5th February 2017 at 5.30pm
Zamin Shabbir (GK)
Maisam Merali (C)
Shahid Abbas Jaffer
Ali Abbas Juma
Ali Abbas Datoo
Arif Bandali (Manager)
On a nippy evening at the Hive, under floodlights, Stanmore Jaffery’s FA (SJFA) faced Two Touch in an 8 a-side match. When the game kicked off, both teams were very even, in terms of commitment. The result of this hard-fought opening quarter of an hour, Two Touch suffered an early injury to one of their wingers after Mazhar went into a crunching tackle.
The first half was a cagey affair and it was mainly a battle of the two defences, the SJFA defence were especially solid and limited their opposition’s chances. However it wasn’t just a defensive master class from Maisam, Shahid Abbas and Zuhair.
Up front Yaseen held the ball up brilliantly. At the end the first half Yaseen’s hard work and patience almost paid off as he made an exquisite pass to Salman who made a diagonal run from the left wing. The angle was tight and Salman did well to get the shot on target forcing a great save from the goalkeeper.
The first half ended with the Two Touch starting to find their rhythm. However, we had our midfield general Ali Abbas Juma thwarting any serious attack. Abbas Kermali who played on the wing brought lots of energy and constantly supported the defence as well as attack.
At half time, manager Arif Bandali calmly communicated how the team could exploit the Two Touch defence, as they were leaving a lot of space behind them. Once the manager had relayed his instructions to the team, Captain Maisam Merali took over the and gave a rousing pep talk.
With subs being made, SJFA kicked of the second half on the front foot. With clever interplay SJFA moved the ball forward positively, Yaseen and Salman linked up once again. Yaseen played a through ball, Salman didn’t have to break his stride to pick it up and play a low cross. The versatile Ali Abbas Datoo stretched and just got his toes to the ball however a last-ditch block from their large defender prevented him from celebrating his first goal.
SJFA clearly stepped their game up by putting more pressure on the Two Touch defence, forcing a few mistakes. Although SJFA made another substitution by bringing on the excellent young Mohammed Chatoo. The team were compact and the intensity also increased and SJFA were dominating possession. Both teams managed to create chances with Salman coming closest again.
Towards the end of game Arif Bandali’s young team were having their best spell of the second half. Completely against the run of play, Two Touch managed to win a free kick near the edge of the penalty area. The free kick taker saw a gap in the wall and quickly struck it hard into the bottom left hand corner. However, this goal didn’t deflate SJFA as they were able to pass the ball around the pitch with many good chances being created. That reflected the confidence they had even though they were undeservedly one goal down.
It was the last five minutes and SJFA sent men forward to try and nick a late equaliser, leaving minimal defensive cover. After a near miss from SJFA, Two Touch capitalised as they counter attacked. Two Touch’s striker picked up the ball and drove forward from the left side of midfield. Once he went past our defender and with only the goalie to beat, he opened-up his body and calmly hit a nice and tidy shot into the net. That made it 2-0. Unfortunately for SJFA this was the last kick of the game.
Considering it was the first game that they had played together as a team, SJFA put in a great performance overall. The future looks bright…the future is SJFA.
Zain Ali Bandali, Age 14