The Middlesex Schools’ FA Under-14 Representative Team were defeated by their Sussex counterparts after a spectacular fixture in Brighton.
Ahead of this match, the teams posed together for a remembrance photo in honour of the Christmas Truce which occurred during the First World War but it was more like the Alamo for the visitors as Sussex immediately went on the attack.
Sussex took the lead after 20 minutes. Then after good work from Leo Grace, Damani Ayre was pulled back as he slipped away from his marker. Reece Weekes stepped up and hit an unstoppable 30 yard screamer into the top corner. Weeks’ effort was a contender for goal of the season and levelled the match at 1-1. The home fans and Sussex were stunned by the wonder strike but regrouped and surged ahead scoring twice quickly just before half time.
Middlesex made changes at the break introducing Kieran Ali in midfield and Emile Hohmann in attack. They both made an instant impact. Ali started to win the battle in midfield pressing and Hohmann was involved in the build-up releasing Weekes out wide on the left. Weekes whipped in the cross and Cai Burrows leapt at the far post to head home 3-2.
The balance of the game had changed and Middlesex were dominant. Hohmann combined well with Rasharn Rampton on the right who threaded the ball to Rahzir Smith-Jones. Jones jinked past two defenders and then unleashed a fierce left foot curling shot into the far corner to make the score 3-3.
It looked like the comeback was on but Sussex started to pile on the pressure. Middlesex man of the match Michael Adjei was a rock at the back for Middlesex and goalkeeper Mack Ndja looked comfortable on his Middlesex debut. Gareth Balekomoso, was introduced to stiffen up the defense and this worked as Middlesex kept the hosts at bay. Smith Jones was starting to control the midfield with neat passing. The ball was whipped into the box Hohmann lost his marker at the far post but the ball didn’t fall kindly and the chance was gone.
Josh Bird was introduced on the right and this bolstered the midfield further. The next goal was always going to be vital as the game hotted up. Balekomoso who was doing so well in defence landed awkwardly after heading clear and had to leave the field with suspected mild concussion. While Middlesex reorganised Sussex scored the all-important goal to restore the lead.
After such a monumental effort to come back from two goals down, this was a killer blow to Middlesex and Sussex ended the game winning 6-3.
Middlesex coach Chris Ampofo was upbeat after the game “What a game! The players showed great spirit to come back. We scored three terrific goals and a few players made impressive debuts. If we can start quicker and work as a team the results will come”
Middlesex: Karan Patel (Copeland) Leo Grace Captain (Finchley), Rasharn Rampton (Friern Barnet), Joe Ringer, Rahzir Smith-Jones, Tyler Burey (Harefield), Josh Bird (Hayden), Emile Hohmann ( Highgate Woods), Kiran Ali ( Kingsbury), Gareth Balekomoso, Cai Burrows, Michael Adjei, Reece Weekes (St Gregs ) Brandon Fulama, Mack Ndja ( St Thomas More ), Damani Ayre (Wembley High)