Cornwall 2-4 Middlesex
English Schools' FA Playstation Inter-County Trophy
Middlesex travelled over 600 miles and completed a 11 hours’ round trip by coach to play Cornwall in Penzance, winning 4-2 to reach the next round of the England Schools' Football Association Inter-County Trophy.
Middlesex started brightly with Tommy Lahti firing just over the Cornish crossbar before Kyle Wilson gave Middlesex the lead on 6 minutes with a shot from 25 yards which flew into the top right corner of the goal, giving the Cornwall goalkeeper no chance.
Middlesex’s Mason Spencer then saw his effort on goal well saved before Cornwall had their first meaningful attack on the Middlesex goal resulting in a corner. Middlesex were still creating the majority of the goal scoring chances and Dominic D’Souza saw his header saved on the line with Felix Amoah, Drillon Krasniqi all seeing their efforts well saved.
On 19 minutes, Middlesex increased their lead when Kyle Lake Bryan’s corner kick was headed on by Krasniqi and although a shot was initially saved by the Cornwall goalkeeper, when the ball ran clear D’Souza reacted quickest to force the ball over the line from 2 feet.
Middlesex were unlucky not to extend their lead further with Krasniqi seeing a shot deflected wide of the post before heading just over and finally seeing 2 further shooting efforts clearing the Cornwall crossbar within a 5 minute spell.
Having failed to extend their lead, Middlesex would have felt aggrieved for allowing Cornwall back into the match when they scored 3 minutes before half time with another spectacular shot. The effort came from just outside the Middlesex penalty area and went in just underneath the crossbar to make it 2-1 at half time.
With the second half becoming very open, Middlesex’s Qasim Khan had an early chance cleared before D’Souza saw his shot on goal well saved. Cornwall almost equalised 4 minutes into the second half and Middlesex were grateful to Ethan Grubb in goal for diving at full length to push the ball just wide of the far post before the ball was scrambled clear.
With Cornwall now pushing hard for an equaliser they had a goal ruled out for offside on 42 minutes but were on level terms just 4 minutes later when Cornwall were allowed to attack the Middlesex goal unchallenged in the middle of the park & when the ball was not cleared in the Middlesex defence Cornwall scored from inside the 6-yard box.
With both sides now looking for a winning goal, Middlesex almost restored their lead on 44 minutes when D’Souza linked up well with Krasniqi and Krasniqi saw his effort well saved just outside the six yard box before Cornwall themselves nearly took the lead following a goal mouth scramble. Grubb in the Middlesex goal then did very well when challenged under pressure on his goal line to see a Cornwall effort clear the Middlesex crossbar.
With the excellent Luke Massingham and Ronnie Heath in the Middlesex defence clearing a succession of Cornwall attacks and corners it looked like Middlesex may rue not taking all their earlier chances with the game heading towards extra time and possibly penalties. But with just 7 minutes remaining, Amoah restored Middlesex’s lead on 63 minutes when he cut inside the Cornwall penalty area from the right and despite being under pressure from the Cornwall defenders he saw shot from an acute angle go in just inside the left post.
Then, with just 3 minutes remaining, D’Souza made the game safe for Middlesex scoring his second goal of the match when he picked up the ball from an Amoah pass and holding off a defender he scored with a wonderful shot from outside the Cornwall penalty area with his left foot.
The squad's reward for this hard-earned victory is another away tie in the last eight; this time against Bedfordshire. This match will be played on or before 6th February.