Middlesex blasted their way into second place in their London Cup group with an emphatic 6-1 victory away to Inner London. In a fiery contest, played in windy and freezing conditions, Middlesex attacked Inner London right from the start and enjoyed the perfect start when Captain Ali Alanezi (pictured, below right) crossed for Harrow student Toby Gould ((pictured, left)to score with a brave header after three minutes. The hosts struck back quickly to level the match at 1-1.
The equaliser spurred Middlesex into action and the Seaxes mounted attack after attack. The breakthrough came when Cai Burrows reacted quickest in a goal mouth scramble to drive the ball home to make it 2-1. Inner London tried to battle back again but great defending from Michael Adjei, David Oppong Wiafe, Gareth Balakomoso and Ben Sullivan protected keeper Joe Ringer to keep them at bay.
In midfield, Middlesex began to get the upper hand. A neat passing move started by Man of the Match Charlie Quinnel saw Alanezi free on the left to unselfishly pass to Oumide Akinade to shoot and score and put his team two goals ahead.
Quinnel was at the heart of things again for the fourth with a neat pass to Akinade who this time turned provider, slotting in Gould who confidently rifled the ball into the net for his second goal of the game.
The second half started with the home side fighting desperately to start a comeback. Jaevon Braithwaite and Quinnel (pictured, left) rose to the challenge and worked tirelessly in the middle of the park breaking up attacks and then starting counter-attacks. Playing into the wind, Middlesex battled bravely with Sateesh Salvaradsou of Preston Manor making an impressive debut in defense and Ruudy Kuhunga adding pace in midfield. Having weathered the storm, Wiktor Wachala came on in attack and caused London all sorts of problems.
The next goal was going to be an important one and it came when David Oppong Wiafe threaded the ball to Alanazi to cooly slot home and put the visitors 5-1 ahead.
The scoring was completed by a wonder goal and possibly the ‘goal of the season’ for Middlesex. Wachala released Burrows on the left and he dribbled inside his marker before unleashing a 25 yard curler into the top corner giving the keeper no chance.
Middlesex threatened to run riot as Wachala’s skill and speed saw him race clear on goal but the ref adjudged him to have handled the ball and play was stopped.
Middlesex coach Chris Ampofo praised his teams work ethic: “They are putting in the effort and this is getting the results they deserve. They showed determination and quality today. I’m really proud of them”. He also paid tribute to the work of Scott Harneiss, a PE Teacher at Aylward Academy for his work with the squad.
Middlesex next face Sussex at home on 5 March. A win will see Middlesex qualify for the knock out stage as winners of Group 1 of the London Cup, which would earn them a home semi-final against Essex. However, Sussex also need to win to keep their own hopes of qualification alive, meaning that a tight game is assured.
Middlesex: Wiktor Wachala (Ark Academy), Toby Gould (Harrow), Ben Sullivan, Joe Ringer (Harefield), Sateesh Salvaradsou (Preston Manor), David Oppong Wiafe (Greenford), Ruudy Kahunga (Finchley), Charlie Quinnell (Douay Martyrs), Ali Alanezi (Capt.) (London Academy), Gareth Balakomoso, Cai Burrows, Michael Adjei, (St Gregory's), Olumide Akinade, Kyle Mathews (Wembley High), Jaevon Braithwaite (Claremont).