Essex Under 16s slipped to their first South East Counties Championship reverse of the season as early and late goals earned Middlesex a 2-0 victory at Uxbridge FC.
Kahlil Francis gave the hosts a 3rd-minute lead and, despite a number of opportunities for both sides in-between, it wasn’t until stoppage that Felix Amoah sealed the win for the hosts. Led by Carl Papworth and Liam Saxton, Essex had grabbed four points from two entertaining fixtures with Kent and the Amateur Football Alliance, arriving in West London top of the table.
It proved to be another exciting contest but, ultimately, Middlesex enjoyed the better of the opportunities and were good value for their win. But Essex remain well placed as they finish their season during February with home fixtures against Sussex and London, both at Aveley FC.
The home county were quick out of the blocks at Uxbridge’s Honeycroft ground and had already missed a decent chance prior to them taking the lead, with Amoah teeing-up Elisa Azab who slipped with the goal gaping before Francis fired wide. The early advantage came courtesy of Francis, who fired in a high finish having been played through by Ronnie Heath.
At the other end, a strong run and cut back from Essex’s Toyeeb Elegushi led to Callum Owen’s header being cleared off the goal line, while visiting goalkeeper Ted Cattini also pushed Shammar Sawby’s effort around the post later on. The resulting corner was cleared.
A composed run from Essex’s Jack Renwick saw him skip through and see a firm, low strike well held by home ‘keeper Thierry Thomas-Gayle. Middlesex then struck the post as Amoah’s shot was pushed out by Cattini, then he sent the rebound against the right-hand upright. Just 20 seconds into the second half, the hosts came close to doubling the lead.
Francis forced his way through and flashed an angled shot just wide. With chances continuing to be exchanged, Essex’s Kakha Jojshelidza curled a 20-yard free kick just over the top before Cattini made a good save to keep out a rasping effort from Johnathon Novak. Two minutes into added time, however, the home side secured the win. A right-wing cross was met with an excellent side-footed finish by a leaping Amoah from six yards.
Essex: Ted Cattini (Thurrock), Bailey Hossack (AFC Hornchurch), Deolindo Lama (Chelmsford City), Jack Renwick (Brentwood Town), Byron Humbles (Billericay Town), Thomas Duffy (Billericay Town), Toki Hassan (Chelmsford City), Callum Owen (Barking), Josh Okpa (Barking), Kakha Jojshelidza (Barking), Toyeeb Elegushi (St Edwards School). Substitutes (repeated): Jack Hauser (Billericay Town), James Lickfold (AFC Hornchurch), Marlon Stratford (Billericay Town).
Middlesex: Thierry Thomas-Gayle (Hendon), Phillip Essadoh (Hendon), Ronnie Heath (Sandgate), Joe Mills (Ruislip Rangers), Matthew Lenihan (Wembley), Liam Bakry (Ruislip Rangers), Felix Amoah (Wembley), Elisa Azab (Brook House), Kahlil Francis (Hendon), Shammar Swaby (Hendon), Matthew Dones (Boreham Wood). Substitutes (repeated): George Deacon (Ruislip Rangers), Jonno Mackrill (Spartans), Johnathon Novak (Cockfosters), Damian Pawlak (Hanwell Town).
Referee: Nigel Hickes (Ruislip).
Assistant Referees: Paul Savva (Staines-Upon-Thames) and Mark Sennett (Hayes).