Reserve Team Sub
Feb 26, 2012, 9:32 PM
Post #459 of 540
February 26 LFA County Cup Results:
LFA Sunday Challenge Cup Quarter-Final: Pearscroft United (Sportsmans Senior League) 3 -v- Tripimeni (KOPA League) 2
Perhaps not a surprising result given that some Tripimeni players were playing for Phoenix and Lapton in the LFA Sunday Intermediate Cup match below! Pearscroft United are now through to their second consecutive semi-final in this competition. The Sportsmans Senior League now has two teams in the semi-final of this competition, and it could be an all Sportsmans League final if both Pearscroft and Fulham United get through.
PHOENIX (CAMDEN SUNDAY LEAGUE) 1 –V- LAPTON (HACKNEY & LEYTON LEAGUE) 0
London FA Sunday Intermediate Cup, 10:30am Kick-Off, Hackney Marshes, London E10
Why do so many talented and successful teams have hothead players that mess things up for their team in big games? Lapton have only themselves to blame for what happened to them today - after their indiscipline on and off the pitch (more accurately their GK is to blame!).
Firstly, they perhaps underestimated the quality of their opponents and 'rotated' their squad - picking a bizarre starting XI. With star mdifielder Gabriel (Chesham Utd - Step 3), striker Nathan Scarborough (ex Tilbury - Step 4), and Ahmed Salvador (ex Bethnal Green United - Step 5), all missing - they still had a very strong squad. However for some strange reason - Lapton decided it was a good idea to leave their top scorer Maurice Byfield (ex Enfield - Step 5), and experienced defender Darren Hughes on the bench, and instead picked a striker to play at right back. The bizarre team selections were compounded the fact that a Lapton defender and at least three Phoenix players (Gio Falzone, Anthony Clark and Charlie Kanaris) are also registered to play for another Sunday team - FC Tripimeni of the KOPA League (who were also playing today in the LFA Sunday Challenge Cup quarter-final!). I saw Lapton's 'dual registration' player who also plays for Tripimeni chatting to Phoenix players at half time.
The game was decided by two big incidents that occured around the 30 minute mark. Phoenix took the lead after a drilled low shot from the edge of the box. Lapton's goalkeeper Eray Demirkol immediately charged out of his goal toward the linesman to protest an infringement, and was shown a straight red card for dissent. Lapton condeded a goal AND were reduced to 10 men in the space of 60 seconds. After the keeper left the pitch, his team-mate Maurice Byfield angrily screamed at him for getting himself sent off at such a crucial time in a big game.
After the goal, Lapton were in disarray, and had to put their best defender in goal (he also plays for Tripimeni!). Phoenix missed two great chances to seal the game before half-time. Three minutes after taking the lead Phoenix captain Kevin Duffy slammed a low shot against the outside of the post after a fine run down the right. A minute later Jamie Killingback sent a glorious chance over the bar from 6 yards out. Phoenix winger Gio Falzone was excellent as Phoenix had their tails up and took control. Their manager said Phoenix's "name is on the cup".
The second half was a different game. 10 man Lapton came out all guns blazing and put Phoenix under serious pressure with wave after wave of attack. Lapton's tricky winger Abdul Johnson was excellent as Lapton virtually camped in Phoenix's half for the first 15-20 minutes of the second half. 10 minutes into the second half, Johnson let fly with a screamer from the edge of the box that had "top corner" written on it, but Phoenix's excellent GK Daniel Ewens saved brilliantly and turned the ball behind for a corner.
I enjoyed the battle between the Ferrari pace and skill of Abdul Johnson against Phoenix's strong left back Charlie Kanaris (Kentish Town FC - Step 6). However Phoenix defended excellently to repel the incessant pressure from Lapton. Phoenix's bench were so worried by the Lapton pressure that I heard them twice mention 'extra-time' as it looked like Lapton might equalise. As Lapton kept pressing forward, Phoenix counter-attacked and their star striker Anthony Clark missed two glorious chances to finish off Lapton (including missing an open goal from 6 yards out - with the Lapton GK stranded outside the box).
Although 1-0 sounds like a tense and tight game - it was an attacking end to end and exciting game with lots of chances, and great play from both teams. Phoenix and Lapton are a credit to their leagues and gave everything. The players were exhausted late in the game after putting in so much effort. This match was of a higher quality than the Clapton Rangers -v- Fulham United game I saw in the CHALLENGE Cup last week. Based on today, both these teams are better than Clapton Rangers AND Fulham United.
I was very impressed with Phoenix. They are a well organised, fit and very hard working team. They closed down and pressed Lapton all over the park. Most teams would have wilted under Lapton's second half pressure, but they defended very well and managed to stop Lapton from scoring in a game for the first time in 14 months. Credit to Lapton too for their stirring second half fightback. No person watching that game would have believed that the team with only 10 men was dominating and laying siege to the Phoenix goal in the second half.
At full-time, Lapton's player-manager Adewale and midfielder Dean Robinson argued with the ref about the red card. However their anger should have been directed at their own GK whose indiscipline meant his team had to play two-thirds of the game with only 10 men.
(This post was edited by stevegraze on Feb 26, 2012, 11:55 PM)