Y10 Football Brent Champions

Friday 18 March 2022

On Wednesday evening, the Year 10 boys’ football team lined up for just the second final in Ark history. The team had finished the league season unbeaten, and in first place, and were confident and ready to host Claremont High School for the Shield.

In our early game with CHS, Melik scored twice from 20 yards to earn a 2-0 win, however that scoreline masked a challenging match which saw Claremont miss a penalty and dominate possession. Fortunately, we welcomed Marius back into the team following injury, and lined up in a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation with Amir taking Rhys’ place in attack.

In torrential conditions, Ark started on the front foot, and Angelo saw an early tester go wide. Melik, who has been the heartbeat of the team all season, started to control the game and at times the ball was glued to his right boot. Jaheim added muscle to the midfield and Alex was looking lively on the right with Ismail supporting on the overlap.

In a complete reverse of the League fixture, Year 10 dominated the opening twenty minutes only to see Claremont take a shock lead when a tame pass out from defence was pounced upon and slotted past a helpless Galili. It was 1-0 to Claremont with 20 minutes ‘til half- time. Ayman came on to help shore up the defence with Ismail suffering an early injury.

Ark’s response was positive, with Alex and Angelo linking up front, but we couldn’t get a goal to level the game. Claremont rose in confidence and an identical mistake at centre back saw the opposition double their lead. The shield was slipping away as the opposition ascended to a 2-goal lead.

Credit to Marius, Nicolae, Rishi and Ridwaan, as they didn’t panic nor change their approach of carefully retaining possession. In fact, the passing became even more metronomic, with the boys carefully working their way to the Claremont area.

With an explosive burst down the left from Angelo, Alex took the responsibility of hauling Ark back in to the final, cutting in off the left flank and hammering a near post shot home from the edge of the area.

The boys burst back in to the game, with a short- corner routine from Melik and a long-range freekick testing the goalkeeper, before substitute Rhys hammered a header at the ‘keeper to end the half. We were 1-2 down but finished the half having played all the football.

In the second period, the boys pledged to remain calm and to trust in their own ability. Angelo joined Melik and Marius in midfield only to see Claremont hit the post in their first attack of the half. It really was heart-in-mouth for the home supporters!

Rhys went through one-on-one but unusually failed to find the target on either attack, but that man Angelo popped up at the backpost to fire home an equaliser after strong work down the right hand side saw the ‘keeper drop a cross.

Melik and Ridwaan exchanged freekicks that flew narrowly over, and with twenty five to play it looked all Ark. Ridwaan added some much needed hustle and bustle up front and when Rhys crossed a 50:50 ball to the back post Angelo was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and give Ark a 3-2 lead with 9 minutes left. The Lucut brothers, Melik and Angelo did all that was required to keep the ball safe and see out the game, our first ever trophy!