Congratulations and commiserations go out to our U13 and U14 teams after a dramatic weekend of action at Tooting Bec (2 March) in the London County Saturday Youth League KO Cup competition. First up were the U14s against old foes FFK Athletic in a quarter-final fixture that had been postponed 5 times due to the terrible recent weather. The score was 3-3 at full time, 4-4 AET, and then 5-4 to FFK on penalties.
In the afternoon, the U13s took on Broomwood in a semi-final. With the SMP leading 3-2 in the final minute of normal time Broomwood were awarded a hotly-disputed penalty for handball, equalising with what became the last kick of the game. However, this time the U13s prevailed in extra time 5-4 to reach their first final.
Just as pleasing was the fact that both our teams left Tooting with the opposition’s praise ringing in their ears for their sportsmanship and attitude. Well done to everyone involved.
Edited: March 4th, 2013
The St. Matthew’s Project have got off to a flying start this season, with all four teams putting in some great performances and, more importantly, showing some consistency. Six weeks into the new season the teams have recorded just two defeats between them, an opening day 3-2 setback for the U13s against FC Porto London Dragons and another 3-2 loss for the U12s against Evolution Sports. Three of them top their respective leagues, with the U13s just two points behind the leaders.
The U14s have gelled under James Alexander into a solid unit and are feeling confident about their first foray into the London Cup later this year. The U13s, under Ashley Bosah, are going from strength to strength and have recorded some great results, including a hard-fought 0-0 draw against their main championship rivals Lambeth All Stars at Tooting Bec, and an emphatic win over old rivals Clapham Rangers, 4-1 on Clapham Common. The U12s have undergone a complete transformation from last season’s U11s, winning four out of their first five games under new manager Nathan Samuels. Three players left and five came in but it is a tribute to the boys that stayed on from U11 after going through their very first season as a team without a win, and just reward for their patience and perseverance. Our new, and very first, U10s team have taken league football in their stride and remain unbeaten under former U15s manager Sonni Shokoya. The boys have been happy to play in all positions to improve their technique and are learning that the result is not all. To be still top of their division whilst learning the game is a real credit to them and a great bonus. Well done to our volunteer assistants, too – Jean Ramsey, Elmi Mohamud and Jonathan Ramos.
The U10s enjoyed a double celebration on October 22, a 1-0 victory over Independent at Tooting Bec and Daniel’s 10th birthday. It was great to see so many parents and relatives at the game, making it a really special day both for Daniel and his team mates.
Edited: October 22nd, 2011
21 May 2011 London Saturday League Challenge Cup Final
St. Matthews 4 Fit 4 Kidz 3 (AET. 3-3 full time) Venue: Hackney Marshes
After a thrilling season that saw us exceed all expectations and finish runners up in our first season in the top flight, St. Matthew’s U13s crowned a special year by taking home the London Saturday League Challenge Cup with a brilliant team performance. Our opponents, Fit for Kidz, were the same opposition in our very first game of the season way back in September and now, with them as league champions, we went into the game as slight underdogs. After the first fifteen minutes, though, you would never have thought it, with two goals from Justin, including a brilliant 20-yard lob, and one from Larenze seeing us 3-up and cruising to victory. However, this was Fit 4 Kidz, our old adversaries who shared 18 goals with us in three league draws this season and never seem to know when they’re beaten, and by half time, courtesy of two long-range free-kicks, they had pulled back to 3-3 – proving ‘Chairman Lee’s’ pessimistic prediction that they would come back correct.
It looked like we had blown our chances but after a stirring half-time team talk we came out strong and were soon on the front foot again. A number of great chances went begging and the opposition were reduced to more long range efforts, which never really troubled Big Justice Owosu, a calming and dominant presence in goal as ever. With the scores still level at full time we went into extra time really believing we could win. With the Portuguese Man-of-War Joao Branco moving from defence to midfield we began to take control. However, tiredness was starting to play a part and Fit 4 Kidz hit us on the break, going clean through only for the player tapping the ball into the net to be ruled offside. Then, with about 5 minutes to go the decisive breakthrough came when Matthew Thomas latched onto a through ball and slipped the ball deftly past the keeper to seal the win. A late goal from a player who missed the minibus to Hackney Marshes by turning up late in the morning! Cue pitch invasion by delirious subs, family and friends and a polite request from the ref to return to the side-lines. A fantastic end to the season and a day to remember for all who were present. And great to see our captain and rock at the back, Fabio, lift the cup at the end of an excellent season. Well done boys!
Please see gallery for pictures!
Edited: June 5th, 2011
12 March 2011
Providence House A 1 St. Matthews 4 Venue: Tooting Bec
This was, as the cliché goes, very much a game of two halves. Truth be told we could have found ourselves 3 or 4 goals down in the first half. Early on we looked like a team that was tired and complacent and couldn’t even get out of our own half. We were out-played in midfield and if it hadn’t been for some resilient defending by Fabio and Sola and excellent goalkeeping by Justice we would have gone in at half time behind. However, as has become our trademark in recent weeks, after weathering heavy pressure we counter attacked quickly and a neat finish by Montel on the terrible, bumpy surface saw us go in ahead.
With the introduction of Daniel into midfield in the second half we were a different team, yet a lack of concentration at the back saw us pegged back to 1-1. But then we kicked into gear, with ‘Superstar’ scoring a sublime flicked effort from the edge of the box to put us back in front. From there we never looked back. Larenze added another and then Justice, who must have the longest goal kick in the league, saw one of his drop kicks bouncing over the opposition goalkeeper and finding the back of the net.
3 games to go – let’s keep it up!
Edited: March 13th, 2011
5 March 2011
St. Matthews 1 Providence House B 0
After scraping a win last week we knew we had to raise our game for the visit of our fierce Clapham Junction rivals who’d only lost one league game all season. Having won our last 9 games, though, we were determined to stay in the title hunt. Early on we were under a lot of pressure but on the break we are as good as anyone in the league, and some good counter attacking moves soon put us on the front foot. Midway through the first half a quick break down the right was finished superbly by Larenze from a tight angle to put us 1-0 up. Missing our captain and first choice centre half, Fabio, it was up to a makeshift defence to ensure we kept it tight at the back, and that they did just that. The second half saw some resilient defending and a brilliant team effort which left Providence contained to a few half chances. After all the ups and downs this team has had, this result shows just how well the boys can play and they should be extremely proud of their progress as players and their commitment to one another.
Edited: March 9th, 2011
AFC Wandsworth 4 St. Matthews 1 Venue: Tooting Bec
The youngsters put in another battling performance against the league leaders and champions elect at Tooting Bec. The score line does not reflect how hard they worked for one another or how many attempts on goal they had. And out of the five goals scored, by far the best was Deashonel’s beautifully taken chip in the first half. Another great performance in a very tough first season for the boys and another step towards their well-deserved end-of-season Nando’s treat!
Edited: March 6th, 2011
19 February 2011
Dulwich Magic 5 St. Matthew’s 1 Venue: JAG’s Sports Ground
A 5-1 defeat for the youngsters was very much a case of a result not telling the whole story. With four regular players not showing up and 3-o down after about less than 10 minutes, the boys rallied, pulling one back and going in at half time very unlucky not to have at least levelled the scores. This was down to several outstanding saves by the Dulwich keeper. The second half was pretty much the same, Dulwich taking their chances and their keeper denying us yet again. Footballing-wise, our youngsters are great to watch and once they have developed their awareness and discipline, we have no doubt that they will be some team. Their attitude is second to none.
Edited: February 20th, 2011
19 February 2011
St. Matthew’s 5 Bethwin A 0 Venue: Brockwell Park (KO Cup semi-final)
With the cup semi-final upon us, all eyes were on the weather report and the Brockwell Park pitch, especially after the abandonment of all fixtures at Tooting Bec. After a quick pitch inspection, though, we were ready to go against a Bethwin team who were only one of two teams to have beaten us this season. Our pre-match preparations didn’t get off to the best of starts when our goalkeeper turned up with a swollen hand, unable to take part. With a stand in goalie we knew we had to keep it tight at the back and we did just that, allowing Bethwin only one real shot on target during the whole match. Through hard work, stern defending and quick closing down, we carved open a few good chances early on and soon went 1-0 up. Despite difficult weather conditions to contend with we kept the ball well, spreading it around nicely in the opposition’s half. By half time we were 3-0 up and looking very composed. The second half was more of the same and after 10 minutes we eventually netted a fourth, with a fifth soon after. After some scrappy matches in recent weeks, the boys showed some great composure, always looking to play the ball out of trouble and working hard for one another. A great result and, more importantly, the best team performance of the season, with everyone putting their all into the tie and playing some beautiful football along the way. Well done boys - a well-deserved big day out to look forward to in the spring.
Edited: February 20th, 2011
St. Matthew’s 1 Lambeth All Stars 2 Venue: Brockwell Park
We started on the back foot and were under constant pressure. Fortunately, our new keeper, Steven Jackson, made some great saves on his debut. Against the run of play, though, we managed to break away with a direct counter attack to score first. This gave us the confidence to keep much better possession. But Lambeth were always threatening and eventually got past our defence and keeper to score towards the end of the half. The second-half performance was a great improvement as we attempted to play the ball on the ground, but Lambeth grabbed a second goal from a poor defensive clearance. We put Lambeth under increased pressure for the rest of the game but the score remained 2-1. This was a great improvement, though, against a team to whom we lost 10 – 3 at the start of the season, and a result the boys can be very proud of.
Edited: February 14th, 2011
12 February 2011
St. Matthew’s 1 Peckham Town Reds 2 Venue: Brockwell Park
One of the best games of the season was played out on a swamp of a pitch. The St. Matthew’s youngsters were a credit to their manager and the project, passing the ball around and playing quick one-twos against a typically big, strong Peckham side as though they were playing on a perfect surface. Chances-wise they should have won the game and certainly deserved more than Dequan’s nicely worked goal; but the result is irrelevant, this game showed just how much these boys have progressed in their very first season. Roll on 2011-12. Special thanks, too, to our four mums who braved the mud on the touchline.
Edited: February 13th, 2011