Young first team go down at North Greenford
The first team ended their league campaign with a 6-0 loss away at North Greenford Utd, but despite the scoreline it was a fantastic day for the club.
With a cup final two days later, and nothing on the game, Darren Salmon rested all bar Aaron Bogle, George Murphy and Adam Allen of the regular first teamers, and filled the side with lots of our Colts players.
It was a great experience for the lads and really lets them know the levels they need to get to if they want to be regular first team players.
North Greenford almost took the lead on two minutes when a ball over the top found James Simmond, but his effort was deflected behind for a corner by Aaron Bogle, and we successfully dealt with that.
We started to get into the game, as the lads nerves disappeared and on seven minutes, after Mason Seagroatt had won possession, Edd M'Bango and Jean-Luc Kinsaba linked up well to put a dangerous ball into the box, and from the clearance work between Ayman Dahduoh and Eric Soares forced a corner.
Matt Travis then found Jamal Velinor who beat Murphy, only for Roy Gayle to get across well and clear the danger. Kamel Akel then did well on ten minutes but his ball across the face of goal went off for a goalkick.
We went close a few minutes later, Dahduoh and Bogle linked up well, and from Bogle's cross Guy Ansah-Palmer did superbly as Charlie Reed looked poised to head home. 7 fired wide on 15 minutes.
M'Bango was probably fortunate to escape without a booking on 19 minutes, when he mistimed a challenge on Akel, and North Greenford should have taken the lead on 20 minutes when Velinor hesitated before beating Dave Hill, only to see Bogle hook the ball clear.
M'Bango bought a good save out of Bailey Mulhall with a low free kick, and on 25 minutes Soares also tested Mulhall with a stinging drive.
Hill saved well from Velinor low to his left just after the half hour, but it was clear that the lads were tiring from the exertions. Simmond skipped passed a couple on 35 minutes and finished low to Hill's left to put the hosts 1-0 up, and they extended their lead shortly before the break with a goal by Velinor who beat Hill to the ball and rolled into an empty net.
Early in the second half, and we were dealt another blow when Hill was caught in possession by George Moore who rolled the ball into an empty net.
Salmon introduced made a double change on 55 minutes replacing Murphy and Hill, with Allen, and veteran keeper Leigh Bowden, on for his 250th first team appearance.
Moore made it 4-0 on 65 minutes with a calm lob over Bowden, and from here on in it was a test of character for the lads. Would they crumble and end up humiliated or would they dig in and give it there all.
Well, they stood up, never let their heads drop and dug in deep against much more experienced opponents.
16 year old substitute Jayden Coleman, our youngest outfield player since Liam Holden was a nipper, struck a loopy effort against the crossbar, and it would have been nice to see the lads score.
As it happened North Greenford scored a couple more, one a neat finish by Sandro Costa and the other a close range tap in after we had failed to deal with a corner.
The lads will learn masses from the game, and in nearly all respects the result was unimportant, compared to what they will have gained.
A word for our opponents, they were generous in their praise for the lads efforts, from the guys in the committee room, to the management team on the sidelines, and we thank them for that.