Broadfields United lifted the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup for the first time in our history last Wednesday night (03/05) in front of a crowd just shy of 300 (298 to be accurate) against our friends from Northwood FC at Uxbridge FC's home of The Honeycroft. It was the first competitive meeting between the two sides although the two have met on many occasions in friendly fixtures.
Ahead of the tie The Woods were, quite rightly, hot favourites for the contest with them being a level above us in the pyramid plying their trade in the Isthmian League's South Central Division and having had a strong season which saw them just miss out on promotion to Step 3 in the at the semi-final stage against eventual winners Walton & Hersham. That said, in order for us to reach this stage of the competition we had already had to overcome two sides above us in the pyramid in both Southall, who are in the same division as Northwood, and also Hanwell Town of the Southern League's Premier South Division.
Reaching this final alone was a great reward for the lads and the management who had over the last few weeks of the season put in a monumental shift to see us climb up the table having found ourselves in a relegation scrap in the final months of the campaign with the sides around us in the table picking up points. We kicked off the game with a side that was unchanged for the third game running, the first time we have been able to do that this season, and testament to the boys that have put in the hard work over the last couple of weeks that saw us come into this game off the back of 6 games unbeaten.
As we kicked off in the opening minutes of the match it was clear our lads were not to be overwhelmed or phased by the occasion and were taking the game to our opponents early on. There were two early shouts for penalties, one case much stronger than the other after a foul on Max Holland and one for a handball, but not long after those it was Jordan Greaves who put us ahead on the 15-minute mark. Junior Paiva's corner kick was delivered to the back post and Rhys Ells rose highest to head it back across the face of the goal to a grateful Greaves who was on hand to flick the ball in past the keeper. There were more chances in the half with the front three of Holland, Greaves and Kristian Swaby causing our opponents constant problems throughout, but the keeper was not to be beaten. Bradley Shaw in our goal was also on hand for a couple of routine saves throughout the half but never really found himself tested.
Inside the first minute of the second half came what would be Northwood's best chance of the tie. They attacked with purpose and a quick break down our right by the winger was neatly delivered to our front post that teed up his teammate only for the Woods' onrushing striker’s effort creep just past the outside of the post, much to the relief of all supporting the side in blue that night. Northwood began gaining more of a foothold in the match but that constant pressure was being soaked up all evening by the backline of Lewis Batten, Nate Lewis-Robinson, Calum Rogers and Darren Brown as well as Shaw in goal.
Despite the Northwood pressure it was Broadies who would have the next big chance to extend our lead after Swaby done well down the right to setup up Holland but as the ball fell to him the bobble on the pitch done him and his strike rose over the crossbar. Minutes later and Jamie Doolan, who had a magnificent end to the season finding himself in goal scoring form, broke from midfield and flicked the ball over the head of his defender, before sliding in Greaves who saw his strike from the edge of the box go just wide of the post.
Changes were made with Thomas Payne, Connor Spinks and Joe Reade introduced for Doolan, Swaby and Holland. The Woods had a couple more chances in the final ten minutes, a corner kick delivered into the box and was scrambled away by Brown before a strike from the edge of the box was well saved and handled by Shaw. The introduction of Payne and Reade into midfield helped to settle calm thing whilst Spinks up top almost added to our lead with what would have been his fifth cup final goal, in his fourth cup final appearance for the club, only to see his strike rise wide of the post. There was to be a nervy ending to the match in stoppage time after the skipper Rogers took one for the team on the edge of the box resulting in a freekick for our opponents 20 yards out. Said freekick that came five minutes deep into stoppage time, could only be struck at Ellis who cleared his lines to Paiva who himself broke to setup a counterattack only this time it was the Northwood defender taking one for his team.
Not long after the freekick was taken the final whistle was blown and that crowned Broadfields United Middlesex Senior Charity Cup Champions.
Jordan Greaves playing in his second final for the club, with his first coming over 10 years ago in an Alec Smith Premier Cup win against British Airways at the same venue as this game, was awarded Man of the Match by Middlesex FA's guest of honour, John Taylor. He caused havoc to the defenders all night long and his performance up top for us rightly caught the eye of all those in attendance.
The cup final victory marked the end of what has been a magnificent turn around for the club over the last number of weeks. In mid-March we found ourselves in a relegation battle but our strong end to the season has seen us climb up the ranks to finish in a credible 12th place but to top it off we have also finished with some silverware after going our last seven matches without loss.
Full credit goes to all the players who played their part, along with the management team of Sunny Tailor, Ryan Duffy, Billy Brooks and Steve Hoare, for their dedication and hard work over the last number of weeks on and off the field to achieve this. We are delighted that all of their efforts have duly been rewarded with winner’s medals.
Team: Bradley Shaw, Lewis Batten, Darren Brown, Jamie Doolan (Payne), Nate Lewis-Robinson, Calum Rogers (C), Kristian Swaby (Spinks), Rhys Ellis, Jordan Greaves (Shiham), Junior Paiva, Max Holland (Reade)
Subs: Thomas Payne, Joe Reade, Connor Spinks, Tyrone Shiham, Ergys Pepaj
You can find pictures from last weeks tie taken by Chris Benn for Middlesex FA at this link here