Reds beat neighbours in cup thriller
Islington get the better of rivals Camden in schools showpiece – but narrowly lose out in final
Friday, 22nd November 2019 — By Steve Barnett
The Islington Year 6 team that lost out in the Schools Cup final to Lewisham
THE bragging rights belonged to Islington on Saturday as they got the better of neighbours Camden in a dramatic five-goal thriller.
But, in the end, the mighty reds just came up short in their quest to capture the English Schools’ FA Tower Hamlets Cup as they narrowly lost against Lewisham in the final.
Seven inner-London primary school district football teams gathered at the Douglas Eyre Sports Centre, in Walthamstow, in the hope of winning the prestigious seven-a-side tournament. There, they were split into two groups, with the top two in each going through to the semi-finals.
The competition started as it would end for Islington, with the Year 6 side losing 2-0 against Lewisham in their opening group game.
But they bounced back against Camden in one of the most pulsating games of the afternoon.
Islington made the perfect start as Tristan Hamann-Chanes’s persistent tackling led to the ball falling to Samuel Dempfle Rodriguez, who drove forward and found the back of the net within seconds of the match kicking-off.
Camden battled back to level the scores, but Dempfle Rodriguez restored Islington’s lead with his second of the game before Shevin Tchouya pounced to score and open up a 3-1 lead at half-time.
Camden “came back stronger” after the break and pulled a goal back.
But Islington weren’t to be denied and, with the help of some heroic saves from goalkeeper Jaden Anderson, held out to seal a 3-2 victory.
Islington secured the point they needed to progress to the knockout stages courtesy of a 1-1 draw against Wandsworth in their final group game – their goal coming from another exquisite finish from Dempfle Rodriguez.
And the unstoppable youngster hit top form in the semi-final as he scored a hat-trick against South London. His second goal was possibly Islington’s best of the day as a great team move saw keeper Anderson play the ball out to Hamann-Chanes, who fed it into Aiden Morgan, who in turn played a pass inside for Dempfle Rodriguez to finish with aplomb.
Cy Solomons and Joseph Ludlow were also both on target as Islington ran out 5-1 winners.
The final, however, proved a step too far for the team on this occasion as they were beaten 1-0 by Lewisham, who have been crowned national champions twice in the past three years.
Islington manager Michael MacNeill said: “In the first game against Lewisham we were still getting used to the tempo and the level of play, but by the time we played them again we had settled down and we played some very good football.
“Eventually we lost out to an excellent goal from a very good Lewisham team.
“We scored some really good goals with some excellent finishing.
“There was also some really promising build-up play, and Jaden made some excellent saves at crucial points in various games.
“This was a superb performance and, although disappointing to lose in the final, to get that far and score so many goals has been a real bonus.”