HFSP Ten-Em-Bee 3-2 FC Hamlets - Our hunger and desire always gets us through, says HFSP Ten-Em-Bee manager Lloyd Davis, who retains London Junior Cup

Saturday 29th August 2020
HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee 3 – 2 FC Hamlets
Location St Paul's Stadium, Salter Road, Rotherhithe, London SE16 6NT
Kickoff 29/08/2020 13:00

(after extra time)
London Junior Cup Final
Saturday 29 August 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from St Paul’s Stadium

HFSP & TEN-EM-BEE manager Lloyd Davis says his side’s hunger and desire helped retain the London Junior Cup.

The Kent County League Division One West outfit defeated UCC Disapora 4-3 at Carshalton Athletic’s Colston Avenue ground on 12 April 2019 in last season's showpiece final - but they needed extra-time to see off second-tier Essex Olympian side FC Hamlets behind closed doors at St Paul’s Stadium in Rotherhithe.

It was a glorious cup double for Kent County League sides after Peckham Town beat AFC Cubo 5-4 on penalties after last night’s London Senior Trophy finished goal-less after 120 minutes.

Davis’ side have beaten Danson Sports Reserves (14-0), Goldfingers (6-1), AFC Battersea (3-1), Groundhoppers (5-1) and Wimbledon Casuals (3-0) to have a shot at retaining their trophy, while Hackney Marshes based FC Hamlets have beaten Wadham College Old Boys (6-0), St Francis (3-1), Battersea Boys (2-1), FC Roast (4-2), Rapid Chingford (4-0) and UCC Disapora (3-1).

“Exciting, second time around, it’s even more special because we felt it was something that was ours and to give it away would mean a lot more.  I don’t think we played the best in patches but our hunger and desire always gets us through,” said Davis.

“Cup games are quite tricky because you don’t know exactly what you’re coming up against, unless you’ve played them before or earlier on in the previous cup but to get here and analyse where we’re going wrong, our weaknesses and their strengths and to overcome it is just brilliant and it shows how strong we really are.”

The first half was played at a frenetic pace and it was HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee who created the first chance inside the opening 11 minutes.

Right-back Shekinah Reid and winger Raphael President linked up well down the right to release second striker Ezekiel Paul through on goal but he drilled his shot across the keeper and past the far post.

Davis said: “I remember the move.  You sort of hit and hope for the best. As long as you aim for the right area, we’re hoping for a spillage or something else coming in and getting an easy goal but as long as we’re doing the right things I’m always happy. It doesn’t always work out though.”

FC Hamlets weathered the early storm and created an opening in the 18th minute but alert goalkeeping from Claudio Boakye kept them at bay.

FC Hamlets striker Charlie Heatley put winger Darren Serano-Griffiths in behind centre-half Michael Amponsah but Boakye rushed off his line and smothered the dinked shot behind for a corner.

Davis said: “Those are his strengths.  Looking at Claudio, he’s not the tallest but for me those are his strengths, his agility and it’s something that we’ve worked a lot on in terms of reading the game and his starting position but as you saw his shot-stopping is second to none and we need him and with his height he makes up for it with his agility and his speed of the mark.”

FC Hamlets should have taken a 29th minute lead when striker John Gilroy missed a headed chance.

Right-back Aaron Glasgow broke down the right and reached the by-line after Montell Williams slipped on to his backside close to the by-line, before the cross was floated to an unmarked Gilroy, who jumped to steer his header past the left-hand post from penalty spot range.

“I mean we were weary. I don’t think we defended the best and I guess in games like this you’ve got to ride your luck. There’s a small element of luck and we had to ride it and we did that,” admitted Davis.

Reid and President linked up well down the right for a second time but Kushal Campbell rose to glance his header straight into the hands of goalkeeper Nick Pyne, stepping to his right.

HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee deserved their lead when it arrived in the 38th minute.

Central midfielder Williams played a superb first time pass from inside the FC Hamlet’s half of the field to release Asarmah down the left.  Goalkeeper Pyne rushed out of his box and his header was poor and paid the price as Asarmah chipped the ball into an empty net, into the far corner, from 15-yards.

“I don’t think Edward played the best but we need big moments from players in big games like this and he was there,” said Davis.

“I’m telling you, I’m telling you, he’s got that and sometimes it gives him a label to prove but he’s got that in him. He’s decisive and he produces the finer moments.”

Boakye took his time before launching a big kick upfield, which sailed over centre-half Kevin Boudrier’s head and with the keeper off his line again, President’s left-footed chip sailed over the crossbar.

The second goal also came from a second goalkeeper mistake, as FC Hamlets drew level a minute and 35 seconds into stoppage time.

Gilroy drilled a right-footed dipping free-kick towards the far corner from 30-yards, which was spilt by Boakye and Saidy pounced on the loose ball to prod the ball into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box.

Davis said: “We were a little bit disappointed. Claudio, by his own admission, he would be because he felt he should’ve held it but in games like this when you do make mistakes it’s easy to flog it from there but he’s picked his head up and from there on he was one of our best players, if not the best player.

“I felt that we should’ve been 1-0 up (at half-time) but I felt the reasons why we came in level was down to us as apposed to what the opposition did to us. 

“I was encouraging us to continue to do the right things and not to forget our principles as a team.”

The goal inspired the 2018 winners as FC Hamlets started the second half on the front foot.

Ashley King’s hooked a long ball out of defence for an unmarked Heatley to glance his header towards goal, forcing Baokye to come off his line to beat the ball away from the very edge of his penalty area after only 78 seconds.

Williams played the ball inside to Paul, who dragged his right-footed drive past the left-hand post from a central position from 30-yards at the other end.

HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee had their goalkeeper to thank as Boakye pulled off two brilliant saves to thwart their opponents.

Saidy cut in from the right and drilled a right-footed angled drive which was flying towards the top far corner, only for Boakye to fly high to his right and use a strong hand to push the ball over his crossbar.

“When we train, we train in a really small cage, a seven-a-side astroturf and everything is quite close and sharp and that’s how we try to develop our technique and you can’t score against him. His reactions are second to none. He’s brave, agile, quick, bright on his feet and we needed him today, definitely,” admitted Davis.

Oakley swung in the resulting corner from the left but centre-half King glanced his downward header through a crowd of players and bouncing past the far post.

Boakye pulled out another brilliant save to frustrate FC Hamlets.

Saidy drilled a ball down the right to release Serano-Griffiths whose cross found Heatley in space 12-yards from goal and his left-footed shot on the turn was destined to nestle into the bottom right-hand corner, only for Boakye to dive to his left at his near post to prevent another goal.

FC Hamlets deservedly took the lead, however, in the 56th minute, following an impressive sweeping three-man move in the final third on the counter-attack.

Right-winger Serano-Griffiths played the ball in to the centre to Heatley, who swept the ball inside to the unmarked Gilroy, who curled a beauty across the diving keeper into the far corner from 12-yards.

Davis admitted: “It was a great move and a great finish all round from them. We didn’t get near them. They broke really well on us and a lot of the time the build-up was so good you don’t expect the finish but the finish was superb.”

FC Hamlets went direct again with a long ball which caught out the HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee back four but this time Heatley’s right-footed drive was saved by Boakye in his midriff.

HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee showed great character to level proceedings in the 62nd minute with a quality finish.

Set-piece taker Williams played a free-kick inside from the left-channel to Paul, who skipped past a pressing marker before drilling his right-footed 30-yarder past Pyne.

“Great finish! He scored last week in a friendly in similar fashion but I think with us working with Ezekiel what we want is get him in the right places so those things can fall to him because he’s second to none in and around the box. First time shots is what he’s really good at and he’s a big game player.”

Oakley played the ball in from the right into the HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee box and Gilroy had two bites of the cherry at the near post but Boakye’s legs made the first block before the keeper grabbed hold of the hot potato, behind a very crowded penalty box.

HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee finished the second half on the front foot.

Right-back Reid floated in a cross which was cleared out to Divine Ayangbola but the left-back drilled his left-footed drive just past the foot of the near post.

With numerous stoppages for knocks, referee Denis Youchev played nine minutes and 49 seconds of stoppage time and HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee should have won it in the final seconds.

Substitute Ahioseh Davies’ lovely hooked pass released Paul through on goal, the pacy attacker sprinted into the penalty area but the angle grew tighter and Pyne got down low to his left to tip his shot against the base of his near post and behind for a corner.

“I think he really should’ve gone across the goal but he was trying to catch him out but it’s one of those things. If it went in, we would’ve been celebrating,” said Davis, who had every faith that his side would retain the trophy.

“I expected our fitness and our conditioning to prevail,” added Davis.

“I was disappointed because I wanted us to finish it. Last year we had so much excitement, up and down, a load of emotion but I just felt we should’ve come back in and win it by the end of the 90 but we were prepared. When we train and we prepare for big games like this, we’re ready to go the full way.”

HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee dominated extra-time and it was only a matter of time that their attacking threats would pay off.

Paul released Asarmah down the left and he cut inside Glasgow before drilling his right-footed shot which forced Pyne to fly to his right to push the ball over the crossbar for another corner.

“Ezekiel’s conditioning is really good, power and as the game grew I thought he grew in confidence and tried to carry us on his back, which is what you expect from big players,” said Davis.

The people looking in from an elevated position from behind the mesh fencing certainly saw both goalkeepers pull off some breath-taking saves at that end of the ground.

Asarmah’s resulting left-wing corner was hit deep and Paul unleashed an angled drive which was held by Pyne low down at his near post.

Assistant referee Samuel Winter raised his offside flag 11 minutes into the first period, frustrating substitute striker Aaron Moore, tapping the ball into the back of the net after Pyne parried a drilled shot from Asarmah, who twisted and turned Glasgow from within the left-channel.

“In my opinion, I don’t think he was (offside) but I didn’t have the best angle, Maybe I’m looking at it from a biased standpoint but I thought he done it then,” said Davis.

Williams, who was pulling the strings in midfield, played a through ball which put Moore through on goal and with two defenders chasing him, he lacked composure and skied his shot over the crossbar from 20-yards.

HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee claimed the deserved victory with eight minutes and 33 seconds into the second period.

It was a quality pass and a quality finish.

Davies’ was inside the FC Hamlet’s half when he played a first time pass along the deck to put Asarmah through on goal and the bouncing ball sat up nicely for the winger to smack a left-footed half-volley past Pyne from 16-yards.

Davis said: “That boy Edward. I told him off before we left our home ground. We all met there and I didn’t think he had his best game today but that’s why he’s here, big games, big moments. You can always look at him and he’s decisive.”

FC Hamlets were to be twice denied by the impressive Boakye deep into Fergie time.

Heatley hit a right-footed angled drive which was comfortably caught by the impressive goalkeeper in his midriff.

Gilroy sneaked back onto the pitch towards the end of the game and was denied a last-gasp equaliser, thanks to a world-class save, a World Cup winning save from Boakye.

Substitute right-sided midfielder Farron Smith hit a long ball from the right to pick out an unmarked Gilroy at the far post and he smacked a beautiful volley screaming towards the top left-hand corner, only for Boakye to dive very high to his right to push the ball over as HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee brought the silverware back to Lewisham, a hot bed of technical footballers.

“We hadn’t practiced penalties and I didn’t want it to go to penalties.  I wasn’t thinking we would lose but I’d rather get it done because penalties can go either way,” said Davis, who had to treat his goalkeeper after suffering suffered a knock to his ankle during the second period of extra-time.

“Amazing stop! He was disappointed actually (with the first goal he conceded), an error. He would admit on his behalf but he made up for it. The last save was magnificent. It was pretty much, I thought it was in.”

With the London Junior Cup in the cabinet, HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee kick-off their Kent County League Division One West campaign with a trip to Dartford to play Halls Athletic on Saturday 5 September.

On retaining the trophy, Davis said: “I was dreaming of this. I was hoping they wouldn’t take it away from us and it’s brilliant. 

“We can’t complain can we? It’s special. I don’t know anyone that’s done it, we haven’t done it, I haven’t done it and I’m just glad the boys could bring it home for us.

“Start as we mean to go on. We’ll take the three points. Momentum is key. The boys are buzzing.  I think they’ll be eager to start and it will give them the boost that we wanted after Covid and the lockdown.  They were a bit down, this came at the perfect time. Hopefully we can hit the ground running.”

When asked what his aspirations are for the season ahead, Davis replied: “Promoted, promoted and finish number one! That’s all we love. We love achieving things and we put the work in together, definitely promotion.”

HFSP & Ten-Em-Bee: Claudio Boakye, Shekinah Reid, Divine Ayangbola, Oliver Miller (Callum Berg 77), Michael Amponsah, Callum Robinson, Edward Asarmah, Montell Williams, Kushal Campbell (Aaron Moore 77), Ezekiel Paul (Abdul Kamara 119), Raphael President (Ahioseh Davies 75).
Sub: Robert Bartley Lang

Goals: Edward Asarmah 38, 114, Ezekiel Paul 62

Booked: Ahioseh Davies 87

FC Hamlets: Nick Pyne, Aaron Glasgow, Aji Orinlonshe, Jermaine Belle, Kevin Boudrier (Josh Brind 71)), Ashley King, Ismael Saidy, George Oakley (Miles Best 83, George Oakley 95)), John Gilroy (Darren Serano-Griffiths 90), Charlie Heatley, Darren Serano-Griffiths (Farron Smith 76).
Sub: Rhonan Casey

Goals: Ismael Saidy 45, John Gilroy 56

Booked: Josh Brind 82, Ashley King 103

Attendance: Behind Closed Doors
Referee:  Mr Denis Youchev
Assistants: Mr Yashar Yekta & Mr Samuel Winter

Message to the Southwark News and other publications/websites:
If you would like to use parts of this match report for your newspaper or website, please email me and you can contribute towards my costs of covering this game.