Kensington Dragons Reserves 4 v 1 FC Shepperton 1st. MCFA Junior Trophy Quarter Final (1-1 at 90mins)
The Reserves arrived at Birkbeck in positive spirits despite some up and mainly down performances of late. Two new arrivals gave the team a lift and with Director of Football Tony Smith away, Coach Dean Humphrey filled in to ease the burden on Player Manager Jon Laycock.
However, they began poorly with the mix and match back four struggling for shape and constantly on their heels. Going forward was looking no more positive with the team shape not working for the players chosen. After 25 minutes some sloppy play in central defence saw the striker nip in, the center back clearly slicing him down for an obvious pen which was slotted away. Testing times for the Dragons short on confidence and really it was about getting to HT with the score the same or better so they could re-organise.
Coach and Manager agreed the number 10 Luke Giles was dropping too deep and new striker George Mariner looked a little out of place on the wing. The switch to 4-4-2 would allow them both to play in the positions they were more comfortable with, and the game looked a different proposition from the kick off. As they turned the screw, Giles was commanding in a pair along side Goran Al -Sourohi. Mariner was now looking threatening and with two defensive switches they suddenly looked in total control, Miles Spooner and Kieran Cox making the difference. Shepperton knew they were now in danger and began to break up the game with the help of the referee blowing for the slightest touch on any player, on either side. Half chances came and went but the introduction of Shegun Beckley seemed to galvanise the team.
Now with the armband, Al-Sourohi was driving the team on and with 15 minutes left, as the Dragons appealed for a penalty, he composed himself and fired into the roof of the net for the equaliser and his first ever Dragons goal. Everyone present knew the game was headed one way but could the Dragons finish it off in normal time? The answer should have been yes as Mariner hit the post with a great header, and then inexplicably Laycock sliced over from one yard with the final kick of the 90 minutes, after more good work from Mariner.
Into extra time and the Dragons domination continued. Shepperton were now feeling the pace and a cast iron penalty was awarded for a dreadful foul on Mariner and Giles found the corner. 3 minutes later it was déjà vu with a Mariner penalty win and dispatch by Giles and game over. Shepperton were beaten and then killed off any chances of a revival with 2 red cards. The second was yet another foul on Mariner in the box and Giles stepped up for a third time and beat the stand in keeper for his superb but slightly bizarre hatrick. FT (aet) 4-1
The Dragons can look forward now to a semi-final in February and enjoy a 3rd round cup game next week in the MCFL Junior Cup, weather permitting!