Anagram Records Trophy – Round Three
Venue: Len Forge Centre 3G
2022-23 Season: Match 33
Attendance: 40 (Est)
Saturday 17th December 2022 – 2pm KO
Catholic Utd: Green & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Green & White Socks
Larkspur Rvrs: Black & White Shirts, Black Shorts, Red Socks
Super Hoops outdo gallant Larkspur to progress in the Anagram Records Trophy
Catholic Utd 3 – 0 Larkspur Rovers
Match Report & Photos by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
The prolonged chilly weather continued to affect a myriad of Leagues this weekend, so it was a return trip to the Len Forge 3G to see Catholic Utd’s home match with visitors Larkspur Rovers in the Anagram Records Trophy. Larkspur are having a promising campaign, sitting fourth in the MIddlesex County Premier Division with 22 points from 12 games thus far, only four points adrift of leaders Shepherds Bush FC. Catholic are also in decent form, sitting seventh in the Olympian Lerague Premier but already with several games more to play than any of the teams around them. Manager Simon Thomas had to ring some changes here, with several regulars out with illness. Louis Godwin-Green continued in goal, with a defence of full-backs Aaron Clark & Luke Mackie and centre-backs Jack Leech and Louis Robinson. Joe Burton, Tom Kearnry and skipper Mike Sammut made up the midfild, with forwards Liam Oliver & Aaron Baldwin being supported by Ben Burrows. Larkspur had Bailey Mulhall as their goalkeeper, with full-backs Ben McCarron and Anthony Byfield joined in defence by captain Courtney Francis and Gabriel Joseph. Player-boss Brad Morris was at the base of a midfield also containing Charlie Quinnell, Kammus Metrane, Aidan Hurley and Ryan Durrant. Centre forward Deluxe Mwengula led the line for the visitors here.
There was very little time for the visitors to get settled as barely two minutes into the contest, Catholic Utd opened the scoring. Forward Liam Oliver made a good surging run down the middle, bypassing the visiting backline well before unselfishly finding the run of Ben Burrows, who duly slotted home low into the net past visiting stopper Bailey Mulhall. The only ‘snag’ of sorts for the hosts was that they should have been further ahead before the half-hour mark. Oliver had two further chances that couldn’t find the target, also a third oppurtunity was well-denied by Mulhall’s legs. Overall, the visitors from the Northolt area were conceding possession in midfield and finding it difficult to repel the Utd attacks as well, as they showcased tempo and good passes.
The early forays forward by Brad Morris’ side were in the most part rebuffed by a solid home backline, although winger Ryan Durrant had a glimmer at goal just short of the quarter-hour, which sailed not far wide of the right-side post. Respect also has to go to the travelling Larkspur contingent who did make the trip, but their frustrations was only heightened just after the half-hour.
Forward Aaron Baldwin fired in a fine curling strike from about 25 yards out which caught Mulhall out, and the ball flew into the net despite the goallkeeper’s best attempts to keep it out. It could have been worse for the visitors as Catholic had a prospective third goal ruled out for an off-side, as Aaron Clark’s fine set-piece was headed home by centre-back Louis Robinson, only for the assistant’s flag being raised to deny him.
Despite a few promising moments down the flanks, the half-chances for Rovers were very few in number, with midfielder Aidan Hurley fring well wide of the woodwork. The home defence, led by Jack Leech did nullify the chances on goal that Rovers had. Despite this, forward Deluxe Mwengula had already made some promising runs by this point, with Catholic Utd employing the fair high defensive line to deploy the ‘off-side trap’.
Half-Time: Catholic Utd 2 – 0 Larkspur Rovers
The Essex Olympian League Premier side had a good habit of scoring goals at crucial times in this match and they did just that, three minutes after the interval. A set-piece in a crowded penalty area again caught the Larkspur defence off-guard, which allowed skipper Mike Sammut to angle home a decent strike high into the net, leaving Mulhall powerless to deny him. In fairness to the Larkspur goalkeeper, he also pulled off two or three decent saves during the game to effectively keep his team in the contest, so kudos to him.
With respect to the visitors, they did slowly find their rhythm in the second half as Utd slowly but surely changed things by bringing their substitutes onto the field.Durrant was a good outlet down the right side and put some decent passes in, as did fellow midfielder Charlie Quinnell. Unfortunately for them, their comparative lack of options from the sidelines did not aid them here. That being said, they did have a goal chalked off midway through the half. Good play initially by full-back Anthony Byfield ended with a good ball into the area which found Mwengula, with his low strike finding the net but again, the assistant’s flag was up so it didn’t count.
Ultimately, it did not affect the result although I suspect Larkspur will be disappointed with their performance here even though they were missing top-scorer Chris Mathieson (suspended) and several others through injury & illness.
Full-Time: Catholic Utd 3 – 0 Larkspur Rovers
To summarise this decent game in the chilly conditions, Catholic Utd were too slick with their passing and their good tempo saw them to a fairly comfortable victory against a Larkspur side that struggled for numbers but showed some neat play at times, particularly down the channels. But centre forward Deluxe Mwengula wasn’t found by his midfield often enough & therefore despite some good surging runs, ultimately Rovers didn’t create enough to trouble home stopper Godwin-Green enough.
There were several good performances in this match. For victors Utd, their defensive display was led well by centre-back Jack Leech who showed good awareness to get in good positiomns to clear effectively, while attacking full-back Aaron Clark also got forward well and was a danger from set-pieces. Midfield duo Tom Kearney & Mike Sammut also put in good performances to supply the forward line well with good passing & movement, as well as a good goal in Sammut’s case.
For Larkspur, winger Ryan Durrant had a good game down the right side, putting in some good passes at times and showing decent energy levels. Forward Deluxe Mwengula also showed promise, keeping the Utd defence alert despite being the line forward here, as well as showing good pace. Lastly, a word for goalkeeper Bailey Mulhall who produced a few good saves to keep his team in the match, while full-back Anthony Byfield had a decent game also, making several good runs in the second half to add to his team’s attacking threat.
With this win, Catholic now move into the Quarter-Finals of the Trophy & face the conundrum of having a very busy last four months or so of their season in League & Cups. Still, boss Simon Thomas will be happy with their performance levels here.
Catholic Utd | Manager : Simon Thomas | Assistant: Tom Harding
Starting XI: 1 Louis Godwin-Green (GK), 2 Luke Mackie, 3 Aaron Clark, 5 Louis Robinson, 6 Jack Leech, 7 Thomas Kearney, 8 Michael Sammut (Capt), 15 Joe Burton, 12 Ben Burrows, 17 Liam Oliver, 19 Aaron Baldwin,
Goal-scorers: Ben Burrows [2′], Aaron Baldwin [32′], Mike Sammut [48′]
Subs On (Time): 20 Carl Read [46′, replaced Burrows], 10 Dominic O’Kane [57′, replaced Baldwin], 16 James Ainslie [66′, replaced Mackie], 9 Daniel Williams [70′, replaced Oliver] & 14 Matt Creevy [75′, replaced Kearney]
Booked: None | Subs Not Used: None
Larkspur Rovers | Player-Manager: Brad Morris |
Starting XI: 1 Bailey Mulhall (GK), 2 Ben McCarron, 3 Anthony Byfield, 4 Gabriel Joseph, 5 Courtney Francis (Capt), 6 Charlie Quinnell, 10 Brad Morris, 14 Kammus Metrane, 8 Aiden Hurley, 7 Ryan Durrant, 9 Deluxe Mwengula
Sub On (Time): 22 Dan DeAbreu [55′]
Booked: DeAbreu | Sub Not Used: None
Referee: Daniel Mann
Assistants: Simon Brickwood & Broghan Kelly