09 Nov 22

Baiteze vs Highgate Albion – National Cup Final

Soheil

Soheil

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Baiteze vs Highgate Albion – National Cup Final

The biggest game in the Sunday League calendar has arrived. Baiteze from East London lock horns with North London’s Highgate Albion. Both teams had an eventful run to the final, with Highgate Albion winning a five-goal thriller against Mayfair FC in the semi-final. Baiteze overcome Se Dons and Grand Athletic on their way to the final at the New Den. 

Both teams had some niggly injuries going into the final, but Highgate were dealt a devastating blow before kick-off, with star striker Jake Cass picking up an injury in the pre-match warm-up. 

Billy Hession made a big call in bringing in Harry Gibbs, with Alex Cruickshank moving into a holding midfield role. Highgate gaffer Adam Shahein would undoubtedly be looking to the pace and trickery of Soloman Ofori and Tage Kennedy to cause problems for their East London opponents.

In just the 3rd minute, Ade Cole smartly found some space deep in midfield and carried the ball into Highgate territory with elegance and poise before executing a beautiful through ball to Samuel Jeremiah. Jeremiah then squared it to Shomari Barnwell, who side-footed the ball home and settled the nerves for the east London outfit making it 1-0.

Highgate looked to respond, but Baiteze were difficult to break down with Cruickshank marshalling in front of the back four superbly, making it difficult for the North London team to get Ofori on the ball in dangerous areas.

Cole began to take control of the game in midfield, finding space and looking to create for his teammates. Following a cutback from Jeremiah, Barnwell was inches away from a meaningful connection which would have made it 2-0 to Baiteze. Malachi Napa was a constant threat during the first half with his pace and directness, ensuring the Highgate defence did not have a moment’s peace.

As the first half wore on, clear-cut chances were few and far between, but the team from the Essex Corinthian League looked the more likely to add to their total.

Highgate’s injury woes continued when Alexandru Gavriloaia raced out of his goal but seemingly picked up a muscle injury, which saw him replaced by Luke Ward. Billy Hayes was busy in the midfield, trying to get his team going. Jordan Edwards often cut a forlorn figure up front for the North London team as he tried to link up and bring Ofori and Kennedy into the game. 

Following great hold-up play from Edwards, the ball broke to Ofori, whose snapshot was seemingly blocked by the arm of Gibbs, but the officials missed it to the dismay of the Highgate players and management.

HT Baiteze 1-0 Highgate Albion

Highgate still very much in the game, were dealt a big blow in the 2nd half as their skipper Maitland had to come off with an injury, which saw ex-Rising Ballers star Jayden Clarke enter the game. Edwards continued to be a presence up front for Shahein’s men linking up effectively with Ofori. 

Following a direct ball forward, Barnwell showed why he’s known as bully boy Sham, as he used his body brilliantly to create space before forcing a smart save from Ward. Jeremiah continued to trouble Highgate as he drifted in field and picked up pockets of space in addition to using his pace outwide. Cole and Krans kept possession well for Baiteze during the 2nd half.

As the 2nd half progressed Baiteze looked the more dangerous of the two teams, but there was a lack of clear-cut chances. The Barnet Sunday League team showed plenty of endeavour but couldn’t break the Baiteze defence. 

Substitute Chakka Barnett showed great energy to drive through midfield before releasing Alex Teniola, who fired a shot from 20 yards which rattled the bar. As the ball bounced clear, it was met by the marauding run of Barnett, who nodded home the killer second and sent East London wild.

Baiteze had secured a historic first FA Sunday Cup title and had etched their name forever into Sunday League folklore.

FT Baiteze 2-0 Highgate Albion

Baiteze

Otuyo, Adenji, Hession, Gibbs, Pires, Cruickshank (C), Krans, Cole, Napa, Jeremiah, Barnwell

Subs: Barnett, Kahie, Artmeladze, Carvell, Teniola

Highgate Albion

Gavriloaia, Magwood, Maitland (C), Scott, Brindle, Sheikh, Riley, Hayes, Ofori, Kennedy, Edwards

Subs: Tripp, Mohamed, Muhemba, Ennin, Ward, Clarke

M.O.M

Adeyinka Cole

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