Sport 2015-16: Football

London A35

Football is a popular sport at MPW. Training and matches are well-attended and, as many students have spent years playing at their previous schools, the team is a strong one. Last year MPW London won the league in the Autumn Term followed by the CIFE cup in the Spring Term. We are hoping that this year's team will be able to follow in their footsteps; follow their progress on this page with regular updates. Scores and match reports are found below:

Tuesday 22 September
Ashbourne 3 - 3 MPW London

The most encouraging thing about the first game of the term was the overall attitude of the team. We had nine players which meant one substitute and the general fitness was not quite at peak after only two training sessions. However, they were calm and positive without any signs of over-confidence. This was reflected in the game and we more than held our own during a hard earned draw against a team of the standard we have come to expect from Ashbourne, who were the only other team from our league to join us in the tournament last Easter at St Georges. Artem, and new boys Serag and Genen were the scorers and man of the match Darius was outstanding in goal, but the team performance as a whole was the most impressive aspect. It was a showing to give some optimism for the rest of term.

Tuesday 29 September
Lansdowne 1 - 4 MPW London

With still only 9 players, I was concerned that our fitness might still be an issue, but the game saw the boys confident of improving on the first result of term. The whole defence played well and the midfield more than held its own, with new boys Serag and Genen again on the score sheet and Arthur then Faraan adding two more before the end. Nyan deserved special credit and was voted man of the match by his team-mates.

Tuesday 6 October
CIC 4 - 0 MPW London

Jack called off on the day due to a heavy work-load and we really seemed to miss his presence in a first half where we were competent but only in control during a couple of periods where Serag was outstanding both in defence and pushing into the opponents' half. But there was a lack of desire to win and we were one goal down at half time. Again, we only had one substitute and this began to show as the second half progressed, although Serag and Arthur were tireless and the whole team made more effort but were less fluid as a result. Against the strongest team we'll play this academic year, we were caught on the coutner and struggled to create good chances to score ourselves in what was in summary a very hard-fought but fair encounter, where the stronger team won on the day. 

Tuesday 13 October
Duff Miller 0 - 2 MPW London

With Jack deciding to concentrate on his studies, we started this match with Hugh replacing Darius in goal and Giacomo and Rex coming along for the first time, both playing outstandingly well. Rex aggravated a recurring wrist injury after attempting a diving header that almost finished the best move of the first half, and would have been contender for goal of the term. Nikita, Serag and Rex were solid at the back and the team had a good balance between defence  and attack. We played some of our best football in this game but were frustrated by a really good performance from the Duff’s goal keeper who was the best player on the field, pulling-off a memorable save from a long-range shot from Nikita. I was beginning to think the game would end without a goal as we came into the last ten minutes when Genen broke the dead-lock and Faraan added a second close the finish.

Tuesday 3 November
Ashbourne 2 - 6 MPW London

It might be hard to believe, but in spite of Ashbourne starting the game short of players we couldn’t seem to take advantage and it even seemed to put our players off their game. We did score first however, but we went into half time one goal behind. During the break we simply discussed that we weren’t playing our usual game and I reminded the boys that if the score didn’t change we would be out of contention for the league. It seemed to sink in because the same  eight players started the second half with much more purpose and a fine long-range goal by the best player on the field (Giacomo) soon put us level. Zach and Faraan came on for Nyan and Mubs and their fresh legs made an immediate impact. They scored the next three goals between them and we were in full command of the game when one of their frustrated players was sent off for kicking out at one of our boys. Mubs came back on and scored the last to finish a convincing performance that emphasized the importance of having enough players to make changes during the game.

Tuesday 10th November          
MPW London 2 - 2 Lansdowne    

Ahmad made his first appearance and we still had 10 players in spite of Arthur and Artem being unavailable, but we lost a poor early goal and started slowly. Nikita scored a cracking goal from long-range early in the second half to make it even and as the game progressed we were clearly the better team, playing most of the game in Lansdowne’s half of the pitch. With less than ten minutes to go Lansdowne broke away and scored against the run of play and it looked like we might lose a game that should have been a comfortable win. One of several opportunities went in and so it ended a draw but in fairness we missed Arthur’s presence leading the line, failed to create enough clear-cut chances, and couldn’t feel too aggrieved by the final result.

Tuesday 17th November        
MPW London 3 - 2 CIC

Having lost our only league game of this academic year to our old rivals CIC, we went into this game very focused and the first half performance was a competent display with Arthur scoring first and Nikita powering in another long-range effort. MPW looked in total control but the wind picked up in the second half and disrupted our flow and soon CIC were back in it scoring and pressing us in midfield. They drew level before much longer and it wasn’t until this point that MPW began to play with something like the same rhythm of the first period. We made a few decent chances and with less than five minutes to go Faraan scored what proved to be the winner. A very good team performance with Arthur, whose presence was so missed in the previous game tirelessly running and leading the attack, Man of the Match.

Tuesday 24th November        
MPW London 1 - 1 Duff Miller

With our captain Serag ill, Max came along for the first time this term. Another first was that we played the whole game with two in defence and four in midfield, starting with Nikita and Giacomo who both played well and stayed on the field for the duration of the match. All eleven played their part in an entertaining yet frustrating game where MPW dominated throughout. Unfortunately we lost another early goal and were only able to draw level through an outstanding strike from Mubs who has made the transition from rugby to football to be a key player. Our Man of the Match was Nyan who was outstanding.

Tuesday 12th January
Lansdowne 0 - 3 MPW London

This was a walk-over on account of Lansdowne having only a hand full of players and sportingly offering to give us the victory in exchange for two players so that we could have a seven aside match. Kur was thus given a full game for his first outing with the team and Dylan joined him for what proved to be a good training exercise for all concerned. We had too many goal-scorers to mention and Nikita and Artem took a half each goal-keeping and gave two competent options for the team.

Tuesday 19th January
CATS 1 - 2 MPW London

This wasn’t the most confident performance of term but with Darius back in goal we almost kept a clean sheet had it not been for a penalty which was the last kick of the game. The first half was a good team performance, played without the captain Serag: Mubs played well in central midfield; Arthur scored first, which was just reward for a fine individual performance up front; Kur had a successful debut at right-back; and Artem held his own at centre-back. The second half saw all the substitutes play their part and Mubs capped a solid display at centre of midfield with a fine goal.

Tuesday 26th January
Duff Miller 1 - 6 MPW London

With Darius out after his accident, Artem calmly stepped into the goal-keeping role and made 2 or 3 vital saves while the game was still an open contest. Other than Darius the line-up was unchanged but the structure was altered to a four-man midfield. The team looked solid from the start but lost an early goal against a good team after giving away a silly free-kick. The team kept its shape however, and Mubs equalized before half time. Faraan, who came on before half time, scored after the break and Arthur, who was having an outstanding spell, scored and made the man-of-the-match award his. Mubs scored his second and then Serag and Nikita added one each before the final whistle put Duffs out of their misery. Our best performance this term and one that set up an intense two weeks before half term.

Tuesday 2nd February
Ashbourne 2 - 1 MPW London

With Ashbourne beginning the game a player short, MPW were first to find their rhythm in this top of the table clash. Having the extra man soon paid off as Mubs found space in the middle of the park to fire MPW into the lead with a long range effort. MPW continued to press for the remainder of the half but Ashbourne grew into the game and both teams cancelled each other out. The second period began in a similar fashion, but with Ashbourne up to full strength they grew in confidence and looked the more likely to score. Sloppy ball control was letting MPW down and Ashbourne began causing all sorts of problems for the MPW defence; only some fine saves from Artem preserved the lead. However, Ashbourne’s efforts were eventually rewarded, and with minutes remaining, an unchecked run allowed them space to fire in the equalizer. Despite some spirited efforts – including a strong run and shot from Kur – MPW could not force a winner. Then, with seconds to spare, a defensive mix-up allowed Ashbourne in to claim a victory and go top of the league.

Tuesday 9th February
CIC 1 - 3 MPW London

For the second week running MPW faced a team without the full complement of 8 players and had the vast majority of possession in the first half but CIC had all their players behind the ball and defended well. Serag scored both goals when we did break through the valiant CIC defence and, with MPW having the luxury of having three rolling substitutes to call upon, the game looked comfortable. Midway through the second half CIC brought on a super-sub who made an immediate impact, slotting the ball beyond Artem to pull a goal back and suddenly the game looked more open. CIC now had a renewed purpose, and began throwing players forward in search of the equalizer. They were able to carve out one or two opportunities, and forced a number of corners, but MPW kept their heads and continued their passing game. With minutes to spare, the game was finally put beyond reach when Ahmad came on and buried the ball in the CIC net from a rebound to restore MPW's two-goal cushion. The victory kept MPW equal on points behind Ashbourne at the top of the league going into half-term.

Tuesday 23rd February
MPW London 4 - 3 CATS College
 

MPW travelled to Burlington Danes with a squad depleted by illness and timetable clashes for the first game after the half-term break. So with no substitutes and a rejigged line-up against an energetic CATS outfit, the team did well to start the game strongly, and Serag found the scoresheet with a long range effort after two minutes. He then almost doubled the lead straight after with a thundering strike which bounced back off the inside of the post. As the half wore on a well-organised defensive line of Nikita, Dylan and Kur combined well to restrict CATS to half chances, whilst at the attacking end Faraan tirelessly led the line to pressurise the CATS defence. The second half began in the same fashion, and Serag slotted home to double his tally early on. Mubs made it three with a neat finish before CATS pulled one back from distance. Serag restored the lead and registered his hat-trick and the impressive Giacomo almost put the game beyond reach but was denied by an excellent save from the goalkeeper. In the final spell of the game, the game opened up, and CATS began using their extra energy to stretch the MPW lines. Two quick CATS goals ensured a nervy last five minutes, but some intelligent hold-up play saw out the game to keep MPW second in the league.

Tuesday 1st March
MPW London 1 - 4 Ashbourne

This top-of-the-table clash at Westway, in which a win for either side might prove crucial in deciding the league, was dealt a double blow from the MPW point of view with Arthur unavailable for the second consecutive week and Serag held-up, only entering the fray in the last 15 minutes. Unfortunately for MPW they were two goals down at half time in spite of creating the better chances, particularly one in the 10th minute when midfield maestro Mubs put a nicely cut back cross from the right over the bar. The second half was always going to be difficult for MPW if they failed to score first, and in spite of some early pressure, Ashbourne went three up against the run of play. Spirited performances from Kur, Nikita and the usual solid display from Nyan in defence held out while MPW pushed forward, and with Serag joining the team with commitment and energy, it looked possible MPW were on the comeback trail when Mubs made it 3 v 1. Having created several more chances which found the erratic Ashbourne keeper in excellent form, Ashbourne broke away and scored a fourth, effectively finishing the match which was abruptly ended by the referee having seen enough ‘high spirits’ after a sliding tackle by Serag.

Tuesday 15th March
MPW London v CIC

This again was a walk-over on account of Lansdowne having called off. With the full compliment of ten players turning up for MPW we travelled to the venue and had a very competitive five-aside match. This proved to be more than a good game, as the last 15 minutes was used as a training exercise where we practiced the ‘shoot-out’ which will be used in the case of a draw in the tournament which will take place at England’s national training-centre over the Easter break. Unfortunately Ahmad,  Nikita and Artem (who has proved to be a very capable goal-keeper since stepping in for Darius) will not be able to travel to St Georges and will be a big loss for the team. News from Westway arrived on the way beck to school that Ashbourne had dropped a point against CATS college and so, with MPW only one point behind, there will be everything to play for on the final week of term!

Tuesday 22nd March
MPW London 2 v 5 Duff Miller

With Nyan unable to play due to a timetable change and Serag calling-off at the last moment, MPW went into the last league fixture of the year with only one substitute but in confident mood after the best performance of the year against CIC. From the outset MPW appeared surprisingly jaded and certainly not like a team on the verge of winning the League. Duff Miller took the initiative, were first to most tackles and generally more effective in most areas of the pitch and looking the more hungry to win the game. Their players were rewarded by scoring three goals in not much more than five minutes, all from moves through the centre of the field. MPW sorely missed Nyan’s ability to read the game and intercept such danger before the opposition were through on goal and if it hadn’t been for Arthur chasing back from attack to his own back-line things could have been worse. Only then did the team seem to wake-up and Faraan finished a good move before another lapse in concentration meant the half-time score was 4 v 1 to Duffs.

This team was unrecognizable from the one who played against CIC and luckily the second half saw the old MPW come back out with a bit of grit and fire. Arthur began to penetrate the defence with runs wide; Faraan scored a second goal; shots were blocked and some went wide or over the bar, and for an extended period MPW were in control of the ball and the tempo. When Giacomo hit the best shot of the game only for the ball to come back off the post it began to seem that this not going to be our night. Duff Miller defended doggedly and their central defender was surely the outstanding player of the evening and in the end the difference between the two teams. With Nikita leaving the central defence to try to push for the third goal Duffs broke away to score and put the final nail in the coffin. The game ended 5 v 2 to Duff Miller and although the result didn’t tell the whole story, insult was added to injured pride when we discovered that CIC had held Ashbourne to a draw at Westway which meant a win would indeed have won MPW the league!

Many congratulations should be extended to Ashbourne for their first league win and we may meet them again in the coming tournament during the Easter holiday.

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