Stephenson hits hat-trick in Islington & Camden victory against Tower Hamlets
- Credit: Archant
Mark Stephenson’s hat-trick took his tally to five goals in three games as Islington & Camden Under-14s overcame Tower Hamlets 4-2 to end the year on a high.
The striker helped to set up Islington & Camden’s opening goal after 10 minutes at Hurst Avenue, collecting a pass from Mohamed Khadrun and flicking it to Rafiq Khaleel, who took a touch and sidefooted home.
The home side doubled their advantage 15 minutes later when Nathan Tshola supplied the ball for Stephenson to net his first goal of the game – but Tower Hamlets hit back with a scrambled finish just before half-time.
However, I&C reasserted control after the break as midfielder Shaun Barwoah’s incisive through ball released Stephenson, who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into the net.
And Stephenson then completed his treble with a first-time finish after Adeyemi Adewale raced down the flank and cut the ball back for him to tap in.
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Tower Hamlets – who pressed hard without creating a great deal – did pull back a late consolation goal, but it was not enough to deny their hosts victory.
Islington & Camden manager Jim de Garis said: “Tower Hamlets were big and strong, they came at us and it was a good test for our lads because it did show that we need a bit more strength in the middle of the park.”
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Islington & Camden Under-13s bowed out of the English Schools FA Trophy following a dramatic game featuring three penalties away to Aldershot & Farnborough.
The home side, who took a formidable record of nine successive victories into Saturday’s tie, began at a fast pace, snapping into tackles and hitting the post early on.
Although I&C also struck the woodwork when left-back Niino Adom’s shot rattled the crossbar, they fell behind on 26 minutes when Trey Barrington conceded a penalty and the kick was converted.
It was the first goal Islington & Camden had conceded this season – but they hit back just three minutes later when Solomon Hamilton curled a stunning equaliser into the top corner.
Aldershot regained the lead after the break through a flowing crossfield move, with goalkeeper Arlo Doherty parrying the initial shot before the rebound was tucked away.
I&C were handed an opportunity to restore parity when Aaron Keto was fouled in the box, but Luc Achermann-Stanfield was foiled from the spot by the keeper’s magnificent full-length save.
That proved to be the turning point as Aldershot went on to make it 3-1 from a corner – and then miss another penalty in the closing stages.
Islington & Camden manager Jamie Houghton said: “The fact is we ran into a side who are ahead of us in terms of the team’s development. It’s now December and this was only our fourth competitive game of the season – it was Aldershot’s 10th.
“What is important is that we stay together as a team and come back strong in the new year as there’s still plenty to play for this season.”