Havering will bounce back
PUBLISHED: 13:02 11 July 2014
Footballers miss out on gold at Games
Jamal Balogun insists Havering’s footballers will learn from their experience after they were forced to settle for silver at the London Youth Games.
The borough improved 11 places on last year’s finish, reaching the final for the first time ever, but missed out on gold after a penalty shoot-out with Lewisham.
They beat Sutton and Waltham Forest by lone goals, then drew 1-1 with Haringey in the first group phase.
And after beating Kensington & Chelsea (2-0), Camden (2-1) and Harrow (2-1), they saw off Wandsworth (2-0) in pouring rain the quarter-finals.
Louie Chapman shone in goal and Kane Hearn’s ninth goal of the tournament sealed a 1-0 win over Islington in the semi-finals, as Balogun and Toby Barlow impressed at the back.
Lewisham took the lead in the final, after missing an early penalty, but Ted Buchanan levelled to force penalties.
Balogun dragged his second effort from the spot wide, though, and Lewisham sealed a 7-6 victory.
“It was a really good experience to play at the London Youth Games against some of the best up and coming footballers in London,” said Balogun, who attends Brittons Academy.
“We played really well, produced some really good football, but losing in the final at the end put a bit of a dampener on my day.
“At least we got a medal and we’ll be back next year to get the gold.
“In some of the games we started slowly but once we found our feet we were really strong and we deserved to be in the final.
“We’d had a really good season overall, winning plenty of games and were confident we could produce here and we did.”
A number of England’s finest male and female footballers have honed their skills at the London Youth Games, with Rio Ferdinand, Raheem Sterling, Alex Scott and Rachel Yankey all having competed.
Balogun admits seeing those names provides inspiration to all those taking part, adding: “Playing in the London Youth Games is a really special occasion.
“When you look at the names of athletes who have gone on from here to turn professional, it shows everybody has to start from somewhere and hopefully you end up in the big time.
“I want to get there and I’m going to work hard and give plenty of determination in my attempt to do that.”
*The London boroughs and Balfour Beatty invest in the London Youth Games to build stronger communities through competitive sport.
Squad: Louie Chapman, Jamal Balogun, Toby Barlow, Ted Buchanan, Michael Obafemi, Emmanuel Oluganju, James Turvey, Kane Hearn.
n Havering’s girls beat Tower Hamlets (4-0) with a hat-trick from Beau Parker, before seeing off Southwark and Kingston by lone goals to top their group.
They lost 2-0 to Hammersmith & Fulham, but Georgia Griffin’s fine strike sealed victory in their next match as Holly Pennycard proved the save of the tournament.
An early Newham goal put Havering under pressure, though, and they doubled their lead late on to leave the borough squad in 13th place.
Squad: Holly Pennycard, Emily Stokes , Gemma Stubbles, Rhianne Holmes, Georgia Griffin, Sophie Kelly, Shanice Taylor, Beau Parker.