10:00AM, Friday 29 April 2022
Frontline Chairman, Imran Bhatti, hailed his young stars as ‘absolutely unbelievable’ after the Reserve side lifted the Slough Town Junior Cup on Wednesday night.
The emergence of teenage talent at the club, backed by magnificent support under the lights at Burnham FC, saw Frontline beat FC Deportivo Galacia Reserves, 2-0.
Both goals came in the first half from stand-in captain Amir Khan and, one of the rising stars, 18-year-old, Kacper Kloc.
The win was the perfect tonic for East Berkshire League member clubs following the very sad news earlier that day that League Chairman, Robin Woolman, had passed away on Tuesday night. And Bhatti dedicated the success to Robin, a true Legend of football in the Thames Valley area.
Bhatti said: “Our supporters were magnificent. The opposition supporters were great but, ours were magnificent, unbelievable. There must have been at least 150 of them there. The atmosphere that they created urged the team on to do better and better.
“The performance from our boys was unbelievable. Every single one of them played their hearts out to give 110 per-cent and, when we heard the final whistle, we were over the moon for the achievement of the youngsters.
“We have four teenagers in the team and it was absolutely unbelievable and amazing to see them achieve this in their first year in adult football. It was brilliant to get some silverware as a club after a very troublesome season.
“Frontline, as a club, dedicate this win to Robin, may he rest in peace.
“And we look forward to the competition next year when we can defend the title.”
Looking back on the match, Bhatti said: “The evening started in a pretty bad way for us because our skipper pulled out with an injury and we had two others unable to start through illness, a central midfielder and a striker.
“And then we had the sad news about Robin, so it was going to be a tough day.
“The boys, nonetheless, got together and we made sure we put in a very good warm-up of about 40 minutes, which is the first time we’ve done that this season and it paid dividends.
“We made sure that we stuck to our game plan which was to press quickly and in numbers. In doing that, Deportivo made mistakes and allowed our midfielders to capitalise on the game.
“I’m a strong believer in the idea that it’s not goals that win you matches but the midfielders. If the midfield players can do their jobs and dictate the game, then the match is always going to be won.
“That’s what our boys did. Our trio were magnificent. The first one in there was our stand-in skipper and man-of-the-match, Amir, who had the game of his life.
“Kacper, only 18, dictated the game. He’s an immensely talented youngster. He scored our first goal with a superb strike into the bottom corner, and then delivered a superb free-kick which Amir got on the end of to make it two-nil.”
He added: “The opposition had their chances, they should’ve scored before half time and were also forced into making a couple of changes through injury in the first half.
“Our half-time talk was based around us being on top in the game and that the opposition didn’t have anything on us. If we kept on dictating, and kept our passing on key, the game would be ours.
“Our keeper pulled off a couple of stunning saves in the second half and the opposition missed an open goal but, we could’ve scored another two or three.”
Singh Sabha manager Zufran Asghar has labelled the Showcase Match against Old Windsor this Friday as a ‘must win’ game if his side are to retain the Premier Division title this season.
The Showcase Match is billed as the middle leg in a trilogy between the two Clubs, with The Os successful in the first game when lifting the Slough Town Cup for the very first time.
A bumper crowd is expected at Stag Meadow in Windsor (7.30pm KO) as the old foes collide once more, with the prize this time three valuable points in the race for the championship.
Sabha are currently three points behind current leaders Britwell, but with a game in hand, and can return to the top on goals difference with a victory.
Asghar expects his team to be boosted by the return of some players that were unavailable for the Slough Town Cup final defeat, and knows his side must start the match better this time around.
He said: “We’ve got another big game upcoming this Friday, a tough league match for us but, we’re looking forward to the challenge and hoping to get a win to keep on pushing for the title.
“The atmosphere around the club after the final was one of disappointment, especially with how we lost the game.
“We didn’t play at our best but, overall with the way we lost the game, especially after we controlled the second half and did really well to get back into it. But, in the end, Old Windsor got the win and we were very disappointed.
“We were very disappointed with the performance in the final and so we’re hoping to put in a much better one, especially start the first half better. We started very slowly in the final which gave Old Windsor the upper hand, despite us taking the lead, we weren’t really in control in the first half.
“I would expect us to be much more in control from the first whistle this time around and, so long as we can deal with their aerial threat, I’m confident that we can win this game.”
Asghar continued: “After a disappointing game, you want another big match and, in our most recent game, we won in the semi finals of the Ascot & Fielden Cup (4-2 versus Frontline).
“The way we won the match has really boosted the confidence of the players and got them over the disappointment of the Slough Town Cup final. I’m hoping the win last Friday will reap confidence within the boys and that they’ll be on it in the Showcase Match.
“The three points are very important if you want to win this league. If we want to retain our title then we must win this game, it’s as simple as that.”
Ashgar went on to explain there will be some rotation in the Singh Sabha squad with the third and final leg of the trilogy, the League Cup final, fast approaching on Bank Holiday Monday (2pm, Burnham FC).
He said: “We’ve got the Showcase Match on Friday and then the League Cup final on Monday, so we’ll rotate the team and try to have the best players available for the match.
“The most important thing is to win and lay down a marker going into the Cup final.
“Would we do anything different this time around compared to the Slough Town Cup final? There will be some changes in personnel.
“We were dealt a couple of blows for the final with players missing through being abroad, so they’ll come back into the squad, and we can add a few more players that weren’t eligible for the cup.
“We will have a strong squad on Friday and try to rotate as well with the League Cup final coming up a few days after. We’re trying to keep everyone fresh. We’ve got some sore legs from the semi final last week, so we will try to manage our squad accordingly.
“We will go out there with the best team possible and one that can pick up a result against Old Windsor but, it’s going to be a tough game because they’re a good side and pushing for the title as well.
“There’s still a long way to go for the title but these games are quite important in the long run.”
Paramedics were called to the scene of a medical emergency in Maidenhead on Monday morning (June 27).