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Firsts v Chessington & Hook 1-2
Firsts v Epsom Athletic 7-0
Firsts v Bridon Ropes 3-0
Youth v Conquest 6-4
Firsts v Frimley Green 1-1
Firsts v Worcester Park 4-2
Youth v Redhill 1-2
Firsts v Sheerwater 3-2
Youth v Chessington & Hook 3-1
Youth v Raynes Park Vale 4-0
Firsts v Cobham 2-1
Firsts v Tooting Bec 4-0
Firsts v Worcester Park 4-2
Firsts v Banstead Athletic 1-2
Firsts v Epsom Athletic 8-1
Youth v Spelthorne Sports 0-4
Firsts v Staines Lammas 3-3
Firsts v Fleet Spurs 1-0
Firsts v Redhill 2-4
Firsts v Forest Hill Park 3-1
Youth v Sutton Utd 3-2
Firsts v Fairleigh Rovers 2-2
Firsts v Youth v Croydon Ath 5-1
Firsts v AC London 2-1
Firsts v South Park Reserves 6-0
Youth v Lingfield 4-0
Firsts v Redhill 0-3
Youth v Sutton Utd 2-2
Firsts v Dorking 7-1
Firsts v Guildford City 1-2
Youth v Fleet Spurs 3-4
Firsts v Bagshot 3-5
Youth v Spelthorne Sports 1-3
Youth v Sutton Utd 3-4
Firsts v Cove 4-0
Firsts v Banstead Athletic 3-4
Firsts v AFC Hayes 4-3
Youth v Chertsey Town 3-3
Firsts v Staines Lammas 4-1
Youth v Conquest 1-3
Firsts v Chessington & Hook 0-0
Youth v AFC Croydon Athletic 2-1
Firsts v Dorking 6-1
Firsts v Frimley Green 0-2
Firsts v South Park Reserves 4-1
Youth v Chessington & Hook 1-1
Firsts v Eversley & California 7-1
Firsts v Cobham 3-1
Firsts v South Park Reserves 3-1
Firsts v Redhill 2-1
Firsts v Ash United 2-2
Firsts v Sheerwater 2-3
Firsts v Tooting & Mitcham 3-2
Firsts v AFC Spelthorne 1-2
Firsts v Tooting Bec 2-4
Firsts v NPL 4-2
Firsts v Project Clapham 3-1
Firsts v Colliers Wood Utd 1-5
Firsts v AFC Croydon Athletic 1-2
Firsts v Hartley Wintney FC 4-1
Firsts v Walton & Hersham 2-1

 


 

MATCH REPORTS

LEAGUE
Saturday March 18th v Chessington & Hook 1-2

Balham were outfought and outmuscled in the first quarter of this game and as a result found themselves 0-2 down. A super strike from Arsen Ujkaj brought them back into the game and from then until the end they were very much on top. Had they not been playing a team whose keeper was in fine form and whose bus was expertly parked in front of him, they would in all probability have won the game, let alone drawn level. Credit must go to Chessington however, who dealt well with the considerable pressure applied by Balham in the second half. As they trudged off at the end, extremely deflated, the Balham players knew that this was a game that was lost, not because they failed to score in the second half, but because they started in second gear whilst the opposition went straight into fifth.

Team: Read H, Garcia, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Wocial, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Fuller J, Luchford
Subs: Read T, Frew, Gallagher, Harman
Goal Scorer: Ujkaj A


LEAGUE
Wednesday March 15th v Epsom Athletic 7-0

Balham ended up winning this midweek encounter away at bottom of the table, Epsom Athletic, 7-0, however at half time the score was only 1-0, thanks to a penalty converted by left back Tomasz Wocial. Epsom had mounted a stubborn defensive rear guard in what resembled an attack versus defence game and for forty-five minutes, despite Balham having a host of chances, it was effective. As the game wore on though gaps, that grew bigger and bigger, began to appear and despite the heroics of the superb Epsom keeper, who made one ridiculously brilliant triple save, Balham were able to score a further six times. The goals came from Eddie Luchford(2), the returning Tom Read(2), James Fuller and Aaron Lamont.

Team: Read H, Garcia, Fuller, Elbekri(capt), Wocial, Lamont, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Fuller J, Luchford
Subs: Read T, Frew, Benson, Harman
Goal Scorers: Luchford(2), Read T(2), Fuller J, Lamont, Wocial(pen)


LONDON SENIOR TROPHY
Saturday March 11th v Bridon Ropes 3-0

Balham produced a fine, disciplined, all round performance to defeat Bridon Ropes FC from the Southern Counties East Football League, 3-0, in the semi final of the London Senior Trophy. The away side couldn’t have taken the lead much quicker than nine seconds into the game, which was when Aaron Lamont fired a speculative shot from distance that caught an exceedingly embarrassed Ropes keeper off guard. From that moment on Balham were on point, using the ball well in possession and when not working hard to regain it. They were good value for a 2-0 lead at half time with a second goal having come from striker Eddie Luchford. A third headed goal from skipper, Grant Goodband, early in the second half gave the home side a mountain to climb. To their credit they had a good go and tested Balham keeper, Haydn Read, a couple of times, but Balham never looked in real danger and ended up winning more comfortably, than they’d expected to, given Bridon Ropes’ strong reputation. The win means a first County Cup Final for the Balham First team in April, which is no mean achievement for this young side, many of whom have been at Balham since they were knee high to a grasshopper.

Team: Read H, Garcia, Goodband(capt), Elbekri, Wocial, Lamont, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Adebayo, Luchford
Subs: Benson, Fuller J, McConnell
Goal Scorers: Lamont, Luchford, Goodband


LEAGUE
Wednesday March 8th Youth v Conquest 6-4

On the same night that Barcelona produced a remarkable, historic comeback to win an extraordinary game against PSG at the Nou Camp, a game that was every bit as remarkable took place at the slightly less celubrious Rectory Meadows, home of Hanworth Villa. Conquest FC, who groundshare there were unbeaten in the league until the boys from SW12 arrived and turned them over in a high quality, fast paced, goal fest, full of intensity and end to end attacking football. Conquest, who have some exceptionally talented players, came flying out of the traps but it was Balham who, having weathered a brief tornado, took an early lead when the speedy Andre Cruz-Rosa finished incisively. Balham soon added another from a terrific Bryce Boyce header and although Conquest then got one back, they kept piling pressure on what had become a porous defence, with Admir Ukaj adding two more and Cruz-Rosa getting a second. No one could quite believe the half time score as Balham walked off 5-1 ahead. Conquest had only conceded 10 goals in total all season before this game. Needless to say the noise levels from the home side’s changing room were rather loud and as a consequence Conquest came out and threw the kitchen sink, fridge freezer and microwave oven at Balham in the second half. They got a goal back but, after having a penalty saved, Balham responded in kind, when a peach of a pass from Dominic Simpson-Last found Cruz-Rosa, who sprinted in to complete his hat trick. Conquest then had a player red carded for an ugly two footed challenge. Like a wounded animal however this seemed to inspire them and they went for Balham’s throat. Despite valiant resistance they got another goal back to make it 6-3 then, with Balham having missed a couple of good opportunities to add to their total, they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Balham’s young keeper, Kuba Bogucki, who was having a fine game on his debut. Bogucki was red carded which meant Balham then had to play the last five minutes, plus added time, with centre back, Philip Cloud, between the sticks. Although Conquest scored the penalty and then furiously hurled more items of kitchen apparel at the away side, Balham held firm and as a result, when the final whistle blew, at the end of this titanic battle, they could savour a marvellous, miraculous, victory.

Team: Bogucki, Chen, Mitchell, Cloud, Agilera, Hedges, Alonge, Ujkaj Ad, Cruz-Rosa, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Abreu, Horrobin
Goal Scorers: Cruz-Rosa(3), Ujkaj Ad(2), Botsoir


LEAGUE
Saturday March 4th v Frimley Green 1-1

Unfortunately this draw tasted very much like a defeat as two points were needlessly squandered away to Frimley Green. The home side have been in good form of late but having quickly got to grips with the tight pitch, which sloped from one side to the other, Balham took control of the game. Patience was the key word and having applied it Balham were duly rewarded after forty-eight minutes when a fine low cross from right back, Eliot Garcia, was despatched by James Adebayo. For some inexplicable reason however Balham fell flat in the last quarter which gave the otherwise shackled Frimley hope of getting something out of the game. On eighty-four minutes they did just that when a poorly defended cross was headed home to give them a share of the spoils and leave Balham asking questions of themselves in a sombre changing room.

Team: Read H, Garcia, Goodband(capt), Elbekri, Wocial, Lamont, Benson, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Adebayo, Fuller J
Subs: Ujkaj A, McConnell, Gallagher Harman
Goal Scorer: Adebayo


LEAGUE
Saturday February 25th v Worcester Park 4-2

This hard fought game against a very strong Worcester Park side will not be remembered in terms of beauty but it was a compelling, fully committed contest, full of old school blood guts and thunder. Two first half penalties from left back, Tomasz Wocial, had given Balham a good lead to hold on to, which they did until Worcester Park halved the arrears. A typically instinctive finish from Morgan Roberts-Watson, who is having an excellent season, midway through the second half looked like it might be enough to secure victory but, to their credit, back came the home side again. James Fuller, who had come on at half time for the injured Eddie Luchford, then got a fourth to finally seal this enthralling battle of attrition, which provided great entertainment and value for money for those lucky enough to be in attendance.

Team: Read H, Garcia, Goodband(capt), Elbekri, Wocial, Lamont, Benson, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Adebayo, Luchford
Subs: Fuller J, McConnell, Gallagher Harman
Goal Scorers: Wocial(2 pens), Roberts-Watson, Fuller J


LEAGUE
Thursday February 23rd Youth v Redhill 1-2

It was heartbreak for Balham in this SYL Plate Cup semi final against Redhill. Aside from twice picking the ball out of his net, after defensive errors, Balham keeper, Jack Noctor, didn’t have a save to make. Redhill proved to be well organised, resilient opposition with an excellent keeper. They were clearly up for the game, which you would expect them to be. That being said it was Balham who had the monopoly on possession, territory and chances created. A number of opportunities were spurned however before Andre Cruz-Rosa, came off the bench in the second half, with Balham 2-0 down, to make it two goals in his first two substitute appearances. With twenty minutes still on the clock and Balham in the ascendancy a win, let alone drawing level, seemed possible. Credit must go to Redhill though, who defended doggedly in the last part of the game, winding down the clock until, at the final whistle, they could celebrate a hard earned place in the final.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Mitchell, Thompson, Agilera, Hedges, Alonge, Ujkaj Ad, Hammett, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Cloud, Abreu, Cruz-Rosa
Goal Scorers: Cruz-Rosa


LEAGUE
Saturday February 18th v Sheerwater 3-2

Having deservedly taken the lead, when Eddie Luchford cut in from the left to finish well and then extended it, when Arsen Ujkaj finished superbly before half time, Balham would have expected to push on for as big a win as possible. As so often happens though an opposition goal back, against the run of play, changes the complexion of the game and attitude to it. Although Balham remained on top, after conceding, it wasn’t until James Adebayo came off the bench to add a third and regain a two goal cushion that home supporters could relax a bit. They weren’t on their sun loungers for long though as a dogged Sheerwater unobligingly halved the deficit again, which made the last few minutes of a game Balham were seemingly in control of more squeaky bottom time than was anticipated or desired.

Team: Read H, Garcia, Goodband(capt), Elbekri, Wocial, Lamont, Benson, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: Adebayo, Fuller J, Fenlon, Harman
Goal Scorers: Luchford, Ujkaj A, Adebayo


LEAGUE
Thursday February 16th Youth v Chessington & Hook 3-1

Balham began this hard fought league game against a resolute Chessington & Hook well, however fell behind midway through the first half direct from a harshly awarded free kick. Under sixteen hot shot, Andre Cruz-Rosa was summoned from the bench at this point and within ten minutes of making his debut he used his electric pace and clinical finishing to bring the scores level. Balham pushed on from this point and although they never hit top form, second half goals from two more youngsters, Anthony Thompson and Dominic Simpson-Last, meant they ran out fairly comfortable winners in the end.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Mitchell, Webster, Agilera, Hedges, Thompson, Colfer, Ujkaj Ad, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Cloud, Abreu, Cruz-Rosa
Goal Scorers: Cruz-Rosa, Thompson, Simpson-Last


GRANT McLELLAN CUP
Monday February 13th Youth v Raynes Park Vale 4-0

Balham cruised to victory in this Grant McLellan Cup quarter final against struggling Ryman League side, Raynes Park Vale. Two goals from Dominic Simpson-Last in the first half were scant reward for the control Balham had of the game. Further goals were added after the break, courtesy of the excellent Jordan Alonge and substitute Gus Colfer who finished from close range near the end. A much sterner test will lie ahead in the semi final but having not had a game since December this was an ideal match to get going again with. All that was missing on the night was even more deadly finishing but it was still deadly enough to get the job done.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Wood, Mitchell, Aguilera, Hedges, Alonge, Urkaj Ad, Hammett, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Abreu, Colfer, Webster
Goal Scorers: Simpson-Last(2), Alonge, Colfer



LEAGUE
Saturday February 4th v Cobham 2-1

Balham were well on top throughout this league game at home to an in form Cobham, who had won their previous four games. They came a whisker away from scoring twice in the first half through centre forward, Jerome Boncoeur, however thanks to an uncharacteristic defensive slip they surprisingly found themselves in arrears at the mid point. Two early goals in the second half however from James Adebayo and left back, Tomasz Wocial, put matters right from a Balham perspective and although they had to dig in and grind out the win, as Cobham pushed hard for an equaliser, they left the field of play at the conclusion as worthy winners, with a precious three points in the bag..

Team: Read H, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Adebayo, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: Benson, Garcia, Lamont
Goal Scorers: Adebayo, Wocial



LONDON SENIOR TROPHY
Saturday January 28th v Tooting Bec 4-0

Balham produced an imperious display to win The Northern Line Derby against Tooting Bec in the quarter final of the London Senior Trophy. Having been under pressure in the first ten minutes they took control of the game and played some Rolls Royce football against a strong Bec side, currently top of the Surrey Elite League and until Saturday unbeaten at home this season. Arsen Ujkaj opened the scoring midway through the first half with an unstoppable thunderbolt strike from twenty-five yards. Top scorer Jerome Boncoeur then tucked home a second at the end of a fine move and a sweet assist from Thomas Fosse. Morgan Roberts-Watson made it three in the second half before, late in the game, Eddie Luchford chested down a dangerous cross and smashed home a fourth. On paper this looked to be a extremely tough test but, on this occasion, on the 3g carpet that Bec play on, Balham played some super stuff to win comfortably and progress to the semi finals..

Team: Read H, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: Adebayo, Benson, Garcia
Goal Scorers: Ujkaj A, Boncoeur, Roberts-Watson, Luchford



LEAGUE
Saturday January 14th v Worcester Park 4-2

Balham played some top quality football and needed to do so in this first home game of the year in order to put a strong, redoubtable, Worcester Park, to the sword. They came out guns blazing and soon raced into a two goal lead courtesy of a brace from top scorer, Jerome Boncoeur. Both were top finishes. The home side could have stretched their lead further but Park hung in there and then got one back to set up an interesting second half. Balham weren’t quite as good following the interval however another top finish to complete his hat trick from Boncoeur extended the lead. Park then struck again though to make it a nervy last quarter. Although Balham dug in well and looked set to grind out the result it wasn’t until James Adebayo added a fourth close to the end that all Gateway to the South supporters could rest easy.

Team: Read H, Fenlon, Frew, Henry(capt), Wocial, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: Adebayo, McConnell, Farquharson L, Harman
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur(3), Adebayo


LEAGUE
Saturday January 7th v Banstead Athletic 1-2

Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve and that was very much the case in this first game of the new year away to top of the table Banstead Athletic. Balham played exceptionally well throughout dominating territory and possession and creating a lot more chances than the home team. They were undone however by a ball into the box from a free kick in the first half that wasn’t properly dealt with and having equalised in the second, when Jerome Boncoeur finished cutely, by a worldy twenty-five yard dipping volley from the edge of the box which found the bottom left hand corner of the net. Both keepers had to pull off some fine saves in an enthralling game but the outstanding Banstead keeper, who saw a lot more action, particularly in the second half, was the reason they won a match that having played so well in Balham were absolutely gutted to lose.

Team: Read H, Frew, Charnock, Henry(capt), Wocial, Elbekri, Haire, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford Subs: Fosse, Adebayo, Fuller J, Harman
Goal Scorer: Boncoeur




LEAGUE
Saturday December 17th v Epsom Athletic 8-1

Balham answered the call to start this game on the front foot in exemplary fashion, scoring a staggering six times in the first twenty-three minutes. Jerome Boncoeur helped himself to three of them, Morgan Roberts-Watson bagged two and Arsen Ujkaj scored the pick of the bunch with a fine individual effort Credit must go to Epsom Athletic though, who didn’t throw in the towel and in the second half gave as good as they got. They scored themselves from the penalty spot not long before the break and denied the home side further goals until the last ten minutes when the in form Eddie Luchford got on the score sheet and Roberts-Watson completed his hat trick.

Team: Harman, Frew, Bartley, Henry, Wocial, Goodband (capt), Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: Haire, Benson, Adebayo
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur(3), Roberts-Watson(3), Ujkaj A, Luchford


LEAGUE
Thursday December 15th Youth v Spelthorne Sports 0-4

No one would have predicted the final outcome of this game at half time, when based on the first forty-five minutes, with the scoreline 0-0, there appeared to be nothing between the teams. Unfortunately for Balham though, who were inexcusably asleep at the restart, they conceded in the first minute and in terms of goals conceded went downhill from there. As in the first half they had as much of the general play and created as many chances, if not more, however the difference on the night and the reason their five game unbeaten run came to an end was down to profligacy at one end and being porous at the other.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Mitchell, Webster, Aguilera, Hedges, Hammett, Ujkaj Ad, Horrobin, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last Subs: Abreu, Colfer




LEAGUE
Saturday December 10th v Staines Lammas 3-3

Inexplicably, for the second home game in a row, Balham were off colour and under par in the first half and as a consequence found themselves 2-0 in arrears again at the break. Needless to say there were a few choice words uttered behind closed doors once again too, as a result of which Balham produced a very different second half display. Before most people had time to blink, following the restart, Jerome Boncoeur, who had come on in the first half to add more fire power up front, flicked the ball from his right foot onto his left and lashed home an unstoppable volley that flew in like a rocket from the edge of the box. Soon after halving the deficit with a goal of the season candidate Boncoeur got a poacher’s second to draw Balham level. The game was then almost all one way traffic heading towards the A3 Southbound behind the Staines goal. Having gone incredibly close twice though Balham then shot themselves in the foot, as they have done too often this season, giving away a needless free kick on the edge of their box which landed in front of keeper, Steve Harman, wasn’t cleared and ended up in the back of the net. They responded well to this further setback however taking the game back to Lammas and with ten minutes to go, Eddie Luchford, made it all square again at 3-3. From thereon in there only looked likely to be one winner but, as happened in the last home game, the sands of time ran out before the winner could be found and although they can be proud of a fine comeback Balham were left ruing only getting into gear once they’d conceded twice and had a half time dressing down.

Team: Harmon, Frew, Carbona, Henry, Wocial, Goodband(capt), Mbola, Benson, Roberts-Watson, Adebayo, Luchford
Subs: Boncoeur, Garcia, Boston
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur(2), Luchford


LEAGUE
Thursday December 8th Youth v Fleet Spurs 1-0

Balham got revenge for 4-3 defeat at Fleet in October with a 1-0 home victory, which makes it four wins in a row. It was skipper Bruce Botsoi who got the decisive goal, midway through the second half, having switched positions with the lively Tom Horrobin to play wide on the right. Although the game was only won by a single goal Balham created a lot of chances and but for the Fleet keeper and errant finishing they could have won by more. Balham keeper, Jack Noctor, did have to make a couple of good saves himself, however Balham were good value for the win having dominated possession with progression throughout.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Mitchell, Ballard, Abreu, Hedges, Thompson, Hammett, Horrobin, Botsoi(capt), Aguilera
Subs: Stappard, Fordham F, Guevara, Griffiths-Phipps
Goal Scorers: Botsoi




CCL DIVISION ONE CHALLENGE CUP
Tuesday December 6th v Redhill 2-4

Going into this cup quarter final both sides had beaten each other at home in the league and both were in good form. The night ended up belonging to Redhill however, who progress to the semi finals of the CCL Division One Cup, because they out worked and out fought a slightly off colour Balham. Morgan Roberts-Watson had scored a very nice goal to equalise a poorly defended free kick in the first half, but it was the first half of the second half where the game was won with Redhill scoring three unanswered goals, all of which were avoidable from a defensive point of view. Grant Goodband got one back for the away side who put the home side under the cosh for the last part of the game. Unfortunately though it came too late to make a difference and Redhill ran out worthy winners, not because of superior talent but because they put a better shift in and didn’t give away silly goals.

Team: Harmon, Frew, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Roberts-Watson, Mbola, Elbekri, Luchford, Ujkaj A, Adebayo
Subs: Boncoeur, Benson, Fuller J
Goal Scorers: Roberts-Watson, Goodband




THE LONDON SENIOR TROPHY
Saturday December 3rd v Forest Hill Park 3-1

If only Balham could play this well every time they emerge from the changing room. On a dank and drizzly Saturday afternoon at South Park’s lovely ground the boys from SW12 put on a sterling display of high tempo pass and move football from the first to last whistle. As a consequence they ran out 6-0 victors against a side who were only a couple of points and places below them in the league table. The glut of goals came from the hotter than hot, Eddie Luchford, who bagged three and had a penalty saved, Thomas Fosse, James Adebayo and super sub Josh Benson, who in addition to the one he scored, in combination with the flying Adebayo, almost got a candidate for goal of the season.

Team: Harmon, Frew, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Mbola, Benson, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Luchford
Subs: Boncoeur, Fuller J, Adebayor
Goal Scorers: Goodband, Boncoeur, Luchford


LEAGUE
Friday December 2nd Youth v Sutton Utd 3-2

Balham made it three wins in a row with another strong all round performance against a well organised, speedy, Sutton Utd side, with whom they’d already had two very close games this season. The first twenty minutes was up there with the best the team has played so far and they were unlucky not to have more than a one goal lead given to them by Bryce Botsoi, who headed home an in swinging corner from left back Daniel Aguilera, to show for their domination. An equaliser direct from a free kick however changed the momentum of the game and as halftime approached Balham found themselves 2-1 down. A snap shot from Dominic Simpson-Last though brought parity at the break. Balham upped their performance in the second half and although they were put on the back foot towards the end and had to dig deep a lovely angled shot from Admir Ujkaj proved to be the decisive winning goal.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Webster, Thompson, Aguilera, Hedges, Cloud, Ujkaj Ad, Horrobin, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Abreu, Hammett, Colfer
Goal Scorers: Botsoi, Simpson-Last, Ujkaj Adn




LEAGUE
Saturday November 26th v Fairleigh Rovers 2-2

Despite pre match warnings, following two excellent performances, not to take this game against the currently struggling, Fairleigh Rovers, lightly, that’s exactly what Balham did. The first half was the worst they played all season and Rovers deservedly went in at half time two goals to the good. After a few choice words were uttered behind closed doors and the proverbial hairdryer was blown a different Balham emerged from the changing room. Within ten minutes, thanks too a brace from Eddie Luchford, they were back on level terms. They then laid siege to the Rovers goal in search of the winner. Although they came extremely close a number of times and had a strong claim for a penalty denied, the winner didn’t materialise and as they trudged off at the end, despite the valiant comeback, this felt very much like two points lost rather than one point gained.

Team: Harmon, Farquharson L, Frew, Henry, Wocial, Elbekri(capt), Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Fosse, Benson, Luchford, Adebayo
Subs: Boncoeur, Fuller J, Mbola
Goal Scorer: Luchford(2)


LEAGUE
Thursday November 24th Youth v Croydon Athletic 5-1

The new look Balham Youth team demonstrated their further development with a comprehensive win at home to AFC Croydon Athletic. The game was won in the first half when an electric Balham scored four. The first, from centre back, Daniel Webster, came after only a couple of minutes and before long the lead was doubled, trebled and quadrupled, with goals from skipper, Bryce Botsoi, Dominic Simpson-Last and Admir Ujkaj. The second half was more evenly balanced with Balham only adding one more to their tally, courtesy of sub, Josh Hammett. All in all though it was another satisfying performance from a team that at present is progressing nicely.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Webster, Wood, Aguilera, Hedges, Cloud, Ujkaj Ad, Horrobin, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Abreu, Hammett, Colfer
Goal Scorers: Webster, Botsoi, Simpson-Last, Ujkaj Ad


LEAGUE
Tuesday November 23rd v AC London 2-1

Balham knew that they were going to have to roll up their sleeves and show guts, grit and determination, in addition to playing very good football, if they weren’t to go the way most teams have done when playing AC London this season. On a bitterly cold night in Banstead they showed plenty of all that was required and as such emerged victorious at the end of a tough game. The first of the goals didn’t arrive until midway through the second half when Eddie Luchford pounced on the rebound from a free kick spilled by the otherwise excellent AC London keeper. The free kick had come after a red card was shown to an AC London defender who committed a foul on the edge of the penalty box as the last man. Despite being down to ten and a goal down though the home side threw the kitchen sink at Balham and got a fine headed equaliser direct from a corner. At this point Balham could have felt sorry for themselves. Instead though they drew upon the qualities needed and soon re took the lead when CDM, Zak Elbekri, rifled home the winning goal from the edge of the box.

Team: Harman, Frew, Goodband(capt), Haire, Wocial, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Benson, Luchford, Adebayo
Subs: Fuller J, Jewers, Trzcinski
Goal Scorers: Luchford, Elbekri


LEAGUE
Saturday November 19th v South Park Reserves 6-0

If only Balham could play this well every time they emerge from the changing room. On a dank and drizzly Saturday afternoon at South Park’s lovely ground the boys from SW12 put on a sterling display of high tempo pass and move football from the first to last whistle. As a consequence they ran out 6-0 victors against a side who were only a couple of points and places below them in the league table. The glut of goals came from the hotter than hot, Eddie Luchford, who bagged three and had a penalty saved, Thomas Fosse, James Adebayo and super sub Josh Benson, who in addition to the one he scored, in combination with the flying Adebayo, almost got a candidate for goal of the season.

Team: Harmon, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Fosse, Luchford, Boncoeur
Subs: Adebayo, Frew, Benson
Goal Scorers: Luchford(3), Fosse, Adebayo, Benson


SYL PLATE CUP
Thursday November 17th Youth v Lingfield 4-0

Balham’s very young Youth team continued to show great improvement in this SYL Plate Cup game against Lingfield as the new look squad gets more and more used to playing together. A sound, solid, first half was followed by an excellent second period, when the only thing missing before the break, goals scored, was put right in some style. Bryce Botsoi got himself in the right place at the right time, as all good strikers do, to score a hat trick, with Admir Ujkaj banging home the fourth from just inside the box, towards the end of a very satisfying evening’s football at the Wibbandune.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Thompson, Ballard, Aguilera, Hedges, Cloud, Ujkaj Ad, Horrobin, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Abreu, Webster
Goal Scorers: Botsoi(3), Ujkaj Ad


LEAGUE
Tuesday November 15th v Redhill 0-3

Balham lost this game, which was evenly contested throughout, because Redhill were better at both ends of the pitch. Sloppy goals conceded continues to be Balham’s undoing and on this occasion, that, in conjunction with not being as clinical as usual in front of goal, combined to make this a very frustrating night. Redhill are undoubtedly a good side in a good run of form but Balham left town feeling that, despite the final score line possibly flattering the hosts, they had not been as good as they could have been, should have been and needed to be, in all areas, to secure the desired result.

Team: Read H, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Fuller J, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Luchford, Boncoeur
Subs: Frew, Benson, Trzcinski


LEAGUE
Thursday November 10th Youth v Sutton Utd 2-2

A very young Balham Youth team, containing five under sixteens in the starting line up, played with guile and gusto and at the end of an exciting game were unlucky not to come away with more than a point to show for their efforts and the quality of football they played. But for the excellent Sutton United keeper, who pulled off some great saves, things may have been different. Although Balham played the better football throughout they conceded twice against the run of play, once in each half. On both occasions however they didn't panic and showed the character to come back. Recent signing, Tom Horrobin, got the home side’s first early in the second half with Dominic Simpson-Last getting the second from the penalty spot. Seeing such a young team play so well was not only pleasing on the night but, with many more exciting young players coming through the age group system at the club, it bodes well for the future.

Team: Noctor, Chen, Thompson, Mitchell, Aguilera, Hedges, Colfer, Urkaj Ad, Horrobin, Botsoi(capt), Simpson-Last
Subs: Hammett, Abreu, Cloud, Guevara
Goal Scorers: Horrobin, Simpson-Last(pen)


LEAGUE
Saturday November 5th v Dorking 7-1

After a slightly slow start Balham hit top form for the first time in a few games and ended up scoring a magnificent seven, one more than they scored in the cup game at the same venue earlier in the season. Playing on such a fantastic pitch clearly helps but some of the football played was of the highest order. Things may have been different had keeper Haydn Read not saved a penalty early on but, soon afterwards, the home side were made to pay when Thomas Fosse opened the scoring for Balham. Dorking hit back, scoring direct from a free kick, but Balham soon retook the lead when Fosse scored again, finishing a fine move. From then on Balham assumed complete control with Jerome Boncoeur adding another before the break. The second half was a joy to watch, if you’re from South West London that is, with Boncoeur adding another and Morgan Roberts-Watson, Jakub Trzcinski and Hamish Frew also getting on the scoresheet. A number of the goals were very well crafted with Frew’s torpedo like finish from the right flank, at the end of a fabulous free flowing move, possibly the pick of the septet for on song Balham.

Team: Read H, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Fosse, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: Fosse, Trzcinski, Fuller J, Harman
Goal Scorers: Fosse(2), Boncoeur(2), Roberts-Watson, Trzcinski, Frew


PREMIER CHALLENGE CUP
Wednesday November 2nd v Guildford City 1-2

As on the previous Saturday there was very much a feeling after this game that it was another one on balance of play and chances created that could have been won but, for other reasons, wasn’t. In the previous game there was particular frustration at some of the decisions but, in this third round Premier Challenge Cup game, against opponents from the division above, it was mistakes that handed the initiative to Guildford City. As a consequence an even first half somehow saw the home team two goals to the good. Balham responded in fine fashion after the break though, scored early, with Grant Goodband heading home a corner and then bossed the rest of the game. Credit must be given to the imposing Guildford City keeper, who pulled off a couple of outstanding saves behind a troubled but resolute back line. The home team hardly created anything themselves but despite continually banging at the door Balham couldn’t get it to open again before the man in the middle brought proceedings to a close.

Team: Read H, Frew, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Benson, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Luchford
Subs: Fosse, Trzcinski, Fuller J, Harman
Goal Scorers: Goodband


LEAGUE
Wednesday October 26th Youth v Fleet Spurs 3-4

For the fourth match in a row Balham’s Youth team lost a tight game that could and should have been won. On this occasion, having squandered an early penalty and another clearcut opportunity, defensive frailties came to the fore again and two goals were cheaply conceded. An excellent angled finish from Admir Ujkaj got one back for the away team but soon afterwards a high ball into the box wasn’t dealt with and Balham found themselves two goals in arrears again, despite having had the better of the game. Frustration boiled over at the break, on the way to the changing rooms, which resulted in both teams emerging for the second half reduced to ten men. Balham’s reduced number completely dominated and they got themselves level thanks to first goals for the Youth team from subs, Tom Horrobin and Gus Colfer. With a winner looking on the cards however, in the dying embers of the game, yet another avoidable goal was conceded and as such a recovery to be lauded was shot to pieces.

Team: Gadzimski, Abreu, Thompson, Chen, Aguilera, Cloud, Hammett, Ujkaj Ad(capt), Mitchell, Botsoi, Simpson-Last
Subs: Horrobin, Colfer, Guevara
Goal Scorers: Ujkaj Ad, Horrobin, Colfer


LEAGUE
Saturday October 29th v Bagshot 3-5

There was a feeling of frustration and despair in the Balham changing room following this absorbing match against table topping Bagshot. Having been 1-0 and 2-1 down but then 3-2 up midway through the second half, thanks to a brace from Morgan Roberts-Watson and one from Jerome Boncoeur, when Balham were awarded what looked like a distinctly dubious penalty, the odds were on a two goal lead. The penalty was saved however and not long afterwards Bagshot equalised. They were then mysteriously awarded an even more dubious penalty themselves which they scored to retake the lead for a third time. With a bewildered Balham pinning them back in search of another equaliser Bagshot added a fifth goal on the break just before the final whistle. The irony of this game is, the one cast iron penalty which should have been awarded in the first half when Roberts-Watson, through on goal, was scythed down, was not given, which rather set the tone for what followed in this captivating strangely officiated encounter.

Team: Read H, McConnell(capt), Frew, Henry, Farquharson L, Fuller J, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: Fosse, Benson, Trzcinski, Harman
Goal Scorers: Roberts-Watson(2), Boncoeur


LEAGUE
Wednesday October 26th Youth v Spelthorne Sports 1-3

Two second half mistakes from Balham proved to be the difference between victory and defeat in this SYL game at Spelthorne in what was otherwise a fast paced very even game. Spelthorne took the lead in the first half but Bryce Botsoi latched on to a beautifully measured curling through ball from Admir Ujkaj to make it all square at half time. The second forty-five was every bit as even but getting caught in possession in a bad area and then assuming a long ball was going out for a goal kick when it didn't proved to be Balham’s undoing. Despite the mistakes which gifted the game to Spelthorne there were chances to get the goals back late on when Balham put the home team under severe pressure but the chances went begging and in doing so, unfortunately, so did the points.

Team: Gadzimski, Abreu, Webster, Chen, Aguilera, Cloud, Colfer, Ujkaj Ad(capt), Mitchell, Botsoi, Simpson-Last
Subs: Guevara, Gomes, Horrobin
Goal Scorers: Botsoi


LEAGUE
Friday October 21st Youth v Sutton Utd 3-4

Balham twice came back from a goal behind in the first half of this enthralling end to end cup tie at Sutton United’s Borough Ground. Their goals, scored by Dominic Simpson-Last and Bryce Botsoi, made the score even at 2-2 as the players left the immaculate 4g pitch for the warmth of the changing room. Balham then took the lead for the first and only time early in the second half after Simpson-Last scored from the penalty spot. The period that followed saw the away team in control however, thanks to defensive errors, Sutton drew level and then in the last few minutes regained the lead for the third time. Balham came inches away from coming back yet again to take the tie to penalties, but it wasn’t to be and as such this exciting game, played for the most part at a furious pace, which could have gone either way, ended up going the way of the hosts, who will take their place in the next round.

Team: Gadzimski, Abreu, Chen Webster, Aguilera, Cloud, Hammett, Ujkaj Ad(capt), Mitchell, Botsoi, Simpson-Last
Subs: Gomes, Guevara, Colfer, Animashaun
Goal Scorers: Simpson-Last(2), Botsoi


LEAGUE
Saturday October 15th v Cove 4-0

Balham came away from Hampshire with all three points after what in the end turned out to be an emphatic win. It wasn’t quite as straightforward however as the scoreline suggests with all four goals coming in the latter part of the game. Balham had been totally on top up to that point but it was beginning to look like one of those days when total control might not be converted into goals. Thankfully, midfielder, Arsen Ujkaj, who had a fine game, ran in behind the Cove back line after fifty-five minutes to head home and break both the deadlock and the home side's resistance. Cheered on by visiting cousins from Connecticut, Ujkaj then added another soon afterwards, with a fine free kick, before Morgan Roberts-Watson, back from suspension and Eddie Luchford, back from injury, both finished smartly to put a gloss on the final scoreline.

Team: Read H, Frew, Goodband(capt), Fuller, Wocial, Elbekri, Ujkaj A, Fosse, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur, Luchford
Subs: McConnell, Fuller J, Harman
Goal Scorers: Ujkaj A(2), Roberts-Watson, Luchford


LEAGUE
Saturday October 8th v Banstead Athletic 3-4

This game was always going to be a tough one given the away team were sitting second in the league prior to kick off. Balham started poorly and individual errors cost goals with the away side capitalising on two errors within the first thirty-five minutes of the game. Balham made the uphill struggle even more of a challenge with a very debatable straight red card for the hot shot in form striker James Adebayo. With the score 4-2 at half time, Balham played arguably their best half of football dominating in every area apart from the most important. A great strike from Arsen Ujkaj with plenty of time left on the clock gave the home side further inspiration but clear cut chances were missed and the game finished 4-3 with the SW12 boys deserving more than they got. Conceding four goals in one half, at home, tends to write its own script at this level however.

Team: Read H, Frew, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Fuller, Benson, Fosse, Adebayo, Boncoeur
Subs: Garcia, Luchford, Clark
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur, Wocial(pen), Ujkaj A


PREMIER CHALLENGE CUP
Tuesday October 4th v AFC Hayes 4-3

Balham took their fine form from the weekend into their Premier Challenge Cup 2nd round game away to AFC Hayes. Despite conceding, totally against the run of play, after starting like a train and putting the home team on the rack for the first twenty minutes, they soon got back on level terms courtesy of James Adebayo, who was in electric form. A classy finish from the almost always classy, Zak Elbekri, gave Balham a deserved half time lead against their Premier Division hosts. The advantage was further extended when inspirational skipper, Grant Goodband, smashed home a third early in the second half. At this stage there only looked likely to be one winner however missed tackles gave AFC the chance to close the gap and a wonder strike overhead kick then brought the scores level. This seemed very harsh on Balham who were still playing well. Far from feeling sorry for themselves however they rolled up their sleeves and piled on the pressure. This eventually resulted in an unfortunate handball in the box by an AFC player. Tomasz Wocial tucked home the resulting penalty to re-establish a lead that Balham held on to until the final whistle.

Team: Read H, Frew, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Fuller, Benson, Fosse, Adebayo, Boncoeur
Subs: Garcia, Luchford, Clark
Goal Scorers: Adebayo, Elbekri, Goodband, Wocial(pen)


SURREY FLOODLIT MIDWEEK COUNTY CUP
Monday October 3rd Youth v Chertsey Town 3-3 (2-4 pens)

If ever anyone wanted proof that football is a game of two halves this was the one to be at. Balham were in top form for the first forty-five minutes against Ryman Youth League side, Chertsey Town, in this Surrey Floodlit Midweek County Cup game, at the Wibbandune. A stunning hat trick from speedster Bryce Botsoi, assisted twice by Gus Colfer, making his full debut and once by skipper, Admir Ujkaj, saw the home team head into the changing room at the break seemingly in complete control. Despite the mantra being more of the same, for some reason though, having had a breather, Balham couldn’t deliver at the same level. They lost their shape and their way. Players who were outstanding before they sucked the juice out of orange quarters were now a shadow of their first half selves. A needless penalty given away for rash tackling gave Chertsey a lifeline and two further avoidable goals conceded, with the panic button having been pressed, meant a game that could and should have been won went to spot kicks, from which Chertsey emerged victorious..

Team: Noctor, Abreu, Chen, Webster, Aguilera, Cloud, Colfer, Ujkaj Ad(capt), Mitchell, Botsoi, Simpson-Last
Subs: Guevara, Bakare Nab, Bakare Nas
Goal Scorers: Botsoi(3)


LEAGUE
Saturday October 1st v Staines Lammas 4-1

Balham put in an excellent performance on the road to run out comfortable winners away to Staines Lammas. Following a good start they took the lead when Jerome Boncoeur scored on eleven minutes and then extended it soon afterwards when Tomasz Wocial fired home from the penalty spot. Staines briefly threatened to make a come back after half time but with a rainbow in the sky, following a down pour in the afternoon sun, goals from Grant Goodband, who strayed into enemy territory to make it 3-0 and midfield dynamo, Josh Benson, killed off any hopes the home side had of a recovery. A late penalty, harshly awarded, having had a player red carded, was scant consolation for Lammas who were outplayed on the day by a Balham team in fine free flowing form..

Team: Read H, Frew, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Fuller, Benson, Ujkaj A, Adebayo, Boncoeur
Subs: Clark, Camara, Harman
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur, Wocial, Goodband, Benson


LEAGUE
Thursday September 29th Youth v Conquest 1-3

The all new look Balham Youth team suffered their first defeat of the season, losing a tight game to a talented and much more experienced team. This game was always likely to be a big ask as Conquest, who challenged Balham for the West Division title last season, have virtually the same team this time around, whereas Balham are building a new side. The signs are encouraging though as this fast paced, exciting game was evenly contested. Conquest opened the scoring midway through the first half but Dominic Simpson-Last equalised on thirty minutes with a dreamy first time curler from the edge of the penalty box. Soon afterwards however Conquest regained the lead. The second half was nip and tuck with both teams creating opportunities. The key moment came on seventy-five minutes when, a few minutes after Simpson-Last hit the post and his strike partner Bryce Botsoi fired over from close range, Conquest scored a superbly taken third goal, on a breakaway, to seal the deal.

Team: Ward-Smith, Abreu, Chen, Webster, Aguilera, Cloud, Hammett, Ujkaj Ad(capt), Mitchell, Botsoi, Simpson-Last
Subs: Guevara, Colfer
Goal Scorer: Simpson-Last


LEAGUE
Saturday September 26th v Chessington & Hook FC 0-0

As the scoreline suggests this was a solid performance from Balham defensively however, having smashed six in midweek, they lacked a cutting edge going forward. Skipper, Grant Goodband and fellow centre back, Jake Henry, who are building an impressive partnership, were outstanding, as was keeper, Steve Harman, behind them. Neither side created many chances but as the game wore on Balham looked the more likely to score. That being said though the home side did hit the post and Harman had to make a couple of top saves. A solid performance away from home and a point gained on the road is not the end of the world, by any means, but, had Balham displayed anything like their top form in attack, a decent one point could have been turned into a much more welcome three.

Team: Harman, Frew, Goodband(capt), Henry, Fenlon, Elbekri, Fuller, Benson, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur
Subs: Fosse, Adebayo


LEAGUE
Thursday September 22 Youth v AFC Croydon Athletic 2-1

A last minute winner from Domininc Simpson-Last, on his debut for the Balham Youth team, sealed victory at The Mayfield Stadium. A new look Balham squad, with only two regulars from last season, is still very much finding its feet and although they’ve made a promising start in their first two games, in terms of results, they are a very much a work in progress and a long way from the finished article. They fell behind in an even encounter in the first half but Lewis Mitchell, now in his third year on the squad, brought them level with a fine header. Both sides lacked the quality of last season’s teams, who won their respective divisions and contested the SYL Championship Play off Final, but they gave it their all in a full blooded encounter. A draw might have been a fair result on the balance of play but the Balham winner, when it came, was nicely created and finished and worthy of winning any game.

Team: Noctor, Abreu, Chen(capt), Webster, Aguilera, Guevera, Hammett, Ujkaj Ad, Mitchell, Botsoi, Simpson-Last
Subs: Onu, Allen, Soares
Goal Scorers: Mitchell, Simpson-Lasta


RPM RECORDS DIVISION ONE CHALLENGE CUP
Tuesday September 20th v Dorking 6-1

Balham were back to their imperious best in this RPM Records Division One Challenge Cup 2nd round game away to The Chicks in Dorking. Right at it from the start they popped the ball about beautifully on a carpet of a pitch and took the lead when Morgan Roberts-Watson finished on seven minutes. Two more first half goals followed as Roberts-Watson scored again, finishing superbly following great play from his partner up front Jerome Boncoeur. Shortly afterwards Boncoeur took advantage of a mistake at the back to make it 3-0. Dorking, to their credit, came out for the second half in determined mood and very much on the front foot. They scored from a corner and for a brief while it looked as though it might be game on again. A second goal from Boncoeur however finished any thoughts of a Chicks recovery and a fantastic drilled finish from the edge of the box from Arsen Ujkaj followed by a well taken goal from Raoul Camera, making his debut, sealed an emphatic victory and a place in the 3rd round.

Team: Read H, Frew, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri(capt), Fuller, Benson, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Boncoeur
Subs: Chen, Camara, Adebayo
Goal Scorers: Roberts-Watson(2), Boncoeur(2), Ujkaj A, Camara


LEAGUE
Saturday September 17th v Frimley Green 0-2

This was a game where anyone watching should have received entrance money rather than the other way around. Following five wins in a row in all competitions, with top spot in the league table within touching distance, for some inexplicable reason Balham put in a decidedly lack lustre under par display. A poor start was made worse when the Green visitors scored from a route one ball into the box which was poorly contested and headed home. Balham responded, creating a couple of clear chances which were missed but, all in all, it was a pretty forgettable first half. Balham emerged for the restart only to find that the visitors had parked a bus on the edge of their penalty area determined to defend what they had. A wonder strike from thirty yards out not long into a second half Balham were primed to dominate then compounded the home team’s suffering and took the wind out of their sails. Having got over the shock, realising that there was still plenty of time on the clock to get back into the game, despite Frimley holding up proceedings every time the ball went out of play for long enough to read David Copperfield, they laid siege to the visitors goal. Credit must be given to the the men from the Green however who marshalled their rear guard in exemplary fashion, limiting Balham, who huffed and puffed, to very few chances. As a consequence Balham were left deeply frustrated at the conclusion whilst Frimley’s finest hit the A3 Southbound, grinning from ear to ear, with a precious three points in their pockets.

Team: Read H, Frew, Charnock, Henry, Haire, Elbekri(capt), Benson, Ujkaj A, Roberts-Watson, Adebayo, Boncoeur
Subs: Fuller, Botsoi, Clark


CCL PREMIER CUP
Wednesday September 14th v South Park Reserves 4-1

Balham continued in their rich vein of form away to South Park Reserves on a balmy Tuesday September evening, scoring a brace in each half to go through to the second round of the CCL Premier Cup. Thomas Fosse got the ball rolling after five minutes and James Adebayo doubled the score five minutes later. South Park, although outwitted and outplayed for most of the match, still looked dangerous at times and got back into the game midway through the half. Balham put the game out of their reach however when Arsen Ujkaj scored a beauty after the break and Ollie Archard finished things off in style, with a trademark Archard left foot rocket, minutes before the man in the middle brought proceedings to a close.

Team: Read H, Haire, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Charnock, Fosse, Ujkaj A, Adebayo, Roberts-Watson
Subs: Benson, Archard, Botsoi
Goal Scorers: Fosse, Adebayo, Ujkaj A, Archard


LEAGUE
Tuesday September 13th Youth v Chessington & Hook 1-1

A new look Balham Youth team, featuring eleven players out of a squad of fourteen on duty who are new to Southern Youth League football, acquitted themselves admirably in their first outing together against good opposition who had already played a couple of games. The new lookers took on board pre match instructions and followed them with diligence and discipline in a tight first half in which neither keeper had much to do. The only save of consequence to be made was due to be from a Chessington penalty awarded late in the half however, the Balham keeper, Jack Noctor, wasn’t called into action as the ball was ballooned over the bar. Following a string of clean sheet maintaining saves by the Chessington keeper in the second period the decisive moment looked to have come late on when Noctor received a second yellow card for fouling a Chessington forward in the box. This time the home team scored. Despite being a player down with their left back in goal the new lookers from Balham didn’t throw in the towel and in the dying embers of the game they got what they deserved when an Admir Ujkaj free kick was netted by Nabil Bakare, who had come off the bench with ten minutes to go. Honours even but undoubtedly a more satisfying final outcome for the visitors than for the hosts.

Team: Noctor, Abreu, Chen, Thompson, Aguilera, Hammett, Cloud, Ujkaj Ad, Mitchell(capt), Gallimore, Botsoi
Subs: Bakare Nas, Guevara, Bakare Nab
Goal Scorers: Bakare Nab


LEAGUE
Saturday September 10th v Eversley & California 7-1

Given that Eversley & California went into this game in second place in the league table, with Balham three points behind in ninth, this looked on paper to be a severe test. That certainly proved to be the case in a fairly even first half in which the away team opened the scoring before two minutes later James Adebayo scored a fantastic solo goal. The strongly built, speedy striker picked up the ball up just inside the Eversley half, turned on a sixpence and then ran through all those between him and the goal before smashing the ball home. Balham didn’t seem to need half time, having taken control of the game after equalising but, in hindsight, it proved to be a blessing. Having had a sprinkle of magic dust they came out and took the opposition to the cleaners, playing some super soccer and scoring six unanswered goals. Adebayo added another before Jerome Boncoeur finished off a fine move. An own goal was then followed by the second Benson bullet of the season. Another second half substitute, Morgan Roberts-Watson, then helped himself to a late double, which put the icing on the cake of what was a special performance, made extra special by the return of the excellent Haydn Read between the sticks, who having completed his degree at Oxford Brookes is back in the Metropolis and back at Balham.

Team: Read H, Haire, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Charnock, Fosse, Ujkaj A, Adebayo, Boncoeur
Subs: Benson, Roberts-Watson, Archard
Goal Scorers: Adebayo(2), Roberts-Watson(2), Boncoeur, Benson, o.g.


LEAGUE
Saturday September 3rd v Cobham 3-1

On their return to Cobham’s Reg Madgwick Stadium, where they ground shared last season, Balham put in their best overall performance of the season to date. From the first whistle they took control of the game and played some delightful football. Two goals from Jerome Boncoeur, sandwiched by a smart finish from Arsen Ujkaj, gave them a comfortable 3-0 lead at half time, which was no more than they deserved. The second half proved a different kind of challenge following Balham skipper, Grant Goodband’s somewhat harsh dismissal early on. Although they conceded soon after it happened, which gave the home side a glimmer of hope, Balham defended superbly for the rest of the game and despite being a player light they looked just as likely to add to their tally as they did to concede.

Team: Benson, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Elbekri, Charnock, Fosse, Ujkaj A, Adebayo, Boncoeur
Subs: Fox F, Roberts-Watson, Ostrowski
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur(2), Ujkaj A


LEAGUE
Tuesday August 31st v South Park Reserves 3-1

Balham had the finishing finesse of Thomas Fosse to thank for securing all three points against a spirited South Park team, who created as many chances on the night but failed to take enough of them. Forced into making a number of changes both in terms of personnel and position, Balham didn’t get anywhere near their best in an under par first half. Fosse, starting his first game of the season, allayed any growing apprehension when he opened the scoring on fifty-two minutes. Against the run of play though, at a time when Balham looked likely to extend their lead, the home side conceded an extremely unlucky, unfortunate own goal. They responded well to the set back however and two further Fosse finishes, in the last ten minutes, assisted by the lively James Adebayo, gave Balham a victory they just about deserved.

Team: Harman, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Charnock, Henry, Garcia, Fox F, Benson, Wocial, Fosse, Adebayo
Subs: Elbekri, Roberts-Watson, Farquharson Go
Goal Scorers: Fosse(3)


LEAGUE
Saturday August 27th v Redhill 2-1

A fine near post header by Frank Charnock, his first goal for the club, direct from a Tomasz Wocial corner, got Balham back on level terms with Redhill, after they had conceded from a cross themselves early in this second home game of the season. Despite the early hiccup however Balham played resolutely well throughout and as the game wore on they took more and more control. There were a number of close shaves in the second half before, in the last quarter, a Josh Benson bullet, fired from twenty-five yards into the bottom right hand corner of the net, gave the home team a well deserved victory against good opposition following promotion to the CCL.

Team: Harman, Fuller, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Garcia, Charnock, Benson, Amartey, Luchford, Boncoeur
Subs: Archard, Fosse, Adebayo
Goal Scorers: Charnock, Benson


LEAGUE
Saturday August 20th v Ash United 2-2

Eddie Luchford saved the day in Balham's first home league game in the CCL. The young striker, who has been at the club since the age of eight, smashed home a scorching volley in added on time to make the final score 2-2 against a spirited, well organised, Ash United. Balham had taken the lead in a first half they were well on top in, when Luchford's striking compadre, Jerome Boncoeur, headed home. A calamitous goal conceded before the break however and another one direct from a free kick midway through the second half looked to have won the day for the away team. Thankfully though, for those supporting Balham, Luchford's right boot delivered an equalising blow to United's solar plexus, just in the nick of time.

Team: Harman, Haire, Goodband(capt), Henry, Wocial, Charnock, Townsend, Benson, Amartey, Luchford, Boncoeur
Subs: Adebayo, Elbekri, Archard, Fox F
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur, Luchford


LEAGUE
Saturday August 13th v Sheerwater 2-3

Balham began life in the Combined Counties League with a disappointing defeat at Sheerwater, where defensive frailties proved their undoing. Despite twice coming back from going a goal down, thanks to most chances however, in the latter part of pre season they shot themselves in the foot a couple of times wha brace from outstanding centre forward, Jerome Boncoeur, they couldn't recover after falling behind a third time at a point in the second half when they looked the side most likely to push on and claim victory. This was a match in which Balham had the lion's share of possession and created the en seemingly in control of matches and unfortunately they did so again here in the first match where points were being played for.

Team: Cole, Fox F, Goodband(capt), Charnock, Henry, Elbekri, Haire, Luchford, Ujkaj A, Wocial, Boncoeur
Subs: Adebayo, Fuller, Frew
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur(2)


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Tuesday August 9th v Tooting & Mitcham Wanderers 3-2

A young experimental team, completely changed from the one that played on Saturday, jelled quickly and played some excellent snappy, high tempo football, particularly in the first half, which they completely dominated. How they only had two goals at the break, from Jermaine Townsend and Bryce Botsoi, to show for their quality play and chances created will forever remain a mystery. They also conceded one getting caught on the break with too many players having poured forward after the T&M keeper made a point blank save. The second half started well but became more disjointed and ended up getting scrappy, which suited T&M more than Balham. Aaron Amartey's goal midway through looked to have settled matters but, after committing the cardinal sin of letting a long ball bounce in front of the penalty area, Balham conceded very late in the game, which made what should have been a comfortable last few minutes squeaky bottom time.

Team: Noctor, Frew, Farr, Farquharson G, Galvarro, Charnock(capt), Benson, Townsend, Ujkaj A, Amartey, Botsoi
Subs: Garcia, Fuller J, Bolt, Animashaun
Goal Scorers: Townsend, Botsoi, Amartey


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Saturday August 6th v AFC Spelthorne 1-2

The most disappointing factor in losing another game that Balham were in total control of and leading, thanks to a James Adebayo goal midway through the second half, is that both goals were sloppily conceded, the first less than a minute after Balham, who had missed a lot of chances, had deservedly taken the lead. Having squandered a well deserved lead a few days earlier, to do so again, even more quickly, was criminal. Balham have been every bit as good, if not better, than all the sides played in pre season but individual errors and collective sloppiness has meant that some games have been lost that could and should have been won.

Team: Harman, Fox F, Goodband(capt), Haire, Henry, Elbekri, Fuller, Adebayo, Luchford, Wocial, Boncoeur
Subs: Bartley, Fenlon
Goal Scorers: Wocial, Boncoeur


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Tuesday August 2nd v Tooting Bec 2-4

Balham were as unreliable as the Northern Line in this pre season derby of the same name. When Tomasz Wocial gave them an early lead, with a left foot strike from the edge of the box, things looked good. Fifteen minutes later though, following a needless penalty given away and marking as tight as unbelted clown trousers, Balham found themselves 2-1 in arrears with things looking bad. They went further behind, having missed a number of chances, before Jerome Boncoeur brought them right back into things with plenty of time on the clock. Another calamitous penalty conceded though gave Tooting Bec breathing space and despite more huffing and puffing, on a night when they never really got going, Balham finally reached the end of the line.

Team: Tertel, Fox F, Goodband(capt), Farr, Henry, Fuller, Bartley, Adebayo, Luchford, Wocial, Boncoeur
Subs: Ballard N, Frew, Farquharson G, Elbekri, Haire, Fuller, Charnock, Amartey
Goal Scorers: Wocial, Boncoeur


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Saturday July 30th v NPL 4-2

Balham scored four in pre season game six at Southfields Academy against SEILFL side, NPL, but could and should have scored ten or more. Although some of the finishing could have been more clinical credit must go to the NPL keeper, who was in inspired form, pulling off save after save. Between the sticks, at the other end, although he had much less to do, Steve Harman made a promising debut. On another warm sunny day there was plenty to enjoy and plenty of positives to take from the game although conceding twice, despite almost total domination, was frustrating.

Team: Harman, Fox F, Goodband(capt), Farr, Henry, Fuller, Bartley, Adebayo, Luchford, Wocial, Boncoeur
Subs: Frew, Farquharson G, Elbekri, Haire, Fuller, Charnock
Goal Scorers: Luchford, Adebayo, Fuller, Elbekri


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Wednesday July 27th v Project Clapham 3-1

It was back to winning ways, with an excellent all round performance, from a large squad on duty, against strong SEIFL side and local rivals Project Clapham on Wednesday July 27th. The game was played on the 4g carpet at Sutton Utd, which everyone relished along with the Algarve weather. Having spurned a few chances and then fallen behind against the run of play, in the first of three thirty minute periods, Balham responded very well and Jerome Boncoeur soon restored parity, with a fine looping header. Alex Bolt, on his debut, hit a thunderbolt shot to give Balham the lead, following a sprint down the right wing which did justice to his surname and in the final thirty minutes Jamal Bartley rifled home a third. Credit to Project Clapham, who although being under pressure for most of the game, proved to be as durable, well organised and dangerous on the break as ever.

Team: Tertel, Fox F, Goodband(capt), Farquharson G, Henry, Fuller, Bartley, Adebayo, Luchford, Wocial, Boncoeur
Subs: Frew, Elbekri, Haire, Bolt, Wright, Farr
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur, Bolt, Bartley


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Saturday July 23rd v Colliers Wood Utd 1-5

After the high of beating the CCL Premier Division Champs the previous Saturday, Balham were hoping to take another top division scalp in the landlords v tenants derby at the Wibbandune on another sweltering Saturday. Following the first thirty minutes, despite losing two key players to injury and not being anywhere near their best, with the score at 0-0, this still looked a possibility. Two goals for the strong, well organised, Colliers Wood Utd in the second third of the game though, both very well taken but poorly defended, gave the landlords the upper hand. Balham dominated the final third until a defensive mix up put the result in little doubt. Eddie Luchford's crisp finish soon afterwards briefly rekindled hope but in the closing minutes the weakened Balham squad wilted in the late afternoon sun and conceded twice more. There's no doubt that the landlords looked good throughout and deserved to win this game, which will hopefully serve as a wake up call for the under par tenants, but, in reality, it was a lot closer than the final scoreline suggests.

Team: Tertel, McConnell(capt), Farquharson G, Henry, Haire, Fox F, Bartley, Luchford, Fosse, Wocial, Boncoeur
Subs: Frew, Savage, Adebayo, Benson
Goal Scorer: Luchford


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Tuesday July 19th v AFC Croydon Athletic 1-2

This was another tough workout in the sweltering heat of the hottest day of the year. Conditions resembled playing in Egypt more than in Thornton Heath. Balham started brightly but following a defensive error fell behind against the run of play and were on the back foot for most of the first half. The second half was a different story with Balham in the ascendency and an equaliser, when it came from Eddie Luchford, was fully merited. With both sides pushing forward late on in the game it could have gone either way, but an unlucky ricochet in the Balham box saw the ball land at the feet of a Croydon striker, who netted to seal victory at the end of a hard, evenly fought, contest.

Team: Tertel, McConnell(capt), Bartley, Goodband, Henry, Fox F, Fosse, Luchford, Xavier, Wocial, Boncoeur
Subs: Miller, Ujkaj A, Fiddes, Frew
Goal Scorer: Luchford


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Saturday July 16th v Hartley Wintney FC 4-1

Balham could have been one or two goals down in the first couple of minutes of this second pre season friendly against reigning Combined Counties League Champions, Hartley Wintney, who travelled up from Hampshire to Southfields Academy for the first ever meeting between the two clubs. Having weathered that very early storm though Balham took hold of the game and from there until the final whistle they dominated proceedings, playing some eye catching free flowing football along the way. Clinical French finisher, Jerome Boncoeur, scored a hat trick and "Spiderman" Jamal Bartley got the other, finishing off a fine move, in what turned out to be a comfortable 4-1 win, against illustrious opponents, characterised by dynamism on the ball and discipline off it.

Team: Tertel, McConnell(capt), Farquharson G, Goodband, Henry, Fox F, Bartley, Xavier, Fosse, Luchford, Boncoeur
Subs: Fenlon, Farquharson L, Ujkaj A, Fiddes
Goal Scorers: Boncoeur(3), Bartley


PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
Saturday July 9th v Walton & Hersham 2-1

The new season kicked off on July 9th with the first pre season friendly against Walton & Hersham. When the Balham First team was formed in 2011 W&H were three leagues and six divisions higher up the league ladder. As we go into the 2016-17 season however, the famous old club, with a fine pedigree, sit one division above in the CCL Premier Division. The game itself, played on the 3g pitch at Southfields Academy, was a tough first workout for both teams. W&H started brightly but once Balham got into their stride they dominated, both in terms of possession and chances created. A first half goal from Thomas Fosse was fully deserved when it came. It was added to by Louis Farquharson in the second half who finished off a fine move. W&H scored an excellent goal, struck from outside the box, with fifteen minutes to go but Balham managed the game well to come away with a win.

Team: Miller, McConnell(capt), Farquharson G, Henry, Savage, Fox F, Luchford, Fosse, Wocial, Xavier, Boncoeur
Subs: Tertel, Townsend, Fenlon, Farquharson L, Forde
Goal Scorers: Fosse, Farquharson L


 


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MATCH REPORTS FROM PREVIOUS SEASONS

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2013-14
2012-13
2011-12

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