Monday, April 29, 2013

Super Stepney steam home to the title

Emdad Rahman: Stepney FC have cruised home as champions after winning a record breaking 6th Inner London Football League Premier Division title.

The Tower Hamlets based team have enjoyed a terrific run of form - winning 14 out of 18 league games since the start of the season.

During a thrilling title run in, second placed E7 had won 5 games to take the race for Championship to the last game.

Stepney played Mohammedan SC on 28th April 2013 in the season’s penultimate game. There was early frustration from both teams as the match referee called offside to rule out an early goal for Stepney followed by another for Mohammedan after a foul on the keeper.

Stepney's patience paid off as they took the lead in the 30th Minute after a long free kick from keeper Shamimuz Zaman was spilled by the Mohammedan keeper. Forhan Uddin was quickest to react and ripped the net as he struck home a rasping drive.

In the 35th minute, Stepney’s experienced winger Muffazul Uddin was hacked down in the box by the Mohammedan left back and the referee did not hesitate as he pointed to the spot. Muffazul dusted himself and stepped up to take penalty, beating the keeper but the effort rebound off the post.

Mohammedan rallied and an assault on the opposition six yard box resulted in a five shot goal scramble. Stepney's stubborn rearguard blocked, kicked and thwarted the impending threat.

With 20 Minutes remaining, Manager Mujibur Rahman made two bold substitutions which had the hundred odd Stepney supporters and players raising their eyebrows.

Experienced Russell Chowdhury was replaced by Quentin Monville and the clubs record goal scorer Jahed Khan, commonly known as “Zola,” came on for influential midfielder Forhad Ahmed.

The changes were inspiring and within 5 minutes of his introduction Zola picked up the ball on the right wing, twisted and turned 2 defenders before unleashing a fierce shot to the bottom corner of the goal.

The crowd were in raptures as they knew there was no way back from that goal. Mohammedan collapsed and Muffazul redeemed his earlier penalty miss by wrapping up the win.

The game ended 3-0 and Stepney lifted the Premier Division Trophy for the 6th time.

Khalis Miah, Stepney FC's President said: "This team is all about heart, enthusiasm and determination. The players are a credit to the club and their achievements will inspire our youngsters. We are a very proud family here."

Other records were shattered as Stepney finished second in the goal charts with 52 league goals. A miserly defence conceded 23 goals, easily the lowest in the league and outstanding keeper Shamimuz "safe hands" Zaman was named as the recipient of the Premier Division Golden Gloves accolade for his outstanding performances between the sticks.

"I'm very proud of our record breaking title win and thanks to our miserly back four, the personal award is just the icing on the top," he said.

"We've worked so hard and it’s really paid off. We will be celebrating but remain focused on the upcoming summer league, where again we will be gunning for more silverware."

Highlights of the season included a 6-3 drubbing of Mohammedan SC.

Top scorer Mustapha Shahid led the line with 21 goals followed by Forhad Ahmed with 8 and the immense pairing of Sam O' Brian and Abdi Samad. There were goals from all positions with 12 different goal scorers throughout the season.

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