reports.gif (6563 bytes)

New Bradwell St.Peter 1 Islington St.Mary's 1

This tie can be best summed up as being featureless. Islington arrived late for the tie and just had the bare minimum to start the fixture. neither team played with any passion and both lacked creation or flair. New Bradwell could not keep onside and Islington could not keep the ball. New Bradwell had the better of the half , and built up most of their play down the flanks. They struck first after a lofted ball was not headed clear by the Saints defence. The Bradwell forward curled the ball from an acute angle past Saints keeper Terry Asar. the half ended with New Bradwell one goal up but it could possibly have been more.

In the second half the Saints made several changes, after additional players had arrived during the game. A goal mouth scramble saw Saints forward Samson Olaleye attempt to cross the ball whilst in the 18 yard box and hit the hand of a Bradwell forward for a Saints penalty. Stephen Robinson converted the opportunity. The rest of the game was very forgettable with both sides weathering small storms.

Defence: Terry Asar, Stephen Robinson, Brian James, Gary Lawrence, Laurance Tucker, Midfield: Adrian Nicolson, Sheldon Fleming, Rodny Clark, Ricky Nicalou Attack: Jonathan Joseph, Samson Olaleye Substitutes: Wayne Jackson, Tony Barker

Welwyn Garden City 1 Islington St.Mary's 2

It was another six pointer for the Saints against struggling City. City who had begun the season in good form have deteriorated, and now sit 3rd from bottom of the Premier Division. It was therefore important that the Saints took the opportunity to put as much sky between themselves and City.

The preparation was not ideal. Saints players arrived at the ground late and the referee postponed kick off. The mood in the changing room was not right for such a vital game. This manifested itself on the pitch. The discipline and determination that has been showing in the last several fixtures had gone. The ball was not being held up front by the forwards, possession was being given away in mid-field and the Saints gave City too much time on the ball which allowed them to play positive football. Communication between the side was also lacking and this showed when Stephen Robinson and Danny Debruce of Saint Mary's challenged for the same ball and clashed heads. Robinson had to leave the field with mild concussion. In total disarray the Saints conceded a goal after their defence had pushed up and a ball was launched in behind them to 3 off side City players who slotted the ball past keeper Terry Akal.

Saints Player/Manager Samson Olaleye fumed at half time and bore his total wrath on the players. The second half was total domination for the Saints. Islington midfielder Wayne Jackson had two opportunities to equalise in the opening minutes, but did not convert them. He then made up for his earlier misses and pulled a goal back after 10 minutes. Olaleye then pushed upfront to try and achieve the winner. He missed a one on one with the keeper  but later one a header to set up Mushy Dennis for the winner.

Defence: Terry Akal, Danny Debruce, Stephen Robinson, Samson Olaleye, Jonathan Joseph Midfield: Wayne Jackson, Sheldon Fleming, Ricky Nicalou, Brain James Attack: Mussy Dennis, Desmond Wynne Substitutes: Rodny Clark, Tyrone Husbands, Gary Lawrence

  Islington St.Mary's 0 London Coloney 4

In form London Colney arrived at Coles Park with an air of confidence. Because of the lack of player availability the Saints had to field players out of position. Islington survived an early goal mouth scramble and adjusted well to their new formation. They compacted the mid-field well and caught the London Colney attack force off side at will. Colney looked menacing down the flanks but as the game progressed they lacked ideas and the Saints looked like the better side, with Sheldon Fleming in midfield creating opportunities and working tirelessly to cover ground. The best chance of the half fell to Leon after Fleming beat several players, but the opportunity was wasted.

At half time Player / Manager Samson Olaleye warned the Saints players that too many individuals were being carried by others. He said that even though Colney were made to look like an ordinary side in the first period if the attitude and work rate of those players did not improve London Colney would eventually ware the side down through their organisation and work rate.

The Saints started very sluggishly in the second period. Colney soldiered on and broke the deadlock after 10 minutes when the ball was lost up front for the Saints cheaply. It was then knocked back into the heart of the Saints defence. Peter Pani came of his line, but the ball was struck home. The second goal came from a left wing cross which was unchallenged and headed into the back of the Saints net by the Colney right midfielder. Sheldon Fleming tried desperately to pick up the pieces for the Saints but by now heads had dropped and it was all one way traffic for Colney. The 3rd goal was the best of the game. A delightful chip over Peter Pani from just outside the box. The 4th and final goal caught the Saints back four and the linesman in a dispute for off side. The Colney striker did not dispute his position and gladly converted his chance to make it 4 0.

Olaleye told the players after the game that the outcome was predictable and that for the team to be successful he needed maximum effort from all quarters.

Defence: Peter Pani, Jonathan Joseph, Stephen Robinson, Aaron Gartan, Gary Laurance Midfield: Adrian Nicolson, Rodny Clark, Sheldon Fleming, Wayne Jackson Attack: Mussy Dennis, Leon  Substitute Brian James

Islington St.Mary's 2 Buckingham Athletic 1

It was an early start from London to get to the far reaches of Buckingham, just past Milton Keynes for this mid week tie. The Saints arrived with minutes to go before kick off and had no time for preparation or extensive pre match banter. The instructions were clear, Win!

The Saints were unsettled during the opening period with no solidarity throughout the team. They conceded an early goal after an Athletic attack was foiled in the last third of the Saints half, but the ball was not cleared and St.Mary's conceded a free kick.The ball was driven across the Islington goal and thumped into the back of the net. This sparked the imagination of the Saints team and they begun to develop play from mid field and held the ball  up well in attack. Islington got their just rewards for sustained pressure after a goal mouth scramble found Islington forward Mussy Dennis in the wright place to even the scoreline in the 25th minute. 10 minutes later a delightful one, two between Mussy and in form Tyrone Husbands pushed the Saints into the lead after a thumping drive that nearly removed the net.

The second half saw the Saints come into their own with creative football all around the park. They dominated the second period but Buckingham soaked up the pressure well. The Saints had several chances to conclude the fixture and survived with a last minute save from hero Saints keeper Peter Pani.

Defence: Peter Pani, Danny Debruce, Stephen Robinson, Laurance Tucker, Gary Lawrance Midfield: Rodny Clark, Sheldon Fleming, Wayne Jackson, Adrian Nicolson Attck: Mussy, Tyronne Husbands

Islington St.Mary's 2 Harpenden Town 1

St.Mary's sealed what could be the biggest victory of their season in the battle to retain Premier League status against fellow strugglers Harpenden Town. This tie had a dual importance; not to lose and reward Harpenden with points to overtake them and secondly to win and push them up the table, and thus away from the relegation zone. With these instructions deeply embedded in their minds the Saints set about their task with vigour.

After hearing the chants and roars from the Town changing room before the game the Saints new they had a battle on their hands. The pace of Bio Ackenfenwa and Tyrone Husbands forced the Harpenden defence to play deeper and deeper into their own half, and with the Saints defence pushing up it was all one way traffic for St.Mary's. Sheldon Fleming once again marshalled mid-field and orchestrated most of the play. However they did survive an early scare in their 18 yard box when their midfield let the ball run onto an encroaching Harpenden forward who missed the target. 30 minutes into the game defender Gary Francis again aggravated his hamstring and had to leave the field of play. The siege on the Harpenden goal was merited when a low drive from in form Tyrone Husbands to the goalkeepers left found the back of the net.

The start of the second half was much like the first, with every Saints attack looking like reaping a goal. With the watch ticking away Harpenden committed more players up front and the Saints defence started to look fragile and buckled under the pressure. Against the run of play Husbands again took the ball up from midfield and beat several players to send St.Mary's into an unassailable lead?

With the odds stacked up against them Harpenden put on fresh legs and pushed for a goal. They looked very dangerous from every set piece and persevered from a corner to pull a goal back. The last few minutes were arduous for the St.Mary's officials, but the referee thankfully blew his whistle to end the tie.

Defence: Perer Pani, Gary Francis, Stephen Robinson, Jonathan Joseph Aaron Gartan, Midfield, Sheilden Fleming, Adrian Nicolson, Rodny Clark, Wayne Jackson Attack: Tyronne Husbands, Bio Ackenfenwa Substitutes: Charlie Danny Debruce

Islington St.Mary's 2 Ruislip Manor 2

Against the odds Islington once again pulled of a good performance against Ruislip Manor, and were unlucky to take all three points. Coles Park has once again been closed down by the League because of dangerous surface debris, resulting in all home fixtures being played at the oppositions ground. This confusion caused several key players to turn up at the wrong ground and miss the entire fixture.

A make shift side, including Samson Olaleye, with a groin strain and Gary Francis, with a pulled hamstring had to be fielded. The uneven odds fuelled the Saints spirits and they started the match with an air of determination. 10 minutes into the game the Saints suffered another setback when Midfield ace Brian James had to retire from the field with an aggravated leg injury. Tony Barker, who was also carrying an injury, had to take his place. St.Mary's compacted the midfield with Rodny Clark anchoring and Sheldon Fleming setting up most of the play. The best chance of the half fell to Tony Barker after the Ruislip keeper made a meal from a cross and somehow the ball found its way over the bar from a header. From a comfortable position the Saints again went to sleep in defence down the left wing. A run into their 18 yard box was easily passed and converted to send them into the changing room with a one goal deficit.

The second half saw the arrival of Bio Ackenfenwa to replace Tony Barker. He made penetrative runs into the heart of the Ruislip defence. His impact was completed when he controlled the ball in the 18 yard box and a panicking Ruislip defender handled the ball. Stephen Robinson calmly converted the penalty. This should have heralded a Saints onslaught but moments later a ball that should have easily been cleared from the Saints defence was instead lost to a corner, from which Ruislip restored their 1 goal lead. Wayne Jackson turned from villain to hero after not clearing the ball earlier and stormed through the Ruislip defence to complete an emphatic solo effort to again even the scoreline. Ruislip hung on, surviving efforts from Akenfenwa and Nicolson to grind out a draw.

Defence: Terry Asar, Adrian Nicolson, Gary Francis, Stephen Robinson, Jonathan Joseph, Midfield, Sheilden Fleming, Brain James, Rodny Clark, Aaron Gartan Attack: Samson Olaleye, Wayne Jackson Substitutes: Tony Barker, Bio Ackenfenwa

St.Margaretsbury 1 Islington St.Mary's 2

The mood was very positive before the start of this fixture after a good all round performance against Waltham Abbey earlier on in the week. The importance of the game was highlighted to the players by the Saints staff, as St.Margaretsbury were also battling to survive relegation.

St.Margaretsbury kicked off. They tried to work the ball around the field. A rejuvenated St.Mary's side immediately pressured the man on the ball, and rapidly broke up their rhythm. St.Mary's retained much more possession than in recent games and did not give the ball away cheaply in the initial stages. Mussy and Wynne spearheaded the Saints attack, and held the ball up well. A pass from Saints mid-fielder Adrian Nicolson found the St.Margaretsbury defence on the back foot, and a stampeding Mussy beat two players and drove the ball low into the back of the net. Minutes later he missed a chance from an almost identical position. Controversy struck before the break when Desmond Wynne was brought down in the 18 yard box and no penalty was given.

The second half saw St.Margaretsbury start to take control of the game. The Saints defence started to play deeper and deeper in their own half which gave the St.Margaretsbury midfield more time on the ball. Against the run of play a clearance from Saints keeper Terry Asar found Wynne who took the ball wide of the St.Margaretsbury keeper and shot the ball in of the upright. The last 15 minutes saw St.Margaretsbury hit the crossbar and pull a goal back, but it was too little to late and the Saints deservedly took the 3 points.

Defence: Terry Asar, Charlie, Danny Debruce, Stephen Robinson,  Midfield: Sheldon Fleming, Adrian Nicolson, Brain James Tony Barker Attack: Mussy, Desmond Wynne  Substitutes: Rodny Clark   

Waltham Abbey 1   Islington St.Mary's 1  

In their battle for survival in the Premier Division Islington lost the chance to push themselves up the table after a draw with neighbours Waltham Abbey. Bio Akenfenwa was proving much to handle for a fragile Abbey defence and he should have opened his account in the 15th minute from an unchallenged cross that was headed wide inside the 18 yard box. Minutes later another cross from Danny Debruce into the Waltham Abbey 18 yard box was rifled into the back of the net by Tyrone Husbands after a scramble. Against the run of play a cross from the left into the Saints 18 yard box found an unmarked Abbey player who gladly dumped the ball into the back of the net.

The second half was very competitive, with the Saints stealing the edge. Desmond Wynne and Bio Akenfenwa should have sealed the 3 points with individual missed chances.

Dated 25th March 1999    

Islington St.Mary's 0 Beaconsfield SYCOB 3

Beaconsfield travelled to Coles Park seeking 3 points in their bid to challenge for the Premier Division title. They currently top the table, and were eager to maintain their status at the expense of struggling St.Mary's. Samson Olaleye slotted in at centre half to try and sure up the defence. Beaconsfield looked like a well oiled side, working set pieces well and maintaining good possession. Saints keeper Peter Pani warned of an early scare after he thwarted a surge from the right back down the wing with a one handed save. Beaconsfield lacked patience up front and continually ran off side, which was obviously frustrating the rest of the team. In the 20th minute Olaleye was robbed whilst making a forward run from defence into midfield. The Beaconsfield midfield capitalised and caught the Saints defence flat footed. Saints defender Stephen Robinson  clipped a Beaconsfield midfielder in the 18 yard box to concede a penalty which was blasted against the upright.

In the second half Beaconsfield started to make runs from midfield to beat the offside trap. The Saints began defending deeper and lost possession very cheaply. Beaconsfield began to take control of the game. The deadlock was broken in the 10th minute of the second period when a free kick found a late run from the Beaconsfield right back which was headed and looped over the Saints keeper. Minutes later the Saints lost possession in the Beaconsfield third. The defence tried to step up, but did not do so in unison, which left the Saints keeper one on one with Beaconsfield's forward. The opportunity was seized and Beaconsfield increased the scoreline to 2 0. The third was a quickly taken free kick which caught the Saints back four napping and was slotted home to make the final score Islington St.Mary's 0 Beaconsfield 3.

Defence Peter Pani, Samson Olaleye, Danny Debruce, Stephen Robinson, Adrian Nicolson Midfield: Sheldon Fleming Rodny Clark, Aaron Gartan, Ricky Constaniou Attack: Tony Barker, Desmond Wynne  Substitutes: Wayne Jackson  

Potters Bar Town 2 Islington St.Mary's 1

No Match Report available

Harpenden Town 3 Islington St.Mary's 0

Harpenden were the victors of this relegation struggle at the bottom of the Minerva Spartan South Midlands Premier Division. The Saints did not seize the opportunity to take 3 points from a team languishing second from bottom of the league. The first 20 minutes of the game was themed by a complete onslaught of attack and possession by the Saints in the Harpenden half of the pitch. The Saints pressured the Harpenden players whilst they were in occupancy of the ball but did not reap the benefits of a goal. Totally against the run of play Harpenden were awarded a free kick on the left wing, in the centre of the pitch. Lack of concentration by the Saints defence allowed the Harpenden Centre half to tower up and head into the back of the net. The game then started to deteriorate with running battles with the officials and scathing tackles in the mid-field. Harpenden's second came from a long ball played into two forwards that were several yards off side, but took the opportunity to extend their lead. They most controversial moment of the game came when defender Gary Francis who had just returned from  injury again aggravated his hamstring. The game was halted.   Whilst off the pitch and awaiting substitution he was red carded for an alleged comment to the referee, leaving the Saints with 10 men.

The second half was a messy affair, with the saints having lost their shape and pushing for an early goal they were caught on the break and conceded a third goal. An official complaint will be made to the FA by St.Mary's Football Club for the poor standard of officiating.

Defence Peter Pani, Gary Francis, Stephen Robinson Danny Debruce Midfield: Adrian Nicolson, Rodny Clark, Aaron Gartan Attack: Tony Barker, Desmond Wynne

Islington St.Mary's 1 Brache Sparta 1

The Saints missed a golden opportunity to crawl their way up a few places against a depleted Brache Sparta side that was obviously suffering from a player availability crisis from this midweek tie. It was all one-way traffic for the Saints in the first half, with Bio Acinfenwa and Tyrone Husbands spearheading the attack. In the 25th minute whilst making a surging run in the Sparta 18 yard box Husbands was brought down. In the absence on Stephen Robinson Tony Barker stepped up to open the Saints account. Although the saints retained most of the possession, they made no real in-roads the securing a second goal.

St.Mary's maintained the pressure into the second period. However, they again committed footballing suicide  when a back pass to keeper Terry Akal should have been easily cleared. Akal chose to try and control the ball, and was caught in possession. In an attempt to regain control of the ball he tripped the Sparta forward and they were awarded an uncontested penalty, which was tucked away. The tide changed and the Saints became dispirited. They defended well for the remainder of the game but should have clinched a victory when Acinfenwa missed a on on one with the Sparta keeper.

( London Senior Cup )

 Bedfont 2 Islington St.Mary's 0

The Saints crashed out of the semi-finals of the prestigious London Senior Cup. Bedfont, who are flying high in the Combined Counties League started this fixture looking like the better side. They were cohesively organised, working set pieces well, and showing lots of movement up front. The Saints who once prided themselves on a strong defence looked disorganised and fragile. They played deep in their own half and looked at threat from every attack. As the game progressed chinks started to appear in the Bedfont armoury. They lacked pace at the back, and direct balls to the Saints strike force, bypassing the midfield worried them. The game took a turn and Bedfont suddenly started looking like an average side. The Saints came alive and started pressuring the man on the ball and playing direct football, with long balls into the heart of the Bedfont defence. These tactics suggested an invariable goal. However, with the game taking a turn in favour of St.Mary's they committed footballing suicide and stopped doing what was working. Players became too confident and  started over playing with short passes in their own half. This gave Bedfont the opportunity to gather themselves, revert to a flat back four and take onus of the game. From a controversially taken set piece in their own half Bedfont played a long ball just outside the Saints 18 yard box. With 3 Saints defenders spare a Bedfont midfielder ran onto the ball and chipped keeper Terry Akal, who had to came of his line to make in 1 0 in the 30th minute. Desmond Wynne just missed an equaliser on the stroke of half time.

The scenes in the changing room were passionate at half time. Player Manger Samson Olaleye slammed the defence for their lack of concentration and over playing of the ball. The second half picked up were the first had ended. Bedfont grew more in confidence as the Saints chased the game. They sealed their victory in the 20th minute again from a set piece with a well taken header in the 6 yard box. With this being the poorest season in the history of the club changes are looming.

Defence: Terry Akal, Raymond Bennett, Aaron Gartan,  Micheal Haastrap,  Adrian Nicholson  Midfield: Rodney Clark, Tony Barker, Tyrone Husbands, Ricky Constaniou Attack: Samson Olaleye, Desmond Wynne  Substitutes: Danny Debruce, Stephen Robinson, Bio Akenfinwa


   London Coloney 3 Islington St.Mary's 0

St.Mary's could not replicate the emphatic form they showed against league leaders Brook House during their midweek fixture. With a much changed team the Saints met a well organised London Coloney side, which showed lots of movement up front, and a resolute defence. The first half was pretty evenly matched, with Islington assisted by the aid of a strong wind. The best chance of the half fell to Saints forward Daren Grey, with a well taken diving header that was tipped away by the Colney keeper.

In the second half, with the wind in their faces, and injured customary left midfielder Aaron Gartan substituting in goal and unable to solidly kick the ball, the Saints found it hard to venture out of their own half. The Saints defence started to strain under the pressure and started to defend deeper and deeper in their own half. The pressure told in the 20th minute when what seemed to be an innocuous ball over the Saints defence was caught by the Coloney attack and delightfully chipped over encroaching keeper Gartan. 2 more goals were added to the tally after sloppy marking from set pieces to give Coloney a well deserved victory.

Player Manager Samson Olaleye and Nick Adams are trying to field a consistent 11, but have not been able to to so for the entire season because of  a suspension, injury and a player availability crisis at the club.

Defence: Aaron Gartan, Stephen Robinson, Raymond Bennett, Danny Debruce, Laurance Tucker  Midfield: Desmond Wynne, Rodney Clark, Tony Barker, Ricky Constaniou, Forwards: Wayne Jackson, Daren Grey

Dated 1st March 1999  

  Islington St.Mary's 4 Brook House 2

The Saints started well and stuck to basics for this midweek clash. Tyrone Husbands and Bio Ackinfenwa had excellent movement up front. At the back Samson Olaleye marshalled the defence. Rodney Clarke anchored in the midfield and Tony Barker gave his customary all. Ricky Constaniou on his debut tormented the Brooke house right back and subsequently caused his departure in the second half.   Ackinfenwa opened his account with an excellently taken goal, with Brooke House responding before half time to even the scoreline.

After the interval Husbands took on several players to net the Saints second. Brooke House with their never say die attitude once again evened the scoreline from a corner. Only incited the Saints team who rallied and overwhelmed top of the league Brooke house with two more goals from Husbands and Ackinfenwa to assure Islington of three needy points.

Dated 23rd February 1999

Islington St.Mary's 1 Somerset Ambery 3

Islington crashed to their 6th defeat in a row. Somerset survived what could easily been a first half massacre, with the Saints completely dominating the half and the Islington forwards squandering chance after chance. Makeshift Saints keeper Gary Lawrence had little to do, but relax and enjoy watching the game. Saints forward Mussy broke the deadlock on 30 minutes after a goal mouth scramble.

The Saints paid for their missed opportunities in the second half and rested on their Loral's. A rejuvenated Somerset started playing the ball from the back and into mid-field. They played a possession game and were rewarded in the 10th minute when a channel ball down the Saints flank was crossed into the 18 yard box. Saints keeper Gary Lawrence came of his line but was beaten in the air by an Ambry forward to even the scoreline. Panic set into the Saints side. They began to defend very deep and lost possession up front and in mid- field too easily. Ambry sealed the game with 2 more goals, and the Saints now look poised for a battle to retain their league status.

Dated 22nd February  

Ruislip Manor 5 Islington St.Mary's 1

Islington suffered their biggest away defeat of the season. They opened the scoring and looked set to take control of  an open game. Sloppy defending from a free kick on the wing deep into the Saints half allowed a cross into the 6 yard area where an un-marked Manor player joyfully placed the ball into the back of the Saints net . 10 minutes later a deep ball down the wing allowed an un-tracked Manor player to run onto it, and chip the ball over approaching Saints keeper Peter Pani. The third blunder in the trilogy was a cross from the right wing into the Saints box, where Saints defender Gary Lawrence called for the header and collided with his keeper to allow Manors third. The Saints suffered another blow when captain Andrew Hayles was dismissed for violent conduct.

The second half was an uphill climb for the Saints and they conceded 2 more goals towards the end of the game.

Dated 13 February 1999

( London Senior Cup )

Crockenhill 2 Islington St.Mary's 4

The Saints had to field a make shift side for this quarter final midweek fixture because of limited player availability. Keeper Terry Akal was forced to take to the field and play up front, while injured Hugh Johnson played in goal. Crokenhill started by playing a direct ball towards their forwards, but this tactic bore no fruit. At the other end the shots were reigning fast a furiously at the Crokenhill keeper. 10 minutes into the game Saints player Mushy arrived which allowed keeper Terry Akal to return to goal, and Hugh Johnson retired from the field. Mushy had an immediate impact with his first touch of the ball to blast it home. Crockenhill were rocked and begun arguing with the officials and each other. Before they had a chance to recover Tony Barker poached a goal after the Crokenhill keeper had parried. Wayne Jackson notched up a third for the Saints with a solo run that involved beating 3 players.

The second half saw Crokenhill throw caution to the wind. They started playing some attractive football and worked the ball from the back and into midfield maintaining possession. They pressured the Saints back four. Against the run of play star striker Tony Barker was mowed down in the 18 yard box to earn the Saints a penalty. Stephen Robinson stoked the ball to give the Saints a 4 goal cushion. Crokenhill were rewarded for their pressure in the dying minutes of the game with two consolation goals.

Dated 11 February 1999

Islington St.Mary's 0 St Margeretsbury 1

The conditions for this fixture were very much like those experienced against Haringey Borough. There was a blustery wind and the Saints optioned to kick against it. They defended well until the 30th minute when St.Margeretsbury won a corner. From the kick keeper Peter Pani called for the ball but was caught in traffic, allowing a free header into the back of the net.

15 minutes into the second period the Saints survived an early scare with a goal against them that was ruled off-side. The Saints dominated the second half and should have equalised when a shot by Samson Olaleye was stopped at point blank range in the 6 yard box. Tony Barker also missed an opportunity with a surging run into the 18 yard box. There were several goal mouth scrambles but St.Margeretsbury held on to take the points.

Dated 6th February 1999   

Islington St.Mary's 0 Haringey Borough 3

Gale force winds featured in this rival clash between landlords and tenants of Coles Park Stadium. It really was a game of two halves with, Borough taking advantage of the windy conditions in the first period and netting 3 goals. In the second half Borough defended well and the Saints could not gauge the weight of the ball.


Dated 4th February 1999

( London Senior Cup )

Croydon Athletic 0 Islington St.Mary's 1

The Saints were back to their full compliment of players for this London Senior Cup tie. They were not daunted by the status of Athletic, who are languishing in 4th place in Division 3 of the Rymans league. Their match programme indicated that they were on an unbeaten run, which had earned the Club   'Manager of the month'.

The spirit in the Saints camp was positive before the game. The referee blew his whistle for a late kick off at 8PM to begin this tie that had been postponed 4 times previously due to poor weather. Both teams were weary and tentative for the initial opening minutes. The Saints played an attacking game, in the main bypassing possession in central midfield and working the ball down the flanks, with supporting runs in attack from central mid-field. The Saints begun to dominate the game and had several mid range shots at goal.

At the other end the defence, marshalled by Gary Francis, were working fairly well as a unit, diffusing the Athletic attacks. However, lack of concentration on each flank left openings for the Athletic strike force to pressure. Saints Veteran keeper Terry Akal produced an amazing save to keep Croydon at bay.

The second period saw Saints Forward Tyrone Husbands come into his own. He worried, troubled, tormented and beset the Athletic defence, making penetrative and probing runs. St.Mary's were rewarded for his efforts when he was switched to right mid-field. He beat several Athletic players, got to the 18 yard box and set up Brian James, who with the accuracy of a scud missile, blasted the ball home   past the recently dubbed Croydon Athletic keeper of the month.

The final 15 minutes of the game saw Croydon push up an additional forward and throw caution to the wind. They came close to extending this tie to extra time from a header that hit the bar and a remarkable reaction save from Terry Akal from point blank range. The Saints rallied and deservedly won the match.

Player of the match?.................................Plenty to choose from, but Terry Akal gets my vote.

Dated 2nd February 1998 

Brache Sparta 4 Islington St.Mary's 0

A freak cocktail of Influenza and personal commitments left Islington St.Mary's with a depleted squad for this fixture. The circumstances only allowed the Saints to play this tie with 10 men, including players recovering from injury and excluding their keeper, with midfield ace Tony Barker occupying the role. 

The first 35 minutes of the game saw the Saints constantly catch the eager Sparta forwards off-side with no real threat. The Sparta midfield then started to make late runs to counteract the off-side trap, but again these runs were comfortably swept up by the Saints Centre halves.  However the defensive consistency waned with the extra man advantage, and Sparta in a 5 minute period notched up 3 goals, mainly due to a lack of defensive concentration and not being tight enough.

The second half saw St.Mary's start to play attractive football, but with only the solitary figure of Samson Olaleye up front there wasn't enough finishing power. Sparta were given their 4th goal when 3 players were controversially ruled on-side.

Under the circumstances Player / Manager Samson Olaleye was happy at a sterling effort  by his players and thought the scoreline did not truly reflect the performance.

Dated 30th January 1998     

Islington St.Mary's 0 Toddington Rovers 2

After a week themed by torrential rain it was touch and go whether or not this fixture would be played. An 11am inspection of the pitch gave the thumbs up.

Toddington Rovers had victory snatched from their grasp in the last seconds of extra time earlier on in the season, so this tie had expectations of a thrilling encounter.

Toddington kicked of facing the wind. They rapidly established their rhythm and stamped their authority in mid-field, dominating down their right flank. The ball was not being held up by the Saints forwards and possession was relinquished frivolessley in general. A shaky un-unified Saints defence did well to initially thwart the onslaught from  the Rovers front line.

It was poor marking after a set piece that allowed a break down the Toddington right flank. The ensuing cross into the Saints 6 yard box was struck home to open the Toddington account after 25 minutes. The Saints had a golden opportunity to even the scoreline but Tyrone Husbands wasted his chance with a weak shot that was easily gathered by the Rovers keeper.

Two changes were made at half time at left back and up front, to counter the Rovers dominance. This tactical move caused the tide to change, and kicking against the wind St.Mary's camped in the Toddington half. However, for all of their possession Toddington dealt well with the pressure. Against the run of play Toddington again broke down the right wing crossed and ensured the 3 point victory.

Dated 23rd January 1998


Islington St.Mary's 2 Royston Town 2

It was touch and go weather the game would be played at Coles Park. It had rained incessantly for the better part of the week, and Landlords Haringey Borough entertained Barkingside the night before which eroded the pitch even further. The conditions on the night deteriorated and it begun to rain, but this did not hinder what materialised into a classic game.

Because of the conditions the Saints were instructed to automatically play the ball into the channels to Aaron Gartan and Desmond Wynne, who terrorised the Royston defenders and systematically whipped in crosses. The forwards did not capitalise on this and there was no support from the mid-field during attack. The Saints had to defend against a strong wind and kept it tight.

In the 25th minute for the first time in the entire half, with the Saints completely dominating the game,  Royston broke down the right wing  just outside the 18 yard box. The ball was played back across the box to an untracked Royston mid-fielder, who slotted the ball past stranded Saints keeper Peter Pani. Even though it was a poor goal to concede the Saints kept their heads up and continued with their dominance of the game. They were rewarded for their pressure when the Royston keeper slipped from a backpass and Tyrone Husbands gladly capitalised by stroking the ball into an empty net 10 minutes before half time.

The second half started much like the first, only this time the Saints had the benefit of the wind, and they camped in the Royston half of the pitch. The break St.Mary's were looking for came in the 65th minute when Tommy Williams crossed an excellent ball to Stephen Robinson, who glanced the ball into the back of the Royston net to take the Saints into the lead. At this point the Saints should have consolidated, but sloppy marking from a throw-in on the wing   allowed the ball to be played into the heart of the Saints defence. Tyrone husbands turned from hero to villain when he was disspossed  which again left Saints keeper Peter Panayi  with no chance to save the ball.

Desmond Wynne was substituted for Wayne Jackson who had the best chance of the match with a one on one with the keeper, but blasted far wide of the post. Royston pressured for the final minutes of the game and had a goal disallowed for offside.

Saints veteran defender Gary Francis marked his return after a lengthy suspension from September by being voted man of the match.

Dated 6th January 1998



  Brimsdown Rovers  0 Islington St.Mary's 2

Climatic conditions were fair at Goldsdown Road, home of Brimsdown Rovers. The pitch was in good condition  after suffering a week of perpetual rain, and there was a blustery wind. These conditions, added to the poor form of both sides, indicated the right ingredients for a sub-standard game.

Brimsdown, currently languishing at the bottom of the league were looking to springboard themselves up the division at the expense of the Saints. The first 20 minutes were tight, with neither team making any inroads. The Brimsdown defence, who were playing very square,  countlessly caught the St.Mary's forwards off side. At the other end the Saints defence were playing against the wind and defended fairly well against a week Brimsdown strike force. Tyrone Husbands had a chance to open his account when he was through on goal, but was hauled back by a Brimsdown defender. The referee played the advantage, but an impeded Husbands could only put the ball wide of the post. Tommy Williams for the Saints also acrobatically put the ball over the bar from a corner from point blank range, but the ball did not fall well for him.

Man of the match Stephen Robinson from the heart of defence started to dominate his position and feed the Saints midfield with the ball. He then stepped up to calmly put away a penalty after Tommy Williams was pulled back in the Brimsdown 18 yard box. This left the scoreline 1 0 at the break.

The Saints pushed for the winner in the second period. Chances were squandered by Aaron Gartan and Tommy Williams before Gartan sealed victory in the 75th minute.

Dated 28th December 1998

Islington St.Mary's 1 Arlesey Town 1

After a week of heavy rain the Coles Park pitch was not in ideal condition to play attractive football. Arlesey Town, languishing at the bottom of the Premier League, rolled up their sleeves to do battle for shear survival in what turned out to be a very forgettable game. The tie started out as a war of attrition between these two sides that are currently suffering from lack of form.

Arlesey Town, kicking against the wind, seemed to be coping with the elements better. There was plenty of play in midfield by both sides with attacks being broken up fairly well by both teams defence. The major brake came in the 20th minute when a back-pass in defence to the Arlesey keeper was cleared straight into the path of Saints forward Tommy Williams who gladly obliged by steered the ball into the back of the Arlesey net. The Saints uncharacteristically were poor down the flanks which gave them no width and service to their front men who were  playing too deep in the Arlesey half.

In the second period Arlesey, with the wind behind them, pressured for the equaliser. The Saints defence were under siege but were coping well with the pressure. However the onslaught told in the dying minutes of the game when a crossed ball was dropped by the Saints keeper to give Arlesey the equaliser. Aaron Gartan controversially had a goal ruled off-side in the last minute of the game.

Dated 19th December 1998

Beaconsfield SYCOB 2 Islington St.Mary's 1

A handful of spectators were treated to an exiting exhibition of skill and determination during this 90 minute thriller. Beaconsfield, who at this stage of the season have only suffered one defeat, pride themselves on their defence, which signalled a difficult fixture for the Saints. St.Mary's after being given the vote of confidence by the coaching staff before the game, started of very well and had a good team spirit. They were compact in  defence and looked menacing up front, with Paul Maclean and Tommy Williams holding the ball up well. Desmond Wynne from midfield beset the Beaconsfield defence with some penetrating skilful runs. However, first blood was struck by Beaconsfield in the 15th minute when a corner was not adequately cleared and the ball was launched back into the Saints defence. The ball was struck low and hard, and hit  the upright. A napping Saints defence allowed Beaconsfield a second bite of the cherry from the rebound to make it 1 0. Wynne went close to equalising just before the break from a shot just inside the 18 yard box.

After half time the Saints pressured for the equaliser with Beaconsfield pushing for a 2 goal cushion. St.Mary's just looked like the better side. However Beaconsfield's wishes were met first in the 60th minute after a ball was not cleared by the saints defence and volleyed in from 20 yards into the back of the net. In the 70th minute Tommy Williams was in on goal but was pulled back to get a well earned penalty. Trusty Stephen Robinson duly obliged from the spot to make it 2 1. The Saints rallied, and applied the pressure. However Beaconsfield were resolute and took a well earned 3 points.


Barkingside 3 Islington St.Mary's 1

Islington suffered their 3rd defeat in a row in East London. 1996/7 League Champions Barkingside ground out a favourable result in this mid week Derby. Islington played fairly well for the first 20 minutes and once again looked like a football team, with staunch defending and distribution by saints right back Tony Burey. They absorbed Barkingsides early pressure and countered well down the flanks. Lack of ideas and sloppy defending again started to creep into the Saints play and Barkingside missed a one on one with the Saints keeper. After Barkingside hit the bar it was only a matter of time until they scored the opener, which was in the 40th minute after a delightful chip over an encroaching St.Mary's keeper.

The second half saw Barkingside grow in confidence and start to look like the better team. They camped in the Saints half and got the second goal they were looking for after 15 minutes from a solo run down the left flank and a low drive into the back of the Saints net. The 3rd came from a Barkingside corner that was cleared and returned into the Saints 18 yard box and placed into the back of the net. Veteran Saints forward Paul Maclean made his first appearance for one and a half seasons and caused mayhem for the Barkingside defence. Desmond Wynne claimed a consolation for the Saints with the best goal of the game after beating 3 players and neatly curling it into the back of the net.

Dated 9th December 1998 


Islington St.Mary's 0 Hoddesdon Town 2

Hoddesdon did the double on the Saints, and rubbed their noses deeper into their mid season slump. With September player of the month Tony Barker playing in goal it signalled a difficult fixture. Islington started of promisingly, playing fluent football from midfield. Playing the wingback system the Saints defence didn't look comfortable and were chasing the back of their foe from probing crosses. The un-cohesion was exposed after 20 minutes when a cross from the left wing found a free Hoddesdon forward who put the ball pass an exposed Saints keeper.  From that point the form of the Saints dissolved as they couldn't find each other with simple passes, and Hoddesdon took total control of the game. Town missed several chances to extend their lead before exiting the pitch for half time.

The second half picked up much like the first with the Saints chasing the game. Misery was capped for St.Mary's when a cross from the right wing into the 6 yard box was met by Saints defender Danny Debruce who in an effort to clear the ball into touch headed it into his own net.

Saints make shift keeper Tony Barker made several saves to keep the scoreline somewhat respectable at 2 0.

Dated 5th December 1998 


Islington St.Mary's 1 Hillingdon Borough 5

Hillingdon exploited what can best be described as a comedy of individual errors by Islington at Coles Park. The Saints, playing a wingback system, were punished severely by Borough. 3 goals were hammered in during the first period by Hillingdon who surprisingly did not dominate the game. The Saints had an opportunity towards the end of the half to pull a goal back. The second half followed the same vein, with another golden opportunity being squandered by Tommy Williams during the opening few minutes. Hillingdon remained organised  but could not contain a cross field ball by Stephen Robinson to Aaron Gartan on the wing who struck the ball early from an acute angle past the Borough keeper. The Saints gained a little momentum but Robinson turned from hero to villain when he played a ball back to veteran keeper Terry Akal who struck the ball against an encroaching Borough player who gladly converted the opportunity to kill any effort of a Saints revival. Borough rounded of a naive evening for the Saints with a 5th goal 15 minutes before time.

Dated 3rd December 1998


(Minerva Spartan South Midlands Challenge Cup)

Dunstable 0 Islington St.Mary's 2

Dunstable played host to the Saints in their second game of the Minerva Challenge Cup. Because of player availability and defensive non-cohesion Samson Olaleye swapped his centre forward position and played in the heart of the defence. St.Mary's held it tight for the first 20 minutes. Aaron Gartan and Tyrone Husbands caused utter mayhem down the Dunstable flanks, crossing excellent balls that had no Islington personnel on the end of them. In the 25th minute St.Mary's were awarded a penalty after a corner found Tommy Williams in the 18 yard box. In a desperate attempt the Dunstable keeper hauled him down to concede a penalty. Once again reliable Stephen Robinson placed the ball into the back of the net for the Saints to take a one goal lead.

The second half saw Dunstable mount a revival and take control of the game. The Saints weathered the storm and scored a goal against the run of play.

Dated 28th November 1998


Haringey Borough 2 Islington St.Mary's 2

Coles Park Stadium re-opened to host this clash between landlords Borough and tenants Islington. The team talk for the Saints was direct they entered the field raring to go. St.Mary's uncharacteristically started very well, with all segments of the side playing cohesively. They pressured the man on the ball and gave Borough no time to develop any rhythm. After 20 minutes of camping in the Borough half Aaron Gartan made a terrific solo run down the left wing from his own half into the Borough 18 yard box and was clumsily bundled over by the Borough defence. Stephen Robinson gratefully converted the proceeding penalty to take the Saints into the lead. Having a quiet game on the left wing  Tyrone Husbands picked up the ball midway in the Borough half and smashed a right foot drive into the back of Haringey's net to make it 2 0 on the stroke of half time.

The second half was one way traffic for Borough. Islington lapsed deeper into their own half, and  stopped playing their effective style of condensing the midfield. This opened up the game for Borough. They got the early goal they were looking for after a ball was played through the heart of the Saints defence, who naively appealed for an off-side decision. Saints keeper Terry Asar saved the initial shot, but could do anything about the follow up. Psychologically this put Borough up another gear, and had the Saints listing under the pressure. With 2 minutes to go Borough got the equaliser they deserved after a free kick, given away by Stephen Robinson, was hit into the Saints 18 yard box and flicked onto Keeper Terry Asar who did not gather the ball and allowed Borough to equalise.

Dated 17th November 1998 


Islington St.Mary's 0 Brache Sparta 4

( Abandoned after 70 minutes)

The gods took pity on the Saints during this Saturday fixture. Possibly demotivated after being dumped out of the FA Vase the previous week the Saints were 4 - 0 down and facing possibly their biggest defeat of the season thus far. With 20 minutes to go the floodlights failed and the game was abandoned to allow the Saints to fight another day!

Dated 14th November 1998



Buckingham Athletic 3 Islington St.Mary's 2

Islington St.Mary's  went crashing out of the FA Vase on Saturday. The high scoreline reflected the 90 minute thriller that took place at Buckingham. Buckingham played to the windy and muddy conditions, and had the Saints on the ropes from early. Yet another reconstructed St.Mary's defence and midfield, due  to the freak crisis of player availability that has struck the club, rocked under the Athletic pressure. Buckingham had good movement and hit the channels at every opportunity. With the wind in their favour and the Saints defence playing deep they maintained an onslaught until the 10th minute when  a weakly cleared ball, after a goal mouth scramble just outside the Saints 18 yard box, was returned and joyfully dumped into the Saints net to open the Buckingham account. Saints player / manager Samson Olaleye had a golden opportunity to equal the scoreline when Aaron Gartan played a ball to him inside the 18 yard box, but was thwarted by the impressive Buckingham keeper. At the other end the Islington defence could not contain a cross field ball to the right that was returned into the their 18 yard box for an alleged 'Hand of God' conversion, making the scoreline 2-0. Tyrone Husbands who had missed the previous weeks fixture tormented the Buckingham midfield and defence. He beat 4 players from midfield to once again set up Olaleye, who sent the ball high into the heavens. On the 25th minute a ball played into the Saints right channel was gathered comfortably by their left back Tony Bury. Bury tried to play the ball out of defence. The Buckingham left midfielder duly disspossed him of the ball and crossed it into the box to put Buckingham into an unassailable lead. Tommy Williams pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time after a shot was deflected to him in the Athletic 18 yard box.

Grim scenes followed in the Saints changing room at half time. Ultimatums were given to the players and they reacted accordingly in the second half. The Saints retained at least 80 per cent possession in what had become a transformed game. However, it was to little to late. Gartan scored a goal for the saints after 15 minutes into the second period, which will be a likely candidate for goal of the season. Buckingham weathered the storm and deservedly entered the next round of the vase.

Dated 7th November 1998


Buckingham Athletic 3 Islington St.Mary's 1

The roller coaster ride of inconsistency for the Saints continued at Buckingham on Saturday. After a torrential downpour in the morning this fixture survived the elements to the advantage of Athletic. Both teams were evenly matched on a muddy bog for the first twenty minutes. Danny Debruce in a changed role of Central Midfield from Right Back had a chance to open his account after 15 minutes with a well taken shot that was stopped brilliantly by the Buckingham keeper. Buckingham again rode their luck after Aaron Gartan had another opportunity but the Saints were again foiled by the keeper, who arguably was man of the match. The Saints defence had shape and continually caught the Buckingham forwards off-side, however they did not make life easy for themselves and unnecessarily gave the ball away on several occasions. The break came after 30 minutes for Buckingham when a goalkeeping clearance from Terry Asar upfield was immediately returned down the left wing. The Saints pushed up and naively appealed for offside and were punished. The scoreline read 1-0.

The trend for a Saints second half revival  looked set to continue as they started to work the ball well in the difficult conditions. However, the stuffing was knocked out of them after 15 minutes when the right midfielder for Athletic was not closed down and was allowed to play the ball down the wing and across the Saints box to be hammered in to make the scoreline 2 0. What had then been a shaky game for the referee became an earthquake. Both Club players and officials openly remonstrated for some extremely bad decisions. The final nail in the coffin was hammered down when a long ball into the heart of the defence skimmed back of the head of Saints Defender Stephen Robinson towards keeper Terry Asar, who chose not to come of his line. Buckingham seized the opportunity, and with only the keeper to beat the ball was squared and drilled into the back of the net. Aaron Gartan claimed a solo consolation goal soon after. Then controversy reigned when a Buckingham defender during his efforts to clear the ball with his feet in his 18 yard box did so with his hand, with no penalty being awarded.

Just before full time Player / Manager Samson Olaleye was dismissed for violent conduct for allegedly striking a Buckingham Defender.

Dated 31 October 1998


Brook House 1 Islington St.Mary's 4

After  what could have been a midweek drubbing by Welwyn Garden City the Saints bounced back in the finest of style against Brook House, a side they have never beaten since entering the Spartan League. The game started fairly evenly with a gusting wind that favoured St.Mary's. However, the breakthrough came after 20 minutes when Aaron Gartan crossed the ball from the right wing into the box to Tommy Williams, who neatly controlled the ball and drove it hard and low past the House keeper to take the lead. Brook House responded immediately and upped their tempo to put the Saints under pressure.  Against the run of play 1997-98 Islington St.Mary's player of the year Aaron Gartan again supplied a telling ball to Samson Olaleye who drove the ball low and hard to make it 2 - 0 after 38 minutes.

The Saints came out in the second period facing a strong gusting wind. A free kick on the edge of the 18 yard box was converted by Brook House after 10 minutes to make the scoreline 2-1. It was the early goal that Brook House required to stay in contention. Olaleye had other ideas. He ran down the wing and cut into the Brook House box and was hauled down by a desperate Brook House defender. Penalty. Again, enter Stephen Robinson to coolly take the game to 3-1. St.Mary's started to play excellent football. Tony Barker in midfield played a one touch ball to Aaron Gartan who similarly played it onto Tommy Williams who then committed the keeper and lobbed him effortlessly. Williams could have sealed his hat-trick with a volley that was saved in the dying minutes. 

Dated 19th October 1998


(Minerva Spartan South Midlands Premier League Cup)

Islington St.Mary's 2 Welwyn Garden City 4

The Saints, beaming from their Saturday FA Vase victory, were punished for playing 'Russian Roulette' with Welwyn Garden City. Islington St.Mary's FC has had a history of a strong resolute defence, which has not been reflected so far this season, with only one clean sheet being recorded. The Saints were one goal down within five minutes. Sloppy defending by Wayne Jackson allowed the Welwyn Garden City right midfielder to; Control the ball, turn and work it down the wing into the box for an excellent goal. It seamed that this had signalled an awakening, with the Saints pushing for the equaliser. However, more sloppy defending after 11 minutes by Jackson allowed a simple tap in after he miss queued a clearance which went under his boot.   With a two goal deficit City had their tails in the air and started to play some excellent football. With the Saints defence in disarray and playing deep Welwyn had the space to retain possession of the ball. The pressure told after 25 minutes when a ball played into the 18 yard box was miss controlled by Saints defender Tony Bury, which again allowed a tap in past  dejected Saints keeper Terry Asar. The forth and final click of the loaded gun was again solely down to the disorderly defence playing squarely leaving a City midfielder free to neatly chip the ball over an exposed Terry Asar to make it 4 in the first half.

Scenes in the changing room were sombre at half time. The defence were reprimanded and given new instructions for the second period, with tactical changes being made. It was too little too late. The Saints were rewarded with 2 consolation goals from Trojan midfielder, Andrew Hales and Player / Manager Samson Olaleye.


Dated 13th October 1998


Southend Manor 1 Islington St.Mary's 2


Match Report to follow.................


Islington St.Mary's 1 Brimsdown Rovers 1

The slump for the Saints continued at Goldsdown Road on Tuesday. After the best start to the season in several years the Saints lost a further 2 points, making a total of 8 lost in the space of a week. Bottom of the table Brimsdown started this fixture with a lot of energy. Both teams were trying to establish control of the game, with the Saints making greater inroads. Tommy Williams could have opened his account with a header crossed from the wing, which was saved on the line by a Brimsdown defender. Brimsdown were very slow and square at the back but Tyrone Husbands of St.Mary's did not exploit this with his blistering pace. The opening that the Saints were looking for came in the 20th minute when Samson Olaleye, playing from defence, side footed the ball into the back of the Brimsdown net from a corner. This should have signalled a roller coaster ride over Brimsdown, who had other ideas. 10 minutes later a flat footed Saints defence playing the offside trap left last man, goal keeper Terry Asar , to the fate of 3 Brimsdown players who did not hesitate to even the scoreline.

The quality in the second half was better from St.Mary's who pushed for the winning goal. Again Tommy Williams had the opportunity to put the Saints in front , but he over ran the ball at the vital second. The saints made 2 tactical changes to no avail. The game ended on 92 minutes and Brimsdown were happy with a point. The scenes in the changing room after the game by the  St.Mary's coaching staff were furious. 

Dated 6th  October 1998


Hoddesdon Town 2 Islington St.Mary's 1

Islington did not recover from the hangover caused by their midweek defeat at the hands of Royston Town. With 6 regular players out through suspension and injury they crashed to their second defeat in the space of  5 days. Hoddesdon dictated the tempo of the game for the first 20 minutes. The  Saints defence had no cohesion, and were punished in the 15th minute when they attempted the offside trap, which let the Hoddesdon forward in for a free strike on goal inside the 18 yard box, which he duly converted. Matters were compounded in the 35th minute when a high lofted defensive clearance by Hoddesdon was launched just outside the Saints 18 yard box. Stephen Robinson of St.Mary's attempted to return the ball back upfield, but sliced the ball over an oncoming keeper Terry Asar for a perfect own goal.

The team talk during the interval sparked the Saints into gear for the second half. The defence finally settled and started to cope with simple attacks. Tommy Williams pulled a goal back after a goal mouth scramble after 20 minutes. However, any hope of a Saints revival were diminished after 30 minutes with the dismissal of captain Danny Debruce for a second bookable offence. Hoddesdon rallied to maintain the scoreline and victory.

Dated 4th October


Royston Town 2 Islington St.Mary's 0

It was back to League duties for the Saints, defending their unbeaten record away at Garden Walk, home of Royston Town. Manager   Samson Olaleye retained the side that beat Milton Keynes on the weekend.

In the early stages of the game the Saints defence smothered Roystons early attacks. In the midfield Tony Barker and Aaron Gartan dictated the pace with accompanying probing runs from Wayne Jackson and Damion Noonan. St. Mary's went close in the 25th minute but Olaleye squandered the opportunity. Late in the first period, against the run of play,  Royston capitalised form a corner by playing a short ball out to the 18 yard box, and fired in a low drive which found its way into the back of the net.

The second half was almost a carbon copy of the first, with Royston having much of the possession and the Saints countering. At one goal down the Saints spurned countless opportunities to equalise. Royston sealed the game and  brought St.Mary's down to earth with a thud , with a well taken unchallenged header from a cross from the wing.

Player /Manager Samson Olaleye was livid and once again blasted the defence for their lack of concentration.

Dated 2nd October


(Minerva Spartan South Midlands Challenge Cup)

Milton Keynes 2 Islington St.Mary's 3

Once gain the Saints left it late to secure a victory at Milton Keynes. They had to come back twice to take their place in the next draw of the Challenge Cup. A confident Milton Keynes, after several recent victory's, took the lead after 20 minutes when the ball was worked well down the left right wing, and crossed into the 6 yard box where the Milton Keynes forward towered to head the ball in at close range. The Saints had still not settled into the game when that man Tommy Williams from St.Mary's ran onto a through ball to equalise 10 minutes later. A depleted Saints defence hit by injury and suspensions looked shaky at times and were punished by Milton Keynes after a ball was picked up outside the 18 yard box by the Milton Keynes forward who dribbled into the area. The insuing shot took a wicked deflection to beat  a stranded Terry Asar in the Saints goal. Milton Keynes entered the changing rooms at half time with a one goal lead.

As in previous games St.Mary's started the half a totally transformed team. They quickened and dictated the pace of the game. The defence consolidated and individual battles were won up front and in midfield. The break came after 15 minutes when another long ball allowed Tommy Williams to power past the Milton Keynes defence and calmly place the ball past a flat footed Milton Keynes keeper, who should have come out of his box. This was an important juncture in the game as Milton Keynes lost their shape and confidence.  The tie was settled 15 minutes from time when a poorly taken free kick by Milton Keynes was pressured and deflected by Tommy Williams to Wayne Jackson who punished Milton Keynes and sealed the victory.

Man of the match was Tommy Williams for his tireless efforts. Well done Tommy!

Dated 25th September


( London Senior Cup )

Woodford Town 0 Islington St.Mary's 1

Islington met their old foes Woodford Town, who left the Minerva Spartan League to join the Essex Senior League this season. The rivalry showed with Woodford players receiving 2 yellow cards in the first 20 minutes of the game . The game was pretty even, but the standard was poor by both sides. Trojan for the evening was Tony Barker of St.Mary's, who dominated the midfield and set up a channel ball to Striker Tommy Williams for a well taken goal, which was struck with thunderous venom through the legs of the Woodford keeper. Woodford came close with a shot that hit the woodwork.

The tempo of the game continued into the second half. Sheldon Fleming nearly sealed the game after a free-kick outside the 6 yard box was headed onto the bar by the Woodford defence. Woodford had a man sent of for a second bookable offence in the 70th minute. Psychologically this gave them a boost, and they pushed for an equaliser. A well taken shot by a Woodford forward in the dying minutes clipped the post to deny then.

Joint Player/Manager Samson Olaleye again had harsh words for the majority of the side exclaiming that even though the will and determination is ample within the side it needs to be allied with quality.

Dated 22nd September



Toddington Rovers 1 Islington St.Mary's 1


Islington left Barton with a point from nowhere on Saturday. With an increasing number of players out, either from suspension or injury, Manager Samson Olaleye had to cobble together a make shift side. Toddington seemed nervous and could not establish any rhythm, and thus Islington stamped their authority on the game. The Saints, like a swarm of Locus, beset the Toddington defence and caused utter mayhem. Tommy Williams had the best chance of the half to open the Saints account, but his shot was saved at point blank range by the Toddington keeper. Both teams entered the changing room goaless, after Islington had dominated the half.

The second period saw Toddington playing with more confidence. Even though they didn't initially penetrate the Saints defence balls were starting to arrive in dangerous areas. A free to  kick to Toddington led to a poor clearance by the Saints defence which was punished by a scrambled goal. This was the medicine that Toddington needed they pushed for the winner and should have sealed the game after a delightful cross was met poorly by the Toodington forward, who put the ball wide. At the other end Tony Barker for the Saints had a golden opportunity inside the 6 yard box to square the scoreline but shot at the keeper. It then looked like the end of the undefeated record for the Saints as injury time minutes ticked away. Attack after attack was defended well by Toddington until a surging run by Danny Debruce into the 18 yard box was illegally halted by the Toddington defence. Steven Robinson, after a miss the previous week, calmly stepped up to make the final score 1 1 in the 97th minute.


Dated 19th  September



Burnham FC 1 Islington St.Mary's 2

This fixture was historical, as it was the first time St.Mary's had played in this competition.They started at a disadvantage because goal keeper Terry Asar, through a mix-up, did not turn arrive at the pitch. Without the reserve keeper available centre forward, Tony Barker,  had to take on the responsibility of protecting the St. Mary's net.

The game itself was a rugged affair and a battle of wills. Burnham started very briskly playing a direct type of football, punting long balls in-between the Saints defence and keeper. Even though Burnham had the majority of the play the defence were never really threatened. The breakthrough came in the 30th minute, after some neat play from Sheldon Fleming down the wing saw a ball knocked into space to Samson Olaleye, who calmly lobbed the keeper from just outside the 18 yard box. A momentary lapse in concentration in the Saints defence 10 minutes later gave Burnham the equaliser from a ball over the top of the defence, which was met by a rampaging Burnham forward, who slipped the ball under an inexperienced Tony Barker from 15 yards.

The second half saw the Saints step up a gear. They started to create more and more chances and threatened the Burnham goal. 20 minutes into the second half a cross from Aaron Gartan was met with a pin point accurate header by Tyrone Husbands to put St.Mary's into the lead. Burnham pushed for the equaliser with more direct balls over the defence and were nearly rewarded on 30 minutes when a shot just outside the 6 yard box was parried by part-time keeper Tony Barker. Tommy William's and Chris Seon missed easy chances to wrap up the game.

After 90 minutes The Saints left Burnham in the next round of the Vase.

Dated 14th September



Somerset Ambery 1 Islington St.Mary's 2  

It was 3 wins in a row, and an undefeated record of 6 games  in this Saturday fixture. After a solid start by the Saints they lost their way after 20 minutes against a well organised Ambery team. For the first time this season the Saints faced a team that were creating more chances than themselves. The pressure told in the 30th minute when a cross from the left wing was met by a side footed volley in the 6 yard box and pass a stranded Terry Asar. Somerset seemed to have an extra man in mid-field and controlled the game until the second period. St.Mary's were staring into the jaws of defeat.

The interval team talk by Samson Olaleye was passionate. He told the players to dig deep and show some character. The response by the players was decisive. Somerset were met by a focused and transformed side. The Saints started to pressure the Somerset players on the ball. They were rewarded when a throw-in was dummied by Aaron Gartan, and the ball was met by Andrew Hales with a thunderous shot, that was cruelly deflected to bring the score to 1 1 after 15 minutes of the second half . Tommy Williams made a solo run into the penalty box and was scythed down to give the Saints a chance to take the lead. Stephen Robinson sent the goal-keeper the wrong way but hit the post. The Saints continued to rally  and Tommy Williams had the best opportunity to seal the game after a solo run into the 18 yard box, but skied his shot with only the keeper to beat.

The game seemed set for a draw, but with 8 minutes to go August player of the month, Danny Debruce, made a charging run, but was brought down just outside the penalty box. The subsequent  free kick was taken quickly by Aaron Gartan to Samson Olaleye. He took the ball wide of the Somerset goal and hit it from an acute angle into the back of the net.

The performance was not vintage St.Mary's but the character of the side got them the result.


Dated 5th September

Islington St.Mary's 3   Waltham Abbey 1

Islington St Mary's won their second game in a row to challenge at the top of the table, and has stretched their unbeaten run to 5 games. The Saints went marching on at Coles Park in this North East London Derby with arched rivals Abbey. The Saints continental style of play stifled any pattern that Abbey tried to develop from defence. This business like approach was rewarded in the 20th minute when a debt back-flick by forward, Samson Olaleye, saw a surging Aaron Gartan from mid-field place the ball neatly pass the Abbey keeper.

The second half started march like the first with a solid performance by all units. Abbey threw caution to the wind and surged forward. However the attacks were moped up by the Saints defence. Tommy William's marked his return to St.Mary's with 2 early goals, but should have made it a hatrick after a squandered opportunity. Abbey scored a consolation towards the end of the game.

Co.-Manager, Samson Olaleye, was pleased with the team performance and start to the season mentally and physically.

Dated 2 September 98

Arlesey Town 1 Islington St.Mary's 2

After a midweek drubbing Arlesey Town set about curing a serious hangover by swallowing the pill of St.Mary's. Things were going according to plan when a well stuck shot cannoned of the post against the Saints keeper and into the back of the net after 23 minutes. The Saints began to improve their lacklustre performance and equalised when Damion Noonan won the ball in midfield ran down the wing and crossed for a well timed diving headed goal by Player-Manager Samson Olaleye.

The second half was a complete transformation. St.Mary's pressured the Arlesey town players on the ball and they lost their pattern and shape. It was then a one-way direction to victory for the Saints. Olaleye then scored the winner with a creeping shot past the Arlesey Town Keeper in the 70th minute. Tommy Williams and Aaron Gartan also went close,  not justifying the scoreline by a great performance.

Dated 29th August 98


Islington St.Mary's 1 Welwyn Garden City 1

St.Mary's escaped with a fortunate point after a poor second half performance. They started the game very slowly and it was only after 15 minutes that they began to find their rhythm. Desmond Wynne was very prominent for the Saints and created two excellent chances for Chris Seon, who squandered  both opportunities. The saints began to take control of the game but this changed when Wynne was dismissed for violent conduct in the 44th minute, leaving St.Mary's with 10 men.


In the second half Tony Barker had an excellent chance to put St.Mary's ahead, with only the keeper to beat, but lofted his shot over the bar. Welwyn Garden started to take advantage of their extra man and orchestrated the game, whilst St.Mary's lost their shape. They then took the lead after sloppy defending by Laurance Tucker. City had opportunities to put the game beyond the reach of St.Mary's but did not take them. They were subsequently punished with 8 minutes to go when Aaron Gartan struck a brilliant free kick from 35 yards beyond the keeper and into the back of the net. It was no more than his performance deserved, as he was by far the best player on the park, and to confirm this he made a last ditch tackle to deny a City forward with a minute to go.

St.Mary's Co.-Manager, Samson Olaleye, was unhappy with the performance, saying to many individuals had a bad day, and was concerned that the team were making the same errors as last season.

Dated 22nd August 98


Milton Keynes 3 Islington St.Mary's 3

The Saints had the worst preparation possible for this fixture. Due to an earlier accident on the M1 they were delayed, and arrived at Milton Keynes 10 minutes after kick-of time. In view of the circumstances the officials rescheduled kick-of to 3:20. Milton Keynes started very well, developing the game from defence. Most of the play was in midfield but every attack was comfortably dissolved by a resolute St.Mary's defence. A lapse in concentration in the saints midfield in the 15th minute led to a break down the left wing and a subsequent cross that was well controlled and rifled into the back of the St.Mary's net. 2 minutes later St.Mary's were awarded a free kick, for a foul on Samson Olaleye, a following goal mouth scramble led to a excellent and well executed volley by Tony Barker. In the 30th minute Aaron Gartan cannoned a free kick from 25 yards that took a cruel deflection from the Milton Keynes wall pass their stranded keeper. The Saints entered the dressing room having the better of the first period.

In the second half St.Mary's pushed for the 'decisive' goal and were rewarded in the 20th minute when Samson Olaleye was mowed down by a clumsy defensive foul in the penalty area. Enter Steven Robinson to send the keeper the wrong way. St.Mary's 3 Milton Keynes 1. It then looked like plain sailing for the saints, especially after Milton Keynes had a man sent of for a poor challenge on Desmond Wynne. Milton Keynes threw caution to the wind and surged forward. They looked menacing from set pieces and were rewarded when the saints keeper, Terry Asar, called for a ball, but was beaten by the Milton Keynes forward to make the scoreline 3 2. This gave Milton Keynes even more impetus and hope. They again rallied and scored from an innocuous looped drive, that should have been comfortably saved.

Samson Olaleye and Jason Kourris ,Co.-Managers, were pleased with the performance of the back four, but was critical of the goalkeeping.

Dated 15th August 98

clubnews.gif (4738 bytes)

Coles Park will re-open after being closed for several months because the field had fragments of glass embedded in the topsoil.


The saints will be competing in 4 major competitions this season:

The Minerva Football South Midlands Spartan Premier

The Minerva South Midlands Challenge Cup

The FA Vase

The London Senior Cup





August  Danny Debruce Aaron Gartan (Vs Welwyn Garden City)
September  Tony Barker Samson Olaleye (Vs Burnham FC)
October          Stephen Robinson Tommy Williams (Vs Southend Manor)





aron gif.gif (51521 bytes)

Aaron Gartan

Islington St.Mary's Player Of The Year 1997-98