Strollers defeat Shadow Youth Alliance FC

Abu Dhabi Strollers run out 5-1 winners against Shadow Youth Alliance FC.

The friendly game, which seen the Shadow Youth Alliance FC squad fly to Abu Dhabi from London for a bit of warm weather training before their season begins, pitted them against a strong Strollers team at Zayed Sports City.

With Steve Higham taking the reigns in the middle of the field as special guest referee, he quickly attempted to assert authority in the centre circle and refused to move out of it, just like his football days.

The Shadow Youth Alliance started brightly as the Strollers slowly made their way into the game, with Ashley Rawstrom going close with a header and Gurd Wilkhoo blazing over from 6 yards out.

As the first half progressed, Gurd Wilkhoo was thankfully brought down in the box before he could blaze over again, with Scott Hilliard slotting a cooly taken penalty into the bottom right hand corner.

As the first half drew to a close, the Strollers added another, with a fantastic individual goal from Manuel Marschel.

Groans of discontent followed at half time with the referee after some mind-blowing decisions against both teams made from the centre circle, with Liam Clayton quickly brought in as an upgrade to Higham as he sat on the sideline throwing his toys out of his pram.

Higham wasn’t the only one to depart the pitch at half time, as Michael Barbour left with yet another injury on the same dodgy hamstring and Darren Anderton worryingly looking over his shoulder with the sick note nickname soon to be passed on. Hearts were in the mouths of the team as the white Kolo Toure, Matthew Croasdell, took his place and quickly asserted himself as a contender for the defensive partner of James Morson, who was inexplicably missing for the game due to already having tickets for Robbie Williams. (WTF?)

The second half started and the Strollers quickly added to their total from the kick off, as Scott Hilliard ran down the right hand touchline and cut it back for Steve McDaid to slot home into the bottom corner. A carbon copy shortly followed, with the same 2 players linking up excellently with McDaid this time finding the top corner instead.

A volley from the edge of the box by Marschel for his second of the game made it 5-0 before the visitors grabbed a late consolation, with goalkeeper Fahad Al Afifi only managing to tip it onto the post with the ball just about squirming over the line after a fantastic save moments earlier to keep what looked like was going to be a clean sheet.

Referee Ratings:
Steve Higham: 4/10
Liam Clayton: 9.5/10
Man of the Match:
Steve McDaid