Cray Wanderers U18s vs Rusthall U18s – Merit Kent FA Cup Final – 21/4/24 – Whitstable Town FC


Cray Wanderers                                                  0

Rusthall                                                               1

Marshall 9 mins

Cray Wanderers hopes of finishing the season with silverware ended with defeat in the Merit Kent FA U18s Cup Final at a sunny but chilly Whitstable Town against a Rusthall side who completed a third win against the Wands this season.

It was a very good final between two sides who merited their appearance on the day but was decided by an early goal for Rusthall scored by Hayden Marshall in the ninth minute.  Cray’s hopes of getting back into the game were hampered when Tommy Allen-Beattie was sent off in the 36th minute. Cray though performed well in the second half and came close to equalising on a few occasions especially in the 73rd minute when awarded a penalty which saw Corey Holden’s kick saved by Jack Glassborow.  The Rusthall keeper also made a terrific save deep into 10+ minutes of added time to deny George Brooke but time ran out for Roy Brooke’s side.

Rusthall had beaten Cray 6-3 in the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round tie and also 3-2 at Flamingo Park in the Kent Youth League Cup but this looked like being a much tighter affair but not in any way less dramatic than the previous ties.

Rusthall began the game on the front foot and Hayden Marshall had a terrific game up front and saw an early effort pushed out by Ethan Binnie and following up Jack Lyons effort was blocked by Finley Avery and Marshall shot over.

For Cray, a free kick down the left from George Brooke flicked off the head of Corey Holden and was claimed by Jack Glassborow.  

However, Rusthall looked good going forward and in the ninth minute Marshall won the ball down the right, broke into the area and fired in a shot at the near post which gave Binnie no chance to save.

Cray looked to hit back and from a free kick down the left to the back of the area came to Avery who looked to hit a cross-shot which was claimed by the Rusthall keeper.

Rusthall though threatened a second and Marshall again down the right was getting a lot of joy and his strike was pushed out well by Binnie.

Then, shortly after Harry Palmer hit a sweet strike which Binnie did superbly to push over the bar.

Cray were hanging in the game and down the left Holden put a cross across the box but in the 36th minute were reduced to ten men when Tommy Allen-Beattie was shown a straight red card for a slightly over the top tackle on Zead Massood.  

Before half time it was more a case of keeping it tight at the break and from a free kick, Lyons curled a free kick round the wall which was held by Binnie but at half time Rusthall led 1-0.

The second half saw Cray come out more energised with Michael Ihiedi in the middle and looked more threatening whilst Rusthall defended well looking to counter on the break.

Rusthall did come close to scoring a second when Massood set up Palmer who smashed a shot wide.

Cray began to work more openings as the half went on and from a free kick, George Brooke curled the ball round the wall but well held by Glassborow.  

In the 73rd minute Cray had the chance to level when Brooke was caught by a high boot of Palmer inside the area and the ref had no option but to award a penalty.  Corey Holden’s spot kick was turned aside by Glassborow and from the rebound a cross into the area was headed goalwards by Kaya Mahmut but well held by Glassborow for two fine pieces of goalkeeping.

Still opportunities came for the ten ment and Ihiedi who had a storming second half saw a shot from the edge of the area held.

However, Rusthall were hitting the Wands on the break and could have scored a second but Massood who turned into the box saw his shot held by Binnie.

The game was beginning to drift away from Cray who kept plugging away into ten minutes of added time and Rusthall getting more and more twitchy.  Ihieid fired just wide of the left post and then in the tenth minute of added on time came closest yet when Brooke saw a fine shot, on target turned round the right post by the excellent Glassborow.  The final chance came from a corner which glanced off the head of David Boateng but claimed by the keeper.

Cray had certainly played their part in the second half and certainly not disgraced on the day but Rusthall’s powerful first half hour proved crucial and had played well especially defensively when under pressure and held on to win the cup in a match which was well refereed and well contested and both sides can take credit for a fine final.  


Cray Wanderers: Ethan Binnie, Callum Redman, Oliver Chiriseri, Kaya Mahmut, Finley Avery, Leonard Rye (Capt.), Corey Holden, Freddie Warwick, Tommy Allen-Beattie, George Brooke, David Boateng; Subs: Michael Ihiedi, Jaylen Bains, Andy Dzontoh, Cameron McQueen-Hinckley, Aaron Shawa


Sent Off: Allen-Beattie 36

Booked:  Boateng 85, Ihiedi 90+10


Rusthall: Jack Glassborow (Capt), Austin Kent, Frank Little, Toby Crampton, Harry Palmer, Anthony Mepham, Jack Lyons, Hayden Marshall, Zead Massood, Yusuf Rabbaj, Yukai Cheng; Subs: Ben Williams, Joe Brum, Callum Wright, Ashton Malyon-Chantler, Finn Appleby


Referee: Dylan Wood

Assistants: Gareth Devey, Mark Jenkins


Cray Wanderers Women                                            7

Jackson, Atkins (3), Main, Gregory (2)

Gravesham                                                                0

Cray Wanderers bounced back superbly after losing their undefeated league record last Sunday with a 7-0 win against 4th placed Gravesham who are no slouches.  The Wands move on to 40 points and have a three point lead over Petts Wood and six over Tonbridge but do have a game in hand which will be at Oakwood on Thursday night.

Any early nerves were blown away after a minute when Katie Jackson drilled home a right foot shot down the right of the area.

The Wands added two goals before half time both scored by Hannah Atkins, the first following up a Annemarie Blanche saved shot and the third following a driving run from Jackson and Atkins applied a fine touch and shot.  Cray saw Claire Goldsmith have to go off with an pulled Achilles but defended well with Okasia Brown and Millie Main at the back.

The second half saw Cray score four more goals with Atkins completing her hat-trick and then Millie Main made it 5-0.

The icing on the cake was topped with two more goals from Olivia Gregory following on from her two great strikes against Tonbridge to make it 7-0.

Team:  Sam Sharp, Lauren Henry, Millie Main, Claire Goldsmith, Grace Dodds, Ocasia Brown, Annemarie Blanche, Louise Chenery, Katie Jackson, Hannah Atkins, Chloe Ashdown; Hrystyna Kulishko, Eve Sales, Jessica Oldfield, Olivia Gregory, Renette Ofori. 

Elsewhere Petts Wood wound down their impressive season with a 6-1 win at Oakwood and finish on 37 points and runners up in the Kent FA Plate.

Tonbridge Angels beat Premier Division Margate 2-1 to win the SCEWFL Cup at Maidstone to possibly lay a claim on a league and cup double.

If Tonbridge win on Thursday then a Wands win at Danson Sports next Sunday will clinch the title for Cray regardless of how Tonbridge do in their final game at Gravesham on 5th May.

The game at Danson kicks off at 3.15 pm and the address for Danson’s ground is:

Mayplace Sports Field, Perry Street, Crayford, Kent DA1 4RB (fairly close to Phoenix Sports FC)