Cray Wanderers Youth Roundup – 12/5/19
Kent Youth League – U13s Central Division
Cray Wanderers U13s 2
Kent Football United U13s 2
The Kent Youth League Central Division title will go to a playoff decider after a dramatic injury time equaliser from Khamani Aiyanyo earned a 2-2 draw for the Cray Wanderers U13s and deny Kent Football United the league title which looked to be theirs throughout the second half.
In a game of excellent quality and played on a superb playing surface, Cray got off to a flyer with a sixth minute opener stroked home by Tommy Franklen but Kent Football battled back and levelled through the no 11 in the 26th minute. The second half saw the visitors get on top and went ahead on 51 minutes through the no 11 second goal of the match before Cray produced a sting in the tail with a stunning 25 yard strike which meant the teams, level on 43 points at the top must go again at Cray Wanderers on Friday 17th May with a 6.30pm kick off.
On a bright sunny morning at the Queen Mary University Sports ground in Chislehurst, a large expectant crowd came to see who would claim the title and two superb sides would be hard to separate.
Cray beat Kent Football United when the two sides met in Dartford on 26th March and were the only side to beat them over the season while Cray have also only been beaten once and that was early in the campaign.
Kent Football United began brightly and following a right wing corner, Connor Copper in goal pushed the ball away and came to the no 11 who had a superb game who fed the no 20 who hooked a shot wide.
However with Cray’s first serious attack they went ahead when Ashley Koroma found Khamani Aiyanyo down the left and his excellent ball into the box found Tommy Franklen who controlled the ball, found space and stroked the ball into the net to give Cray the perfect start.
The game was being played at a breakneck pace and for KFU the no 10 set up the no 11 down the left who curled in a shot which was well held on the line by Cooper.
For Cray the lively Aiyanyo set up Koroma who from 25 yards tried an audacious chipped shot which only just went over the angle of post and crossbar. Then for the visitors the no 11 inside the area was denied by a fine tackle from Teddy Gatsell.
The Wands almost scored a second when Riley Butler, Franklen and Gatsell combined to set up Aiyanyo inside the area but couldn’t quite get a full sight of goal and his effort was blocked by a defender.
KFU came close to scoring when the no 11 again to the fore was set up following the no 22’s blocked shot and his strike on goal was turned round the post by the excellent Cooper. From the corner the ball was headed wide by the no 4.
In the 26th minute, KFU did draw level with a terrific finish from the no 11 who was found down the right of the area by the no 10 and hooked a fine strike into the bottom left corner of the net and the game was nicely poised once again.
For Cray Frankie Macioca and Jordan Adeje combined to set up Charlie McPherson who shot over the bar while for KFU the no 9 held the ball up well to set up the no 11 whose shot was well held by Cooper.
Before half time Cray had a real let off when the no 20 was unlucky to see a shot from 20 yards which tickled the left post and along the six yard box to the no 9 who seemed destined to score but excellent defending by Gatsell saw the ball put wide with the goal at his mercy.
At half time there was still much to play for but Cray possibly were happier to come in at the break at 1-1 as KFU were beginning to get on top.
Half Time: 1-1
The second half was going to prove to be a tense affair and almost immediately KFU went on the attack and the no 11 hit a superb half volley with Cooper did well to get down to hold.
For Cray, the ball was played down the right to Aiyanyo whose shot was on target but gathered by the keeper. Then a ball from Henry Phillips found Aiyanyo again down the right but his looping cross-shot went over the bar.
KFU then had a good spell and the no 10 made a run forward and his shot lacked power and was gathered by Cooper. Then the no 10 found space inside the area and looked certain to score but was denied by a superb tackle from Butler.
A goal for KFU though was on the cards in the sixteenth minute of the second half went in front when the no 22 made a run down the right and his ball across found the no 11 who turned and his shot from just inside the area just went past the despairing hand of Cooper and into the net.
KFU were beginning to manage the game well and the no 11 looking for a hat-trick saw a snap volley held by Cooper and then the no 20 down the left of the area just couldn’t get a firm connection to his shot and Cooper was able to claim.
Cray were not getting to many sights of goal and their nearest came when from a free kick out on the right, Macioca’s ball into the area was headed off target by Franklen.
For KFU the no 11 again a threat saw a shot following a corner again well blocked by Butler and then combined with the no 17 to set up the no 7 for a shot which just went over the top.
The game was just entering additional time when in this remarkable week for dramatic comebacks and finales there was one here too as from out of nowhere Ruairi Woodcock and Franklen combined to set up Aiyanyo who from around 25 yards hit a screamer which crept past the keeper and into the bottom left corner and cued delirium on the touchline and Cray had grabbed an unlikely draw right at the death to prolong the season by another few days as although Cray had a superior goal difference and had won the corresponding game with both sides level on points a playoff decider was arranged for this Friday with the possibility of extra time or penalties to decide the Central Division champions. If that match is as good as this one then we will be in for a real treat.
Andy McPherson and Scott Butler’s side just do not know when they are beaten and perhaps here were not quite at their very best as KFU played well but there is a great spirit about them and are a fine footballing side, excellent goalkeeper and defence and creative in midfield and up front Aiyanyo never stopped running and deserved his goal at the end.
Team: Connor Cooper, Teddy Gatsell, Henry Phillips, Archie Washington, Jameel Buhari, Tommy Franklen, Charlie McPherson, Frankie Macioca, Romaro Williams, Ruairi Woodcock, Khemani Aiyanyo; Ashley Koroma, Jordan Adeje, Riley Butler, Tommy Brown