U12s Colin Gilham Challenge Cup Final
Sunday, 5th May – London Marathon Ground
Dulwich Village Black U12s 1
Cray Wanderers U12s Piranhas 0
The Cray Wanderers U12s Piranhas fell just short of a league and cup double as Dulwich Village won an outstanding Selkent Cup Final with a dramatic winner four minutes from time to win the trophy.
Both teams deserve great credit for a tremendous game which ebbed and flowed with both sides playing from superb football and some fine defending and goalkeeping kept the scoresheet blank and the match looked to be heading for extra time until the 57th minute when the Dulwich no 2 cracked home a stunning strike to break the deadlock.
Frankie Windsor’s talented side had advanced past Junior Reds Titans, Orpington, Petts Wood Merlins and Docklands to reach the final at the London Marathon Ground and the two sides had met in a cracking league game back on 17th March which Cray edged 3-2 and another close game was in the offing with Dulwich only conceding one goal en route to the final.
On a bright and mild morning, both sides set off at a good pace with Cray having the first goal attempt when Corey Holden and Mason Bayley combined to set up Denny Moore who fired in a shot which was fielded by the keeper.
Dulwich were looking threatening especially down the right hand side and thought they had taken the lead when from a free kick out on the right, the no 10 curled a terrific shot round the wall and into the bottom left corner of the net but the linesman had his flag raised for offside.
For Cray, Bayley fired a shot just over the top while at the other end from another free kick, the no 10 lifted a shot over the bar. Then, Bayley did well to work an opening down the right of the area and pulled a shot fractionally across goal and wide.
There was no let up to the pace of the game and from a free kick out on the left, Holden’s ball into the box was turned over the bar by George Mitchell. Then for Dulwich, the no 10 who was a real threat throughout the first half hit a shot from outside the area which was well held by Lorenzo Di Cesare. This was followed from a left wing free kick from the no 10 floating into the area towards the no 19 who stabbed at the ball but was claimed by Di Cesare.
Before half time though Cray began to get on top and a superb strike from skipper Harry Revill was pushed out well by the keeper out to Bayley who lifted a shot just over the bar from the rebound. For Dulwich from another free kick out on the right the ball into the area was headed over by the no 19.
Perhaps the big moment of the half for Cray came when Bayley again found space on the right of the area and lofted the ball over the keeper towards goal but an excellent piece of defending saw the ball hacked off the goal line.
Shortly before the break a Holden shot was deflected behind for a corner from which the ball came to Bayley whose effort was claimed by the keeper. Both sided were defending superbly with Cray especially a fine performance from Jayden Nye and Harry Revill both strong in the tackle and good in the air.
Half Time: 0-0
The second half continued in the same vein with both sides committed to attack while staying vigilant at the back. Dulwich began the second half brightly and the no 10 got away down the left and his shot was well gathered by Di Cesare. For Cray, Haroun Buhari and Bayley combined down the left and the ball across came to Kai Parrott but couldn’t quite get his shot away and the ball was cleared.
Dulwich came close again when the no 4 put the no 10 through down the left and Di Cesare did superbly to come out and block the shot and then the no 5 tried a shot from distance which was held by Di Cesare.
Cray though were getting close and Holden was unfortunate to see a shot go just past the left post and shortly after, Parrott hit a shot from 20 yards which went fractionally wide again of the left post.
Another key moment came when Moore found Haroun in the box and his near post shot was pushed brilliantly past the post by the keeper for an outstanding save.
Di Cesare was also in great form at the other end and from a corner down the right, the ball came to the no 18 who was denied by a great block by Bayley and as the ball came out to the no 11 his shot was instinctively pushed away by Di Cesare. Then as the ball went back into the box the no 11 again hit a shot which Di Cesare parried away and it looked like it was going to take something special to break the deadlock.
Then with extra time looking likely Dulwich went ahead with four minutes to play when a ball was played from the midfield over to the tall, rangy no 2 who had played up front for the last fifteen minutes and he picked the ball up about five yards outside the penalty area and hoisted a shot towards goal which gave Di Cesare no chance and crashed into the roof of the net and the Cray players sank to their knees. It was always going to take something special to win the game and certainly it was a great goal and from here it would have taken a Herculean effort to get back into the game for Cray.
The Wands looked to get back into it and Sidney Petters set up Bayley who was again denied by a brave block from the Dulwich keeper while at the other end from a free kick, the no 4 hit a shot which was held by Di Cesare.
Cray though didn’t have time to get back on terms but after a great game with so much to compliment both sides it was a shame there had to be a winner but in a final has to and on this occasion, Dulwich edged the game. Cray have had an outstanding season, their first under the Cray Wanderers Youth umbrella and this was only their third defeat in league and cup all season and have the Selkent A League Championship safely stored away but today despite a great effort couldn’t quite complete the double.
Team: Lorenzo Di Cesare, Denny Moore, George Mitchell, Harry Revill, Jordan Nye, Corey Holden, Sidney Petters, Mason Bayley, Kai Parrott, Bert Adams, George Thomas, Haroun Bahari
Meanwhile in the Selkent League, the U13s Sharks who won the Selkent Cup last Sunday went goal crazy in their Selkent Shield match at Dartford FC White registering a remarkable 16-3 victory to go joint top with Dulwich Village Black who Cray meet to decide the Shield on 19th May.
Two very big matches upcoming for our youth sides during the week. The U18s are in the Final of the Kent Youth League President’s Cup on Thursday night when they take on Ramsgate U18s at Corinthian FC, 7.30pm ko in what should be a great occasion.
Then next Sunday, 12th May, the Kent Youth League U13s take on Kent Football United in a Central Division title decider at Queen Mary University Ground in Chislehurst, 10.30am. Both sides are level on points with Cray leading the table on goal difference.