Please see here two match reports on the two Cray Wanderers Youth sides who were in Selkent Cup Finals on Sunday May 23rd.

Although both teams came up narrowly short in winning the respective trophies there was still a lot to be proud of in their respective achievements.

Cray Wanderers U16s vs. Crayford Arrows U16s

Selkent Cup Final: 23/5/21 @ Long Lane FC

Cray Wanderers U16s                           1          Jackson 41         

Crayford Arrows U16s                          3         

Cray Wanderers U16s hopes of winning the Selkent Cup were dashed as two late Crayford Arrows goals settled an absorbing final at Long Lane. On an at times unpredictable morning for weather with occasional rain, gusty winds and grey skies both teams served up a great, competitive final.

After an even start to the game, Crayford went in front with a fine piece of skill from the no 14 who cut inside and hit a curler into the top left corner and also hit the bar in the first half. Cray though levelled shortly after the restart when a throw into the box was helped across to the far post where George Jackson steered the ball into the net.

Both teams had chances to win but it looked like extra-time was looming when fifteen minutes from time, Crayford were awarded a rather harsh penalty against a handball from George Blade and the no 8 slotted home the penalty. Cray continued to threaten but in the dying moments, Crayford scored a cracking third when the no 88 thundered home a free kick from 25 yards which gave Daniel Michael no chance to save.

Vincenzo Cristiano’s Cray side had reached the final beating IFA FC, Darford, Danson Sports Blue and Danson Sports Black in the semi-final last Saturday. Crayford Arrows are always a very well organised and proud club at youth level and promised to be a tough game for the Wands.

Cray began on the front foot and came close early on when Chinedu Okoro combined with Elijah Boateng to set up Renaldae Brown inside the area but the Crayford keeper did well to block for a corner.

Crayford with perhaps the advantage of the wind began to threaten and from a left wing corner the ball to the far post was volleyed wide by the no 10. Meanwhile, the no 14 was a constant thorn in the Wands side all morning with his pace and poise and did well down the right to cut into the box but his wind affected shot went off target.

Then a flick on from a corner by the no 6 had to be cleared inside the six yard box which was followed by another corner from the left to the far post being headed into the side net by the no 4. Then the no  15 saw a shot held by Michael.

In the 23rd minute, Crayford went in front when the no 14 again showed his poise and pace to break close to the right edge of the area and hit a terrific cross shot which just avoided the fingertips of Michael and into the top left corner.

Crayford saw a shot from the no 8 held but Cray had a chance to level when Ibrahim Barrie found Perry Daniel inside the area but again the keeper did well to block and when the ball came to George Jackson another block saw the ball cleared.  Then Okoro volleyed across goal but the flag was raised for offside.

Crayford came close to scoring a second when the no 8 saw a well struck shot blocked and the ball fell to the no 14 who turned the ball against the crossbar and George Blade did well to block the rebound.

Before half time another good ball from the no 14 found the no 15 whose shot was saved by Michael’s legs while for Cray Barrie set up Blade down the right of the area but his shot was well held by the keeper. For Crayford, the no 11 fired over and the no 8 saw a near post effort blocked but at half time, Cray were just hanging in the game.

The second half began in dramatic fashion with barely a minute gone, Cray drew level when from a throw in from Clinton Taiwo down the right the ball into the box was deflected to the far post to George Jackson who did well to steer the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 1-1 with plenty of the game still to play.

Crayford still posed a threat and the no 8 who had a great game hit a well struck volley which drew a terrific save from Michael and did brilliantly to follow up and save.

Cray came close to scoring when another Taiwo throw in to the box was cleared out to Jackson who hit a well struck shot just wide.  Then a free kick out on the right from Luke Frost was flicked on by Marcus Cristiano but across the goal and no one could apply a touch.  Then another free kick was met by a header from Okoro but the keeper did well to claim.

Crayford had their best chance of the half when the no 8 played a great ball through to the no 14 down the left of the area but his shot lacked power and Michael was able to save.

After a brief scrappy period of play, Crayford had the chance to retake the lead with perhaps a little harsh penalty award after a ball across into the area down the right was adjudged to have been handled by George Blade and the no 8 stroked home the penalty with about 15 minutes to go.

It looked like it would be a grandstand finish but Crayford finished the game quite strongly and had one or two opportunities to strengthen a grip and the no 14 was denied by another good save from Michael.

Cray just couldn’t forge a last chance to take the game to extra-time and in the last minute, the game was over when from a free kick 25 yards out, the no 88 hit a pearler which crashed past Michael into the top right corner and made it 3-1.

Cray Wanderers though had put up a great showing against a very good Crayford side and nothing to be ashamed of in the performance and the team can take the confidence of reaching the final into next season.

Cray Wanderers U16s Manager Vincenzo Cristiano

Cray Wanderers: Daniel Michael, Max Gregson, George Jackson, Ben Turner, George Blade, Marcus Cristiano, Clinton Taiwo, Elijah Boateng, Renaldae Brown, Perry Daniel, Chinedu Okoro, Luke Frost (Capt.), Johnny Lidbury, George Aldridge, Ibrahim Barrie

Cray Wanderers U15s vs. Athenlay U15s

Selkent Cup Final: 23/5/21 @ Long Lane FC

Cray Wanderers U15s          4          Fashanu 1, Nouble 30, Pinder 45 pen,

                                                                   Murphy 70         

Athenlay U15s                          5         

After a remarkable high scoring Selkent U15s final which swung this way and that there was a late sting in the tail as a goal a minute from time for Athenlay meant the Eltham based side won the cup in dramatic fashion.

The Wands got off to a flyer with an incredible strike from just inside his own half from captain Nathaniel Fashanu in the opening minute but Athenlay settled the better early on and levelled in the 16th minute and then went ahead five minutes later.

Cray though bounced back and on the half hour levelled through a fine individual goal from Mark Nouble to tie the game at 2-2 at half time.

The second half though got off to a bad start for Cray with Athenlay forcing home two close range goals in the opening four minutes of the half to lead 4-2 but Cray came back three minutes later with a penalty converted by Jeremiah Pinder after Nouble was brought down.  This left a lot of time for Cray to come back and ten minutes from time it was 4-4 when Nouble’s shot came back off the left post and Alfie Murphy followed up the rebound.  Alas with the game heading for extra-time Athenlay went back in front when a right wing corner played into the area was turned in by the no 9 and Cray couldn’t conjure up another comeback.

Ahmidi Fashanu’s Cray had an marvellous run to the final beating Long Lane Jaguars, Lewisham Youth, Hayden Youth Black and in another dramatic game a last minute winner to beat Teviot Rangers in the Semi-Final, 4-3.

As with the earlier U16s final, the weather and pitch wasn’t conducive to a great skilful match but certainly was frenetic and both sets of players deserve credit for putting on such a great game. Cray were also down to the bare bones with 12 players available.

The game couldn’t have started any better for Cray when in the opening minute captain Nathaniel Fashanu from a long way out smashed the ball forward towards goal with the keeper perhaps caught in two minds and flew over him into the net.

Cray couldn’t quite capitalise on that great start and the game got a little scrappy but soon picked up and Athenlay who were beginning to grow in the game drew level in the 16th minute when a cross from the no 7 was helped on by the no 4 and fired in from close range by the no 11.

Five minutes later and Athenlay went in front when a free kick floated into the area from the no 7 was met by a firm header from the no 10 who got to the ball ahead of keeper Elijah White to make it 2-1.

On the half hour though Cray levelled with a fine goal when a great pass from Sam Williams found Marc Nouble who had a great game for the Wands who cut into the box  and from the left of the area fired into the net at the near post.

Cray had a great chance to go in front before half time when the ball was worked from the left into the area for Alfie Murphy whose goalbound shot was blocked by a defender almost on the line. Then the lively Nouble cut inside from the left and fired over but at half time the score was tied at 2-2.

The second half began badly for Cray and within three minutes of the restart, Athenlay regained the lead when a left wing corner from the no 11 found its way to the far post and the no 19 up from the back headed into the net.

A minute later it was 4-2 when another corner played into the area from the left was this time turned in from two yards by the no 14.

It was starting to look like Cray would need to score pretty soon to remain in the game and they duly did score when Nouble showed great pace to break into the area and was chopped down before shooting and a penalty was awarded. Jeremiah Pinder stepped up to confidently score and it was 4-3 with just over half an hour still to play.

Cray kept going forward and Athenlay were having to do a lot of defending. For Cray, Pinder set up Williams who shot over and then Adebayo Alaya hit a shot from distance which was held by the keeper.

Then a corner from the left by Williams was headed over by Louie Paterson and a throw in came to Murphy who lashed over with a volley. For Athenlay a rare break saw the no 7 have a shot saved by White.

With ten minutes to go, Cray drew level after once again great work by Nouble who worked his way into the area down the right and his cross-shot thudded back off the left post and following up Murphy turned the ball into the net and we were now at 4-4 and the prospect of extra-time.

Both sides pushed for a winner with a deflected shot for the no 7 for Athenlay was held by White while at the other end Nouble again showed his power by turning inside the area and his effort was deflected behind for a corner.

However with the game looking like extra time was needed Athenlay won a corner down the right. Set pieces had been a bit of problem for Cray all afternoon and the ball was swung towards the far post and it appeared the no 9 got the final touch to steer the ball into the net and was too late for Cray to have another riposte.

Credit needs to be made for both sides, Cray for their character in keeping bouncing back but also to Athenlay who got off to a shocking start and did look threatening when they attacked and showed their own powers of recovery to win at the end.  There was a sense of dejection and disbelief for the Cray players at the end but they should be proud of their achievement to reach the final and give it their all.

Cray Wanderers U15s Manager Ahmidi Fashanu

Cray Wanderers:            Elijah White, George Bastick, Marc Nouble, Alfie Murphy, Louie Paterson, Nathaniel Fashanu, Freddie Witham, Lucas Vasquez, Jamie Raggett, Samuel Williams, Jeremiah Pinder, Adebayo Alaya