Kent Youth League – U16s Central Division
Cray Wanderers Youth 2
APM Holtwood 4
The Cray Wanderers U16s went down to defeat in their latest Kent Youth League U16 Central Division match despite a stirring comeback and a fine second half performance which deserved better at the Cascades Leisure Centre, Gravesend.
Kevin Cloke’s side came into the game on the back of a good cup win last week but began the game bottom of the table against APM Holtwood.
Cray looked anything but a bottom of the table side in the early stages but the game had a remarkable spell of five goals in eleven minutes. The away side who looked a decent side going forward took the lead in the eight minute when Joshua Spencer picked up a loose ball and hit a speculative shot from twenty five yards which looped into the net.
Cray came close to tying the game when from a Tommy Carter corner the ball came out to Rohan Bunger who played the ball into the box but Ben Church couldn’t direct his header on goal.
Holtwood then scored two goals in two minutes when their number 11 scored with a delicate lob and then a minute later Spencer scored his second excellent goal, this time with a hooked shot which flew into the top corner.
It looked at this stage that it might become an embarrassment for Cray but they showed their mettle and got back into the game with two goals of their own in the 17th and 18th minutes.
Firstly, a superb through ball from Ibrahim Conteh beat the Holtwood offside trap and Michael Alashe burst through and tucked home a very tidy finish from the edge of the box.
A minute later, Cray pulled another goal back when Church made a strong run down the left and cut the ball back to Conteh who gave the keeper no chance with a shot into the bottom right corner.
The game then went ten minutes without a goal as the game evened up but the visitors scored again in the 28th minute when a penalty was awarded and the no 11 scored his second goal of the game.
Cray kept plugging away and were unlucky when Church’s cross shot from out on the right came back off the angle of post and crossbar.
Half Time: 2-4
There was no further scoring in the second half but there was plenty for Cray to be proud of as they carried the fight and came close to scoring on a number of occasions. Firstly from a free kick, Carter set up Conteh for a shot which forced the keeper to make a smart low stop before the Holtwood no 11 came close to claiming his hat trick with a deft lob which just went over the bar.
Church was working extremely hard and getting in good forward positions and he took advantage of a poor back header to run on and as the keeper advanced off his line, his chip went narrowly wide. APM Holtwood were denied by a superb save from Charlie Cloke who denied the no 10 from close range.
From a Carter corner, Church headed wide and then Carter direct from a free kick fired over the top. Then Church once again capitalised on poor defending to find himself a shooting opportunity but he pulled his shot wide.
Cray kept on going, never once showing signs of flagging and were very unlucky when Church found space inside the area his shot was blocked and the follow up fell to Alashe whose effort was cleared off the line.
This was the last of the chances and despite the defeat there were many positives for Kevin Cloke to take from the game ahead of the remainder of the season.
Their next fixture is on Sunday, 8th November when they are at home to Sevenoaks Town.
Team: Charlie Cloke, Sam Slipper, Tom Eyles, Harry Law, Rohan Bunger, Tommy Carter, Donell Trowers, Joshua Okon, Ibrahim Conteh, Michael Alashe, Ben Church: Replacements: Fanoth Ajayi, Ali Yussuf
Elsewhere the U18s were eliminated from the Kent County Cup following a 0-1 defeat at home to Long Lane.
The Cray U13s excellent start to the season continued with a convincing 6-0 home win against Bexley at John Roan School.
In the Selkent League, The Cray U12 Sharks were beaten 3-4 at home to Kidbrooke Knights Dynamo whilst the Piranhas went down to a 0-9 defeat at Deptford Dragons.