Cray Wanderers U15s Lions vs. Bromley U15s  – Match Report

Kent Youth League North:  27/2/22

 Cray Wanderers U15s Lions                                   2

Olufemi 44, 80

 Bromley U15s                                                            0

Cray Wanderers U15s Lions stretched their  lead at the top of the Kent Youth League North to seven points after a hard fought victory against last season’s U14s North Champion Bromley at Footscray Rugby Club as two second half Jayden Olufemi goals gave Cray a 2-0 win.

Cray came into the game in good form and had lost just one of their last seven league and cup games and had a four point lead over second placed Metrogas having played one game fewer and eight in front of 3rd placed Bromley who have three games in hand.

On a sunny morning at Footscray Rugby Club with perhaps just the lightest puff of wind it promised to be a tense affair with so much at stake and two good sides with plenty of mutual respect between them.

The first half was particularly tight and one of few chances but plenty of endeavour and quality on show.  Cray were perhaps just shading the early exchanges and had the first shooting opportunity when Michael Ihiedi fired in a shot down the right of the area which perhaps may have been going wide but the Bromley keeper had to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Bromley in their all blue away strip took a little time to get going but did threaten from a free kick down the right and the no 5 floated a ball into the area and Harry Haines had to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.

For Cray from a corner down the left, Ollie Perkins cross was headed over by Marcel Tola while for Bromley a ball across from the no 6 down the right was well claimed by Haines. Then from another free kick played in by the no 5 the ball was cleared out to the no 10 who curled a shot over the bar from just outside the area.

 After a bit of sparring the game had a little flurry and Tola shot well over for Cray and down the right Harry Bunclark just couldn’t get a firm enough connection to a shot down the right of the area and went behind.  For Bromley the no 9 broke into the area but was denied a shooting chance by a terrific tackle from Aron Shehu.

The last action of the half saw a corner for Cray which came out to Cameron McQueen but his shot was blocked and for Bromley the no 10 cut inside from the right and his shot was held by Haines.

 HT:      0-0

 It was looking increasingly likely that it would take a moment of magic to break the deadlock and after a fairly scrappy start to the second half it arrived. Four minutes after the re-start Jayden Olufemi won the ball down the right of the area in a challenge with a Bromley defender,turned and from 20 yards hit an unstoppable shot which went wide of the keeper and into the left corner of the net for a breathtaking piece of finishing.

Far from opening up the game it became a little fractious but was superbly refereed and what could have been a difficult encounter was handled very well by the young ref.

Chances continued to be at a premium with Bromley having most of the ball and down the left the no 8 found the no 6 and his cross-shot went across the box.

 Cray were perhaps giving away one or two free kicks in a dangerous position but nothing really came of them.  There was a heart in mouth moment when Haines came to meet a Bromley forward and was adjudged to have handled the ball outside the area but there was no sending off which was the correct decision as hadn’t prevented a goalscoring chance.  From the free kick the no 5 curled a shot off target.

Cray were defending stoutly and confidently but were able to get up the other end and from a throw in down the left the ball came to the impressive Tola who shot over the bar.

 As the half was drawing to a nervy conclusion again Bromley had one or two set piece opportunities but sometimes the final ball was lacking or the defending stout.

 The game was in its final minute when from a throw in down the right Bromley looked to grab a leveller and the ball inside the box Haines did superbly to throw himself at the ball on the line and turn the ball behind for a corner.  

 From this corner in added on time came a late twist as the ball was played in from the right and Cray were able to clear their lines but with the Bromley keeper up for the corner left his goal exposed and Odeyemi was able to break away with incredible speed on his own and had time an the composure to fire the ball into the net from seven yards and seal the win for Cray.

 This was a very mature and disciplined performance from Cray Wanderers in a tough match which augurs well for the remaining six matches and this was one where your satisfaction will come from the win rather than how many goals you score.  Steve Owen and Steve Redman’s side have been a great watch for a number of years now and as they advance through the age groups are getting very close now to FA Youth Cup status or even first team consideration within the next couple of years.  Cray now lead the table by seven points and have won their last five league games and the fate of their first Kent Youth League championship (they possibly would have won as U13s in the 2019-20 season before finishing early) is in their hands at this time.

Cray Wanderers and Bromley meet again in the Kent FA U15s Cup Final at Sheppey United on 27th March which promises perhaps to be a different type of game.

 Team:  Harry Haines, Callum Redman, Alfie Ozdamar, Aron Shehu, Kaya Mahmut, Oliver Perkins, Cameron McQueen, Marcel Tola, Harry Bunclark, Michael Ihiedi, Jayden Olufemi; Kieran Oba, Heath Cole-Goodwin, George Mitchell, Ben Cook, Sam Hards