1/11/15: U16s Causeway Steel Challenge Cup
Maidstone United U16s 7
Cray Wanderers Youth U16s 1
The Cray Wanderers U16s were knocked out of the Causeway Steel Challenge Cup as Maidstone United were just simply too strong for Kevin Cloke’s gallant side.
This was always going to be a difficult game for the young Wands on the 3G Gallagher Stadium pitch but for 50 minutes Cray were hanging very much in the game and it was only really in the last ten minutes that the Stones started to run away with it.
In a game that started in an early November morning mist, Cray were under the cosh from the beginning and Maidstone squandered a couple of chances early on.
Cray took a while to find their feet but Ben Church was presented with a shooting chance on the right edge of the penalty area but his shot lacked direction and was cleared.
From there Maidstone took the lead in the fifteenth minute when after a decent ball into the box, Sid Warden followed up a shot which came back off the crossbar to crash home a close range finish.
From there the home side tested keeper Charlie Cloke who had to make a fine low save and also hit the post before the game evened up shortly before half time.
Cray were unlucky when a free kick out on the right was curled into the box by Tommy Carter and the home keeper was very lucky when he flapped at the cross but no one was able to capitalise on the error. From a throw in, Nathan Odunakan burst into the box but his attempted shot was blocked by a defender. Before half time Cloke had to make two very fine saves to keep the score at 0-1 at half time.
Half Time: 1-0
The second half saw Cray come out on the front foot and Joshua Okon had a shot blocked and a free kick on the right edge of the penalty area saw a shot from Carter which the keeper got down to save.
Cray were starting to make things happen up front and Church set up Odunakan with a layoff into the penalty area and his shot was saved well by the home keeper.
Maidstone though were always a threat and scored their second in the 49th minute when Warden scored his second of the game with an excellent shot on the turn from the edge of the area.
Cray came back at the hosts and indecision at the back let in Church who flicked the ball on to Odunakan who prodded the ball towards goal but was cleared almost off the line. Shortly after, Terique Echema blazed a shot over the top.
The game became very stretched at this stage and Maidstone scored two goals in two minutes to effectively seal the tie. In the 58th minute, Olanji Adebayo made it 3-0 with a low drive from the edge of the area. Two minutes it became 4-0 when Warden completed his hat-trick from close range.
Cray kept plugging away and got the goal their performance deserved in the 63rd minute when Church and Odunakan helped set up a chance for James Goldshaker who made no mistake from five yards out for a goal that was warmly applauded by the Maidstone supporters .
From here though, Maidstone dominated the last fifteen minutes creating several chances with Cloke in particular kept very busy.
Goal number five arrived in the 70th minute when Leyton O’Connor headed home a right wing cross.
Cray kept going till the end but two goals in the last couple of minutes put rather a harsh gloss on the scoreline. Firstly Owen Featherstone scored from a cross from the left and then Adebayo scored his second with practically the last kick of the game.
This was always going to be a difficult match for Cray but certainly they gave it their all but Maidstone just had that extra bit of quality built from continuity of a side that had been together for a long time.
Cray are back in action next Sunday (8th November) when they entertain Sevenoaks Town at Cascade Leisure Centre, Gravesend.
Team Selection: Charlie Cloke, Moses Makanga, Al-Wajid Yusuff, Harry Law, Terique Echema, Tommy Carter, Joshua Okon, Ben Church, Donell Travers, Nathan Odunakan, Thabo Nkomo: Sam Slipper, Tom Elyes, James Goldshaker, Ibrahim Conteh, Michael Asande.
Elsewhere in the Kent Youth League, the U18s were beaten by their bogey team this season as they went down to a 3-1 defeat at West Wickham in an U18 North match. The two teams meet again next Sunday in the Kit to Fit Challenge Cup tie at Goals Eltham. Cray drop to second in the table on goal difference.
The U14s were knocked out of the Reader and Phillips Cup with a 2-4 defeat at home to Cuxton 1991.
Meanwhile the U13s made it through to the second round of the U13 Kent County Cup after an exciting 5-4 win at Woodcoombe to advance to the next round. Incredibly the two teams meet again in the Viatex Challenge Cup in two weeks’ time again at Woodcoombe. For the first time this season, the team went behind in a game after an early Atta Guedu goal. From 2-1 behind they responded to go 3-2 up at the break with Guedu and Dave Ofiliabu putting the Wands ahead. Two goals in the second half, a wonder strike from Tion Cudjoe and another Ofiliabu goal made it 5-2 before the home side pulled two back before the end.
In the SELKENT League, the U14s carried on their fine form with a 3-2 win at Dulwich Hamlet. Timi Osidobu’s team are fifth in the table with 6 points, two points behind the leaders.