Selkent U9s Cup – Semi Final
Cray Wanderers vs. Danson Sports Red & VCD Athletic White
The Cray Wanderers U9s were in Selkent Cup Semi Final action this morning as they took on Danson Sports Red and VCD Athletic White at the London Marathon Sports Ground. This was for a place in the final on 7th May.
Phil Foster’s team had beaten Dulwich Village Orange, Phoenix Sports Tigers, Bruin Lions and Eltham Town to make it to Semi Finals day and they put in two fine displays but ultimately fell just short and were edged out by Danson Sports for a place in the final. Cray had beaten VCD Athletic 3-0 in their first game and just needed a draw to advance but Danson won 3-1 with all the goals coming in the second half.
The competition started with Danson taking on VCD which ended in a 1-1 draw which VCD could consider themselves unfortunate not to win.
VCD Athletic White 0 Cray Wanderers 3
Cray started against the Vickers with the advantage of a strong wind and they certainly made this tell with three first half goals. VCD had the first shot on goal with the no 7 having a which was well saved by Conor Fowler.
Cray though a couple of minutes later took the lead with an exceptional piece of vision from Steeve Noutcha-Ngounoh who from the halfway line fired in a shot which caught the wind and looped over the VCD keeper and into the net and in off the crossbar.
The Wands continued on the attack and good work by Liam Foster on the left byline saw a ball pulled back to Zacchaeus Hall but he couldn’t quite steer the ball on target and went wide. Then Noutcha-Ngounoh hit another long range effort which the keeper did well to push away with the wind again a factor.
Cray had a bit of a let off when the no 7 again tested Fowler with a good shot which was pushed out and the no 5 drove wide.
With half time approaching Cray went two up when once again Noutcha-Nguonoh scored with another speculative effort which the keeper could only push into the net.
Then two minutes later it was 3-0 when Foster down the left cut inside and fired in a fierce cross shot which gave the keeper no chance to save.
The only down side of the half appeared to be what looked like a serious leg injury to the VCD no 9 and the game was held up for a few minutes. Thankfully the lad was ok and returned to the pitch in the second half.
VCD had the advantage of the conditions in the second half but Cray came close to scoring again when Gary Youchev fired a shot wide.
VCD had to chase the game the game and did knock on the door a few times to score but good handling by Fowler and good defending prevented a goal.
Cray came closest to scoring again and Noutcha-Nguonoh was denied a hat trick by a fine save by the keeper which the ball bounced seemingly over the line before being cleared and should really have been a goal.
VCD had a couple of chances near the end but fired shots wide and the final whistle went on a good Cray victory which eliminated the Vickers and meant they just had to win or avoid defeat against Danson Sports to go through.
Cray Wanderers 1 Danson Sports Red 3
The second match saw a refreshed Danson side pretty much dominate the game but came up against a resolute Cray with Fowler in good form making some smart stops early on.
Chances for Cray with the wind against them were few but did create one just before half time. When from a throw in the ball came to Noutcha-Ngounoh whose effort was met by a good save from the Danson keeper.
A half time score of 0-0 suited Cray but it was always going to be a difficult second half and it proved with Danson scoring three goals in a five minute spell.
Firstly, the no 11 was played through and showed good composure to rifle the ball into the net. At this stage Cray just needed a goal to get back in charge of the group.
Unfortunately they never really got a chance to clear their heads after that goal and it was 2-0 two minutes later when from a rather soft free kick award the no 4 crashed home a superb free kick which gave Fowler no chance to save.
Then a minute it was 3-0 when from a left wing corner, the ball was played into the penalty box and the no 11 turned the ball in from close range.
Cray had to chase the game and got back into the game with eight minutes to go when they were awarded a penalty for handball. Noutcha-Ngounoh struck home the penalty for his third goal of the afternoon.
The Wands kept battling and Hall flicked the ball over the bar following a corner. Then Foster made a run and his shot was pushed behind by the keeper. The keeper also made a great save from another shot from Hall.
Despite the pressure, Cray were not able to score the two goals needed to get them to the final and so bowed out honourably from the competition. Danson now join Welling United Red and Club Langley Hawks in the final.
The Cray team did themselves proud and there were some fine performances. Harley Richardson in particular caught the eye and Chris Kamara and Ola Yusuf did well at the back especially in the second half against VCD.
Cray team: Conor Fowler, Chris Kamara, Ola Yusuf, Stefano Dedja, Ellis Morgan-Smith, Steeve Noutcha-Nguonoh, Harley Richardson, Liam Foster, Gary Youchev, Ricardo Dyer, Zacchaeus Hall.
Elsewhere in the Kent Youth League there was an excellent result for the Cray Wanderers U14s who won 3-1 at Junior Elite. The home side went ahead after 2 minutes with Cray having to play up the hill into the wind and were caught on the break.
Cray though got back on level terms with one of Tion Cudjoe’s 30 yard free kick specials. This was followed by Chris Al-Hassan taking advantage of a mis-hit shot from Cudjoe to score from eighteen yards.
The Wands scored again with another blockbuster strike, this time from Femi Abate to make it 3-1. As the game wore down Cray were indebted to keeper Bobby Pavoux who made three fine saves particularly a double save when he dived to his left to save from the Elite striker and got up to save the rebound.
Cray remain fourth in the table after the win and are looking in fine fettle for the remainder of the season. Their training sessions are being enriched by the expertise of former Charlton first team coach, Damien Matthew and this appears to be paying off. They are at Crayford Arrows next week.
Back in the Selkent League, James Taylor’s wonderful U13s side won their opening Green Shield game 4-3 at Greenwich Borough Lions.
The two U11 sides were both beaten today in their latest Aqua Shield games. The Acorns were beaten 2-4 at a very strong Dulwich Village Orange side. The Lions meanwhile were beaten 3-4 at Junior Reds Athletic. The two teams are due to meet soon which should be quite an occasion.