U9s Selkent Vase Semi Final
Cray Wanderers Sharks vs. Kingsdale Orange vs. Junior Reds Valiants
Semi Final – Game 1
Cray Wanderers U9s Sharks 1
Kingsdale Orange U9s 0
Congratulations to the Cray Wanderers U9s Sharks who are through to the final of the Selkent Vase after an almighty semi final double over two good sides, Kingsdale and Junior Reds in two very close games. This is an incredible achievement for Owen Roberts’ side as they have made the jump from last years U7s Vase winners and gone up two age groups to U9s.
They had reached this stage with earlier round victories against Swanley Rangers and Long Lane Tigers in the 2nd Round and past Kingsdale Yellow and Sporting Club Thamesmead White in the Quarter Final.
They kicked off the three game semi final series against Kingsdale Orange at London Marathon Playing Fields not far from where the London Marathon was taking place at the same time.
On a very warm and sunny day there is always great expectation before semi finals and this was a very tough game full of commitment, not too many chances but lots of very good football and defending so it would take one moment of magic to open up the game.
The Wands started well and Kayden Roberts tested the Kingsdale keeper with a low cross shot. For Kingsdale, the no 17 was played through but Kye Lewis in the Cray goal did very well to come out and smother the ball.
Roberts was starting to have an influence on the game and he made a good run from his own half and saw an effort deflected to the keeper and then made another run forward and shot over the top.
The goal came after 10 minutes and came after a great pass from halfway from Roberts out to Lyndon Snelgrove down the right who cut inside into the area and hit a fine shot across the keeper and into the bottom left corner of the net.
For Kingsdale before half time a free kick from the no 6 out on the right was deflected behind for a corner.
In the second half Cray began to work more openings and Snelgrove set up Sean Sina who clipped a shot just wide as the keeper came to meet him. This was followed by Snelgrove shooting just wide.
For Kingsdale the no 12 was again denied by the quick thinking of Lewis who came to claim the ball whilst for Cray Roberts shot wide and then set up Mahli Donaldson-Holness down the left who flicked the ball across the area but Kingsdale managed to clear.
As the game neared the end, for Kingsdale the no 6 tested Lewis with a low drive and for Cray a good run from Kian Money-Greig ended with the Kingsdale keeper making a good save.
Towards the end Kingsdale threatened when the no 4 and 6 combined but Lewis whose handling was excellent througout did well to take the cross.
Cray held on for a very hard fought victory and now sat out the next half hour as Kingsdale took on Junior Reds Valiants in the second match.
In this match, Junior Reds scored twice early in the first half but Kingsdale pulled a goal back from a penalty and the second half saw chances at both ends and Junior Reds won 2-1 which gave them a slight advantage on goal difference/goals scored so just needed a draw against the Wands.
Selkent Vase Semi Final – Game 3
Junior Reds Valiants U9s 2
Cray Wanderers Sharks U9s 3
If the first semi final was tight and hardfought this was a different type of match and Cray having to win meant a different attacking approach. The first half was almost as perfect as you could get as after a bright start from the Reds, Cray took over to work openings.
Cray won a corner down the left and the ball was switched to the right to Roberts who put a great cross into the area which no-one could get to.
Then, a really good move saw Roberts and Donaldson-Holness combine to set up Snelgrove whose shot looked destined to go into the net but for a fine one-handed save from the Reds keeper pushing the ball behind.
From a corner the ball came to Roberts but his shot was blocked and following up Mikhail Simmons shot over the top.
In the eighth minute of the half, Cray took the lead when down the right, Roberts who was in great form worked his way into the area and crashed a shot low into the bottom left corner of the net.
Two minutes later, Cray scored a second when Roberts found Snelgrove who returned a pass to Roberts just outside the area and his shot hit the underside of the bar and into the net.
It was nearly three nil when Sina down the left got into the area and his effort was saved well by the keeper who did well to block the follow up from Donaldson-Holness.
Two minutes before half time, Cray scored a third when from a corner, the ball into the area found Snelgrove who finished well to make it 3-0 at half time.
The second half looked like starting the same way the first ended with Sina shooting wide for Cray before Junior Reds got a foothold in the match. First the no 7 was unlucky with a near post effort cleared off the line.
The Reds pulled a goal back five minutes into the half when the no 5 was played into the area and finished well.
A couple of minutes later things got much more nervy for Cray when the no 4 made a great run forward and took the ball round Lewis to roll the ball into the net and make it 3-2.
Cray now had to dig in a bit and the Wands got some good possession high up the pitch and Roberts saw an effort saved.
The Wands won a couple of corners and throws to help kill time but Roberts almost claimed a hat-trick but was denied by a good save.
The Reds threw everything forward to get the goal they needed to get through but Cray defended stoutly and after what seemed an eternity managed to hold on and book their place in the final in two weeks time strangely where they will meet two Ebbsfleet United representative sides, Red and White which promises to be very interesting.
To make the step up from U7s to U9s is not an easy thing to do and they have done extremely well to reach the final and join the U8s Sharks on Finals Day.
Team: Kye Lewis, Jaemar Stanley, Matt Karge, Lyndon Snelgrove, Kayden Roberts, Kian Money-Greig, Mikhail Simmons, Mahli Donaldson-Holness, Sean Sina.
More glory was confirmed as the Cray Wanderers U12s received the Selkent U12 Central B Division title and ended in style with a 6-3 win at home to Dulwich Village.
A very consistent season which saw 13 wins, 3 draws and just 2 defeats gave Barry Husthwaites side a deserved division title. There are many great days ahead for these players and they are a tremendous side to watch.
In the Kent Youth League, the Cray Wanderers U15s remain top of the table with a four point lead over Phoenix Sports after a 4-1 home win against Long Lane. A hat-trick from Akola Salami and one from Dylan Gilbert helped Cray to make it two wins in a row following a rare defeat three weeks ago. They are next in action at fourth placed Greenwich Borough next Sunday.
The U18s B team continued their good recent form following a 2-2 draw at home to West Wickham who have been a thorn in many a Cray teams side over recent seasons. Robbie Daye scored both Cray goals in the first half and Mark Dacey’s team stay second, eight points behind Dulwich Hamlet but look settled at least to perhaps finish second.
The U11s Sharks played twice against Long Lane Pumas in the Selkent League, Indigo Shield winning both matches, 2-0 and 3-1.