Kent Youth League: U14 Division North
Cray Wanderers 2 Greenwich Borough 3
The Cray Wanderers U14s recent run of good form came to an end as they went down to a rather unlucky home defeat to Greenwich Borough. Sean Foley and Lee Amis’ young Wands side in fourth place in the table had lost just one of the last eight league games and had won their last three games to put themselves back in the title picture.
They came up against a well organised and resolute Greenwich Borough side, one place above Cray who benefited from two rather fortunate goals early in each half and a fine goalkeeping display to keep the Wands from getting at least a point.
The game was spoilt by very difficult windy conditions which made it hard to get the ball down and play, particularly for Cray in the first half but the players on both sides did their best to battle the elements.
Greenwich started slightly the better of the two sides perhaps with the conditions in their favour and took the lead after just three minutes with a terrible piece of bad luck for Cray. A pass was punted forward but Tobi Fashola’s attempted header back to keeper Bobby Pavoux got caught in the wind and the ball blew into the net.
Cray found it hard to get things going for a spell after that with Greenwich looking the more lively side. In the 11th minute, Hamreed Ishola hit a long range strike which just went over the bar. Then from a throw in the ball came to Emmanuel Oduguwa who fired a strike just over the top.
Both sides then had a spell where they couldn’t quite get the ball under control but in the 22nd minute, Cray’s hopes took another knock when Adi Ibrahim was brought crashing down in the penalty area and Ishola confidently scored from the spot.
Two minutes later though out of nothing Cray pulled a goal back when keeper Archie Brown from a back pass tried to dribble the ball but was intercepted by Femi Abate who showed good composure to round the keeper and crash the ball into the net. Unfortunately for Cray this was the only mistake the keeper would make in the game.
This brought a lively ending to the first half and Cray almost got back on terms when Abate was put through again down the left but this was denied by a fine double block by Brown. Cray continued on the attack and Tion Cudjoe found Chris Al-Hassan down the right who fired in a wicked cross-shot which went narrowly wide of the left post.
Cray continued to press and Dylan Gilbert tested Brown with a low drive from distance. However, Cray were indebted to the excellence of their keeper when shortly before half time, a throw in came to Alex Sodje who seemed odds on to score inside the area but his effort was pushed behind spectacularly by Pavoux.
The last action of a first half which picked up momentum as the game went on came for Cray when Abate found Al-Hassan inside the area but he was denied a goal by a fine last ditch tackle by Jack Stevens.
Half Time: 1-2
Cray possibly had the more favourable conditions in the second half but had terrible misfortune once again six minutes after the break as Greenwich restored their two goal advantage. The ball was worked down the left where Ibrahim mishit a cross towards goal but the ball came off the chest for Ishola and looped into the net for his second goal of the game.
Cray looked to get back into the game straight and Abate saw a close range effort blocked by Ryan Theobald. The as ever influential Tion Cudjoe after a fairly quiet first half came to the fore in the second and played a fine ball through to Harvey Smith, whose first touch was excellent to get him in on goal but the keeper was brave and came out to block with his feet.
Then from a corner, the ball eventually came to Max Gayle who hit a shot which went wide of goal. This was followed by Cudjoe down the left putting a ball into the box for Abate who couldn’t quite get the ball under sufficient control to get a shot at goal and the ball was cleared.
Cray pressure was starting to grow and Abate’s ball into the area came to Al-Hassan who from eight yards saw his shot brilliantly saved by Brown diving to keep the ball out and it seemed like it was going to be one of those days.
The game was going from end to end at this stage with Greenwich looking dangerous on the break and Jaydan Davy was denied by a good double stop by Pavoux.
Back at the other end, Cray won a corner and Cudjoe’s cross was met by the head of Gayle but straight to the keeper who smothered the ball on the line. Then Cudjoe saw a shot deflected over the bar from 30 yards for a corner.
Greenwich tried to finish the game off and efforts by Davy and Sodje went just wide of goal However, Cray kept coming forward and a cross from Smith from the right was met by Cudjoe but directed his header wide of goal.
With barely time to go, Cray pulled a goal back when they were awarded a penalty when Al-Hassan was brought down, although it seemed the foul took place just outside the area and the striker fell inside the box. Cudjoe slotted home the kick coolly but there wasn’t really any time left for any more drama and Greenwich hung on for the win.
Considering the conditions, it was a really fine effort from both sides and Cray in particular apart from perhaps the penalty, had very little fortune and perhaps on another day may have gotten something out of the game.
Cray remain ten points behind the league leaders Bromley having played one game more who Cray beat a few weeks ago. They are next in action next Sunday when they face Crayford Arrows at home.
Team: Bobby Pavoux, Dylan Gilbert, Kasey Bekoe, Tobi Fashola, William Amis, Jenyd Hofdofia, Tion Cudjoe, Theo Foley, Taku Zhanghaza, Chris Al-Hassan, Femi Abate: Harvey Smith, Max Gayle, Josh Richards.
There were no other league games for the Kent Youth League sides today with the U18s and U16s not in action.
Unfortunately due to a number of logistical reasons, the U15’s have had to withdraw from the Central League and we thank Tyrone Sterling and his team for their great attitude shown during the campaign but will not complete their league season.
In the Selkent League the U15s were beaten 1-3 at Teviot Rangers Red in their latest U15 A League game. They remain seventh in the table with 13 points. Next week they are away to Petts Wood Griffins.
Meanwhile, the U13s Sharks also lost narrowly as third place Cray lost 2-3 at home to second place, Kidbrooke Knights Dynamo. Next week they are in Shield action as they travel to Phoenix Sports Tigers.