Kent Youth League U18 Division North
Cray Wanderers 2
Sevenoaks Town 1
The Cray Wanderers U18s continued their perfect start to 2018 with their third straight win in a high quality match against a good Sevenoaks Town side at Foots Cray Rugby Club.
An even but competitive opening to the game saw chances at both ends but it was Cray who took the lead just after the half hour when Kwaku Gwabi Junior who had only been on the field for about 30 seconds as a substitute fired Cray into the lead. Just after the hour, Kwaku scored a second with a neat near post finish but Sevenoaks pulled a goal back with twelve minutes to go from the penalty spot.
An intriguing first few minutes saw some lively sparring but Sevenoaks came close when the no 15 down the right of the area hit a shot at the near post which was saved by Frankie Barbieri.
Then Cray worked the ball well down the right and the ball across came to Edmar Francisco whose close range effort was blocked by the Sevenoaks keeper.
Then Malachai Cooper made a great run into the box down the left and his shot was goalbound but hit a defender and crashed against the post with the keeper beaten.
Sevenoaks then saw an effort from the no 15 saved by Barbieri and then the no 8 fired wide when well placed.
A goal was coming and it came for Cray in the 32nd minute when a ball was played through to Kwaku Gyabi Junior who from 12 yards finished with great style to give Cray the lead.
Sevenoaks though ended the half well and won a couple of corners and saw efforts from the no 6, 20 and 5 all go just over the bar.
Half Time: 1-0
The second half was just as lively and after a great move Gwabi Junior was denied a second goal by a good blocked save by the keeper.
Sevenoaks though continued to look dangerous and were denied by a brilliant save by Barbieri when the no 10 put a great cross over from the right and the no 8 whose header was pushed onto the post by Barbieri and the keeper had enough about to put the no 8 off from the rebound to hit the post again and went behind.
It was just a little against the run of play when Cray scored a second goal in the 61st minute when the ball was worked down the right and the ball played across to the far post where Kwaku Gyabi Junior fired home once again to make it 2-0 and give Cray some daylight.
Cray then had a spell in the ascendancy and Deon Damte was unlucky not to score when his near post effort came back off the post and put behind for a corner. From the corner the ball eventually came to Cooper who shot into the keepers arms.
Tom Songu shot over the bar from 25 yards whilst for Sevenoaks the no 2 down the right put over a cross which possibly went out of play before hitting the top of the crossbar. Cray continued to play well and from a corner the ball came to Ben Hayes who headed wide of goal.
Twelve minutes from time, Sevenoaks pulled a goal back after the no 10 was fouled in the area and got up to stroke home the penalty to make it a close finish.
Cray though defended well in the closing minutes and almost grabbed a third when Rio Gasal saw a shot saved.
The nearest Sevenoaks came to levelling was when the no 18 hit a shot which Barbieri got down to save.
The Wands held on to win and this was a game which was very keenly contested on at times a testing pitch but the referee was excellent and controlled the game in an authoritative manner and let the game flow despite four bookings.
From out of nowhere the Wands have gone second in the table but are ten points behind leaders Dulwich Hamlet but Cray have played more games than the other teams. The U18s B team have only played six games in the league so have a bit of catching up to do.
Team: Frankie Barbieri, Albert Sadiku, Edmar Francisco, Marembo Musa, Deon Damte, Benjamin Hayes, Buddy Reilly, Rio Gasal, Hubert Matras, Malachi Cooper, Thomas Songu, Yusue Balogun, Kwaku Gyabi Junior.
Kent Youth League – U15s Division North
Cray Wanderers U15s 5 v FC Elmstead U15s 2
With a big thanks to Lee Amis for the match report.
Cray Wanderers U15s maintained their unbeaten run going in the league with a stylish win against FC Elmstead at John Roan Playing Fields.
This was the first time the teams have played and on a heavy pitch Cray started the game like they meant business and were 1-0 up after three minutes with some lovely play with Tion Cudjoe putting in a cross from the right and Akola Salami finishing with a diving header at the far post.
It was not long until goal no 2 when from a corner Jessie Bonishel headed in at the near post.
Cray were in total control and goal no 3 came from a 30 yard free kick that was curled into the net by Cudjoe.
Elmstead did not give up and won a free kick on 20 minutes which put into the far post and bundled over the line to make it 3-1.
The Wands don’t like conceding goals and went straight up the other end and scored a lovely fourth goal with Chris Al Hassan getting on the scoresheet.
Cray were playing some wonderful football on the heavy pitch and from another corner after some working on set pieces in training this paid off as Cudjoe’s cross was floated in for Toby Fashola to come up from centre back to make it 5-1.
Elmstead pulled a goal back after a long ball forward was not dealt with by Cray and it was 5-2 at half time.
The second half started as the wind picked up and the pitch was an awful mess. Both teams played some good football but no further goals were scored.
This result extends the unbeaten league run for another month now. The last league defeat was 15 months ago.
Next week sees a big test at they take on Dartford in the Quarter Finals of the Kent County Cup.
The U18s B team were knocked out of the London County Cup after leading with five minutes to go but were beaten 3-1 at Wingate & Finchley in the Quarter Final.