Hollands & Blair vs Cray Wanderers 

FA Youth Cup – Preliminary Round – Tuesday 5th September

Hollands & Blair                                                      1

Brooks 38

Cray Wanderers                                                      2

Allen-Beattie 45+1, Owusu-Boateng 88l

Cray Wanderers advanced to the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup after a dramatic late winner from substitute David Owusu-Boateng helped the Wands past Hollands & Blair in a terrific, Preliminary Round tie.

The Wands had to show their mettle after going a goal behind in the 38th minute scored by Jayden Brooks but levelled on the stroke of half time through a poacher’s finish from Tommy Allen-Beattie after Lennie Rye’s shot was pushed out.

With the tie looking possibly set for penalties, Cray had to withstand some pressure in the second half but broke out to take the lead two minutes from the end after a great piece of skill from Michael Ihiedi who down the right cut past three defenders before sending over an inviting cross to the far post when David Owusu-Boateng hooked home a half volley to decide the game.

The Wands had advanced past Sevenoaks Town in the last round and got off to a confident start at the Star Meadow Sports Complex and after a good spell of passing from Cray, Frankie Forrester’s ball in from the left towards the far post was met by Tommy Allen-Beattie and his strike hit the side netting.

Hollands & Blair came close also when a fine cross from the right by Zachary Willson was headed over from 8 yards by Jayden Brooks.

At the other end, the lively Michael Ihiedi was brought down just outside the area down the left and from the free kick, Cameron McQueen-Hinkley’s cross was cleared out to Jaylen Bains who fired over the top.

Both defences then had a spell on top and there were some fine tackles going in and it was a competitive, compelling tie with both teams playing well.

The Wands had a good spell just after the half hour with Ihiedi to the fore.  Firstly down the left he cut inside, found space and fired in a shot which was held by James Longbottom.  Then the Hollands & Blair keeper did well to hold another shot from Ihiedi this time after a run and shot from 25 yards.

However, in the 38th minute and slightly against the run of play Hollands & Blair went in front after they won the ball down the right via Willson and then Devonte West’s cross to the far post was turned in by Brooks.

The home side had their tails up then and Brooks came close to scoring again when he hooked a cross from the left across goal.

Cray had deserved to be level at the break and a minute into injury time at the end of the half when McQueen-Hinkley played a ball forward from the back into the area which was headed out to Lennie Rye who from just inside the area hit a well struck shot which was pushed out by Longbottom and Allen-Beattie was on hand to score from a couple of yards.

HT:  1-1

The second half continued to be an enjoyable contest but one that looked like the next goal would win it.

Cray began the half again with purpose but Hollands & Blair played well throughout the half which saw a few more crunching tackles and a few bookings as the intensity of the match grew.

Hollands & Blair threatened again through the goalscorer Brooks who made a positive run forward and his shot from 20 yards was well held by Tom King.

Then Lewis Allan made a good run forward for the home side and his shot from outside the box was possibly going in the bottom right corner and King did superbly to turn the ball behind for a corner.

This was followed by Kene Ukatu down the left curling a cross across goal which went past the right post.

Cray were just beginning to come under more concerted pressure and down the right a free kick from Elbie-Joe Boichat was headed wide by Augusto Chiari but may well have been flagged offside.

Then Allan cut inside from the left but his shot towards the near post was well held once again by King whose handling all game was excellent.

Cray almost went in front with five minutes to go when Sase Ogebide-Ihama won the ball and deflected into the path of Ihedi down the right and his shot went wide of the angle of post and crossbar.

With the game seemingly heading for penalties, Cray went in front for the first time when Ihiedi showed remarkable skill especially so late in the game to skip past three defenders and from inside the box put over a great, tantalising cross to the far post where David Owusu-Boateng was on hand to first time fire into the net and make it 2-1 to Cray.

Cray almost put the game to bed when Ihiedi again showed his skill and was unlucky to see his curling effort bounce just wide of the left post.  Then Ihedi fired into the side netting down the right.

With nine minutes of added on time there was still time for Hollands & Blair to take the game to penalties and won a couple of corners and from one of these the ball came to Brooks who had a great game for the home side whipped over a cross shot from the left to the far post but no-one could get on the end of the cross.

In the end Cray saw out the win and will now be at home to Corinthian in the 1st Qualifying Round due to be played w/c 18th September.

This was an exceptional contest with a few crunching tackles going in but a fine level of commitment and no little skill on show and was a credit to both teams.  There always has to be a winner in a cup tie and Cray did well against a strong, direct side and had to show the skillful and gritty sides of the game and finished the game strongly and Roy Brookes’ side move on in the competition.

Hollands & Blair: James Longbottom, Elbie–Joe Boichat, Augusto Chiari, Finley Holme, Jamie Thain, Lewis Allan, Finlay Cousins, Zachary Willson, Drew Briffitt, Devonte West, Jayden Brooks.  Subs:  Oliver Douglas, Ellis Straun, Rhys Richards, Kene Ukatu, Ethan Kerr

Booked: Boichat, Allan

Cray Wanderers: Tom King, Callum Redman, Lennie Rye (Kaya Mahmut, 63), Finlay Avery, Frankie Forrester (Kevin Bamba, 78), Jabari Anthony-Ofeosi, Cameron McQueen-Hinkley, Sase Ogebide-Ihama, Jaylen Bains, Michael Ihiedi, Tommy Allen-Beattie (David Owusu-Boateng, 72): Sub:  Ryan Kwesi-Opoku

Booked: Rye 62, Bains 68, Avery 75, Ogebide-Ihama 90+8

Referee: Nicholas Derraine