Sunday 6th June was a good day for Cray Wanderers Youth as three teams reached Mini-Soccer Finals Day. The U8’s Sharks, U9s and U10s all made it through to Vase Finals and here is the story of the three finals. We had two winners but congratulations to all teams involved that made it such an enjoyable afternoon in Shooters Hill.
SELKENT KEN PICKERELL U8’s CHALLENGE VASE TWO FINAL
6/6/21 – London Marathon Ground
Dulwich Village Red 0 Cray Wanderers Sharks 1
Cray Wanderers Sharks 1 Dulwich Village White 0
Congratulations to the Cray Wanderers U8s Sharks who won the Selkent Vase II with two hard earned 1-0 victories against side representing Dulwich Village. Joseph Clark’s team had to battle hard in both games against stubborn opponents but one goal was enough in both games and deserved to win the trophy.
Match 1 of the final pitted Cray vs the blue shirted Dulwich Village Red and perhaps not surprisingly the first half was edgy with few chances with perhaps the best falling to Dulwich before half time when the no 6 found space but his shot was held by keeper Freddie Gibson. The best half opening for Cray came when Luca Clark down the right crossed the ball to Max Sanford but he couldn’t get a firm enough connection to his shot and the ball was cleared.
The second half opened up right from the start and Cray almost scored when Sanford found Nathan Falade who drew the keeper but his shot was cleared off the line. Up the other end, the no 5 lashed a cross shot just wide of the right post.
Cray though were beginning to look threatening and Clark down the right made a good run and saw his shot well held by the Dulwich keeper. Then a Falade cross was deflected to the keeper and then Falade set up Sanford whose shot was saved.
A goal was coming and arrived with around 4 minutes to go and again Falade was a threat down the right and played a terrific ball across to Sanford who buried a well struck shot under the keeper to make it 1-0.
In a tight game the first goal was looking decisive and Cray defended well and the excellent Sami Jax Bilgin hit a shot over from distance but in the end the Sharks picked up a big win to start the group.
Cray were back on straight away for game 2 vs Dulwich Village White and this was a much more open game than the first and Cray got off to a flying start with the skilful Harry Holden very much to the fore.
Harry could have scored 3 in the opening five minutes firstly with an early run and shot which was blocked and then desperately unlucky to see a shot from just outside the area come back off the left post.
A minute later he drove forward and his fine shot looked goal bound but the excellent Dulwich keeper did well to push the shot round the post. Then Holden turned provider setting up Luca Clark who shot just wide. Dulwich briefly threatened with the no 7 firing over.
A Cray goal was looking likely and came in the 8th minute when Holden made another great run forward and his shot from outside the area went in off the left post and into the net.
Before half time, Bryce Bigby was denied by a save from the keeper’s leg and the follow up from Clark was saved.
Cray just needed a second goal to calm any nerves and certainly continued to carve out chances with Bilgin’s pass finding Clark down the left and his shot was blocked well by the keeper.
Then Clark set up Falade who shot just over the bar and then was terribly unlucky to see his wicked, swerving shot beat the keeper but graze the goal frame and drift over.
With the lead still tenuous Dulwich did threaten in the last three minutes and no 2 hit a shot which was deflected into the path of the no 18 but keeper Toby Wright was able to smother and save. Then the no 29 shot wide.
Cray did have a chance to put the game to bed in the dying moments when Sanford was brought down in the area by the keeper but Bigby was unlucky to see his spot kick crash back off the crossbar.
In the end though Cray had done enough in this game to deserve to win and the back to back victories meant the third match between the two Dulwich sides would be a battle for second place.
This was the first time I had seen the team play and was impressed with them and with the side stepping up to 7 a side football as U9’s next season this was their last match as a five a side team. The future looks very bright for these players.
Team: Freddie Gibson, Toby Wright, James Stevens, Bryce Bigby, Sami Jax Bilgin (Capt.), Luca Clark, Jayden Kitoko, Max Sanford, Nathan Falade, Harry Holden
SELKENT KEN PICKERELL U9’s CHALLENGE VASE ONE FINAL
6/6/21 – London Marathon Ground
Young Stars Elite 0 Cray Wanderers 0
Cray Wanderers 3 Long Lane Lions 0
Cray Wanderers U9s became the second Challenge Vase winners of the afternoon after a hard fought and tight final against Young Stars Elite and Long Lane Lions.
Gary Russell’s team missed out the first game which saw Long Lane and Young Stars, two evenly matched teams draw 1-1 and Cray were on next against Young Stars.
This was another tight game and chances were few and far between in the first half but was a very enjoyable contest with both teams committed to attack.
For Cray, Joel Oluro fired over from a free kick but perhaps the best chance fell to Young Stars when from the ball came to the no 19 whose shot was blocked by Cray keeper Riley Donovan.
The second half was end to end and Cray came close when after a good run from Oluro he set up Awsome Onibudo whose shot was well held by the keeper. Meanwhile at the other end from a corner, the no 8 saw a shot blocked inside the area.
The best chance came to Cray with a fine ball played through to Freddie James who advanced on goal but was denied by a fine blocked save by the keeper. For Young Stars the no 10 lashed over from a throw in but perhaps on the balance of the game a draw was the right outcome.
So Cray took on Long Lane probably needing to win as another low scoring draw would benefit Long Lane and for the early stages it looked like this would be a game where one goal may decide it. There was little to choose early on and the no 10 shot wide for Long Lane.
Cray though were beginning to build up a head of steam before half time and shortly before the break, went ahead when a great ball forward put Awsome Onibudo through on goal down the left and with great precision slotted the ball past the keeper to make it 1-0.
Long Lane needed to get back into it and in the second half won a handful of corners and the no 2 shot into the side netting. Cray continued to create the better openings and Onibudo’s free kick was glanced over by Oluro. Then Harley Moran set up James who did well to break into the area but the goalkeeper was able to smother the shot.
Long Lane still pushed forward and Cray had to defend stoutly and blocked from corners and with time running out were looking a little nervy but Eliot Krasiqi played superbly in the second half.
However with four minutes to go, following a break away Cray scored a second goal which was finished with great power by Abdul Zakari who strode down the right and crashed a fine shot past the keeper and meant the game was won.
A minute later, the icing on the cake for Cray came with a third goal and a well deserved strike from Oluro who out of nowhere rifled home through a crowd of players to make it 3-0 and make it absolutely certain.
Full marks to all the sides in the final and Young Stars were unbeaten in their two games but congratulations to Cray who finished with a flourish against Long Lane and look a very fine side who can go on to more challenges and maybe more finals.
Team: Riley Donovan, Frankie Walsh, Eliot Krasiqi, Abdul Zakari, Awsome Onibudo, Joel Oluro, Harley Moran, Freddie James
SELKENT KEN PICKERELL U10’s CHALLENGE VASE ONE FINAL
6/6/21 – London Marathon Ground
Cray Wanderers 2 Dulwich Village Black 3
Danson Sports Red 2 Cray Wanderers 0
Well done to the Cray Wanderers U10s on reaching the final of the Selkent Challenge Vase One and gave a terrific account of themselves but in the end Danson Sports won the trophy beating Dulwich Village Black and Cray Wanderers 2-0 to win the trophy.
Apologies to James Berwick and his team as due to the U8s competition and presentation running late, I missed the start of the opening match v Dulwich Village Black. Dulwich scored early on to take the lead but Cray played well first half without perhaps having luck in front of goal.
Dulwich caught Cray a bit cold early in the second half and scored with a well taken strike but Cray were to stage a stirring fightback for the rest of the half.
Firstly, shortly after Dulwich’s goal Cray pulled a goal back down the right the ball was squared into the box and it looked like Alfie Jones got the final touch to make it 2-1.
Cray were now pressing and a corner from the left was headed against the post by Jones and the ball was cleared away.
However, Cray carried on attacking and levelled when a cross was flicked on by Jones and Ehimen Onoabhagbe was on hand to score.
Sadly, though with Cray looking the likely winners there was late drama when Dulwich broke away and in the final minute the centre forward broke through to score impressively and Dulwich won 3-2.
Dulwich were on second match vs Danson Sports Red who looked an impressive side and deservedly beat Dulwich 2-0 with two first half goals and Dulwich saw a penalty saved second half so Cray now had to beat Danson by two goals to win the trophy.
Cray took the game to Danson Sports in the final match and played well but chances were few in the first half for either side and it was 0-0 at the break.
With Cray having to chase goals second half, Danson began to look more threatening and in the end two well taken goals with the second with two minutes to go gave Danson another 2-0 win and the trophy.
Cray though had played very well in reaching the final and were certainly not disgraced amongst two very good teams, so well done to James and all the players in making Finals day.
Team: Jai Boorah, Will Barton, Riordan Akintayo, Dylan Warne, Freddie Berwick, Riley Stone, Alex Berbec, Ehimen Onoabhagbe, Alfie Jones, Frankie Russell, Harry Rees