VCD Athletic Youth 3 v 4 K Sports Youth *aet
0-1 Robinson (12), 1-1 Carey (13), 2-1 Vincent-Edwards (14),
2-2 Entwhistle (36), 2-3 Robinson (54), 3-3 Vincent-Edwards (79),
3-4 Morgan (104).
It took extra time to separate the sides in this enthralling semi final of the Kent Youth Cup with holders K Sports finally prevailing against a battling VCD Athletic team that gave their all but where undone by a goal of the highest quality from Harry Morgan.
Although there had been heavy overnight rain the pitch was in excellent condition for this important match.
However it was an overcast blustery day with occasional drizzle that greeted the teams and despite the windy conditions both sides kept the ball down and played some attractive football.
After an even start it was the hosts who had the first chance of the game on 8 minutes when their dead ball specialist Liam Spellward whipped in a cross from the left that flew across the face of goal to the far post where a diving Umar Odeyoola saw his header beat K Sports keeper Callum Foreman high to his left but rattle the bar before rebounding out to Ross Craig whose follow up header flew straight into the grateful arms of the visiting custodian.
Minutes later a neat passing move from VCD saw Spellward find the forward run of the tireless Thomas Cecil who in turn the laid the ball off for the impressive Dominic Vincent-Edwards who made space well on the edge of the box before hitting a low shot that flashed narrowly wide of Foreman’s right hand post.
The visitors then took the lead in the 12th minutes when Beau Landau’s through ball put the equally impressive George Robinson in on goal and raced into the box before coolly slotting home high to the left of home keeper Harrison Carnell-Davis.
However the lead did not last long as shortly afterwards VCD drew level when James Ashley’s pass put Joe Carey in on goal and he fired home from the edge of the box low to the left of Foreman.
Amazingly a minute later VCD took the lead when Spellward’s deft pass found Vincent-Edwards racing into the box and he scored with a neat finish low to the left of Foreman.
K Sports then went close to levelling on 19 minutes when James Geear’s throughball inside the VCD left full back put Robinson away down the right and he raced to the bye line before pulling the ball back across goal where Landau cleverly dummied it leaving the ball for Geear who had continued his run into the box but his rasping drive was blocked by a defender for a corner.
The visitors then went close again when Robinson made a mazy run into the box from wide right slaloming around a couple of defenders before hitting a fierce shot from an acute angle that forced Carnell-Davis into a good diving save high to his right.
The visitors then drew level on 36 minutes with a finely worked goal as Landau’s free kick from wide right found the run to the near post of centre half Freddie Entwhistle whose well directed glancing header beat Carnell-Davis high to his right. That was to be the last real chance of a breathless first half.
Early in the second half VCD went close to restoring their lead when a Vincent-Edwards pass put Ashley away clear down the right and he raced to the bye line before sending over a low cross that hit Craig charging in at the near post and flew narrowly wide.
On 51 minutes VCD went close again when Spellward’s 25 yard dipping free kick flew over the visitors defensive wall beating Foreman high to his left but crashed against the bar before flying out to safety.
Minutes later the visitors took the lead thanks to an excellent advantage played by referee Daniel Blades. Geear’s lofted ball forward saw Bevan Donohoe and Alfie Scully challenge for the loose ball with Donohoe showing great strength to win the ball and get away from Scully who was pulling him back.
Rather than blow immediately for a foul the referee allowed play to continue and despite being pulled back Donohoe managed to thread the ball out to Robinson on the right edge of the box and he hit a superb first time shot home high to the right of Carnell-Davis.
On 70 minutes the hosts went close to equalising when Cecil made a strong forward run to the edge of the box before hitting a low drive that Foreman saved down to his left for a corner.
K Sports’ Joe Wilson then tried a long range shot that flew just over before VCD went close again to levelling when Cecil made another good forward run before spreading the ball out to Spellward down the right who then whipped over a right wing cross that Foreman managed to divert away from goal to the far post where Carey had no time to react as the ball hit him and flew wide.
The play then quickly switched to the other end as Robinson’s pass put Geear in on goal but Carnell-Davis was quickly off his line to make a good close range block.
This save was even more important for VCD as a minute later Spellward’s excellent crossfield pass found the run of Vincent-Edwards down the right and he raced into the box before hitting a fierce drive that beat Foreman low to his right to draw the sides level. Into the final 10 minutes of the match K Sports had two good chances to win the tie.
On 82 minutes Morgan’s right wing cross found Robinson some 15 yards from goal and his powerful header across goal found Landau whose flicked header flew just over from close range.
Then on 88 minutes quick thinking by Robinson saw him take a quick free kick on the half way line finding Landau out on the right and he sent over a low cross that found the run into the box of Geear whose close range first time shot was well blocked by Carnell-Davis.
So to 30 minutes extra time. VCD had the first chance in extra time when Vincent-Edwards sent over a deep right wing cross to the far post where Alfie Rhodes sent a looping header back across goal forcing a back pedalling Foreman into a good save high to his left to tip the ball over for a corner. Minutes later it was the visitors who nearly took the lead when Entwhistle launched the ball forward from his own half up to Robinson who showed good control before turning and hitting a powerful shot that Carnell-Davis saved diving high to his left for a corner.
Then came the moment of magic from K Sports as Robinson’s right wing cross picked out Morgan on the left side of the area and he hit a stunning first time left foot cushioned volley that saw the ball fly home high to the right of Carnell-Davis into the top corner of the net.
Despite falling behind VCD kept going but it was the visitors who had the best chances in the remaining minutes to extend their lead.
Early in the second period of extra time Tom Goodayle’s pass put Robinson away down the right and he got to the bye line before crossing into Geear whose shot on the turn was well saved by Carnell-Davis diving high to his left for a corner.
The final chance of the game saw Goodayle’s long ball forward find Geear in the box but his close range shot was well blocked by Carnell-Davis.
Both team’s should be commended for the high quality of their football and for keeping going for over two hours in difficult conditions especially as both sides were depleted with VCD having no substitutes and K Sports only one.