VCD Athletic Youth 3 v 1 Faversham Town Youth
1-0 Ouattara (11) (pen), 2-0 Piper (31) (og), 2-1 Hardy (36) (pen),
3-1 Taaffe (67).
On a very windy day at Oakwood, VCD Athletic shaded this closely fought contest against visitors Faversham Town.
The hosts, with the strong wind behind them, started the game brightly and had their first effort on goal on 5 minutes when a long ball over the Faversham back line was seized upon by Noah Agbinone who raced into the area but his low shot was well saved by Town keeper Harrison Firth diving down to his right.
VCD then took the lead on 11 minutes from the penalty spot. The lively Reece Mclellan made a surging run into the box getting to the left bye line where he was brought down by Town full back Jack Piper. Mustafa Ouattara took the spot kick firing home to the left of Firth who dived right.
After these early chances the game settled down with neither side able to force any real openings in the difficult conditions.
The next opportunity came on 25 minutes with the strong wind playing a factor as a Joseph Bolton inswinging corner from the right was dropped by Firth as he tried to gather, the loose ball falling to Ouattara whose first time shot beat Firth to his right but was blocked on the line by Piper with the rebound falling back to Ouattara who stretching could only fire over from close range.
The visitors then had their first real effort on goal on the half hour mark when Ed Muddiman made a good run down the left before cutting inside and hitting a dipping 25 yard shot that home keeper Harry Ebdon held moving to his left.
A minute later VCD increased their lead when Mclellan’s inswing corner from the left was diverted into his own net by Piper when trying to head clear. After going two goals down Town brought on substitutes Sonny Bassett and James Geddes who made an immediate impact in midfield and helped the visitors get a foothold in the match.
Indeed they reduced the arrears on 36 minutes with a spot kick of their own when the hard working Jack Hardy made a strong run into the left side of the area where his attempted cross hit the outstretched arm of VCD defender Marley Markham.
Hardy took the resulting penalty slotting home low to the right of Ebdon who dived left.
Town then almost drew level minutes later when an Alfie Eyles ball over the VCD defence held up in the wind, leaving the on-rushing Ebdon in no man’s land as Hardy lobbed the ball over him but the ball bounced narrowly wide.
Then Geddes did well to win the ball in midfield before sending the ball through to Ed Muddiman whose powerful half volley crashed into the midriff of Ebdon.
VCD had the first opening of the second half when Joshua Taaffe’s free kick found Mclellan in the box and he dribbled along the bye line before hitting a low shot from an acute angle that Firth saved well down at his left hand post for a corner.
On 66 minutes VCD were awarded their second penalty of the game when Mclellan made another mazy run into the Town box where he was upended by Eyles.
Agbinone took the spot kick which Firth did well to save diving low to his left but Taaffe was quickest to react to the rebound and smashed the loose ball home from close range.
On 70 minutes it was nearly four when Agbinone made a good run into the box before hitting a low cross that flew across the box to the far post where a sliding/stretching Billy Marsh could only divert the ball onto the post from close range.
Into the final minutes of the game VCD went close again when Mclellan’s free kick found Taaffe on the right of the area and he turned well before sending over a low cross that found Eren Musa sliding in at the far post but his effort went wide.
On 83 minutes VCD should have scored again when Mclellan made a strong run from the half way line into the box but with an unmarked Ouattara to his right he chose to shoot himself and fired his effort at Firth.
VCD had managed the game well in the second half but the visitors had one last chance on 89 minutes to get a second when the versatile Owen Hewitt got through on goal but his shot flew narrowly wide of goal.
This was an enjoyable game despite the windy conditions with both sides trying to get the ball down and play passing football.
The match was well officiated by Referee Liam Vitoria who helped the game flow by playing a number of good advantages throughout proceedings.