Cray Valley (PM) Youth 3 v 1 Bearsted Youth
0-1 Heasman (8), 1-1 Nwafor (23), 2-1 Okechukwu (35),
3-1 Okechukwu (91).
This was an entertaining close fought contest with Cray Valley (PM) taking the points against opponents Bearsted.
After an even start on a cold misty day at Middle Park Avenue, it was the visitors who took the lead on 8 minutes when Bradley Allen’s pass down the right wing resulted in a foot race between Bearsted’s Sonny Adshead and Cray Valley’s Max King.
King got to the ball first on the edge of his box just before Adshead and tried to play the ball back to his keeper Tommy Kemp but he left his pass short enabling Adshead to nip in front of him and whip over a low cross that a stretching Connor Heasman touched home at the back post from close range.
The hosts then went close to equalising on 13 minutes when Harry Kemp’s dipping free kick from wide left was caught by Bearsted keeper William Warner diving across to his left but as he landed the ball squirmed out of his hands resulting in a melee in the crowded box with the loose ball finally bouncing up to Eddie Nwafor whose header clipped the bar and flew over.
Cray Valley though did draw level on 23 minutes when the impressive Ethan Okechukwu’s deft pass put Nwafor through on goal on the left side of the area and he raced into the box outpacing his marker before slotting home low to the left of Warner.
Minutes later Cray Valley almost went ahead when Jack Green’s lofted pass was well won by Okechukwu on the edge of the box but his first time lobbed shot under pressure flew just over.
On 28 minutes Cray Valley thought that they had taken the lead when Harry Kemp’s corner from the right saw Warner try to gather at the near post but collide with several players before landing awkwardly.
In the meantime the ball rebounded out to Mohamed Dean who swept the ball home into the empty net but the goal was ruled out as the Referee had already blown for the injury to the keeper.
After a few minutes treatment he was able to continue. On 35 minutes though Cray Valley did take the lead when Oladipo Ogumeakan’s raking crossfield pass found the run down the left of Luca Phillips who got to the bye line before sending over a cross that was met at the near post by a towering header from Okechukwu who got to the ball before Warner to guide it into the net.
It was then nearly three on 42 minutes when Fraser Daniels played the ball back to Warner who took a heavy touch in trying to control it and lost it to Harry Kemp.
His close range shot was then blocked by Warner who also then managed to save his second follow up shot but he was then beaten by his third effort but John Turner saved his keeper’s blushes by getting back and clearing the ball off the line to safety.
The last action of the first half saw Phillips make space well on the left edge of the box before hitting a fierce shot that flew just wide.
It was the visitors who had the first chance of the second half on 50 minutes when Adshead made a good run down the right before sending over a low cross that Lewis Foreman fired over on the turn.
Minutes later it was the hosts who nearly increased their lead when Ogumeakan’s pass put Okechukwu in on goal and he again showed good strength to hold off his marker before hitting a low shot that was well saved by Warner diving low to his right.
Okechukwu then turned provider when picking the ball up on the half way line he raced forward to the edge of the box before laying the ball off to Nwafor who hit a powerful shot that was superbly saved by Warner diving high to his left turning the ball out for a corner.
The hosts were having a particularly good spell and went close again on 59 minutes when Nwafor’s deep right wing cross found Josiah Jones racing in at the far post but stretching he could only direct his header wide.
On 70 minutes Bearsted’s Jordan Ababio glanced a near post header wide from a Turner left wing cross before Cray’s Okechukwu made another strong run into the box only to be thwarted by another good save from Warner who diving to his left turned his drilled shot out for a corner.
On 78 minutes the personal battle was on again as Okechukwu made space well some 30 yards from goal before hitting a fierce dipping shot that Warner did well to catch moving high to his right.
Into the last ten minutes of the game it was almost constant Bearsted pressure as they went in search of an equaliser.
Ababio fire just wide from a tight angle on the right before the visitors won a series of corners.
These were whipped in from the right by Turner swinging into the goal, the first of which on 85 minutes was met at the near post by a towering header from Joshua Ladlow that flashed narrowly wide across the face of goal.
On 88 minutes following another good corner delivery from Turner that was headed clear by Liam Faribido, the ball fell to Daniels whose close range header brought out a fine reaction save from Tommy Kemp quickly getting his hands up to push the ball over for another corner.
Into stoppage time and with Bearsted pressing for an equaliser they got caught on the break as Ogumeakan fed the ball up to Okechukwu on the half way line and he raced through into the box before calmly slotting home low to the right of Warner.