Crayford One Bell FC Retain The Kent Reliance Veteran's Cup!

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Kent Reliance Veteran’s Cup Final 2017 - Crayford One Bell FC 3-0 Tankerton FC

In the meeting of the last two winners of the competition, it was Crayford One Bell who defended their crown as they ran out comfortable winners against Tankerton.

After a frustrating first half, the holders finally broke the deadlock in first half stoppage time through Pete Garland’s penalty.  To their eternal credit, Tankerton came out strongly after the break but couldn’t find a way through, and were eventually made to pay as Danny Oakins rammed in a second before an unfortunate own goal in the closing stages sealed the 3-0 and meant the Cup was heading back to Crayford.

When he spoke to KSN after the game, Crayford boss Chris Tuley admitted retaining the Trophy was his side’s aim, “First half we were fairly dominant but full credit to Tankerton because they made it very hard for us.  We kept plugging away in the first half trying to get into the right areas but it looked like it was going to be 0-0 at half time – I thought it was a penalty as the guy was clumsy.  They had to give it a go at the start of the second half and we didn’t help ourselves by not coming out!  The second goal killed the game as we started keeping the ball again after that and then the third one was just the icing on the cake!”

For the 2015 winners, boss Russell Mason was just as honest in his appraisal of the Final.  “We’ve played some good sides to get here, but we’re still disappointed,” he said when he spoke to KSN.  “We had a couple of chances early second half but they are the best side that we’ve played.  They played some nice football but we didn’t get close enough to them first half.  I thought they were lucky with the penalty, but that happens in football!  We started well in the second half but when we gave the ball away for the second we had to push for the game and got caught again.  We haven’t played a side who have been that composed on the ball this year,” he added smiling, “maybe on a smaller pitch it might have been different!  But the boys have done well and deserve their beer in the bar.”

Quite how Crayford didn’t score in the opening forty five minutes only they will know!  Marcos Perona fired over on the angle at the far post, and Matt Nuckey was then denied by a great save from Martin Supple in the Tankerton goal and from the corner that followed Oakins had a header cleared off of the line before Garland looped a header onto the roof of the net from a great angled ball from Danny Frost.

Tankerton almost sneaked their way in front just before half time when Matt Barman’s free kick went through the defensive wall only to ricochet a yard wide of Crayford’s right post.  The holders took the lead in stoppage time when Ray Goodchild was brought down and referee Lowe had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Garland duly drove the ball into the corner for the opening goal.

Whatever boss Mason said to his charges at the break had the desired effect as Tankerton took the game to Crayford and had keeper Lee Haywood not been on the top of his game, they would have surely levelled.  Twice Haywood beat out shots from Nick Bergin, before making his best save to deny Barman’s low drive.

Haywood’s opposite number Supple then pulled off a great double save to deny Goodchild’s header from a corner and Frost’s follow up before being totally helpless as a free kick played into the box fell to Oakins – after looping off a defender – and the Crayford man rammed home his sides second.  If that wasn’t bad enough for Tankerton, it was three-nil five minutes from time when Perona’s cross from the left was inadvertently turned into his own net by a defender.  Supple then pulled off a stunning save to deny Nuckey a fourth as the 90 minutes elapsed, but by then the Cup had already booked a return ticket to the One Bell trophy cabinet.

Crayford One Bell FC – Lee Haywood, Tom Dennington, Gareth John, Danny Oakins, Drew Watkins, Danny Frost, Dean Warner, Marcos Perona, Pete Garland, Matt Nuckey, Ray Goodchild

Subs – Tony Kessel, Steve Richardson, Phil Collier, Tom Osbourn, Jimmy Bullard

Tankerton FC –Martin Supple, Sam Cavey, Lee Rebbeck, Adrian Hatcher, Steve McCarthy, Matt Betts, Paul Blagden, Steve Watts, Lee Waldock, Nick Bergin, Matt Barman

Sub – Danny Rhodes, Neil Gowers, Nick Green, Brett Harrison, Ade Olsen

Referee – George Lowe
Assistants – Jeff Vines, Darren Fisher, Brian Harvey

Match report by Mike Green, Kent Sports News.
Match photos by PSP Images.