Kent bowed out of this season’s FA County Youth Cup as Cornwall got the better of a blustery day at Margate’s Hartsdown Park.
The home side were behind inside the opening five minutes when Oliver Walker took advantage of a horrendous back pass to score, before heavy Kent pressure was finally rewarded when Tom Barton equalised five minutes from half time. An intriguing second period that saw both sides create chances ebbed and flowed before the visitors took advantage of another defensive slip when Jack Webber found the top corner from thirty yards with under twenty minutes left before with Kent piling forward, the Cornish skipper Max Gilbert completed the away win in the final minute with a fine finish from the edge of the box.
A disappointed Kent coach Lee Suter spoke to KSN after the game and was naturally disappointed. He said, “We had enough chances in the first half to have won the game; the boys played really well, and I thought that until they scored the second goal that we were going to extra time as it was that tight. I guess that the third was understandable as we threw so much forward.” He went on, “We’ve had a number of first years U18 players in this squad and the experience that they’ve had can only be good for next year, but this year, we’ve got two games left (against London FA and Essex FA) and we’ll be looking to win both of those.”
It was Cornwall though who had the flying start when Walker capitalised on a horrendously short back pass to score before with the wind at their backs, the Kent side got into their stride. They almost equalised in an amazing melee that eventually saw Josh Stirman shoot off the keeper’s legs, before Will Palmer and Tom Barton combined down the left only for the final shot to be wastefully high. Kent then had loud penalty claims waved away after Billy Lewins appeared to be brought down racing onto Stirman’s through ball, before Barton slipped whilst shooting in the home sides next attack which saw the chance wasted. You began to feel for Barton as Cornwall keeper Luke Gwillam twice denied the Kent number nine, before Barton finally got on the scoresheet just before half-time. Sam McCallum raced through down the inside-left channel and when the keeper raced out into no man’s land, the full back coolly rolled the ball into the box for Barton to equalise.
Kent keeper Tom Carey then twice denied Gilbert at the start of the second half before Barton was denied by a fabulous save from Gwillam at the other end as the second period developed into an intriguing battle which sadly for the home side eventually slipped away. As the Kent defence struggled to clear a Cornwall attack, Webber drilled home magnificently giving Carey no chance, and as the home side pushed forward looking for a way back into the game, gaps appeared and had Carey not been at his best to deny Walker, Will Trew and Walker again before somehow keeping out Mason Long’s header, the visitors could have won by more! Not that the home side didn’t go close themselves as following amazing trickery from Palmer, Stirman was agonisingly just too high from twenty five yards with a wonderful strike.
Cornwall sealed the win the 89th minute when Gilbert finished well from the edge of the box to move into Round Three – the hard truths of an enjoyable afternoon were that the visitors capitalised on two Kent defensive errors, and that they could come to terms with the conditions better than their hosts.
That said as coach Suter admitted himself, all the time the score was level, it was difficult to choose a winner. Sadly, when it came, it wasn’t from the home side…
KENT – Tom Carey, George Porter, Sam McCallum, Dylan Riches (Charlie Deininger), Craig Cooley, Freddie Rumbol, Josh Stirman, Billy Lewins, Tom Barton, Joe Sharp, Will Palmer
Subs – Scott Jarvis, Beau Landau, Dillon Cole & Ben Folkard
Match Report by Mike Green, Kent Sports News
For more information about Kent Representative Football please contact Dwayne Ellis on Dwayne.Ellis@KentFA.com