Kent FA Under-16 Representative Team were held to a 1-1 draw by Sussex in their final League South East Counties Youth Championship match of the season at Chatham Town last Friday night (14 February).
A victory would’ve put Kent through the final but a draw now sees them awaiting the result of the last group match between Sussex and Essex to see if they progress.
Kent were able to name a strong squad in their quest for victory but it was the visitors who started the brighter of the two teams and nearly took the lead after five minutes; Alfie Hall seeing his point blank effort well saved by namesake Roman Hall in the Kent goal. The battle of the ‘Halls’ resumed again on 15 minutes and yet again it was Roman who came out on top as he denied Alfie a goal. Both teams looked very strong going forwards but were met by well organised defences. Some strong tackles were on display from both teams as they were fully committed in going for the win. With half-time on the horizon, Kent came so close to opening the scoring. George Wilkinson broke clear and his cross was met by Ronald Sithole who saw his effort strike the post and rebound to safety to send the two teams in level at the interval.
The second half began with both teams again seeking to attack at every opportunity and it was Kent who struck first to break the deadlock on 50 minutes; substitute George McIlroy’s long pass was missed by the Sussex defence and Jeremiah Bamgbose raced clear to slot past onrushing 'keeper Adam Nash. Moments later and it could’ve been 2-0 to Kent but George Wilkinson’s effort went inches past the post. Harry Sikirwayi then saw his 25-yard drive tipped onto the crossbar as Kent pushed for a second goal. Kent captain Michael Peate came to his side’s rescue on the hour mark as he make a superb last ditch tackle to prevent Sussex equalising but five minutes they did grab the leveller when substitute Nicholas Lauteri beat Roman Hall with a low finish. This set up a fantastic last 15 minutes with neither team settling for a draw, both teams had chances to grab the winner, but defences remained on top and so a highly entertaining match ended in a 1-1 draw. Credit to both teams for a superb display of football.
Kent now await the result of the match between Sussex and Essex to determine if they’ve secured a place in the U16 Final.
Kent Squad: Roman Hall (Holmesdale FC), Harry Lawrence (Phoenix Sports FC), Callum Hudson (Sevenoaks Town FC), Reiss Skeen (Sevenoaks Town FC), Michael Peate © (Sevenoaks Town FC), Adam Potten (Ashford United FC), Sam Archibald (Maidstone United FC), Alfie Prior (Ashford United FC), Ronald Sithole (Ashford United FC), George Wilkinson (Margate FC), Jeremiah Bamgbose (Ashford United FC), Jayden Wilson (Maidstone United FC), Harry Sikirwayi (Ashford United FC), George McIlroy (Ashford United FC), Atrin Almassi (Holmesdale FC)