Kent FA 18s will have to wait to find out if they have reached the South East Counties Final after being defeated 4-2 by Essex FA, in what was their opening match. Goals from Tom Barton and Josh Stirman in each half helped the cause but Essex did the damage early on, scoring all four goals in the first half. Kent currently remain top of Group A on 6 points from their 3 matches but should Essex pick up another 4 points from their other 2 matches then they will claim top spot and a place in the final.
Essex only took 3 minutes to take the lead into the contest, a long ball loops over Tom Carey and allowed the forward with the simple task of poking the ball home. That lead however only lasted 8 minutes, Billy Lewins fired in a fierce low cross and Barton was on hand to volley in an equaliser from inside the box. The visitors then retook the lead on 14 minutes, the through ball brought about the foot race, but the striker Beat Carey to the ball at the edge of the box to then roll the ball home.
In a frantic first 15 minutes full of action, the match continued at such a high pace. From a Kent corner the ball was pinging around the penalty area, the ball broke for Lewins and flashed a shot goal wards but just went over the bar. This signalled a dominant part of the match from Kent but was unable to capitalise it. The best chances feel to Will Palmer, who saw his effort cleared off the line, and then Sidney Warden’s well struck shot was well saved by the Essex keeper.
On the half hour Carey made a good save from a free kick 20 yards out. The final 5 minutes of the first half saw the visitors effectively kill the match. On 41 minutes an angled through pass found the forward who was able to find the net in the far post, then right on half time Carey made a great save low to the right but the forward was on hand to tap home the visitors fourth of the match.
The second half did see a drop from the high pace and chances of the first half. Freddie Rumbol made a great block from a goal bound effort on the hour while later on Carey made a great instinctive save from close range. Inside the last 10 minutes Kent did get one goal back, the ball broke for Stirman in the box and made no mistake, his shot arrowing into the bottom corner. There was still time for Carey to make another fine stop, this time at full stretch to palm it away.
Kent Squad: Tom Carey (Herne Bay FC) Scott Jarvis (Bromley FC) Sam Macallam (Herne Bay FC) Craig Cooley (Hollands & Blair FC) Freddie Rumbol (Sittingbourne FC) Ted Nelson (Hollands & Blair FC) Will Palmer (Chatham Town FC) Dylan Riches (Sittingbourne FC) Billy Lewins (Ramsgate FC) Sidney Warden (Margate FC) Tom Barton 11’(Faversham Strike Force FC) George Porter (Bromley FC) Dillon Cole (Hollands & Blair FC) Charlie Deininger (Hollands & Blair FC) Josh Stirman 82’(Maidstone United FC) Joe Sharp (Herne Bay FC)