West Wickham FC Lift the Silverware!
West Wickham won the Kent Reliance Intermediate Cup with a stunning second half performance to which Cray Valley simply had no answer.
Cray Valley enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half but most of their good works were counter acted on the central defensive partnership of Adam Freeman and Jack Horgan who were outstanding throughout. And just when you thought that Valley would up their game after the break at Badgers, it was West Wickham who took the game to their hosts and in the end ran out worthy winners after two goals from Kris Eskesen and Josh Tutt sealed a memorable evening for their side; and left boss Oliver Green celebrating his fifth piece of silverware for the club in four years.
KSN had to interrupt the celebrations to talk to the jubilant boss who told us, “The boys were superb after a very nervous twenty minutes. We expected them to come at us at the start of the second half and when they didn’t, we felt that we were in control of the game. We built on the performance of our two centre halves and we sometimes take them for granted, but if they hadn’t played so well in the first half, we may not be walking away with the trophy tonight! We’d all like to thank the support that we’ve had tonight – they were great and highlighted what a great club we are all involved in!”
For Cray boss Marc Mortlock there was disappointment tinged with frustration as he found out two days before the Final that two of his squad were in fact ineligible to play. “We thought we had two players who could play and were told on Monday that they couldn’t, but you get what you put in, and we didn’t put enough in tonight and didn’t handle the moment on the day really,” he said, “We’re a development team who have been put together during the season and we’ve had 16-year olds playing tonight. Fair play though to West Wickham – they wanted it more; they outran us; they out tackled us, and they out passed us – so full credit to them! We were still in the changing room at times in the second half which was disappointing.”
Cray Valley dominated the first half for long periods without really creating many clear chances – one of their few came from the impressive Enoch Adjei who stung the palms of keeper Tayler Emblem from distance. Indeed, Mohamed Madkour had the best chances of the half – a free kick that had Emblem at full stretch to palm over. Wickham’s best chance came with the move of the half which in hindsight set the tone for the second half. Joe Kemp and Tutt combined brilliantly down the left and as the ball came across, Matt Fitch drove narrowly wide from twenty yards – the shot would have disappointed as Fitch didn’t have to break side such was the quality of the ball.
West Wickham came out of the dressing room on fire at the start of the second half and in the end, it was just a question of when rather than if they’d score. Eskesen was denied twice in quick succession before only lady luck knows how the Valley goal stayed intact after an amazing scramble. Chris Cowdrey in the Valley saved well from Ollie Clark before for fully ten seconds the ball was like a pinball in the box ricocheting all over the place with Freeman, Tutt and Eskesen all having swings at the ball with differing connections before referee Friar – who had an excellent game – spotted an infringement.
In the end it only delayed the inevitable as West Wickham took the lead at the half way point of the second half, when Eskesen battled his way through at the edge of the box before drilling beyond Cowdrey and into the bottom corner. The game was effectively over five minutes later, when Paul Farthing did brilliantly to knock the ball down for Tutt who gleefully netted from penalty spot distance. It could have been worse for Valley as in stoppage time Cowdrey’s attempted clearance was met by Steve Jones who returned the ball goal-wards only for a desperate keeper to keep the ball out at the second attempt!
CRAY VALLEY PM FC – Chris Cowdrey, Connor Dobson, Rai Wilmott, Chris Bishop, Deren Tumkaya, Emmanuel Obileye, Mohamed Madkour, Jordan Sandiford, Enoch Adjei, Chandler Kasai
Subs – Dan Boyd, Ethan Ake, Devontae Irving-Young, Abdul Wahab, Leonard Tare
WEST WICKHAM FC – Tayler Emblem, Matt Fitch, Ollie Clark, Connor Durrell, Adam Freeman, Jack Horgan, Kris Eskesen, Ian Brooke, Will Scudder, Joe Kemp, Josh Tutt
Subs – Steve Jones, Dan Maskell, Paul Farthing, Joe Ivory
MATCH REFEREE – Dan Friar
MATCH ASSISTANTS – Ban Baruch and Bo Wang
FOURTH OFFICIAL – Piotr Zachwieja