Old Colfeians FC 2 - 5 High Halstow FC
In scorching Saturday lunchtime temperatures, Old Colfeians and High Halstow produced a marvellously entertaining game in the Kent Reliance Kent Junior Cup C Final which in the end the Medway side won with a fraction to spare.
The three-goal victory margin on paper looks comfortable, but the reality is very different as in the searing conditions as the sun beat down relentlessly on the Gallagher Stadium, both sides produced a fabulously entertaining encounter.
In an end to end game throughout, Halstow held the advantage at the break in the battle of the two number nine shirts – Ross Wornham netting twice whilst his opposite number nine – Ibrahim Aldouri – had for a short while levelled. When Aldouri did equalise within an instant of the start of the second half, you began to wonder what the response would be from being pegged back again. It really was “begin to wonder” as almost immediately, Wornham turned creator and Josh Jackson put Halstow back in front. Further strikes from a true blaster by Jez Hammond and Gareth Morgan’s toe poke settled the scoring, but that was only half the story on a day when there were heroes all over the pitch on both sides!
Winning boss Graham Beale had nothing but praise for his side after the game. He told KSN, “What a fantastic Cup Final. The conditions were incredible, and I think it’s a tribute to them for what they put into the game that so many of them in the end were almost begging to come off. We made a couple of changes at half time and despite them levelling almost straight away, us moving an extra player into the middle certainly paid off. Full credit to the other side – they showed they’re a good footballing side – but what a fantastic advertisement for Kent football.”
It was a shame that there had to be a loser but Old Colfeians player boss Lewis Lake was gracious – and utterly exhausted – in defeat when he spoke with KSN. “I really thought at 2-2 we were going to do it but fair play to them they were fitter, they were stronger but fair play to my team. Some of them at the end were almost crawling off the pitch begging to be subbed – and having played in midfield I can tell you that it was brutal out there. But it was the same for both sides, and as we don’t train, I think it showed that they’ve been active in the last few weeks. But I’ve got no complaints…”
In an amazing start Wornham found space at the near post where in truth there shouldn’t have been to give High Halstow a flying first minute lead. It was so nearly THE perfect start as in their very next attack, Jackson was only denied by a terrific low save from keeper Matt Saunders, all within the first three minutes!
Old Colfeians levelled though before the fifteen-minute mark when a great through ball found Aldouri who coolly lobbed home over the advancing Jammie Gillen in the Halstow goal.
Wornham then put Halstow back in front as he got on the end of a great ball in by Hammond, which saw the Halstow number nine coolly finish.
Then it was Aldouri’s turn to have a chance forcing Gillen into a good block before from the resulting corner, the Halstow keeper made a smart save from Jackson. He repeated the feat on the half hour as Aldouri again got in behind the Halstow defence only for Gillen to block. It was really becoming a personal contest between the Colfeians skipper and Halstow skipper as again, the striker brought a really smart save out of Saunders.
Colfeians just couldn’t find a way back into the game and Dave Keable was desperately unluck to steer a well worked free-kick onto the face of the Halstow bar as Colfeians looked dangerous every time they went forward.
The second half exploded into life more so than the first. Aldouri almost immediately levelled the scores – heading home Olly Bartrum’s long cross before Halstow went straight up the other end and Wornham turned provider laying the ball into Jackson’s path who gleefully drove the ball home.
Halstow then finally gave themselves breathing space as Jez Hammond’s thunder bolt flew into the Old Colfeians net with the luckless Saunders a mere spectator.
Just past the hour mark, Aldouri missed what appeared to be a straight forward chance as he skied Bartrum’s pull back into the vastness of the Gallagher’s giant covered terrace. Wornham was then denied his hat-trick as a long ball was missed by the defence and the strikers shot was beaten out by Saunders. The keeper was left helpless moments later as Wornham’s miss hit pull back fell to Morgan, whose side footed shot had just too much on it for Saunders as the ball almost apologetically crossed the line.
It really wasn’t Colfeians day as first Keable beat Gillen to a free kick only to see his header go wide, and then Tim Maynard saw his shot come back off the left post after the Halstow defence failed to clear.
With the game ridiculously stretched in the closing stages, Saunders again Wornham with a fine save, but in the final analysis the High Halstow had done enough for he and his team mates to travel back up Bluebell Hill with the trophy.
Old Colfeians FC – Matt Saunders, Olly Bartrum, Dave Keable, Luke Pickett, Jonjo Hood Wright, Lewis Lake, Fred Roberts, Matt Maynard, Ibrahim Aldouri, Tim Maynard, Jack Steer
Subs – Tim Summer, Matt Munday, Harry Powell, Billy Reeves, Ryan Perks
High Halstow FC – Jamie Gillen, Pete Johnson, Kyle Beale, Ashley Trigg, David Pike, Robbie Pike, Gareth Morgan, Josh Jackson, Ross Wornham, Jez Hammond, Scott Craig
Subs – Dan Bigg, Sam Bigg, Liam Stroud, Josh Mitchell
Referee – Howard Collins
Assistants – Malcolm Thorburn & Graeme De Preux
Fourth Official – Tom Pauley