Welfare FC played in the scorching Maidstone sunshine and produced a scintillating performance to blow Cegledi half way back down the Thanet Way to win the Kent Reliance Sunday Junior Trophy in amazing fashion.
Its often been said that fast starts can blow away teams in any game, but no-one gathered early at the Gallagher Stadium could have dreamed the start to this Final that saw Welfare 5-1 ahead before 10:00am (from a 9:45am kick off).
The start was incredible as the side from Deal netted three times in the opening five minutes as Cegledi on the hottest day of the year were literally caught cold!
Luke Bigginton gave Welfare the lead and when Charlie Walsh then netted two in just over a minute, the game was effectively over before it had begun. Incredibly, Cegledi pulled a goal back through skipper Tom Sheppard still inside the opening five minutes before the game edged towards the ridiculous as Walsh completed possibly one of the quickest ever Cup Final hat-tricks before grabbing his person fourth before the fifteen-minute mark had been reached.
Any wild dreams of a Thanet recovery were well and truly extinguished when Stuart Divito made it six on the hour but to their eternal credit, Cegledi never gave up and Sheppard netted a second in the closing stages.
For Welfare Player Manager Kyle Mackenzie-Fraser, it was the sign off he could only have dreamed about as he told KSN… “We’ve had a tough couple of years with having to move from the Deal League when it folded, into the Dover League for which we’ll always be grateful. But that’s it after today – that’s our final game and I think that we’ve done everyone connected with the club proud. Today wasn’t about one to eleven – this win is for our whole squad. We knew we had to start quickly,” he continued, “but what we achieved in the first fifteen minutes was truly incredible. Fair play to them for staying in the game, but we’re all so pleased to have signed off like this.”
Meanwhile, for Cegledi player boss Brian Cegledi, the start was simply horrible!!! “I took myself off after twenty minutes it was so hot,” he admitted to KSN after the game. I don’t know where to begin – I’ve never seen a start like that ever. They fully deserved the win and were undoubtedly the better side on the day. I’m just so pleased for all of our boys – this is our first season playing together and to get to a County Final is brilliant.”
Welfare got off to the perfect start when Bigginton reacted quickest to a ball dropping in the box to prod the ball home after less than five minutes – lead that was doubled with Welfare’s very next attack as Walsh drew the keeper before sliding the ball home. Incredibly, two became three immediately as Cegledi failed to learn and Walsh netted his second and Welfare’s third with only six minutes on the clock – truly THE perfect start for any side in any game let alone a County Cup Final!
Almost unbelievably, Cegledi pulled one back in their next attack when Tom Sheppard was left with the freedom of the Gallagher to beat keeper Chris Etherington.
Seven minutes gone and its Cegledi 1-3 Welfare – a truly remarkably start to any game which got even crazier (if that’s possible) a minute later! Walsh completing an incredible hat-trick inside five minutes – a Cup Final record perhaps – but this time it really was tough on keeper Jason McCullum who had been powerless for the first three as the ball ricocheted off a defender and looped over the wrong footed prone keeper and into the net!
Walsh then added his fourth and his side’s fifth goal after only thirteen minutes – beautifully finding the far corner from the angle – it completed a start to leave everyone in the ground totally bewildered and probably explained by comparison the rest of the half became cagey and very tight!
Welfare went further ahead at the start of the second half when Divito got in on the scoring act as he held off a couple of defenders before beating McCullum from six yards.
Wayne Draper did pull a second back for Cegledi with a deflected late shot, but the celebrations of the goal – or lack of them from his team mates – showed that it was too little and sadly for the Thanet side far too late!
CEGLEDI FC – Jason McCallum, Luke Mullett, James Hoare, Dean Draper, Josh Maughan, Tom Sheppard, Jake Seed, Wayne Draper, Nathaniel Johnson-Lewis, Brian Cegledi, Scott Welch
Subs – Dan Todd, Sonny Honour, Jason Buckley, Del Stembridge, Shane Sparkes
WELFARE FC – Chris Etherington, Danny Hogg, James Le Carpenter, Sean Gilmore, Kyle Mackenzie-Fraser, Charlie Walsh, Luke Bigginton, Stuart Divito, Macauley Murray, Jake Hibbert
Subs – Kristin Gregory, Ryan Bateson, Jacon Dainton, Sam Bell, Wayne Harris
REFEREE – Alex Wyatt
MATCH ASSISTANTS – Jeff Howsam & Connor Ward
FOURTH OFFICIAL – Matt Grist