Nikaj Debut Double Secures Last Gasp Victory For Kent
Kent FA 4 - 3 London FA
George Nikaj struck twice on his Kent FA Representative U16 debut including a last minute winner, alongside goals from Harry Sargent and Bobby Dunn as Kent FA ran out 4-3 winners in a highly entertaining match against London FA at a windy Corinthian FC.
Despite recent heavy rain the pitch was passed fit and it was London who started the brighter of the two teams with Dwayne Clarke seeing his 2nd minute shot well saved by Liam Northwood in the Kent goal but just three minutes later London took the lead, a corner was swung into the near post and Treyel Gordon reacted first to fire his side into the lead. London then had two chances in as many minutes to double their lead, firstly Jibril Mohammed shot wide and then Marcus Sablier saw his effort go narrowly over the bar. Kent reacted in the best way possible by getting the equaliser, great work down the left flank from Gerald Sithole found George Nikaj and despite the ball initially getting caught under his feet he adjusted well to draw his side level. Bobby Dunn then had an effort well saved as Kent stepped up their game and took the lead on 17 minutes from the penalty spot, Gerald Sithole again heavily involved and after he was brought down in the box, up stepped Bobby Dunn to give Kent the lead. The lead lasted less than a minute though as a defensive mistake allowed Idris Belazregue to level the match up at 2-2 and right on halftime the visitors took the lead, Liam Northwood saved the initial effort but Georgi Steeds was on hand to smash home the rebound to send his tram into the halftime interval leading 3-2.
With the wind at their backs Kent dominated the early exchanges of the second half, Kayden Turner fired over the bar and then Perri Iandolo hit the post after yet more good work from Gerald Sithole. London then had a double escape as Kent had two efforts cleared off the line in the same passage of play, firstly from Robbie Roberts & then Perri Iandolo seeing their efforts blocked. Substitute Caleb Edorh struck the London bar on 55 minutes as Kent increased their efforts for the equaliser and they were rewarded just a minute later as Harry Sargent headed home from a corner to level the match at 3-3. London did threaten going forwards and they missed a golden opportunity with five minutes remaining as Michael Opoku fired wide when well placed, this came back to haunt the visitors as Kent grabbed the winning goal in stoppage time. An excellent advantage was played by the Referee and the cross from the left flank found George Nikaj who gleefully slotted home to the delight of his team mates to secure a hard fought 4-3 victory.
Speaking after the match Manager Ian Varley said ‘Credit to both teams as the conditions were horrendous, we didn’t manage the game well enough in the first half and gave London all three goals but were on the front foot for most of the second half. Not too sure we deserved the win and maybe a draw would’ve been a fairer reflection of the game but felt we created enough chances to get the winner late on.”
Kent FA Squad: Liam Northwood (Maidstone United FC), Patrick Jackson (Bromley FC), Billy Edwards (Dartford FC), Kayden Turner © (Bromley FC), Harry Sargent (Dartford FC), Malik Akendule (Kent Football United FC), Perri Iandolo (Maidstone United), Robbie Roberts (K Sports FC), Bobby Dunn (Bromley FC), George Nikaj (Dover Athletic FC), Gerald Sithole (Kennington FC), Kyle McLeish (K Sports FC), Dan Watson (Dartford FC), Sid Gurung (Dover Athletic FC), Caleb Edorh (Tunbridge Wells FC).