23s take the title
By Gary Brigden
The 23's picked up the John Bennett Development Division trophy on Wednesday when a last gasp Sam Blake goal gave them a 1-0 win over nearest rivals Cobham.
We started brightly, and went close on five minutes when a Felipe Melgaco curled effort was comfortably gathered by the Cobham keeper. The game was an open encounter, a whipped in corner by Cobham was well dealt with by Ollie Ellaway, and at the other end Alfie Carney almost latched onto a long Ellaway clearance, but the Cobham keeper beat him to the ball.
Mason Seagroatt found his way into the book on eight minutes, scything down a Cobham midfielder as the hosts looked to break quickly. Cobham were starting to have the better of things, and went close when another free kick was played into our area but well defended.
We were forced into a change on 15 minutes when Jake Connaris went down injured, and had to be replaced by Sam Blake. On 20 minutes, we had probably our best chance of the half, when a Melgaco corner was powerfully headed goalwards by Guy Baskerville, and cleared off the line by a man on the post.
Ten minutes before the break, a raking ball out of defence by a Cobham defender went over Jevontae Hylton and as the Cobham winger raced goalwards, his driven shot took a deflection and went off for a corner.
Cobham went close five minutes before the break but a low cross from the right picked out a player on the edge of the area but he was unable to get a shot away. Half time saw the sides go in level at the break.
As with the first half we started the second half brightly, and on 50 minutes great link up play between Carney, Boe Fowler and Blake put Blake in the clear, but he was denied by a tremendous challenge by the Cobham centre back.
Ten minutes into the half Melgaco found Blake, he cut inside the defender but his shot was comfortably gathered by the keeper. Blake was proving to be a good outlet for us, and just shy of the hour he went close again, but this time his curled effort drifted just wide of the left hand post.
Just after the hour, and a long range strike by Cobham was comfortably gathered by Ellaway.
Tyler Chambers made his second change on 65 minutes with Ben Senior making way for Dan Stone. We continued to dominate, and with fifteen to go neat link up between Stone and Fowler almost released Fowler in the box but again Cobham defended superbly.
We made another change with just over ten minutes remaining when Fowler made way for Sam Brown, and with five minutes remaining Carney was replaced by Ryan Stedman-Hoyte.
Cobham continued to throw players forward looking for that one goal that would give them the title, but with a minute remaining we sealed the trophy. Stedman-Hoyte did superbly on the right, and his high hanging cross was headed home at the back post by Blake cueing mass celebrations from the lads.