Two-goal Archie Ballard fired Danson Sports to Kent Merit Under-13 Plate glory in the first of 25 county cup finals to be played this year.
The busy schedule got off to a flying start as two evenly-matched teams put on a great display at Sheppey’s Holm Park ground.
Danson went close as early as the first 20 seconds when Harrison Murphy’s shot was saved by keeper Archie Jenner.
It was Danson who enjoyed the early chances, Archie Munday was sent clean through but Jenner was out of his area to save smartly with his feet.
Munday’s pace in behind was a danger, Dylan Leadbeater had to thwart another dangerous opening before Munday beat the offside only to again be denied by Jenner, a keeper equally adept at tackling outside his box as he was with his handling inside it.
In centre-back Nathan Reid and Leadbetter, Total Football certainly defended well as the duo regularly protected their keeper.
So it was against the run of play that Total Football took the lead on 16 minutes. It was all about the movement up front as they looked to play a swift one-two but instead it was Kal Onwuchekwa who burst through the Danson backline and slotted home.
It took 11 minutes for Danson to level it up, the unfortunate Jenner saw his clearance hit a defender and fall nicely for Ballard, who was able to score from the edge of the box.
The impressive Munday hit the bar from distance, but he was not to be denied when his touch took him ahead of the last defender and his delicate left-foot finish found the far corner to put Danson ahead two minutes before half-time.
There were fewer chances in the second half. To their credit, Ashford continued to play the ball out of defence although the odd stray pass did present opportunities for Danson, with Ballard unable to take advantage on a couple of occasions.
A brilliant one-two by Kaden Berry with Ben Sweeney nearly forced an equaliser as keeper Charlie Innes produced an excellent save to deny Berry.
But the reprieve was only short-lived and the resulting corner was taken short before being put into the mix where Berry forced it home from close to make it 2-2 midway through the second half.
Another goal always looked likely and it arrived with 11 minutes left. Danson’s Harry Donovan got to a through ball ahead of keeper Jenner and was able to go round him before squaring for man-of-the-match Ballard to convert from close range.
Total Football were unable to fashion another clear-cut chance late on but they still played their part in an enthralling contest.
Danson boss David Hunt said: “I’m delighted for the boys, they’ve put a lot of work in on cold Thursday nights and it’s paid off for them.
“I’m so proud of them. It was a topsy-turvy game, I thought we started well but then they scored and it went one way and then the other.”
Danson: Charlie Innes, Maxine Panisse, Freddie Hunt, Louis Abbot, Kaycee Mbette, Tommy Wisby, Harrison Murphy, Archie Ballard, Teddy McCormack, Henry Donovan, Harry Howard, Daniel Xhetani, Camran Bhandal, Archie Munday.
Total Football: Archie Jenner, Ben Sweeney, Euan Fuller, Nathan Reid, Samuel Cleaver, Oliver Waters, Owen Thompson, Kel Onwuchekwa, Archie Egglesden, Jaylen Koduah, Dylan Leadbeater, Jake White, Ismail Adelaja, Kaden Berry, Towdah Ljeh.
Referee: Matthew Boughton.