Player-of-the-match James Dyer scored four goals as Red Velvet came from behind to win the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield Final at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium on Saturday.
Stansfeld O&B had taken an 18th-minute lead through Oliver Wright’s header but Frank McLaren nodded in an equaliser before Dyer took centre stage.
“To come back from 1-0 down and show that character was great,” said Red Velvet manager Ian Jenkins. “The plans we put together at training on Thursday was exactly how we played.
“When you’ve got someone like James Dyer in your team who can score four goals, that’s the difference having someone like that.
“He’s hit a few of them, like the first one he scored, since he’s been with us but no goalkeeper in the world is going to stop that.
“Defensively we were sound, even though they had a few shots at the end, we put our bodies on the line. Then when you’ve got Cameron Macmillan on the break, creating three goals for James in the second half, they’re always going to be a threat up front together.
“It’s fantastic to win this at the end of the season. I’d rather have won the league but the young lads are all going to enjoy winning this now.
“It’s just a shame we haven’t done it throughout the season as we should be winning our league or coming close.”
Velvet hit the woodwork as early as the 10th minute, Lewis Oborne’s cross-shot coming back off the crossbar before Jay Oborne’s header lacked power.
Stansfeld went ahead when keeper Jack Rankin misjudged Zach Garcia’s deep left-wing corner and Wright climbed highest to put this side ahead.
But the lead lasted only two minutes as Dyer’s free-kick was flicked in by McLaren.
Then Dyer took centre stage, scoring the goal of the game as Velvet kept the ball alive on the edge of the area and it was set perfectly for Dyer to strike in from 20 yards via the underside of the bar.
Referee Jack Smith had an outstanding game, keeping control of a match that was always close to the boil and getting every big call right.
He played a good advantage late in the first half to allow Stansfeld to break but Jack Keen’s shot was blocked after excellent approach play by Finlay Boyce.
Stansfeld’s Harrison English then delivered an inch-perfect ball behind the full-back for Alfie Moynes but he could only find the side netting with just the keeper to beat.
Velvet scored three goals in 15 second-half minutes to wrap the game up. Stansfeld were caught on the ball on the edge of their own penalty area by the ever-willing Cameron Macmillan, who unselfishly crossed for Dyer to convert into an empty net.
Dyer then reacted quickest to Macmillan’s looping cross from the right on 57 minutes to head home and complete his hat-trick.
The same combination worked again for the fifth goal on 65 minutes, Macmillan delivering the ball and Dyer finishing at the far post for his fourth goal of the game.
Stansfeld kept going, Moynes’ header was cleared off the line and substitute George White shot horribly over from inside the box but the game was well and truly up.
Stansfeld: Tommy Kemp, Billy Hook, Oliver Wright, Bradley Mitchell, Jack Goyns, Harrison English, Max Connor, Zach Garcia, Finlay Boyce, Alfie Moynes, Jack Keen, Josh Schoeffer, Stanley Kenny, George White, Ben Fahey, George Blade.
Red Velvet: Jack Rankin, Jack Cray, Tommy Friend, James Dyer, Mike McKenna, Nick Rawlings, Red Jenkins, Frank McLaren, Cameron Macmillan, Lewis Oborne, Jay Oborne, Liam Rankin, Connor McCormack, Frank Holland, Liam Donaldson, Paul Smith.
Referee: Jack Smith.