Published: 08:00, 28 March 2022
| Updated: 09:19, 28 March 2022
Liam Nelson-Martin scored the winner as Bromley made their dominance count against Phoenix Sports in the Kent Merit Under-13 boys cup final at Sheppey’s Holm Park on Sunday.
Bromley pressed higher up in the second half and it worked as they forced a rare mistake from the Phoenix defence before Riley Stammers crossed for Nelson-Martin to calmly shoot past keeper Callum Morris.
“Our gameplan at half-time worked, to stop the keeper kicking the ball (out),” explained Bromley boss Dan Martin.
“If we’d taken our chances we could have been more comfortable in the second half. I think we created more chances and the better team won.”
The pattern of the contest was set early on with Phoenix’s Maxij Taflaj, the game’s outstanding defender, making two excellent challenges to thwart their opponents.
Bromley captain Tommy O’Donnell was good on the ball in the middle of the park while alongside him Edward Payton was outstanding, both in his distribution going forward - he rarely wasted a pass - and his ability to break up Phoenix attacks.
Freddie Falconer had a long-range Phoenix shot just wide but it was clear that Bromley posed a greater attacking threat. That said, Phoenix’s back four refused to buckle and keeper Morris was a safe pair of hands behind them.
Bromley posed danger through the tricky feet of Jaminda Robinson and the direct running of Riley Stammers.
Morris had to beat away Oliver Martin’s free-kick in the 16th minute, Stammers shot wide and Nelson-Martin was unable to turn in Martin’s left-wing cross.
At the other end, Phoenix striker Ben Martin was twice denied a clear run on goal by timely Zak Wilson interceptions.
Bromley raised their game in the second half, and once deservedly ahead they never looked like relinquishing their grip on the game.
Nelson-Martin was nearly in again just moments after scoring while Wilson twice tried his luck from distance.
Payton burst through two challenges but was denied a deserved goal by Morris, and O’Donnell would have scored an even better goal had he not tried one trick too many in the penalty area after some dazzling footwork left the Phoenix defence in a spin.
Bromley’s Tyler-Reece Persad nearly scored from distance late on, and Phoenix captain Finley English cleared off the line to deny Wilson.
Phoenix continued to try and play out from the back without ever showing a cutting edge, but their tough tackling throughout meant the victors never had it all their own way.
Boss Wilson added: “It’s our first cup final in the Kent Youth League, and we’ve made the transition well from nine-a-side to 11-a-side football.
“Fulham are talking to Edward at the moment so I don’t think we’ll have him next year but Tommy alongside him in midfield did really well and if he’d scored that goal at the end it would have been goal of the season!
“We deserved it and I’m really happy for the players.”
Bromley: Albie Riddington, Lucas Simpson, Oliver Martin, Zak Wilson, Edward Payton, Tommy O’Donnell, AJ Parker, Joe Wooldridge, Riley Stammers, Liam Nelson-Martin, Tyler-Reece Persad, Oliver Ness, Jaminda Robinson, Hudson Norris, Ben Stewart, Reece Ferlance.
Phoenix: Callum Morris, Finley English, Maxim Taflaj, Sonny Robinson-Cunningham, Tom Mercer, Sam Goodall, Rhys Evans, Ben Martin, Archie O’Connell, Harry Jones, Akin Sowah, Luke Bonnici, Logan Jones, Freddie Falconer, Oscar Johnson.