Published: 08:00, 28 March 2022
| Updated: 15:23, 29 March 2022
Set-piece specialists Bromley produced a five-star display to defeat Cray Wanderers in the Under-15 Kent Merit Cup final at Sheppey’s Holm Park on Sunday.
Three of their goals came from dead-ball situations and it turned out to be a one-sided showdown between two sides who know each other inside out.
That familiarity is probably not a surprise given that Bromley manager Mike Paye is also a Cray Wanderers director so, technically, he was always going to be a winner on the day!
“It’s a day of mixed feelings for me really,” said Paye. “Obviously Cray Wanderers is my club but I’ve been coaching at Bromley for 20 years so they've got a place in my heart too.
“It was two great teams - they beat us 2-0 three weeks ago so for us to come out and do that was very special and commendable to the boys. They’ve worked hard in training.”
Despite the final scoreline, Cray could have actually been 3-0 up before Bromley opened their account. Cameron McQueen’s long-range shot was saved, Jayden Obarotimi’s effort lacked power and Michael Ihiedi headed over a right-wing corner - just a selection of their early chances.
The opening goal arrived on 24 minutes with more than an element of luck about it as Oliver Driscoll’s cross into the box sailed over keeper Harry Haines and dropped into the far corner.
Driscoll repeated the trick just past the half-hour, although this one was intended as his free-kick found the top corner.
It was 3-0 in first-half stoppage time when the eagle-eyed assistant spotted Haines handled outside his box when clearing the ball. That gave Bromley a free-kick, which was touched to the impressive Harry Clout, who blasted home an unstoppable left-foot drive.
Cray did their best after the break, Oliver Perkins seeing his shot turned behind and Marsel Tola heading over. But too many times they got into good situations and were not able to provide enough quality when it mattered most.
Bromley were clearly a well-drilled and coached side, with every player knowing their job. But their desire seemed greater, they won every second ball and always posed a danger.
George Evans’ flick was cleared off the line as Bromley pressed for a fourth goal, which arrived before the hour mark when Clout spread the ball wide for the impressive Ryan Jamieson, whose delicious left-wing cross was converted by Ben Mills from close range.
Cray looked every inch a beaten side, a couple of cautions reflecting their frustration, and Bromley delivered the final blow one minute into stoppage time. Another free-kick, another goal. This time Jamieson stepped forward 20 yards out and drilled his effort low beyond Haines.
It was a well deserved win for Bromley, constantly carried forward by vocal centre-back Teddy Taylor, while much of their play was cleverly crafted by midfielder Charles Paye, who made a difficult game against familiar foes look so simple.
“The players all know each other and they’re good friends,” added boss Paye. “There was a bit of banter going on obviously but I think overall there’s a lot of respect there as they are all good players.
“We’ve been working a lot on our quality. We won a tournament last summer when we never got beat or conceded a goal and I think we’re just getting back to those levels now.”
Cray: Harry Haines, Callum Redman, Heath Cole-Goodwin, Cameron McQueen, Aron Shehu, Marsel Tola, Michael Ihiedi, Kaya Mahmut, Ben Cook, Oliver Perkins, Kieran Oba, Josh Miah, Harry Bunclark, Jayden Obarotimi, Alfie Ozdamar, Sam Hards.
Bromley: Carter Sullivan, Cameron Beckwith, Oliver Driscoll, Teddy Taylor, Ryan Jamieson, Ben Mills, Charles Paye, Kash Odiase, Harry Clout, George Evans, Ty Michael Ledwith, Oscar Moor, Archie Cassidy, Archie Matheson, Samuel Ketteley, Jeffrey Okoro.