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Kent FA under-18s beat Essex 5-2 in the South East Counties Youth Championship

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Kent FA’s under-18 representative side returned to action for the first time in nearly two years on Sunday and enjoyed a comeback win over Essex.

The teams clashed in the South East Counties Youth Championship at Aveley Football Club and Kent produced a stunning second half display to fight back from two goals down and win the match 5-2.

Kent under-18 rep team that played Essex on Sunday
Kent under-18 rep team that played Essex on Sunday

Essex took charge early on and scored twice, with goals from Sid Walker and Leur Hysaj. It was then down to Kent keeper Matt Larkin of Tonbridge Angels to ensure the damage didn’t get any worse.

Just before the break Kent got a goal back as Dover’s Jamie Finlayson fired in low.

In the second half Kent took charge, with Sheppey’s Bleu Landau and Whitstable’s George McIlroy exerting sustained pressure in the middle of the park which in turn allowed Sam Archibald (Bromley) and Jeremiah Bamgbose (Whitstable) offering more support to debutant striker Jack Nelson.

Fresh legs on the hour gave Kent extra impetus and they were soon level as Nelson curled an effort home.

Sevenoaks’ Reiss Skeen put Kent infront with a free-kick that went in off the post and went even better with a second, finding the top corner with a set-piece struck from 35 yards out.

Defender Harry Lawrence showed good ball control to add the fifth, slotting into the bottom corner and only the woodwork denied Wilson from adding a sixth.

Speaking after the match, manager Matt Dixon said: “The boys showed a tremendous spirit to fight back having been two goals behind. They didn’t let their heads drop and produced a fantastic second half display.

“I didn’t have to say much at half-time, they knew what was needed and they delivered a special performance in the second half. They should all be very proud of how well they played.”

Kent: Matt Larkin (Tonbridge Angels), Jayden Wilson (Ashford United), Harry Lawrence (Erith Town), Bleu Landau (Sheppey United), Michael Peate (Sevenoaks Town), Thomas Wills (Dover Athletic), Sam Archibald (Bromley), Jamie Finlayson (Dover Athletic), Jack Nelson (Dover Athletic), George McIlroy (Whitstable Town), Jeremiah Bamgbose (Whitstable Town), Reiss Skeen (Sevenoaks Town), Jensen Cromanty (Metrogas), Alfie Prior (Whitstable Town).

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