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Kent Merit Under-14 boys cup final: Rochester City 4 Maidstone United 1


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Rochester City’s pace attack proved too much for Maidstone United to handle in the Kent Merit Under-14 boys cup final at Sheppey’s Holm Park on Sunday.

Two goals in stoppage time added gloss to the scoreline for Rochester but they more than deserved their moment of glory against an excellent Maidstone side.

An early Maidstone under-14s shot is blocked by Rochester City under-14s (blue). Picture: PSP Images
An early Maidstone under-14s shot is blocked by Rochester City under-14s (blue). Picture: PSP Images

Both teams are unbeaten in their league campaigns so a tight contest was expected - and so it proved for the first hour.

Rochester’s left-winger Akshar Santhosh almost opened the scoring inside two minutes but Stones keeper Lucas Brookman produced a great save to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Both sides hit the woodwork in the early exchanges, Rochester’s Amirali Aminzare saw his long-range shot hit the bar while Maidstone’s Harrison Fryer saw his looped header bounce behind off the top of the bar at the other end.

The teams battle for midfield possession in the Kent Merit Under-14 boys cup final. Picture: PSP Images
The teams battle for midfield possession in the Kent Merit Under-14 boys cup final. Picture: PSP Images

It needed a brilliant save from Rochester keeper Rex Porter to deny Maidstone a 20th-minute lead as he turned behind Rhys Morfey’s 20-yard blockbuster.

Rochester again hit the woodwork at the other end and Paddy Flynn twice spurned chances as their speedy forwards created gaps in Maidstone’s rearguard.

It took just two minutes of the second half for the first goal to arrive. You’ll struggle to see a better cross than Santhosh’s left-wing delivery which was on a plate for Nathaniel Waul to volley home first time from close range.

Santhosh then had two chances he created himself, the first through his trickery and the second from his pace, but keeper Brookman thwarted him both times.

Maidstone replied, a quick-flowing move involving Junior Eseka, Archie Dobbin and Louie Dayal saw the latter’s left-wing cross expertly claimed low down by keeper Porter.

Rochester City under-14s (blue) eventually ran out comfortable winners over Maidstone United under-14s. Picture: PSP Images
Rochester City under-14s (blue) eventually ran out comfortable winners over Maidstone United under-14s. Picture: PSP Images

Given how well he commanded his area, it was a surprise to see Porter unable to gather a towering right-wing cross on 45 minutes, and Dayal hooked home the loose ball to level the scores.

Rochester restored their lead with 13 minutes left when Flynn’s touch took him ahead of the last defender and he fired low beyond Brookman.

Stones centre-back Alfee Wincott and Dobbin both went close to levelling the scores before their team were dealt a blow when Medard Bote-Godri was stretchered off with a leg injury.

It seemed to disrupt Maidstone more than Rochester, who took advantage of tiring legs and their opponents pushing forward for an equaliser in a bid to force extra-time.

The tie was wrapped up in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Flynn beat the offside trap and then played in Santhosh whose left-foot finish found the far corner.

Maidstone United under-14s slide in against Rochester City under-14s (blue). Picture: PSP Images
Maidstone United under-14s slide in against Rochester City under-14s (blue). Picture: PSP Images

A fourth goal arrived two minutes later, an uncontested drop ball allowed Rochester to put the ball behind the Maidstone defence and Santhosh produced a repeat finish, again full of quality, to complete the scoring.

The final scoreline was harsh on Maidstone, particularly keeper Brookman and Wincott, who both did little wrong on the day.

Rochester were without manager Soney David due to illness, so assistant boss Sean Downey delivered his verdict.

“It was an awesome game, the boys came with the right attitude," he said. "We’ve had a couple of poor results in the last few weeks and it’s taught them to take every game seriously.

“They were up for it from the first whistle. It was really hard to leave boys out from the start as it’s a fantastic squad.

Rochester City under-14s (blue) hold off the attentions of Maidstone United under-14s. Picture: PSP Images
Rochester City under-14s (blue) hold off the attentions of Maidstone United under-14s. Picture: PSP Images

“We’ve got a lot of pace in the team, both the Santhosh twins and the striker who played on the wing at the start.

“As long as they’re finding each other with balls through the lines, then we can hurt teams.

“The manager, Soney, has been unwell so the boys really wanted to do well for him.”

Rochester: Rex Porter, Ashton David, Alexander Barnes, Harry Drew, Harry Dodgson, Callum Chandler, Amirali Aminzare, Kian Downey, Ollie Anderson Frogley, Nathaniel Waul, Akash Santhosh, Akshar Santhosh, Paddy Flynn, Milo Carnegie-Jones, Ellis Bance, Joshua Head.

Maidstone: Lucas Brookman, Reuben Jones, Junior Eseka, Rhys Morfey, Alfee Wincott, Ollie South, Liam Wilson, Jayson Afusi, Archie Dobbin, Louie Dayal, Sonny Jackson, Alan Bachorski, Medard Bote-Godri, Harrison Fryer, Zane Rayfield.

Rochester City celebrate their Kent Merit Under-14 boys cup final success. Picture: PSP Images (55719063)
Rochester City celebrate their Kent Merit Under-14 boys cup final success. Picture: PSP Images (55719063)
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