Kemsing United and Westerham served a tasty derby in the DFDS Kent Junior B Cup Final at Maidstone’s Gallagher Stadium on Saturday.
There was no shortage of excitement with goals, yellow cards and red cards as the game twisted one way and then the other.
Kemsing led early in the second half only for Westerham to level the scores with eight minutes left.
That meant extra-time with Kemsing regaining the lead before Westerham were reduced to 10 men. A second red card followed shortly after Kemsing went 3-1 ahead.
The 120 minutes took its toll on many, including Kemsing manager Mike Daines, whose voice just about held out post-match.
“Listen to my voice, that says it all,” said Daines. “We’re absolutely delighted.
“Every player gave 110 per cent and after a long season we got what we deserved, it was a lot of time and effort so we’re delighted.
“Credit to Westerham, they got back in the game and the momentum shifted but we scored at the right times.
“Maybe we had a bit more youth on our side in extra-time but injury after injury made it tough for our guys.
“We wasted a couple of decent chances before they equalised and that always gets you thinking. So much goes into a day like this, for every club at grassroots level, so it’s very emotional. These are the days you dream of and always remember.”
The first half was most memorable for referee Chandon Chapman stamping his authority on the game. Westerham captain Danny Pledge was booked inside three minutes, quickly followed by Henry Bangerter for a shirt pull and Kemsing’s Conor Goodwin for a late foul.
The half was high in endeavour, if lacking a little in quality at times, although it needed an excellent one-handed save by Kemsing keeper Lewis Wilkins to deny Westerham’s Frankie Connor the opener after a precise through ball by Matthew Hoy.
The deadlock was broken just two minutes into the second half when player-of-the-match Tom Middelboe beat his marker and cleverly set up Matt Crompton to give Kemsing the lead.
With players going down with cramp, the game started to open up even more but it needed a tactical game to get Kemsing back into the contest as they changed formation and suddenly got on top.
A penalty appeal for handball was turned down, Connor shot over when well placed and Nathan Martin’s centre caused confusion before Joseph Gavin, increasingly a positive influence on their play, fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
Westerham were denied an equaliser with 11 minutes left when keeper Wilkins produced an outstanding stop to thwart Danny Pledge from Danny Tong’s corner.
But the pair did combine to level the scores three minutes later, Tong’s free-kick headed in by Pledge.
It was Westerham who finished the stronger, Lewis Longhurst played in Gavin but his heavy touch wasted the opening before Longhurst was denied by the keeper and Pledge swung wildly over the bar.
Kemsing regained the lead just six minutes into extra-time when Westerham lost possession cheaply on the edge of their own penalty area and Middelboe advanced before slotting past Adam Green.
Westerham’s cause was not helped when they were reduced to 10 men on 100 minutes, Tong was penalised for a shirt pull but then shoved over the played he had fouled and was promptly shown two yellow cards to cut short his afternoon.
Kemsing wrapped the tie up with five minutes left, Connor Jeffery scoring after a left-wing Marc Turner cross was brilliantly dummied on the edge of the six-yard box.
Westerham finished with nine men when Bangerter collected his second yellow card with four minutes remaining.
Kemsing United: Lewis Wilkins, Scott Willard, Craig Holder, Conor Goodwin, Sam Boyden, Tom Middelboe, Sam Miles, Aaron Shead, Ben Boyden, Ayo Adeniran, Matt Crompton, Ross Nowers, Marc Turner, Tyler Ashdown, Connor Jeffery, Ben Ellis.
Westerham: Adam Green, Danny Pledge, Owen Longhurst, Nathan Martin, Frankie Connor, Henry Bangerter, Russel Chick, Joseph Gavin, Matthew Hoy, Billy Lockwood, Lewis Longhurst, Robert Simpson, Joseph Lowbow, Craig Rooke, Danny Tong, Jake Pickett.
Referee: Chandon Chapman.