Kent County League Rep side Hurt by late winner
After excellent performances in earlier rounds of the FA National League System Cup, the Kent County League representative side saved an under-par performance for the Semi-Final visit of the Isle of Man League on Sunday.The match, played at Chatham Town’s Maidstone Road, opened brightly with the visitors creating the early chances with winger Chris Bass unlucky not to give them the lead inside the first ten minutes.
Whilst most of Kent's promising first half attacks were broken down by a well organised Isle of Man defence, the lively front line of the visitors had to contend with the brilliance of Milton Athletic's Chris Smith in the Kent goal. Cray Valley's Dean White had to leave the field through injury and was replaced by Old Roan's Spencer Pollard, but Kent's defence held out to send the teams in goalless at the break.
Kent opened the second period the brighter of the two sides and a first minute header from Cray's Dean Flood crashed against the bar and ten minutes later the same player was again unlucky when another effort screamed just wide.At the other end man of the match Smith continued to thwart the visitors with many point blank saves, but even he could not prevent the Isle of Man's Nick Hurt netting from close range on 68 minutes. Ten minutes later a fine move down the Kent right resulting in a pin-point cross finding Flood in space who fired the equaliser.
The final period was frenetic and, with extra time looming, in the second minute of added time it was Hurt again who broke Kent hearts when he scored his second to send the Manxmen into May's final against Cambridgeshire who defeated the Guernsey League in the other semi.Geoff Jenkins, secretary of the British Energy Kent County League reflected on their campaign to date.
He said: “Looking back at the competition the British Energy Kent County League's manager, Cray Valley's Mark Edwards and his squad, can feel pride on reaching the last four of an FA National Competition that commenced back in September with 33 entrants from Step seven of the FA National League System.”