The Under 16's Tandridge team won a penalty shoot out to progress to the quarter finals of the Tandridge League Cup following an enthralling game that was full of drama against a talented FC Jean Te Le team.
Sevenoaks started on the front foot and their early pressure was rewarded when Toby Fitzmaurice latched on to an exquisite through ball from Isaac von Kaufmann to put Sevenoaks ahead with a brilliant finish. However, Sevenoaks couldn’t add to their early lead and, midway through the half, FC Jean Le Te pulled level with a stunning volley that flew into the roof of Sevenoaks’ goal. FC Jean Le Te went on to dominate the rest of the half. However, some outstanding defending from Lawrence Flarry, Ben Packer, James Phillips, and Tom Barnes meant FC Jean Te Le were largely restricted to long range efforts.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Sevenoaks again started the stronger and once again took the lead with another brilliant finish, this time from Jamie Downs. FC Jean Te Le then again went on to dominate possession and, in what was an increasingly tense game, went close to equalising on a number of occasions. But more resolute defending and some remarkable goalkeeping from man of the match Alex Theobald kept Sevenoaks in front. Eventually, however, the pressure told and, with minutes remaining, FC Jean Te Le pulled level for a second time, sending the game into extra time.
With the light fading and the fog closing in, Sevenoaks had to pick themselves up for extra time. This they did brilliantly. Across midfield, Jamie Bingham, Henry Phillips, Alex Morgan, and Dan Stone somehow found the energy to keep running and near the end of the first half of extra time Sevenoaks took the lead for a third time. This time it was captain Joseph Russell who stepped up with a moment of brilliance, sending a free kick from 30 yards into the roof of FC Jean Te Le’s goal. And this time it looked like Sevenoaks would hold out. Typifying the spirit of the team, Sam Sherratt dropped back into defence late on to help shore things up and Alex Theobald pulled off another string of outstanding saves, each one seemingly better than the last, to keep FC Jean Te Le out. However, once more FC Jean Te Le pulled level in the dying moments to send the game to a nerve wracking penalty shootout.
Jamie Downs, Sam Sherratt, and James Phillips scored penalties for Sevenoaks. But it was fitting that the shootout was won by Alex Theobald, who saved three of FC Jean Te Le’s penalties to cap a sensational performance and send Sevenoaks through.
In truth, it was a harsh way for the game to be decided and both teams take huge credit for what was a truly magnificent game that had it all.