The Under 16's Tandridge team were desperately unlucky not to win this Tandridge League Cup quarter-final against Junior Bromleians, a game in which they were the better team.
Sevenoaks got off to a quick start and were unlucky not to be ahead in the first few minutes after a Joseph Russell free kick careered back off the post. The tone was set, however, and Sevenoaks went on to dominate the half. In midfield, Henry Phillips, Alex Morgan, and Joseph Russell controlled the game. This provided the basis for Sevenoaks to push forward and a string of corners and half chances followed. Lawrence Flarry came close, heading just wide from a Sam Sherratt corner, and Joseph Russell almost scored after a strong run, but Junior Bromleians’ goalkeeper made a fine save at his near post. However, Sevenoaks couldn’t make their dominance pay and the first half ended goalless.
On what was a blustery day, Sevenoaks played into the wind in the second half. This, however, did not affect the shape of the game and Sevenoaks continued to look the better team and the more likely to score. Soon after the re-start, Isaac von Kauffman sent a shot just wide and more half chances followed. Once again, however, Sevenoaks didn’t get that bit of luck in front of goal that their overall play deserved. Junior Bromleians did have more possession in the second half and did look dangerous going forward. However, the back four of Tom Barnes, James Phillips, Lawrence Flarry, and James Dykes defended brilliantly to ensure Junior Bromleians never got a clear site of goal. As the half wore on, the game became increasingly tense and tetchy and the final ten minutes were scrappy, with both sides clearly anxious not to make a mistake.
With the scores still tied at full time, the game went into extra time. Once again, Sevenoaks started on the front foot, helped by the tireless running of Jamie Bingham and Henry Phillips in midfield. However, clear cut chances still proved elusive and, in the end, it took a moment of brilliance to open the scoring. Toward the end of the first half of extra time, the ball broke to man of the match Henry Phillips 20 yards out and he sent an unstoppable shot flying back past Junior Bromleians' goalkeeper. However, within seconds Junior Bromleians were level when a free kick - which could easily have gone Sevenoaks’ way - deceived everyone in the penalty area and somehow found its way into the goal. This shifted the whole momentum of the game and when Junior Bromleians bundled the ball into Sevenoaks’ goal from a corner early in the second half of extra time, Sevenoaks couldn’t muster a fight back. Their commitment and desire never wavered, but when Junior Bromleians broke clear to score a third late on the game was lost.
It was a cruel finish to a game that Sevenoaks had dominated and deserved to win. They will take heart, though, from what was an exceptional performance against higher league opposition.