Match Date: 05 March 2017
Score: 1-3 AET
Hollands & Blair were the only thing standing in the way of Bearsted reaching the KitToFit Challenge Cup final; a side which the Bears have grown to know over the course of the season having already played them twice – drawing once and losing the other. The boys knew they had to turn this run around; though it wasn’t to be as they crashed out the cup following a 3-1 loss after extra-time.
Bearsted dominated the early exchanges although the home side were unable to fashion any clear-cut chances which was becoming evidently frustrating for the boys. The ball wasn’t sticking up front which was becoming a slight issue as Bearsted were ending up using too much energy pressing the ball when they could have quite easily retained possession. This reflected in the final 25 minutes of the first-half as Blair were able to take the lead as they were able to head home a corner. Moments later Fraser Lee was forced into action as Blair were beginning to gain confidence and press for another goal. Nevertheless, Bearsted stood firm and were almost rewarded just before the break as Callum West did brilliantly to engineer some space down the right-hand side to deliver a scintillating cross into the path of the onrushing Joe Sturrock who wasn’t able to direct the ball into the back of the net. This meant the first-half ended with the home side 1-0 down with all the work to do in the second-half.
Blair started the second-half well, having most of the attacking chances and Bearsted were riding their luck with chances falling to multiple Blair players. Nonetheless, Bearsted would find an equaliser in the form of Luke Snazel who took a Callum West cross down and finished well into the bottom corner. The home side evidently smelt blood and the boys were pressing hard for a second and they came close when Albert Courtnell fired a brilliant cross which fizzed across the face of the goal, narrowly evading the surging West. Neither side were able to break the deadlock which meant the game would go into extra-time.
The first-half of extra-time was arguably dominated by the home side, yet the Bears were unable to create any clear cut chances; this was arguably the story of the game for the boys unfortunately. With the first-half of extra-time ending 1-1 it begged the question – would the game go all the way to penalties? This question was shortly answered inside the opening few minutes of the final half of extra-time as Blair fired home an exquisite free-kick from a distance. Although the Bearsted side showed character to try and get back into the game, all chances of a comeback were extinguished when Blair scored their third and final goal as the home defence made a meal of clearing the ball which Blair capitalised on and finished the game. A sour end to what was a great cup campaign for the Bearsted boys who should be proud for getting that far in a tough competition.
Bearsted Team: Fraser Lee, Harry Hays, Kieren Patel, Tom Lindsey, Ryan Golding, Callum West, Edoardo Cammarano, Chris Carcary, Luke Snazel, Joe Sturrock, Will Richards.
Bearsted Subs: Harry Whitfield, Callum MacGregor, Albert Courtnell.