Worthing Semi-Final match report
The Isthmian Youth League Champion of Champions Cup is a bit like the FA Community Shield - there's not a whole lot of interest in it, unless your club is in it. And when your club is in it, it's a massive privilege to take part because it's recognition that your club has done something great recently. And it's another bit of silverware to try and win, which is always nice.
There are four divisions in the Isthmian Youth League, therefore four champions, therefore four entrants (though as I write this, I find out that West Division champions Beaconsfield Town have withdrawn due to fixture congestion, so this possibly blows this attempt at poetic writing out of the water), so it's esteemed company.
Kingstonian, as Central Divison champions, were drawm against South Division winners Worthing in a re-match from September's epic FA Youth Cup tie that saw the K's win a penalty shoot-out. Sadly for the K's, this game wouldn't be anywhere near as epic.
Truth be told, Worthing were outstanding on the night for this game at South Park. If it's thought that K's didn't play well, then that's entirely Worthing's fault. They gave our lads no time on the ball, pressed high up the pitch and made it depserately difficult all evening. K's had their chances, took one of them, but it just wasn't their night.
The opening goal came in the 10th minute, and it's probably the one the Ks' coaches would be least happy with as it came directly from a piece of bad defending when the ball was given away inside the penalty area to Ollie Starkey, he crossed at the buyline and the ball was tapped into the net by the fastest reacting team-mate Freddie Chester.
K's began to get back into the game, and looked threatening just before half time, as Beau Walters forced the Worthing keeper William Tillman into a fine stop at the near post followed by the same keeper making a diving save to deny Pacey Bean an equaliser. But the 44th minute brought the hammer blow, some quick passing on the edge of the K's area finished with the final pass finding Ollie Starkey with the freedom of Reigate inside the penalty area, his shot took a deflection and doubled his team's lead.
Any plans for the second half will have been torn up as early as the 47th minute when Worthing scored their third with an outstanding dead-ball move. A free kick was won down the left, Rocco Gamblin delivered the ball to the near post, Finlay Chadwick lost all of his markers and diverted the ball into the net before K's keeper Connor Wolfheimer could even think of moving to try and save.
K's temporarily put some life into the game in the 58th minute when Marco Haigh blasted one home from outside the penalty area, but this only served to annoy the young Mackerel Men. Another flowing move from the Worthing lads turned the K's defenders into pretzels in the 63rd minute, and was finished by Bradley Dolaghan's shot from the edge of the penalty area. And it was similar stuff in the 66th minute, much passing in front of K's defence, blast from edge of the area by Finlay Chadwick, goal number five for Worthing.
K's never did stop working all game, never stopped trying to score goals but they were thwarted by every attempt and Worthing ended up as 5-1 winners. With Beaconsfield Town's withdrawal, Worthing will play East Division champions Cray Valley Paper Mills in next Tuesday's final at Bedfont Sports. That should be a very good indeed.
As for the Kingstonian youngsters, there's no need to be too down-hearted by this result. They've got to the FA Youth Cup First Round, won one league, have a chance of another if the games can be played, and there's a cup final on 15th May at Dorking against either Sutton Common Rovers or South Park, there's a cup semi-final coming up and a cup quarter-final next Thursday against Colliers Wood United's CCL West Division team. A whole lot has already been achieved, a whole lot more is possible too. Under 18s football is fun.