Phoenix Pay Cup Final Penalty
By Paul Hanmore
Missed chances come back to haunt Phoenix as they go down 0-1 in the Kent County FA U16 Cup Final
[b]Sevenoaks Town v Phoenix Sports
Kent County FA U16 Cup Final - Sunday 17th March - Faversham Town FC Shepheard Neame Stadium
Starting XI: Tom Montgommery, Jack Wall, James Ash, Charlie Hanmore, Euan Corbett-Smith, Dylan Silva, Jamie Hutchins, Archie Roast, Tom Dolding, James Dyer, Henry Leek
Subs: David Balogun, Tiago Dos Santos, Tom Fernandes, Ted Green, Lucas Mvongo
After the success of the Semi-Final two weeks earlier, manager Alan Foreman decided to keep the same starting XI.
Having lost to Sevenoaks earlier in the season and with the League Cup Final from last season also still in the memory back, Phoenix were determined to banish the demons and started the game the far better side.
On 8 minutes, an early chance fell to striker Henry Leek but his shot went wide of left post.
On 12 mins another chance came to Phoenix, this time to Tom Dolding who shot over from just outside the box.
Enjoying good spells of possession Phoenix wanted a goal to show for their efforts. It almost came on 15 mins with James Dyer swinging in a corner which was met by captain Dylan Silva but his header was saved on line.
Sevenoaks finally came into the game and had a good chance after Tom Monty in the Phoenix goal came out but missed the ball then saved with his feet as the Sevenoaks striker struggled to get his shot away.
Another chance fell to Tom Dolding on 20 mins but again his shot didn't test the Sevenoaks keeper and went wide.
Shortly after, a Sevenoaks attack was halted by Jack Wall who was subsequently booked.
Still on top, Henry Leek saw another good chance saved by the Sevenoaks keeper on 23 minutes.
On 25 mins Sevenoaks had their best chance of the game but Tom Monty was not to be beaten and tipped the ball wide of his post.
As half time approached, Sevenoaks grew into the game, winning a succession of free-kicks around the edge of the box but the shots were high and wide.
Phoenix edging the half having had more of the possession and better chances but not able to find the breakthrough.
Half Time 0-0
Sevenoaks started the second half better and had a chance to take the lead on 50 minutes but nothing came of it.
On 53 minutes, good work down the left led to another chance for Tom Dolding but once again it was missed.
On 55 minutes, Phoenix made their first change as Henry Leek came off and Ted Green was sent on to try and gain some possession in the midfield.
Shortly after, around the hour mark, Archie Roast was booked for a late tackle and then subsequently take off to be replaced by David Balogun.
62 mins were on the clock when Sevenoaks had a good chance but this time they shot wide. Again, keeper not called into action.
Jamie Hutchins was booked for persistent fouling on 65 mins, just before the game changing incident.
As Sevenoaks attacked their striker skipped a few tackles on the edge of the box. In an attempt to stop him, Phoenix dived in and the referee blew for a penalty. Sevenoaks striker sent Monty the wrong way and the deadlock was broken. Seveonaks 1 Phoenix 0.
All those earlier missed chances for Phoenix now looked even more costly but with 10-15 left to play, they still had a chance to get back in the game.
A last throw of the dice saw Jack Wall come off for Tiago Dos Santos as Phoenix went 3 at the back to try and nick an equaliser.
In truth they didn't really look like scoring and Sevenoaks were happy to clear the ball and see the game out.
The referee blew for full time and Phoenix players sank to their knees.
Full Time - Sevenoaks 1 Phoenix 0
As the players were a mixture of dissapointed, upset and angry, Dylan Silva was booked for complaining to the referee as he left the field after the final whistle.
It just wasn't to be Phoenix day and they will rue the missed chances early in the game. Similar to the cup final last year, on balance they probably didn't deserve to lose and in cup finals it can take one moment of magic or one mistake to change a game.
Phoenix can be proud to have got to the final - their second in two years - beating some good sides along the way including the superb semi-final win against Dartford.
They still have a chance to win the league and have 4 games left to do that - against the top 3 sides. Technically 4 more cup finals!