Phoenix Show Bounce-back-ability!
By Paul Hanmore
Phoenix remain unbeaten in the league and move up to 3rd with 3 games to go
Phoenix Sports v Cray Wanderers
Sunday 24th March - Kent Youth League U16 North
Starting XI: Tom Montgommery, Jack Wall, James Ash, Charlie Hanmore, Euan Corbett-Smith, Dylan Silva (c), Jamie Hutchins, Archie Roast, Tom Dolding, James Dyer, Henry Leek
Subs: Ted Green, Tom Fernandes, Ollie Boniface, Lucas Mvongo
In the bright spring sunshine, Phoenix were up against league title contenders Cray Wanderers determined to bounce back from last weeks cup final defeat and keep their league title hopes alive.
They started slowly and found themselves behind early on as the Cray striker waltzed past 3 Phoenix defenders with no challenge and slotted past Monty in the Phoenix goal. 0-1
Despite the early set-back, Phoenix started to settle and found themselves level midway through the first half. James Dyer took a curling free kick which found its way past the Cray keeper to make it 1-1.
From this point on, Phoenix dominated the first half playing some lovely one and two touch football.
On 30 minutes, a sweeping move down the left and some good build up play between Archie Roast & Charlie Hanmore led to an Archie shot which was saved by the Cray keeper. James Dyer reacted quickest and fired home to give Phoenix the lead. 2-1.
Not long after on 35 minutes, more excellent build up play, this time between Henry Leek and James Dyer led to a chance to Dyer to get his hat-trick. He took the opportunity with some aplomb and rifled home to make it 3-1. No more than Phoenix deserved. James was subsequently booked for his over exuberant shirt-off celebrations!
There were no further chances for either side and the referee blew for half-time.
Half Time - Phoenix Sports 3 Cray Wanderers 1
The second half saw Phoenix carry on where they left off. Dominating possession and with good work from the central midfield pairing of Dylan Silva and Jamie Hutchins breaking up play and sending the attacking players of Dyer, Archie, Henry and Tom Dolding on their way.
After 53 minutes a late tackle from Archie Roast saw him booked. From the subsequent free kick, Cray had their best chance of the game since their opening goal but fired wide.
Manager Alan Foreman decided to make his first change of the game sensing Cray were finding their way back. Archie was taken off and combative play-maker Ted Green was sent on.
The change worked as Cray started to become frustrated at not being able to find a way past the midfield or the non-pourous defence with Jack Wall having a stormer down the right, James Ash and Euan Corbett-Smith unmoved in the middle and Charlie Hanmore being his no-nonsense self down the left.
After 60 minutes, Cray did manage to fashion a chance but the elaborate overhead kick went over the bar
After 65 minutes, Phoenix should have been further ahead. Another good move saw Henry Leek play in James Dyer with a chance for his fourth but his shot went.
A late change saw Henry Leek taken off for recent signing Oliver Boniface who was unfortunately cup-tied last week.
As the clock ticked down, Phoenix gave away a late free kick but the attempt from Cray fell safely into Montys hands.
That was the last kick of the game and the referee blew for full-time.
Full Time - Phoenix Sports 3 Cray Wanderers 1
A superb win for Phoenix, managing the game well in the second half and showing a great attitude after the dissapointment of last weekend. Still unbeaten in the league with 3 games to go. They travel to fellow title chasers Glebe next hoping to leapfrog them in the table and give themselves a real chance in the final 2 games against Bromley. 3 cup finals left!