Action shot vs Kent

Sussex grab draw at table-topping Kent

Kent 1-1 Sussex

Our Under-16s Representative Squad were held to a draw at South East Counties Youth Championship Group B leaders Kent FA on Friday night in a tense and occasionally ill-tempered affair.

Nicholas Lueteri’s late equaliser salvaged a deserved point for the visitors with the two sides virtually inseparable for the majority of the match.

Sussex nearly snatched an early lead inside three minutes when Billie Clark twisted and turned to beat his marker and delivered a brilliant cross, but Hayden Beaconsfield saw his close range effort parried by Kent goalkeeper Roman Hall.

Alfie Hall then found himself through on goal ten minutes later, but the ball was moving slightly too far ahead of him and he was beaten to it by the onrushing goalkeeper.

The match became increasingly physical as the first-half progressed, with big tackles flying in from both sets of players.

Tensions boiled over in the 23rd minute following a heavy challenge and kick-out on Ethan Williams, sparking a spot of handbags in the far corner and prompting the referee to brandish his yellow card to the offender.

The best chance of the first-half fell to the hosts five minutes before the interval. George Wilkinson broke through the Sussex defence and fizzed a low ball into the six-yard box which was met by Ronald Sitole, but Sussex were saved as his first-time shot struck the woodwork with Anderson well beaten between the sticks.

Kent finally drew first blood six minutes after the restart when Bamebose darted into the area and finished calmly under Anderson.

Sussex were now faced with the tough task of finding a result from this game, with the home side’s goal undoubtedly deserved since taking control of the match towards the end of the first period.

Hall came agonisingly close to an equaliser in the 64th minute, with Sussex producing a lovely team move to release him inside the area, but his tame effort was well saved by the goalkeeper.

But the elusive goal did eventually come with 17 minutes to go, courtesy of substitute Lueteri, who rode a couple of challenges in the box before sliding the ball into the back of the net to provide Sussex with a lifeline.

Hall came closest to a winner in the final moments with a venomous snapshot that rippled the side netting, but neither side was able to snatch all three points before the final whistle.

Sussex manager Gary Mansell praised his side’s efforts after the match despite being denied victory for the first time in the competition this season.

“It was a tough test today, Kent were a very good side and to come here and play against them is hard for us,” he said.

“But I thought we showed some great determination. We were good today, we knew it was going to be a battle and we knew we would have to fight for a result.

“Having gone 1-0 down we showed good character to get back in the game and pull it back to 1-1, and we were maybe unlucky not to nick it at the end.”

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Kyle Hemsley Photography)

Stats: (Kent-Sussex)
Goals: 1-1; Shots: 6-8; Shots-on-Target: 4-6; Corners: 3-4; Offsides: 1-4; Fouls: 7-14; Yellows: 2-2; Reds: 0-0.

Kent: Hall, Lawrence, Hudson, Skeen, Peate (c), Potten, Archibald, Prior, Sitole, Wilkinson, Bamebose. 
Subs: Wilson, Sikirwami, McIroy, Almassi.

Sussex: Anderson, Williams, Peacock, Ward, Carter (c), Andrews, Hall, Mitchell, Rogers, Beaconsfield, Clark. 
Subs: Mthunzi, Nash, Lueteri, Powell.

Match report by Archie Griggs