clinch it with late goal
Gill Ends Town's Cup Double Hopes
Sevenoaks Town 2 Platt Utd 3
Report courtesy of Derek Hodge.
Holders Platt Utd became only the 10th club in the 100 year history of the Sevenoaks Charity Cup to successfully defend the trophy when Lyndon Gill scored a dramatic 89th minute winner in Easter Monday's Senior final at Raleys Field.
In what up until then had been a disappointing centenary final, Gill got on the end of a Mark Penfold free-kick and hooked the ball past Town's helpless keeper Julian Leigh to give the Mid Kent side a 3-2 victory. His goal came with barely a minute's play remaining and immediately after Robbie Crouch had put Town back on level terms in an exciting finale. Crouch was the villain turned hero having earlier coceded a penalty, but the full-back made amends by powerfully heading home Mark Lewis' accurately taken free-kick beyond Platt keeper Ray Merry. However, the goals did little to warm those spectators who braved arctic-like conditions. High winds and hail storms kept the attendance down. In what was a repeat of last year's final the conditions made constructive football difficult and there was more physical endeavour than finesse.
Defending the high wind during the first half, Town bidding to make it a Cup double having won the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield last week, did well to constrict Platt to a solitary goal and after the break got to grips with the midfield where they created some nice passing movements with Peter Harrington and Steve Warne prominent, but without causing the Platt defence too many problems.
Platt made the best possible start when they went ahead after just four minutes. Ian Pinnell crossed to Darren Woodman who headed the ball down into a packed 18 yard area. The ball was kicked on and Leigh did well to push the shot out but only as far as Dean Woodward who struck an angled shot into the net.
Minutes later a long high kick from Merry caused havoc in the Town defence and the ball fell to Woodman. He struck a fierce shot at Leigh who did well to push the ball away for a corner.
Town began to settle with centre-back Mickey Miles dominant in the air and David Bright ever watchful. The former New Zealand World Cup star came into the game more as the half progressed with his constructive passes. Sevenoaks mounted their first serious attack in the 13th minute after a bad tackle on Paul Burchatt by Colin Cable. The resultant free-kick on the right found Miles inside the area but the tall central defender failed to get any direction with his header and Merry was able to collect the ball under pressure.
When play resumed Leigh was called into action at the other end saving well from Andrew Bennett's superbly struck 20 yard shot. Sevenoaks won a series of free-kicks which all went to waste. Burchatt was brought down almost on the 18 yard line but a short pass to Harrington failed to threaten Platt's defence as the mid-fielder lost possession. Leigh was again in action this time deflecting a shot by Woodward for a corner. In the 38th minute Town broke quickly from defence and a long ball to Warne caught Platt's defence napping. Warne raced towards the goal and as Merry quickly came out of his area Town's leading scorer rounded the keeper only to shoot high and wide of the target.
Another long ball, this time by Harrington, over the Platt defence brought Merry 40 yards off his line to kick the ball into touch for a throw-in. As the half came to an end there were signs that Harrington, Ross Campbell and Lewis were beginning to take control of the midfield.
Town levelled immediately after the start of the second-half. They were awarded a free-kick just outside the 18 yard area and Merry was unable to hold Warne's fiercely struck shot which spun off the greasy surface. Jenner required lengthy treatment for an injury and when play resumed a free-kick was touched on to Warne whose goalbound shot was pushed over the crossbar by Merry.
Against the run of play Platt were awarded a penalty for pushing by Crouch and Pinnell, who had a good game at the back, made no mistake with the spot kick.
Town then had appeals for a penalty turned down when firstly Warne was upended by Cable and then when a shot was cleared off the Platt line from a free-kick awarded against Merry who picked up a back pass. Platt substitute Ian Chirnside, out of action for part of the season with a broken leg, came on while Town introduced John Mantle and Andre Pingault in a desperate attempt to get the equaliser. Crouch's leveller looked like sending the game into extra-time before Gill grabbed the decider.
Mr John Bellamy, president of the Sevenoaks Charity Cup competition, presented Platt skipper Colin Cable with the magnificent silver trophy.
Team: R.Merry, M.Penfold, R.Bedford, C.Cable, I.Pinnell, R.Skilman, L.Gill, D.Woodward, A.Bennett, D.Woodman, D.Fisher, I.Chirnside, T.Shaw.