Kent Schools Under 18’s are looking forward to the ESFA National Final following their 4-2 victory over Humberside Schools in the semi-final at Kings Hill Sports Park. A closely-fought first half saw Kent edge in front with a fine effort from Josh Woolley (Maplesden Noakes School, Maidstone), celebrating his selection for the England Schools FA international squad, along with Kent goalkeeper Tom Hadler (Simon Langton GS, Canterbury). Humberside equalised before half-time with a free-kick, but Kent quickly regained the initiative after the break with a Woolley penalty. Again Humberside equalised, this time from a corner, but Woolley completed his hat-trick with a long-range free kick that went through a crowded penalty area, and Elliott Cutts added a fourth to send Kent into the final, which is provisionally scheduled for the Ricoh Arena in mid-March. Kent’s opponents will be either Durham or Essex, who play in the other semi-final on Saturday 25th January.
Meanwhile, on another excellent day for the county, Kent’s Under 14, Under 15 and Under 16 teams faced Sussex Schools in South-East league matches. The Under 16’s bounced back from their national cup defeat the previous Saturday with a 4-0 victory, courtesy of goals from Kieron Monk, Casey Johnson, Joe Ellis and Archie Johnson. The Under 15’s won 3-1 to qualify for the regional semi-finals – Kent’s scorers were Matt Day (2) and Connor Wilkins - whilst the Under 14’s had to settle for a draw following a Sussex equaliser with the last kick of the game after a fine solo effort from Tanto Oloufe had given Kent a first-half lead. The Under 14’s and Under 16’s remain unbeaten in their SE groups, with the Under 14’s set to face Buckinghamshire at Thamesmead on Saturday 25th January, and both age groups heading to Surrey on Saturday 8th February. Sandwiched between those fixtures the Under 14’s, Under 15’s and Under 16’s are all scheduled to face Essex (away) on Saturday 1st February.