Kent Under 16s started the New Year in fine form with an excellent 4-2 victory over Hertfordshire in the ESFA National Competition. The two sides had drawn 2-2 in a pre-season friendly, since when Hertfordshire had impressed with wins against Norfolk (2-0), Suffolk (5-1) and Berkshire (2-1), whilst Kent could boast two draws against the Independent Schools and the Kent FA, and a 7-1 national cup victory over Oxfordshire.
Kent went 1-0 down after five minutes due to poor organisation from a corner, but battled back into the game and five minutes before half time their pressure was rewarded following a free kick just over the half way line after a foul on Josh Stirman. Sam McCallum played a quick pass to Josh who ran unopposed down the left wing then swung a diagonal cross to the back post, where George Robinson managed to direct the ball out of the keepers reach and draw Kent level. Kent started the second half at a very high tempo, resulting in further goals from Robinson, Stirman and Jedd Smith; they also missed a penalty. Hertfordshire scored one more goal from another set piece.
In another National Cup game, North Kent under 13’s beat Woking 3-1 to move into the quarter-finals, where they could be joined by Dover or Ashford. Another successful team in the nationals were Simon Langton’s 1st XI, who made the trip to Watford to play the much-fancied Harefield Academy, and returned with a 3-0 victory, courtesy of a hat-trick from their captain Luke Griffiths. They now travel to Hampton School in the next round to battle for a place in the quarter-finals.