Kew Park Rangers became the first winners of this season’s Thorpe Park Youth County Cup Finals, as they took control in the second half to beat Liss Athletic 2-0 in an exhilarating match at Meadowbank.
The U18s Youth final kicked off on a sunny but brisk spring evening, with high anticipation in the air as family and friends arrived through the turnstiles.
The first half got off to a flying start, with Liss getting a corner in the opening minutes and subsequently striking the post with a dangerous header from centre-half Dan Clark. Nevertheless, Kew Park looked sharp in their response with a penalty claim and Archie Kimble looking a real threat down the right flank.
Midway through the first half, Liss Athletics’ Dave Evans found himself in some great positions and got off several shots from outside the box, though to no avail. In the 22nd minute, it looked like KPR were going to open the scoring, as Tom Pendrich slotted a through ball to Archie Kimble, who snuck past the defence. But he could not capitalise on the opportunity and dragged the ball wide.
In the last 5 minutes of the first half, KPR rallied and piled the pressure on the Liss Athletic goal forcing several big saves from keeper Euan Brindley, who had been vocal throughout the game. KPR thought their luck had turned on the stroke of halftime as Viktor Sundling buried the ball into the net off a parried free kick; though the offside flag quickly went up to silence any celebrations and leave it all square at the break.
The second half kicked off with KPR flying out of the blocks and looking to get an early goal. Their fast-paced football led to an audacious shot outside of the box from captain Sam Wooldridge, which only just flew past the top left corner.
The breakthrough for KPR came in the 52nd minute with an efficient counterattack from the back. A through ball once again by Tom Pendrich found the feet of Viktor Sundling in the final third, who slotted in a composed finish to put KPR ahead.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes, Liss looked to pull themselves back with Theo Glazier a constant threat down the right side, but KRP remained composed in defence. This defensive display was rewarded, and some excellent build-up play resulted in Tom Pendrich getting past the last defender and slotting the ball across the goal to Fenton Woodcock, who fired the ball into the empty net, doubling KRP’s lead in the 82nd minute.
In the final few minutes, Liss Athletics’ Charlie Harrison took a daring shot from 30 yards with it just flying past the right-side post. KPR held onto the two-goal advantage up to the final whistle, which was followed by a marvellous round of applause from the 141 attendees on the night.
Goals (KRP): Viktor Sundling (52), Fenton Woodstock (82)
MOTM (KPR): Aidan Painting
Assistant Referee: Rhys Wallis
Assistant Referee: Dominic Fairhurst
Fourth Official: Martin Bright
Kew Park Rangers: Max Jeffery, Matthew Pilkington, Olly Guntrip, Kyran Aherne, Archie Kimble, Sam Wooldridge (C), Joseph Tracey, Tom Pendrich, Fenton Woodcock, Ivan Solomakhin, Alex Gillet, Viktor Sundling, Javier Alramahi, Joseph Maurici, Aidan Painting, Niall Winter, Lenny Weber, Miles Gutzwiller.
Liss Athletic Youth: Euan Brindley, Dan Clark, Reuben Dean, Alex Young, Theo Glazier, Tom Glazerbrook, Alex Olivia, Callum Lockyer, Charlie Harrison, Dave Evans, Ollie Stanbridge, Harry Barnes, Johnny Kracmar, Jack Kidd, Joe Skelton, Tyler McCool, Walter Young, Wilf Marshall.