Dorking Wanderers defeat Esher Youth under the lights at Meadowbank to win the U16 Thorpe Park Youth County Cup.
After losing the U15 Youth final last year, Esher were back for redemption and started the game on the front foot. Matthew Hayden tried to capitalise on hesitation from DWFC goalkeeper Harry Charlesworth on a through ball, but a heavy touch took the ball beyond him and out for a goal kick.
Despite Esher's early chance, Dorking Wanderers took the lead in the 9th minute. Neo Wooster won the ball on the halfway line before driving into the Esher half; chipping it into Jacob Todman who, despite losing the ball, persevered and hassled the Esher centre-half, which ultimately helped the ball fall into the path of Jarrod O'Keefe. O'Keefe made no mistake and slotted it past Luca Soloman in the Esher goal.
The early goal drove Wooster, who began to take control of the middle, and things got worse for Esher in the 15th minute as DWFC goal scorer O'Keefe flicked the ball over the top to James Laws, who remained composed and nudged it on to Todman, who was unmarked in the middle and riffled it in the net to give Wanderers a two-goal advantage.
Esher, now chasing the game, looked to Zach Omare for inspiration, and he almost got them back in it when DWFC's Towa Mphande's heavy touch gave a glimpse of the goal. Nevertheless, they went in at halftime 2-0 down.
Esher again came out for the second half strong, looking for a goal back with an early free kick on the left flank. However, James Orton's cross from the edge of the box was nicely dealt with by the Wanderers, setting them off on a counterattack down at the other end.
Sam Risley looked to add gloss to the Dorking Wanderers score line with an audacious shot from the right of the Esher box, which flew over the bar, despite having teammates across the face of the goal.
Esher were then reduced to 10 as full-back Charlie Bailey was deemed to have a late challenge on Laws and subsequently was sent off for a second bookable offence. Wanderers almost immediately took advantage of the circumstances with a free kick on the left-hand side of the Esher box, which was rebounded and fell at the feet of Mphande, who ultimately fired his shot wide.
Dorking got their third in the 50th minute when Max Muth got down the by-line before sliding a perfectly waited ball into O'Keefe, who simply had to tap in to extend their advantage and claim his second of the evening.
As the second half progressed, the Esher crowd looked to inspire a comeback, but a well-disciplined Dorking Wanderers side halted their team's attacks. Esher did come close to restoring some faith with several chances, including shots by Miles Leetham-Clarke and Omare, but both were kept out and DWFC's Charlesworth managed to maintain a clean sheet.
In the final few minutes Wanderers looked to add salt to the wounds and grab a 4th, as Zach Cahusac fizzed a cross from the by-line, and the header away fell to Todman, who’s powerful shot was well blocked. Nonetheless, the referee eventually blew the final whistle, and Dorking were crowned champions of the Thorpe Park U16 Youth Cup.
Goals (DWFC): Jarrod O’Keefe (9, 50), Jacob Todman (15)
MOTM: Jarrod O’Keefe (DWFC)
Referee: Alex Smithyes
Assistant Referee: Steve McCarthy
Assistant Referee: Charles Sherred
Fourth Official: Paul Eardley
Dorking Wanderers: Harry Charlesworth (GK), Luca Fulco, Towa Mphande, Jay Richardson, Joshua Herbert, Neo Wooster, Sam Risley, Jarrod O’Keefe, Max Muth, James Laws, Jacob Todman, Hwan Lee, Zach Cahusac, George Chandler, Matt Hamilton, Noah Thomas.
Esher Youth: Luca Soloman (GK), George Galea-Elston, Charlie Bailey, Jack Gautier, James Payne, Casper Blakeway, Liam O’Neil, Rahul Bheemal-Mungar, Archie Rainbird, Matthew Hayden, Zack Omare, Frankie Morton, James Orton, Miles Leetham-Clarke, William Saunders, Joseph Douglas.