Seven-up Havering into semi-finals
PUBLISHED: 11:30 05 December 2016
Havering 7 Croydon 2
Havering’s year seven boys booked a place in the semi-finals of the South East England Schools’ Cup with a convincing win over Croydon.
The borough squad were soon on top against the Surrey champions, scoring two stunnings goals in the space of two minutes.
Undefeated in their local competition this season, Croydon looked surprisingly out of their depth during a 10-minute blitz that Havering could have made much worse but for two fine saves from the keeper.
Havering’s first goal came in the first minute when a sweeping move started by skipper Tom Pantinelli and involving four or five players found Tom Sontiminu, whose clinical finish characterised the home side’s effectiveness in front of goal this season.
Croydon then staged frantic resistance, but Havering somehow found another gear and steered themselves clear of tackles to go 2-0 up inside as many minutes through Archie Kieran.
Havering continued to ask questions, but on the next two occasions the Croydon keeper was equal to the task and pulled off two fine saves from Kieran and Finlay Welch, while another effort from Kieran struck the crossbar.
Croydon rallied briefly and a period of sustained pressure forced a goal after an uncharacteristic error at the back by Havering.
But the home side immediately struck back through Matas Skarna, whose effort restored the two-goal cushion and a fourth goal arrived just before the break from Sean Torimo, giving Croydon a mountain to climb in the second half.
Havering conceded a free kick right on the edge of their penalty box after the restart, but instead of striking for goal, the ball was chipped to the far post and a Croydon forward timed his run to perfection to net with a first-time volley to make it 4-2.
A resurgence seemed imminent, but Havering put paid to that when Welch scored from long range and Connor Mitchell netted from much closer.
Havering completed their tally when, after a flurry of chances, winger Corey Hewitt worked his magic to claim their seventh goal.
The borough boys will play Canterbury, Blackheath or Easy Sussex in January for a place in the final, while the other semi-final will be contested between Brighton, Medway or North Kent.
Havering: Kieran Moore, Archie Cane, Tom Pantelli, Liam Birchall, Finlay Welch, Archie Kieran, Sean Tarimo, Matas Skarna, Tom Sontiminu, Corey Hewitt, Mitchell Fallows, Conner Mitchell.