Hayes & Yeading’s under 18 side narrowly missed out on capturing the Ryman Youth Champion of Champions Trophy on Tuesday evening as Burgess Hill Town took away the spoils with a winner six minutes from time after top scorer Josh Odunwo had levelled for United with 20 minutes to go.
The visitors, who had lost just once in their 18 game Ryman Youth season, one less than United, started well forcing a save from United keeper Tyler Wootton after just 6 minutes when Alfred Hammond broke through and tried to loft the ball over the on-coming keeper but Wootton stood tall and palmed away his effort.
With 14 minutes played United came close to breaking the deadlock when an in-swinging Jalon Rowe corner sailed over keeper Matt Morrish only to be headed away off the line by Will Miles.
Wootton then made a flying catch from a Miles header after the Burgess Hill skipper was picked out at the far post but minutes later he could do very little when an extremely offside looking Dan Perry ran through on goal and slid the ball wide of Wootton’s dive to open the scoring.
United started to push for an equaliser straight away. Prince Mbengiu saw a 20 yard shot deflect inches wide of the upright before good work out wide from Jalon Rowe and Josh Odunwo saw Mbengiu set up for another shooting chance, this time Miles got in a good block and the ball was gathered by Morrish.
As half time closed in Wootton had to be alert to push over a 25 yard driven free-kick from Curtis Gayler that looked destined for the top corner and at the break it was a one goal advantage for the visitors.
After a slow start to the second half, it was United who started to create openings. Arti Krasniqi fed Odunwo who turned his marker before firing just over from the edge of the box and minutes later Odunwo found Mbengiu just inside the area but his shot again went the wrong side of the post, this time courtesy of a good blocking tackle from Luc Doherty.
A minute later Wootton kept United’s deficit to one goal when Lloyd Durrant flicked on a Morrish clearance to Perry who outpaced Kane Mason only to be foiled by the outstretched leg of the United keeper.
This save proved all important five minutes later as United drew level. Oneal Rowe collected the ball in the right full-back position and advanced towards halfway before finding Mbengiu, laid the ball off to Jalon Rowe who centred to Odunwo who despite his initial close range effort being well blocked by Morrish, the United striker was quick to regain possession and fired home on the turn from inside the 6 yard box.
Four minutes later a challenge by Mason on Gayler right on the side of the United box saw assistant referee Mark Sennett put his flag across his chest and a penalty was awarded. Strangely enough the outcome was exactly as I expected having seen Wootton save many penalties this season, the United keeper diving to his right to push away Gayler’s kick.
Five minutes later sadly the visitors struck what was to untimately be the winner. Lee Harding bringing the ball down just outside the box before lofting an exquisite chip over Wootton who was caught a little off his line and just couldn’t stretch high enough to reach the ball.
Despite United pushing everything forwards, we could not find another and the trophy was winging its way back home with Burgess Hill Town.
And finally the season comes to an end, some of this years’ side will hopefully still be around next season but may I take this opportunity to wish all of our under 18 side the best of luck for the future, be it with United or elsewhere in the game.
Report by Kevin Watts.
United Man of the Match: Ahmed Mohammed.
Photo: Ron Gilbey