Herne Bay High’s Year 8 football team travelled to Beckenham Town Football Club yesterday evening (Tuesday 15th) to play Hayes School in the Kent Messenger Shield final. The early parts of the game were nervy and scrappy, but we had a larger share of possession in Hayes’ half. The deadlock was nearly broken by Hayes against the run of play, when their striker broke through the our defence, rounded Will but his shot hit the post, a huge let off for Herne Bay. Hayes began to grow into the game creating more chances but the back 4 of Max, Raif, Tommy and Alex stood strong. A well taken free kick from captain Jack was our highlight of the half, however it was Hayes who took the lead minutes before half time when they fired in a rebounded corner into the top corner.
A half time conversation around composure appeared to work as our team started the second half the brighter of the two teams and started to play more attractive football. Liam became a constant threat down the left hand side and continually delivered dangerous crosses in the Hayes box. We sustained pressure and were awarded a corner after Alex Scott’s tenacious work earned his team a corner plus some stud marks for his cause. A superb delivery from Alex Howdon saw Raifs initial header saved but after a goal mouth scramble it was Bobby who poached in the equaliser – followed by great scenes from the boys plus a failed knee slide from Bobby. A chance fell to Jack Heaton in the final few minutes, but his attempt was well blocked by the organised Hayes defence.
The game filtered out with chances for both teams but all the boys started to fatigue on a huge pitch. A draw at the end of normal time meant we entered 7 minutes each way of extra time. Herne Bay started extra time well, but the tiring legs meant little goal scoring opportunities were created. Hayes grew into extra time well, particularly in the second half with various attacks, but the defence stood tall and gave little clear goal scoring opportunities.
Extra time finished 1-1 and it meant that both teams shared the cup. A fitting end to a well contested and even game. Both teams are a credit to their schools and families, their achievements will live with them forever.