Sun 08 May 2022
Whitstable Town Football Club
A Hill (7'), S Hemmings (75')
Deal Town Rangers U15
U15s win the Kent Youth League with victory over Deal

U15s win the Kent Youth League with victory over Deal

Joel Derby8 May 2022 - 19:30
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Wonder goal and clean sheet seals the title for the U15s

Whitstable Under 15s won the Kent youth league with a two nil victory over Deal Town Rangers on Sunday afternoon earning their twelfth clean sheet of the season and securing the title with one game to play.

The U15s came into the game knowing that only a victory would seal the title for them as Margate sat in a two point lead but had already played their final match. The U15s could have been forgiven for showing some nerves on the pitch playing under this type of pressure but aside from a few early silly free kicks they gave away, the team couldn’t have been more focused in their approach to the game.

Indeed, Town started the game in a determined mood with some crisp passing and robust defending as they cleared a number of Deal long balls that tried to stretch their back line.

Whitstable continued to press but they had to be alert as they cleared from a Deal corner and Town’s keeper Stan Allom had to come out and collect. In defence, left back Will Knoupe had an excellent game thwarting Deal’s many attempts to break through.

But Whitstable pressed on and Alfie Hill thought he had opened the scoring in the fifth minute as he attempted to lob the keeper but the Deal shot-stopper just managed to hold the ball and keep it from going over the line. Whitstable appealed thinking it had gone in but the referee waved them away. But Whistable could sense they were getting closer.

Whitstable looked more threatening and in the seventh minute they did break the deadlock as Hill took the ball down well and shot at goal. It was a powerful shot that also took a handy deflection from a Deal defender as it looped over their keeper’s head to give Whitstable the lead. The cheers went up from players and supporters alike but the job was far from done.

The U15s kept pressing and went close with a Ollie Bunn header, captain Archie Rumball’s effort that just went wide and a great shot from striker Sonny Hemmings that Deal did well to head away as it was goal bound and hit with some venom.

Deal had their share of the ball and a few free kicks that Whitstable were guilty of giving away with unnecessary challenges. The referee had warned the team that he had seen enough of such challenges and as the first half wore on, defender Alfie Mantle was unfortunate to be the recipient of a yellow card when he tugged the shirt of a Deal player on the half way line.

But before the first half was up, Whitstable had a number of opportunities to put the game beyond Deal. Striker Jake Salisbury had another strong game linking up well with the midfield and giving the Deal defenders plenty of problems. Hemmings again went close with a good shot but the ball deflected into the keeper’s hands. There were a number of excellent corners from right-back Leo Cornhill that could have ended in a goal as well but, to their credit, Deal were defending well and snuffing out the danger.

Deal then nearly snatched an unlikely equaliser from a free kick at the end of the first half but goalkeeper Allom made an outstanding save to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.

Half time 1-0

There were no immediate changes for the U15s as the second half began in the glorious Kent sunshine. It felt like one goal might not be enough to seal the win against a strong Deal side though who had some pacy and skillful strikers. Indeed, Deal looked to pile on the pressure in the second half as they pressed Whitstable’s back line and cut out some of the U15s excellent forward play. Deal created a good opportunity in the first few minutes of the second period but their striker put his header wide.

Whitstable hadn’t started the second half sloppily themselves. They created a number of good chances as midfielder Will Derby put his shot just over the bar while Alfie Hill and left sided midfielder Callum Groom both had chances to increase Whitstable’s lead. The U15s also had several corners and free kicks but couldn't quite make them count.

The coaches recognised it was time to freshen things up as they introduced midfielders Alex Brownett, Dylan Richards and Harrison Wade. With Mantle departing the field, Derby slotted into the centre back position alongside mister reliable Oliver Bunn.

Deal were proving difficult to contain though as they looked to level things up. In one chance, keeper Allom had the ball kicked from his hands but the referee let play go on. Fortunately Town cleared their lines this time but the warning signs were there. Deal had a better chance to get their goal and would have were it not for some wonderful defending by Leo Cornhill who protected the ball for Allom to collect when it looked certain to go in. Cornhill paid the price for his efforts though as he picked up an injury in the challenge and was substituted soon after with Joshua Thomas-Wright entering the fray in his place. This meant another reshuffle at the back for the U15s as Wade moved to right back.

Whitstable knew there was a second goal in the game for them though and they kept on pushing. Richards, Groom and Hill all had chances in the final quarter of the game and Bunn went close with a header from a corner.

But with five minutes to go, Whitstable did seal the victory and league title with a wonder goal from Sonny Hemmings. Hemmings picked up the ball just outside of Deal’s area, took it past four or five defenders and let loose with a strike that was destined for the back of the net. It was a goal deserving of the win and the team piled onto Hemmings as they celebrated. They knew that they had sealed the title and were quite rightly enjoying the moment.

The sense of relief was palpable among the parents and supporters too who had been willing the boys on. The team were well deserving of the win and it was a good representation of their performances this season. In 2022 they have been on an 11-game unbeaten run since their sole defeat of the league campaign back in January .

Following Hemmings’ goal, there were only a few minutes left to play before full time and when the referee blew to indicate the end of the game, the U15s celebrated wildly again but this time with the coaches as well.

Whitstable won the Kent Youth league East title with a game to spare as they leapfrogged Margate to snatch the title.

Full time 2-0

Rumball (captain)


Adam Knoupe
Steve Rumball
Michael Groom

Match details

Match date

Sun 08 May 2022



Meet time



Red home kit please.
Team overview
Further reading