The winners of the last three Kent Reliance Senior Cups go head-to-head tonight with the prize an end-of-season final against Dartford. But if Fleet want to contest that one against their old rivals and revive memories of a 1953 triumph over the Darts, they will have to overcome Charlton’s promising crop of youngsters who are determined to lift a third cup in four years.
Seeing off the Addicks’ young hopefuls will be no mean feat. They have lost only one Kent Senior Cup tie in the last four years (to Dartford) and their form going into tonight’s game is excellent. Unlike the first-team, Charlton’s U21 squad top their division (the Professional U21 Development League South) and have lost only two league games all season, the last one of those way back in September. They have beaten Hythe, Cray Wanderers and a strong Bromley side en route to the semi-final.
Tonight’s Addicks squad will be largely made up of U21s and a couple of fast-tracked U18s but they have fielded a couple of first-teamers in Kent Senior Cup games this season, including starlet Ademola Lookman, together with Naby Sarr and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis. They did, of course, win 2-0 at Stonebridge Road in the same competition last season, the scorer of both goals that day – Karlan Ahearne-Grant – being promoted to the first team in 2015/16. With plenty of capable players looking to catch the eye and make the step up, tonight’s game will certainly be competitive.
Fleet, on the other hand, have bigger fish to fry in the league and Daryl McMahon will likely go for a blend of fringe first-teamers, regular substitutes and Academy players as he did in the previous round against Phoenix Sports. That will mean likely places for Charlie Sheringham, Dean Pooley and Matt Fish who returns from suspension. McMahon and Stacy Long could again name themselves in the squad, while our Academy talent in the form of new signing Billy Holmes plus Ollie Boulding, Casey Johnson, Joe Denny, Karn Miller-Neave, Jeff Nguede and others will potentially be on show. Matt Godden may also get a little game time depending on fitness.
Tom Bonner and Anthony Cook are suspended for this one, meaning we’ll likely only have one Cook on show tonight – with Anthony’s brother Regan Charles-Cook a member of the Addicks’ development side.
Admission prices are £5 for adults, £3 concessions and £1 children.