UK Forces Footballers Take Kentish Cup For Third Year In A Row

The UK Armed Forces football side has won the Kentish Cup for the third time in a row after a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands...

The UK Armed Forces football side has won the Kentish Cup for the third time in a row after a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands.

The defending champions only needed a tie to reclaim the silverware in Portsmouth, after beating France 2-1 in the opener last week.

The unity amongst the players and backroom staff was crucial in their defence of their title - and it said it all when a captain from each service lifted the trophy (see above).

UKAF Kentish Cup win v Netherlands 2017

The UK team got off to a slow start, though, although they contained the Dutch and were able to fashion a chance for Danny Stoneman after 13 minutes as they found their feet.

Josh Hughes also had a go as the men in white started to turn the screw but everything could have changed in a moment if they had been awarded a red card for a Danny Earle challenge.

The Dutch keeper was thankfully uninjured - the UKAF man maybe a little lucky to get away with just a yellow.

The impetus, though, remained with the home team and on the stroke of half time they scored from a wonderfully-worked manoeuvre in midfield.

UKAF Kentish Cup win v Netherlands 2017

The ball was fed in by the ever-present Hughes and netted by Danny Kerr, leaving UKAF 1-0 up at the interval.

And they came out firing in the second 45, with Earle nearly scoring from the off.

But the Dutch found some pressure of their own. The last 20 minutes it was all orange and they were given their reward with a controversial penalty decision.

Carl Evans was penalised for handball, before Mark Den Hartogh sent Luke Cairney the wrong way to level from the spot.

To the visitors' credit, they maintained their high level - with the pressure enough to get the UK head coach sent to the stands - but in the end it wasn't enough for the win they needed after a 2-2 draw with the French. Team captain, Corporal Tom Claisse, said:

"It's what we work for all season round. It's massive, backroom staff and lads from all three services coming together... It's for everyone."

Petty Officer Physical Trainer Danny Kerr said:

"We made hard work of it initially. I thought we could have got a couple more in [the] early stages but fair play to the Dutch, they kept coming and putting us under pressure towards the end... [but] three times in a row is unbelievable."

Head coach Flight Sergeant Nicholas de-Long said:

"We've earned the right over the two games to be [seen as] the best... We deserve it."

When a team is this successful three times on the trot, the question is can they keep it up.

We'll have to wait and see when the competition returns to France next year...

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