Saturday 21st April
Whitstable Town v Beckenham Town - A late Charlie Smith overhead kick on Wednesday kept Whitstable Town unbeaten through this calendar year but the two points dropped against Canterbury means that the challenge to finish on top has become a tougher one. Maximum points through to the end will be the only way Whitstable can win it but they certainly come up against a team wanting to prevent that from happening in Beckenham Town. The visitors have a fight to keep their season-long top four position, which could be lost with defeat here, and possibly with a touch of jealousy as the Oystermen are treading the path that they so nearly trod themselves, the away side will be desperate to come back form the Belmont with all three points.
Crowborough Athletic v Lordswood - Two 1-0 victories in a row has kept the Crowborough promotion hopes alive and with their rivals for the position, Whitstable, facing such a tough game this week they know that now is not the time to drop points as this race gets closer to a conclusion. Lordswood will need the Crows full focus though as a draw with Sevenoaks in midweek showed that this side can compete with anyone. They have their own aims and with 4th place still a possibility they will be aiming to grab those 3 points and be the side that pretty much ends the hosts sides of taking a step up.
AFC Croydon Athletic v Chatham Town - A 6 game unbeaten run for Chatham Town ended with defeat against Sevenoaks last week and now the 'Chats' will be looking to get back to winning ways with this trip to the Mayfield. The hosts will still have ambitions on finishing in the top half and to do that they will need to get a positive result here. The Rams got maximum points in the reverse fixture, will they do the same again on Saturday?
Sevenoaks Town v Sheppey United - Despite a midweek draw Sevenoaks still have a 7 point gap at the top and with only 4 games to go they would need to have a fairly drastic collapse to lose their grip on the title now. Sheppey stand in their way here and with victory for the hosts possibly confirming their first aim of promotion there will be a lot of eyes on this game at Greatness Park. The visitors brought an end to Beckenham's slim promotion hopes on Wednesday and will be more than happy to damage Sevenoaks title dreams on Saturday.
Photo: Sheppey United will be aiming to keep Kenny Pogue quiet at Greatness Park on Saturday - Credit: Liam Mac, Sports Images
Bearsted v Erith Town - Six losses in a row have put Erith Town down to 17th in the table but with 5 games left they still have time to end this campaign in a positive manner. Bearsted have also had a tough few weeks so will be more than happy to add to the Dockers recent woes. Back in December we saw these sides involved in a 7 goal thriller, edged by Erith Town. Will we see a similar game here?
Canterbury City v Cray Valley PM - On Wednesday night Canterbury were close to being the first team to beat Whitstable this year but even after only gaining a point they showed that they have to quality to mix it with any team in this Division. The visitors will be a tough challenge though. A poor start to the Season ended their promotion hopes early but in the second half of this campaign they have come on strong and flown up the table. This game is HUGE. Both sides are aiming for 4th place and with Beckenham doing all they can to hand it over these two are in a great position to snatch it off them.
Corinthian v Glebe - Corinthian will be on a high following their 5-1 win at Erith Town last week so will be welcoming Glebe to Longfield confident in gaining the 3 points that could help them get back into the top 7. The visitors are strong on the road though so will not fear the short journey down the A2. Some of their best victories have come on their travels and they will be keen to add The Hoops to a pretty impressive list.
Croydon v Deal Town - Croydon play their final home game of the Season hoping to get the three points that could very possibly see them move clear in 4th place. The Trams have gone goal crazy of late, scoring 14 in the last 4 so the Deal Town defence will need to be prepared for a busy afternoon. The visitors beat Rusthall in midweek and are now one of many sides aiming of ending up in that much-wanted 4th position. This is the first of four matches in eight days for Derek Hares’ side as they also look to make a significant increase on last season’s total haul of 46 points. When asked about the busy schedule the Manager said: “It’s tough but a lot of other clubs are in the same situation. The players are a little bit tired but we are not making any excuses.” In the reverse fixture at the Charles Ground back in October, Deal took the points with Dan Adams (2) and Andy Miller on target for the Hoops, and another victory on Saturday would certainly give them a huge boost as they enter their busy final week.
Hollands & Blair v Rusthall - Hollands & Blair have seen their last three games finish 2-1 but with the most recent two of those being defeats they have not been able to distance themselves from finishing in the bottom two. The result of this game should give us an indication who finishes closest to Rochester United and if is not to be Rusthall then the visitors will need to turn around form that has seen them lose the last 3 games, all without scoring.
Tunbridge Wells v Rochester United - It has been a successful few days for Tunbridge Wells as back-to-back 2-1 victories have earned them 6 points and moved them in to 14th position. Today they get to hammer the nail in to the Rochester United coffin as the basement boys will likely have their 20th place confirmed by 5pm as at the moment only the calculator and hope of a miracle has meant this occurrence has not quite been written in stone yet.
Saturday 21st April
Fisher v SC Thamesmead - Fisher may already know that they are finishing 3rd but with this being their last home game of the Season they will want to go out on a high as well as continue their current 6 game winning run. SC Thamesmead should make the journey by Thames Clipper as London Marathon preparation will make this usually easy journey much tougher but they will certainly arrive in Rotherhithe in good spirits following 2 good wins in the last seven days. Being the final game of the campaign they will be hoping to make it 3 victories in a row,which may be good enough for them to sneak into 11th position.
Gravesham Borough v Sutton Athletic - Two victories in a row, against the bottom two sides, has seen Gravesham distance themselves from them and now safe they will be looking to finish this year's activities on a high. Sutton will be looking to stop that from happening and play their final game hoping that three points will be good enough to propel them in to the top half.
Holmesdale v Punjab United - The big game of the day will see 5th placed Holmesdale play their last home game of the Season against the leaders Punjab United. It has been a fabulous campaign for the visitors and their 8 wins in a row and 16 game unbeaten run has put them on the verge of glory. It was only two weeks ago that we saw the reverse fixture in which an early Michael Hagan goal was enough for a Punjab win so these two sides clearly know each other, are well matched and should provide an entertaining spectacle from where we may just crown our Champions.
K Sports v Erith & Belvedere - It may well be too late for K Sports to lift the title but they deserve to leave the First Division on a high and if they can see their current 12 game unbeaten run extended through to the end they will be moving up to higher climbs on the back of a remarkable Season. The hosts have not lost since January but that was against Erith & Belvedere, who they face again now, so they will be well aware of the tough task ahead of them. The visitors have ambitions themselves, they want 4th place and for that they will need to win this. Who will achieve their aims? We shall soon find out.
Phoenix Sports Res. v Kent Football United - Two successive 3-3 draws may have been entertaining for the viewer but Kent Football United may find frustration from them as the points dropped have seen their hopes of a top 4 finish severely limited. The calculator says it is still possible though so they should continue to look for the wins that may just get them to that lofty perch. Phoenix have seen their success come in Cup competitions but will still be trying to end their League campaign on a high, and that starts with a win here.
Lewisham Borough v FC Elmstead - Lewisham will be desperate to avoid defeat in at least 1 of their last 4 games as they are currently on a 16 game losing run and they will be doing all they can to ensure that does not extend to 20. FC Elmstead have been superb defensively of late. 4 clean sheets in a row has put them in 9th and with 2 games to go they can still improve considerably on that.
Lydd Town v Stansfeld - Lydd start their last game in 10th place but with victory that can get a fair bit better so you can be sure they will be going all out to gain the win against Stansfeld. The visitors have lost the last 2 games but back in January they dished out a 5-2 beating to these opponents and will be looking for more of the same today.
Meridian VP v Forest Hill Park - For their last game of the Season Meridian are welcoming Forest Hill Park for what should be a very tight game at the MSSC. The hosts are currently in 15th place and are likely to stay whatever the result but will not let that affect their attitude when they take to the field. The visitors have lost the last 5 and are desperate for a victory. Could this be the game in which they get it?
Snodland Town v Crockenhill - Anything but 2 victories from their last 2 games will see Crockenhill finish bottom and with that possibly still not being enough to get them off the base the visitors probably know where their fate lies this Season. Snodland play in front of their home crowd for the last time this term and will be expecting to go out with a bang and set themselves up nicely for a top 6 finish.
Southern Counties East League Challenge Cup 2017-18
Tunbridge Wells v Whitstable Town
Longmead Stadium, 5th May 2018, 1pm K.O
All roads lead to Tonbridge on the 5th of May as the Longmead Stadium hosts the final game of the SCEFL Season. Here we take a closer look at how both clubs made their way through to the Final.
For Tunbridge Wells their journey through this Challenge Cup competiton came to life after just 13 seconds of their very first tie. When Joe Nwoko found the net in record time against Rochester United maybe then they knew that they could acheive something special in this campaign. Their visitors may have gone on to equalise but a late Jack Harris winner meant that Wells were through to Round Two. Rusthall provided a stiff test as once Jack Harris had volleyed The Wells into the lead Stephen Harper firstly levelled and then scored again to put the Rustics ahead. Ian Parsons sent the game to Extra-Time where Jon Pilbeam netted to put the hosts through to a tie at K Sports. The hosts would go on to earn promotion to the Premier Division but at this stage they were merely the leaders of the First Division but at home on their newly built 3g surface they would provide a stiff test for Tunbridge Wells. A single goal would win it and it was Alexx Kendall that got it as The Wells avoided the potential banana skin and made it through to a Quarter-Final home date with Cup specialists Cray Valley PM. The hosts took an early lead when Josh Biddlecombe's 6th minute cross was met by Jon Pilbeam who duly headed home. A blistering strike from Ryan Flack levelled the game and just as it looked like we were heading to extra time Pilbeam raced through and coolly slotted the ball away to send the 137 Wells supporters delirious. Crowborough Athletic were now standing between Wells and a Cup Final place but a dominant first leg performance pretty much put this one to bed early as a double from Jarred Trespaderne and a header from Jack Harris gave Wells a 3-goal advantage going in to Leg 2. After 10 minutes of the second game this one was over as another Jack Harris header had extended the Wells advantage to 4. In the final minute Franco Mici sealed it and and the identity of one of our finallists was confirmed and they went by the name of Tunbridge Wells.
To kick-off their competition Whitstable Town welcomed First Division Holmesdale to the Belmont but even though it was early in the Season the hosts were not going to get surprised and be turned over. Harry Goodger headed the first with Shaun Welford, on debut, getting the second to give the Oystermen a place in the next round. There they had a home tie with Croydon, who had earlier knocked Whitstable out of the FA Cup. Revenge was needed and it was certainly gained as the hosts ran out 4-0 winners in a game they dominated from start to finish. Craig Cloke hit two with Charlie Smith and Ricky Freeman adding the others to set up a Quarter-Final tie with Deal Town. Once again the Belmont played host to this one and once again Whitstable got the victory. It was just a single goal this time and it was Dan Williams that got it from the spot in the second half. The Oystermen were through and Lordswood were waiting in the Semi. For the first time in this competition Whitstable had to go on the road for this first leg with the Wood but it made no difference as they raced into a 2-0 lead after just 21 minutes, with both goals coming from Rob Gillman. Ricky Freeman added a third before a late comeback by the hosts meant that Whitstable had a 1 goal advantage to defend a week later. Despite a valiant effort from Lordswood they could not find a way back in to the game at The Belmont and when Teddy Nelson headed home on the hour mark this tie was over and Whitstable had made it through to another Cup Final.
For more details on the Challenge Cup visit our special page here