Photo: We had four seasons in one day at Badger Sports as the weather played it's part in a tense and even game. - Credit: Alan Coomes - Gallery
Sunday 17th March
FA Vase Semi-Final First Leg
Cray Valley PM 1-0 Canterbury City
Cray Valley have the narrowest advantage to take into their second leg of their FA Vase semi-final against Canterbury City next Saturday after edging out their visitors 1-0 in today's first leg.
Ryan Flack got the only goal of the game in the 55th minute in front of a record crowd for Cray Valley of 663.
The match got off to a strange start when Cray Valley keeper Andy Walker went down injured inside his penalty area in the first 30 seconds. Walker received treatment and was clearly struggling when play restarted, holding his hamstring and needing defenders to help with his goal kicks throughout the game.
Adam Woolcott shot from distance but there was clearly nothing wrong with Walkers handling.
The weather dictated proceedings throughout the rest of the first half as we witnessed torrential rain, hailstones and strong winds aswell as calm skies and sunshine.
Going into the break City will feel that they had the better of possesion despite failing to create any concrete chances.
Although the pitch conditioning was worsening the weather improved and with it so did the action and excitement of the game in the second half.
Photo: Dave Cumberbatch - Gallery
The first goal came in the 55th minute and was a great solo effort from Cray right-winger Ryan Flack. He was allowed to cut in from the byline and while the defenders marked his fellow attackers he shot left-footed into the bottom corner, giving Jack Delo little chance in the City goal.
Soon after, Ashley Sains saw his header saved before Canterbury should have levelled the game. Dean Grant got in behind the Millers defence before cutting the ball back from the byline. Bola Dawodu looked certain to score as he arrived in the six-yard box but he slipped and couldn't connect sweetly with the ball, which ended up in Walker's gloves.
Photo: Dave Cumberbatch - Gallery
Cray then had a great double chance to extend their lead. First Gavin Tomlin saw his efforts blocked before he turned provider, only to see his cross skyed by Anthony Edgar, who should have done better.
For the rest of the game, Canterbury dominated and came close to scoring on a few occassions. Grant just could not beat Walker, even though he had multiple opportunites, and Ryan Cooper and Dan Lawrence also had efforts cleared.
The full time whistle merely signalled the half-time stage of this tie. It is well poised, Cray Valley have the lead but back on home soil Canterbury City will be an even tougher prospect than today.
Faversham is the place to be next Saturday where by 5pm we will have confirmed the name of the SCEFL side that will be taking that walk along Wembley Way with the support of our League behind them.
Photo: Ryan Flack got the only goal in the First Leg setting up a classic encounter next Saturday - Credit: Alan Coomes - Gallery
League Results - Saturday 16th March
Photo: Jon Pilbeam celebrates as his deflected effort gives Chatham Town the win over Croydon - Credit: Steve Povey - Gallery
Saturday 16th March
AFC Croydon Ath 0-1 Hollands & Blair
Bearsted 2-4 Fisher
Chatham Town 2-0 Croydon
Corinthian 7-1 Crowborough Athletic
Erith Town 2-1 Beckenham Town
Lordswood 3-0 K Sports
Tunbridge Wells P-P Glebe (Postponed)
23 goals in the 6 Premier Division games today with no draws and each of the title contenders that played all winning. Biggest victors of the day were leaders Corinthian who blew Crowborough Athletic away 7-1 despite falling behind. Emmanuel Oloyede hit 3 of that impressive total as the Hoops kept themselves 4 points ahead of the chasing pack. Fisher once again lead that hunt but were made to work hard for their points at Bearsted. Rob Brown hit a double, Trey Small scored direct from a corner and Ritchie Hamill netted from the spot as the Fish moved back into second place. Chatham Town remained in contention with a 2-0 home win over Croydon, meaning the basement boys now have a 10 point gap to the side above them in 19th. That team is no longer Hollands & Blair, who were successful at AFC Croydon Athletic thanks to a late Rob Denness winner. Blair are now in 18th two points ahead of Rusthall.
The biggest movers of the day were Erith Town as they shot up to 8th place thanks to Steadman Callender's winner at home to Beckenham Town. The Dockers are well placed to compete for a 7th placed finish alongside up to 8 other teams. Lordswood currently hold that much-wanted position and are there after seeing off K Sports 3-0 at Martyn Grove. James Huggins with a double for the Lords as they return in style from back-to-back defeats.
Photo: Ryan Golding was among the goals as Welling Town won again to stay clear of the pack - Credit: Dave Cumberbatch
FC Elmstead 1-3 Erith & Belvedere
Greenways 1-2 Forest Hill Park
Lewisham Borough 0-5 Sutton Athletic
Meridian VP 1-2 Bridon Ropes
Rochester Utd 2-3 Lydd Town
Snodland Town 1-4 Welling Town
SC Thamesmead 2-1 Holmesdale
Stansfeld 2-3 Kennington
7 of the 8 games in the First Division went to the away side today as once again there were no draws and all title contenders were victorious setting up what should be a thrilling end to the campaign. Welling Town followed up their key win in midweek by once again scoring 4 to earn the points at Snodland Town depite going behind early on. Goals from birthday boy Harry Gamble, Sam Bailey and a double from Ryan Golding kept the boots 9 points clear at the top. Erith & Belvedere bounced back to winning ways to remain in second and despite being a distance away they do have 4 games in hand. Today they made the short journey back from FC Elmstead with the win after taking a 3-1 half-time lead and keeping it through to the end.
Bridon Ropes stay third after edging groundsharers Meridian VP 2-1 with Nathan Simpson getting both goals for the Ropes. Meridian's defeat keeps them rooted to the bottom and in need of picking up some points quickly. Sutton Athletic were the clearest winners of the day as they put Lewisham Borough back in trouble after defeating them 5-0. Arlie Desanges hit a double for Sutton as they earned the points that keep them in the title race. One place above Sutton but on the same points are Kennington but only after George Latham scored a last minute winner to get them a win over Stansfeld. Another side that won in the dying stages were SC Thamesmead, as they came from behind to see off 6th placed Holmesdale. Neil Spencer got both the goals for the hosts including that winner in the final minute.
Forest Hill Park put in another strong away performance to beat Greenways 2-1 and move up to 7th place. Ishmail Ishmail got the opener for Forest which was added to by Brima Daramy while the hosts could only get a late consolation through Simon Walton. Lydd Town raced into a 2-0 lead at Rochester United inside 6 minutes before eventually running out 3-2 winners and moving up to 13th place. Dale Horton got 2 for the Lydders who are now probably just a further victory away from confirmed safety.
Introduction of Sin Bins to the SCEFL
It has been confirmed by the FA that Temporary Dismissals (Sin Bins) will be introduced at Step 5 & 6 of the National League System from the start of next season.
A meeting will be held following the conclusion of this season for all clubs and match officials where the FA will make a presentation on the implementation of this initiative which incorporates a training session on how it operates.
More details as and when we get them....
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