The delayed season got finally got under way in September and to break from tradition it would be FA Cup fixtures that would be first up for 24 of our teams.
10 progressed to the next phase including Stansfeld who were appearing in the competition for the first time in their 123 year history.
The league campaign began on the first Saturday of the month and Balham got off to a good start to their SCEFL career with a 2-1 home win over Hollands & Blair.
Punjab United picked up a 4-0 day one victory as did K Sports, who claimed the surprise result of the day when winning comfortably at Glebe.
In the First Division the big game at Homelands went the way of Kennington over Holmesdale while Lydd Town hit Stansfeld for 6 and Rusthall scored 5 at home to Kent Football Utd.
Corinthian finally got to play their FA Vase semi-final against Hebburn, were given a home draw in the one-off game and pushed the favourites all the way through to a penalty shoot-out. It wasn’t to be for our boys though as they were denied their day at Wembley by the narrowest of margins.
In the midweek that followed, and back in the day job, Corinthian picked up a league victory, while Chatham Town, Sheppey United, Tunbridge Wells, Balham and Welling Town all made it a quickfire 2 wins from 2 games played.
Saturday the 12th of September saw the FA Cup make a return for our 10 competing teams, with 7 of them making it through to the First Qualifying Round.
Deal Town and Sheppey United picked up impressive wins against higher opposition, Tunbridge Wells, Erith & Belvedere and Fisher were succesful from the spot but Hollands & Blair would take no further part after harshly being penalised when putting safety first and not taking to the field against a Club confirmed to have Covid within their camp.
On the same day and in the Premier Division Punjab United handed Balham their first SCEFL loss, Lordswood and Erith Town picked up win number one and Crowborough collected their first 3 points with a convincing win at SCEFL new boys Tower Hamlets.
There were 7 games and 7 winners in the First Division.
Callum Peck scored 3 of Kennington’s 6 at Sutton Athletic while Shameek Farrell claimed the match ball as Holmesdale beat Lydd Town 5-2.
Jack Sims netted a last minute winner as Croydon won at Rusthall while Snodland Town and Greenways also left it late to pick up maximum points against Forest Hill Park and Kent Football United respectively.
Jerome Walker hit his second brace of the young season, in a win for FC Elmstead, and Rochester United picked up win number two from game number two with success at home to SC Thamesmead.
A few days later and in a busy midweek of Premier Division fixtures Corinthian came from behind to win at Glebe, Fisher beat Tower Hamlets, Jack Midson was among the goals in a Sheppey United victory at Deal Town and Chatham Town continued to impress, scoring 5 at Bearsted.
Ryan Golding was the early leading scorer and his 4th and 5th strikes of the season earned Welling Town a third win on the spin, this time at Balham.
On the 19th, Golding would score again, in a win at Lordswood, but this weekend was mainly about the FA Vase, with 28 of our teams taking part.
To be fair it wasn’t the most successful few days for us with just 10 SCEFL sides winning through, and 6 of those were playing teams from within our own league.
Further Cup action was not too far away with the FA Cup returning for it’s third round of matches in the opening three weeks of the campaign.
Competition was far tougher now but Chatham Town and Sheppey United still won, as did Corinthian at home to former SCEFL Champions Sevenoaks Town.
A busy month closed out with a flurry of games in each Division.
In the Premier, AFC Croydon picked up their first win of the season, at home to Canterbury City while Glebe did the same against Lordswood at Foxbury.
Chatham Town reached the top after hitting both Tower Hamlets and Crowborough Athletic for six but Corinthian were on their shoulder after quick wins over Fisher and Bearsted.
Kennington were out in front in the First Division, after Gary Lockyer helped them to a 4-0 win over Rusthall.
Unbeaten Rochester United sat in second with Croydon in third following a thrilling 5-4 Trams win at Stansfeld.
Holmesdale continued their charge up the table and were in 4th after beating Sutton Athletic 5-1 while Lewisham Borough were yet to see a league defeat and had most recently won at Greenways.
After an impressive and unbeaten league start through September Welling Town began this new month badly, with defeat at Crowborough Athletic.
Beckenham Town began to creep up the table, thanks to a win over Fisher as did Hollands & Blair who continued their rise with a victory over a Tower Hamlets side yet to earn a SCEFL point.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division Steadman Callender scored twice as Erith Town drew with Bearsted and Lordswood picked up a vital win in a 7-goal thriller with Erith & Belvedere.
The FA Cup games stole the headlines in this opening weekend of October though and rightly so as Chatham Town won 3-0 at Folkestone Invicta and Sheppey United got the result of a lifetime when knocking out Welling United.
Corinthian narrowly lost at home to Hampton & Richmond to depart the competition.
In the First Division Kennington, Rochester United and Holmesdale all won, as did Greenways at Sutton Athletic and SC Thamesmead over Lewisham Borough with Mayowa Olufeko once again getting his name on the Acre scoresheet.
Tuesday 6th October then threw up some big results in the Premier Division.
Sheppey United won 5-2 at Bearsted and Glebe beat Welling Town 3-2 at Foxbury. Corinthian poured on the pain for Tower Hamlets and Deal Town were victors over Lordswood 2-0.
However it was the game at the Bauvill Stadium that grabbed the attention though with Chatham Town falling to defeat for the first time this season with Tunbridge Wells capitalising on defensive errors to leave as 3-2 winners.
The next round of league matches saw Adam Woollcott help Canterbury City to a much needed win and Steadman Callender and Josh Jackson score doubles for the ‘Dockers’ in a 5-0 win over Tower Hamlets.
Frankie Morgan got 3 in a 4-0 win for Corinthian and Chatham Town bounced back from surprise defeat to dish out a 5-1 beating of Beckenham Town.
In the First Division, JP Rylah scored a brace at Bridon Ropes for an improving but inconsistent Croydon and Tommy Lawrence netted twice as Rusthall ended a losing run with success at FC Elmstead.
Aaron Kleman was among the goals for high-flying Greenways as they beat Forest Hill Park and Kent Football United rose the ranks with a Callum Flynn inspired win at home to Lewisham Borough.
The FA Vase kept many of our sides busy this weekend though with eye-catching results coming for Kennington, Holmesdale, Erith & Belvedere, Sheppey United, Fisher and Stansfeld, who won 4-2 at Alford with Ross Morley scoring a hat-trick.
Arlie Desanges also scored three as Sutton Athletic beat Rochester United 4-0 in the only all-SCEFL tie of the round.
In midweek the FA Cup returned with huge games for our two surviving teams.
It wasn’t to be for either though as Chatham Town lost at Havant & Waterlooville and Sheppey United went out to Eastbourne Borough.
In the Premier Division Tunde Aderomu scored again in a Beckenham Town win and Elyon Marshall-Katung netted twice as Bearsted beat Lordswood. Fisher, Tunbridge Wells and Balham all picked up 3 points while Tower Hamlets claimed their first in a 1-1 draw with Punjab United.
The 17th of the month provided us with a real goalfest of a day with 79 goals coming in the 18 games across the Divisons.
Beckenham Town scored 7 of them at Punjab United while Glebe hit 5 at Bearsted with Jamie Philpot netting 3 of them.
Chatham Town scored 8 of the 11 in their game with AFC Croydon while the 3 for Erith & Belvedere against Canterbury City gave the ‘Deres’ their first League win of the year.
The big match of the day went the way of Sheppey United, but only just, as they scored late twice on to beat Corinthian 4-3, a first league defeat in 51 weeks for the Hoops.
The First Division more than held it’s own in the entertainment stakes despite handing us it’s first 0-0 of the campaign.
Gary Clarke scored 3 of Kennington’s 7, Mayowa Olufeko got a couple of SC Thamesmead’s 5, Joe Minter netted twice for Stansfeld and Conor Evans got a double in a Sutton Athletic win.
Alvin Turyatemba was on the scoresheet in a Forest Hill Park victory as was Nathan Palmer as Homesdale won again.
Rusthall continued their rise up the charts with narrow success over Lewisham Borough while it was Bridon Ropes and Kent Football that let the side down, giving us that first goalless game!
The goals kept on coming in the midweek that followed…
Jack Evans scored 3 of Chatham Town’s 7, as they won at Canterbury and Luke Adams found the net twice as Punjab United beat K Sports 5-0.
Rob Brown scored late from the spot as Fisher edged a 5-goal thriller at the Mayfield Stadium as a few miles away Tunde Aderonmu was on form and on target for Beckenham as they beat Tunbridge Wells.
Emmanuel Oloyede provided the early punch as Corinthian beat Erith & Belvedere 5-1 while Glebe were the latest to dish out defeat to basement boys Tower Hamlets.
In the penultimate weekend of the month, and season so far, the goals kept on coming.
New boy Dale Horton got the last of 5 as Canterbury City beat Punjab United while Oscar Housego was on target again in a 4-2 win for Corinthian at AFC Croydon.
Jamie Humphris scored a first half hat-trick as Erith & Belvedere beat Crowborough Athletic 3-1.
There were 9 goals from 9 scorers as Chatham Town won 6-3 at Erith Town while Sheppey United came from behind to win 3-2 at home to Beckenham.
Euan Sahadow was once again on target as Tunbridge Wells picked up a win while Matt Gething was the match winner for Hollands & Blair over K Sports.
There were then First Division wins for Stansfeld, Snodland and Lydd Town. Rusthall, Rochester, Kennington and Holmesdale all won too as the top 5 broke away from the chasing pack.
But the new leaders were now SC Thamesmead as a quickfire 6 points saw them end the month on top.
Chatham Town closed out October in familiar style, scoring six to end the month in first place.
Corinthian are second after narrow success over an unlucky Deal Town.
The most impressive halloween result went to Erith Town as they beat Tunbridge Wells 4-0 while there were defensive horrors at the Mayplace Ground as Tower Hamlets and Canterbury City drew 5-5.
Balham, Beckenham and Crowborough all won and with that the league season had entered an early winter break.
Just before that though there was FA Vase success for Sheppey United and Kennington as they joined 5 other SCEFL sides in the hat for the Second Round Draw.
November / December
Wave Two of the Pandemic gave us Lockdown Two and a new Tier system that was to heavily affect the South East for the rest of the year.
November was a blank month for League games as was December but with the virus seemingly avoiding Cup Competitions a few of our teams got to take to the field.
The groundhoppers came flocking to Crystal Palace and the new home of Croydon FC. They will be glad they did too as they witnessed a remarkable fightback from the ‘Trams’ who beat Athletic Newham 4-3 in the London Trophy, despite being 3-0 down at the break!
Crowborough Athletic saw Sussex Senior Cup success on penalties at Midhurst but the FA Vase was the competition that saw the majority of the games take place.
Chatham Town were to beat Horley in an entertaining game before departing the Cup despite dominating a very good Flackwell Heath side.
Corinthian and Sheppey United went out too as did Glebe who were the latest Premier Division victims of First Division Kennington.
A day later, and again at Foxbury Stansfeld produced heroics once more to win their 3rd penalty shoot-out of the season and reach the second round for the first time ever.
Their journey would end at that stage but history was already made and memories created that would take a long time to forget.
Kennington also departed at the Round Two stage with Sutton Common Rovers edging a penalty shoot-out in what was to be the last game of the year just before Christmas.
That left Deal Town as the only SCEFL side left in the FA Vase.
They know their next 2 opponents but don’t know when they will get the chance to play them.
Until then we just play the waiting game…
April / May
We waited, and it finally returned.
Not League football, there was no point in that. No fans allowed and too little time left rendered any effort to get the league going again a fairly pointless exercise. Curtailed rather than null and void was the way to go this time.
Deal Town still had that FA Vase game to play though, and play it they did, although spectators were locked out by Covid.
Binfield proved to be to much of a test though as despite taking the lead Deal went down 4-1 to a side that would go on to win the compwtition.
That just left the London FA Competitions.
The London Cup didn’t give us much to write home about though. Glebe, Balham, Erith Town and Fisher all lost first time out so this competition was not going to be giving us some bonus end of season fun.
In the Trophy things fared better. Bridon Ropes, Forest Hill Park and FC Elmstead led the way winning through the early rounds until 3 out of the 4 sides remaining were SCEFL.
Elmstead were performing miracles. Many of their squad followed their manager out the door and off to another Division rival yet Fabio somehow scraped together a squad at short notice and led the side to Cup victory in the final against Forest Hill Park. An epic achievement that left FC Elmstead as the only winners of silverware in this strangest of strange seasons.
Other teams did have a reason to cheer though.
Rather than just let the two seasons results slide into the oblivion they were added together to give us pretty much one complete year. From that Promotions were able to occur so that the FA could reorganise the Leagues throughout the Pyramid.
Corinthian got their deserves for recent great work with a place in the Isthmian South East Division.
Moving up into our Premier would be Kennington, Holmesdale and Rusthall. Rewards to them for strong results over the past two seasons.
The 2021/22 SCEFL campaign will look very different now, with new teams coming in to fill the gaps to give us two even Divisions of 20 sides each.
But that’s for another day as for now we can finally put a full stop to the end of the 2020/21 season.
Premier Division Statistics
3.80 goals average per game
298 games to go
29% of season played so far
10 x 0-0’s
First Division Statistics
3.97 goals average per game
213 games to go
22% of season played so far
2 x 0-0’s