Wednesday 29th March
Erith Town are up to 3rd place in the table following tonight’s 3-2 win against Punjab United.
Mark Doig was at a wet Erith Stadium for Kent Sports News.
It took the Dockers just two minutes to go ahead when Rodney Eruotor sent Steadman Callender away down the right wing. He pushed it beyond goalkeeper Hayden Chipping before rolling it in from a tight angle.
Veteran striker Paul Vines had a header saved by Erith goalkeeper McKenzie Foley before a low drive from James Miles skidded across the surface and Chipping dived to push it round the post.
From the corner, the hosts extended their lead. Miles delivered into the middle and Taylor rose highest to head home.
Jayden Hussein was unable to finish when Foley couldn’t hold Chandler Kasai’s shot but Erith had the last chance of the half when Ladic Melconian surged through and sent in a low shot that zipped off the surface but went just wide.
Half time was extended as ground-staff, committee members and volunteers worked hard to fork the pitch to enable the second half to go ahead and the visitors were quickest out of the blocks when it restarted.
Hussein’s first time volley flew wide from Andrew Dythe’s cross before Foley had to be alert to save when Lea Dawson’s header took an exaggerated bounce.
Midway through the second period, Punjab pulled one back. Dythe delivered an inswinging corner from the right and Jamie Watson bundled it home at the far post.
Two minutes later, Erith restored their two goal advantage. Callender slid a pass through and Taylor clipped it past Chipping and into the net.
Jamie Humphris came on as a substitute and immediately had a shot deflected wide after collecting another well weighted Callender through ball.
As Punjab looked to attack, they left themselves vulnerable at the back and Erith had a chance to wrap the game up in a four versus one break.
Daniel Carrington rolled it across to Alfie Aldridge whose shot was saved by Chipping.
Will Johnson-Cole intercepted a headed back pass but ran it out as he attempted to round Foley, then the Erith goalkeeper made a point blank save from Dythe.
Seven minutes of stoppage time were signalled and Vines burst through only for Foley to rush out to clear. Chris Edwards shot over from twenty-five yards before Johnson-Cole cut in and shot into the arms of Foley.
There were still two additional minutes remaining when Punjab pulled one back. Foley punched out an Ashley Probets corner as far as Arun Suman and he finished confidently.
Although Punjab won another corner, they made nothing of it and the Dockers held out to claim the three points to move into third place, seven points behind Erith and Belvedere.
Phoenix Sports saw their game at Holmesdale abandoned at half time.
Colin Head observed the 45 minutes of action that did take place.
The rain had started to fall from just before 7pm and carried on throughout the evening, but the pitch was holding up well as the game kicked off, with fans huddled under the covers behind the goals and the main stand full to capacity.
Second place Phoenix Sports started the game on top, pressing from kick off and they were awarded an early penalty when Francis Babalola was brought down in the box by Dale Keeper James Boughtflower.
Ryan Hayes stepped up to take the spot kick which was brilliantly saved by Boughtflower low down to his left. Sports kept pushing for an opener though and they eventually went in front on 12 minutes when a corner came out to Babalola who turned sharply and smashed the ball home for 1-0.
Holmesdale briefly battled back, they had a penalty shout of their own when Clyde Semazzi went down in the area, but the appeals were waved away and Cuma Eze volleyed over soon after.
Phoenix then pressed again and were 2-0 up on 27 minutes when Babalola received the call on the edge of the box, turned the Dale defence and fired the ball low into the far corner to double their lead.
With the rain now torrential, Phoenix made it 3-0 with nine minutes of the half left when Tom Hanfrey crossed from the left and Alfie Evans headed home from six yards out. Going into the break Holmesdale rallied, but the Sports defence were solid and keeper Andy Walker’s handling superb in very tricky conditions.
As the half ended the referee and his assistants remained out on the field and were bouncing the ball in areas of the pitch with some standing water.
The match official then announced to the fans gathered outside the bar area than the game had been abandoned much to the annoyance of the Phoenix Sports manager Steve O’Boyle whose side have a strong challenge for promotion unbeaten in thirteen matches.