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West Kent Sunday League Report Sunday 8th January 2017

WKSFL football resumed after a two week break for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Most teams were back in action as the good weather continued. Only one game was called off.

Division One

Tonbridge Origin maintained their slender lead at the top of the table following an 8-1 victory at Goudhurst United. Will Mantle scored for hosts, but they couldn't stop the tide coming the other way. Seven different names are on the Origin scoresheet. Rich Donaldson scored twice, there was a goal apiece for Rob Littlejohn, Sam Jenner, Dave Saxby, Chris Harbour, Ant Kent and Alex Williamson. Origin will be pleased with that performance as a good warm-up for their tough match next Sunday in the Kent Sunday Premier Cup, when they travel to meet the holders, the powerful Chatham based side Quested. We all wish them the best of luck.

Simla meanwhile scraped past Artois United 4-3 to climb above them into second place. Top scorer Ian Parsons added two to his season's tally, with a lucky sounding goal by Alex Carey winning it late on.

Simla got off to a great start when Parsons scored within the first five minutes. Then Artois equalised when a Simla player (guilty player not named!) put the ball in his own net. Artois were pressing hard at this point and earned a penalty which Stafford Browne converted to give them a 2-1 lead. It got worse for Simla when Artois scored again through Ethan Zimmerman to go 3 - 1 ahead. Then, just before the end of the first half, Simla pulled one back through Steve Smith.

The second half started well again for Simla when Parsons managed to scramble the ball over the Artois goal line to make it level at three-all. The next thirty minutes saw good play from both teams and it looked like ending in a draw. But then, five minutes before the end of match, Simla were awarded a free kick just outside the Artois penalty area. The shot by Alex Carey bounced just in front of the keeper, over his body and into the net for the winner.

Insulators were gifted three points when Blackham & Ashurst failed to fulfill the fixture, while the game between Dormansland Rockets and TW Foresters was called off.

West Kent Sunday League Division One including Sunday 8th January
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tonbridge Origin 12 9 1 2 50 20 30 28
2 Simla # 11 10 0 1 47 14 33 27
3 Artois United 12 8 1 3 48 21 27 25
4 Insulators 12 8 1 3 36 17 19 25
5 TW Foresters 12 5 1 6 37 40 -3 16
6 Armada 8 2 2 4 12 18 -6 8
7 Dormansland Rockets 9 2 1 6 31 28 3 7
8 Blackham & Ashurst 9 2 1 6 17 41 -24 7
9 Goudhurst United + 11 1 0 10 16 67 -51 6
10 Rusthall Rangers 6 0 0 6 2 30 -28 0

Division Two

I did sort of say in my mid-term report that the game between the top two of Gardener's Arms and Pembury Sunday might be a 0-0 draw and so it turned out to be! Hardly surprising perhaps, with the two best clean sheet 'keepers and the two meanest defences involved. As a consequence,  Pembury keep their three point lead over Gardener's Arms, but the latter have a game in hand. Ben Carter in the Gardener's goal and Charlton Farrell with Pembury respectively claimed their eighth and sixth clean sheets of the WKSFL season.

Paddock Wood lost valuable ground in their now slim chance of catching the top two by going down 5-1 at home in the local derby against Green Lane.  It's now three League games without a win for the Wood, whose solitary scorer was Stef Draper. For the Lane, Josh Harris scored twice, Robert Montandon, Matt Brown and Michael Wakely-Smith once each.

Jon Donoghue hadn't scored since the end of October, having been out through injury, but he is back in style. His hat-trick pushed Langton Green to a 3-1 home win over SE Spitfires. Spitfires are finding it hard to score recently. For the fourth game in a row there was just the one, this time scored by Sean Ludlum.

Brenchley hadn't won for three League and Cup games, but made up for it with a 3-2 home victory over Cassidy's Phoenix, whose own form is somewhat inconsistent. Brenchley's goals were scored by Steve Marsh, Mike Williams and James Woods. Matt Ferris scored both for the Phoenix.

West Kent Sunday League Division Two including Sunday 8th January
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Pembury Sunday 10 8 2 0 31 6 25 26
2 Gardener's Arms 9 7 2 0 33 8 25 23
3 Paddock Wood 12 6 1 5 28 33 -5 19
4 Green Lane 9 4 2 3 23 19 4 14
5 Cassidy's Phoenix 11 3 2 6 19 30 -11 11
6 Brenchley 11 3 2 6 23 37 -14 11
7 Hawkenbury Sunday 9 2 2 5 18 22 -4 8
8 Langton Green 10 2 2 6 27 32 -5 8
9 SE Spitfires 9 2 1 6 14 29 -15 7

Division Three

Bricklayer's Arms were without a game, Crowborough Town took advantage to move to the top of the table with a win over Green Street Blues, but Bricks have two games in hand.

Previous games between these two teams have been close and well fought but always in the 'old spirit' of Sunday football. This one was no exception.
A Crowborough side that was back to full strength came into the game full of confidence but then found that, for some, the Christmas indulgences continued to be a problem. For the first ten minutes the visitors ran the game and it was no real surprise when they took the lead with a lovely chip by Tom Wilken over the Crowborough keeper's head from just outside the penalty area.  This proved to be the wake-up call that Town needed and they started to put some attractive football together. After just five minutes of being behind,  this resulted in their leading goalscorer Matt Pickett making the score 1 - 1. For the rest of the first half, although Crowborough looked to be the more likely to add to the score, they were indebted to their stand-in keeper Richard Neve for a couple of excellent saves that kept the 'Blues' at bay.  Half Time 1-1.  
The usual stern few words from the Crowborough manager once again made the difference and the team began to play their more normal, composed, football. Ten minutes into the half a well worked move down the right saw Matt Pickett put a fierce cross across the visitors goal area to find Darren Nicol in the right place to put the ball into the net. The visitors continued to defend well and when they broke forward to create a chance to equalise, they once again found Richard Neve in fine form in the Crowborough goal. It was midway through the second half that Town's pressure told and, once again, it was Matt Pickett that, at last, managed to beat the visitors keeper. At 3 - 1 it looked comfortable for Crowborough,  but their opponents had other ideas and the game became more of an even contest. Eventually Green Street Blues managed to beat Neve with a strike from Dean Jarman and for the last five minutes it was 'game on'. In fact neither side looked like adding to the score and both defences held firm to keep the points in the bag for the home team.

Third placed Tonbridge Invicta trounced Ticehurst Village Club 7-0. Chief among the scorers was Alex Wellbelove with a hat-trick. Cuan Walsh, Sam Wing, Sam Wyles and Rob Runciman found the back of the net once each. Sam Collard in goal recorded his fourth clean sheet of the season.

Rusthall Club Athletic continued their long march towards the top of the table with a 3-0 win at home to St John's Yard. Ben Jonson (2) and Josh Brewer scored the goals, Michael Dirilimis kept his goal intact. Yard can be pleased a little bit, in that the three they conceded was the fewest scored by Rusthall in any of their last seven WKSFL league or Cup games.

In the day's other game, winless Speldhurst Rangers came close to a point, but lost at home to Paddock Wood Reserves by a single goal. Jolyon Weller scored both for the hosts, Russell Breden, James Hall and and Grant Allen were Wood's scorers in the 3-2 win.

West Kent Sunday League Division Three including Sunday 8th January
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Crowborough Town 13 9 1 3 46 24 22 28
2 Bricklayers Arms 11 9 0 2 44 15 29 27
3 Tonbridge Invicta 12 7 1 4 42 19 23 22
4 Green St Blues 10 5 1 4 26 19 7 16
5 Paddock Wood Reserves 12 5 1 6 20 31 -11 16
6 Rusthall Club Athletic 7 4 1 2 24 15 9 13
7 St John's Yard 13 4 1 8 24 55 -31 13
8 Ticehurst Village 12 3 2 7 25 40 -15 11
9 Speldhurst Rangers 12 0 2 10 19 52 -33 2

Division Four

With five games remaining, TW Foresters Reserves are looking dead certs for the title, but were taken all the way by the young men of TW Ridgewaye st Skinner's on Sunday. Simon Hammond, who has been turning out for the Reserves of late, scored twice with Russell Skinner and James Culmer adding a goal each in a  4-2 win.  Josh Higgins and Daniel Kommu were on the mark for the hosts.

Second placed FC Hayward kept up the pressure with a 7-2 win over AFC Six in One. Dave Fowler has his shooting boots back on, scoring his fourth hat-trick of the season. The other goals came from Dylan Thomas, Zak Pollard, David Proudlock and Matthew Wheeler. The almost absurd number of goals scored for and against in AFC Six in One's league matches now stands at an average of exactly 8.5! Unfortunately for them, they have been very much on the receiving end lately. It's now four consecutive league defeats, despite the familiar name of Ryan Smith (who remains the league's top scorer) on the scoresheet. Dave Cherry netted their other one.

FC Grinstead will have a say in matters to come as  the final third of the season begins. They have already drawn with FC Hayward, still have to play then again and TW Foresters twice. On Sunday they recorded a 2-0 win over bottom outfit Tonbridge United, thanks to two goals from Chris Neatherway and a clean sheet from Harvey James in goal. Useless fact - in all their WKSFL League and Cup games every score has been different, not one scoreline repeated. I am not going to go through all the rest to see if this is unique!

Tonbridge Origin's Reserves made it a good day for the club, winning their clash with Insulators Reserves 5-2. A hat-trick by Dean Larter was instrumental, the other two goals were by Levi Caruana. Insulators had taken an early lead through James Philpott, then sloppy defending allowed Origin to score twice and regain the lead. Ryan Hesmer scored for 'slators to make the scores level at half time. Origin dominated proceedings in the second half and deservedly ran out winners, scoring three unanswered goals.

West Kent Sunday League Division Four including Sunday 8th January
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 TW Foresters Reserves 11 10 0 1 55 21 34 30
2 FC Hayward 11 7 2 2 41 18 23 23
3 Insulators Reserves 12 5 3 4 35 35 0 18
4 FC Grinstead 9 4 3 2 30 25 5 15
5 Tonbridge Origin Reserves 10 4 3 3 33 32 1 15
6 AFC Six in One 12 4 2 6 56 46 10 14
7 TW Youth (Ridgewaye) 12 3 1 8 35 63 -28 10
8 Tonbridge Casuals 12 1 5 6 21 41 -20 8
9 Tonbridge United 9 1 1 7 6 31 -25 4

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