West Kent Sunday League News Report – Sunday 22nd April 2018 - updated 25th April

The season is drawing to a close but many issues are as yet undecided.

WKSFL Junior Cup Final.

There will be a new name on the Junior Cup after St John's Yard beat Tonbridge Origin Reserves on penalties at Rusthall FC. The teams were locked at 1-1 after extra time, so it went to penalties which the Yard won by 4-2.

Sunday 22nd April, saw St John's Yard FC face off against Tonbridge Origin Reserves FC at Jockey Farm. The warm weather had caused the pitch to be dry and certainly bobbly in places, with both teams looking to play football they hoped this wouldn’t affect the match. With the temperature soaring (in the UK late April!!) , both captains elected to have a water break midway through the first and second half.

The early stages of the first half saw both teams trying to figure each other out, with St John's Yard slowly starting to get the upper hand by finding space down the channels through their strikers Josh Williams and Dan Hunter. The first chance of the half fell to Mush Miah, who broke free down the left wing, turning the defender inside out, before unfortunately firing into the side netting, much to the frustration of the large following support of St John's Yard. The rest of the first half remained very chess like, with either team not wanting to make the wrong move. Then came a moment of brilliance, a long ball played up to Dan Hunter, who excellently controlled the ball out of the hair, found Mush Miah in the box, who then set up the oncoming Josh Williams, who managed to pass the ball into the bottom left hand corner giving the Origin goalkeeper no chance. 1-0 to the Yard.

Unfortunately, this proved to be Mush Miah’s last positive impact on the game and he turned from Hero to Zero, where after riding a couple of challenges from the Origin players, he didn’t take too kindly to one of the tackles and retaliated by raising his hands to the opponent resulting in a red card. This happened minutes before the end of the first half. Origin managed to create one decent goal scoring opportunity before the half was out, with Yard keeper Adam Good making a fantastic save.

Half time – St John's Yard 1 Tonbridge Origin Reserves 0

The teams returned after the interval and St John's Yard, decided to make multiple changes to freshen the squad up, knowing they faced an uphill battle with at least 45 minutes with 10 men. Eeach player knew he had to dig deep if they were going to get a result. Special mention needs to go to the crowd, who cheered every tackle, every clearance and every opportunity for the Yard,. They played a massive part in helping the boys get through the second half. Origin resulted to a long ball tactic, putting the Yard defenders under lots of pressure and sitting very deep, the ball never seemed to leave the box . There was som body on the line defending from all of the Saint John’s Yard players, especially Chris “Chewbacca” Newhouse notably heading clear every ball coming in his direction. Jay Scott was working tirelessly upfront for the yard, but with limited support and ball it was a hard day at the office for the striker. Yard were determined not to be broken and with ten minutes left, an Origin player managed to find some space in the box and headed the ball down to what look like would be the bottom corner only for the player to be denied by an incredible save from Yard keeper Adam Good. Origin kept pressing, chance after chance, missed/saved wide, until 5 minutes from time a free kick on the edge of the area was excellently crossed in, flicked from one Origin player to another and Jason Pack found the bottom corner. 1-1 and with neither team wanting to make a mistake it went to extra time.

St John's Yard’s players could easily have let their heads dropped and there were notably some extremely tired players. The substitutions were becoming more frequent. Despite being a man down, Yard started extra time the better of the two sides and despite being on the front foot, could only muster one clear chance which fell to Jack Veness in the Origin penalty area, only for his strike to be saved by the brilliant Origin goalkeeper. Origin created another headed chance in the dying moments of extra time, only for Adam Good to once again deny Origin what would have certainly been the winning goal and so it was to be penalties!

Origin won the toss and decided they would take the second kick and Yard got to choose the end, obviously they chose the goal surrounded by their supporters. Origins first penalty was excellently saved by Adam Good, Steve Histed then scored his for the yard, Origin scored their next one, Jay scott scored for Yard and then the telling moment came Adam Good saved a second Origin penalty, leaving it for Lewis Stack to win the trophy for  St John's, but he had other ideas and decided he wanted to let John Pearson have the glory, so he saw his penalty saved by Origin Keeper. John pearson scored the winning penalty for the Yard, queue the celebrations, the crowd sprinting on to the pitch!

Special mention, to officials who handled the game well and to Origin who gave St John's Yard a fantastic match and all players involved who gave 100%. The crowd on both sides were excellent as well, most notably the St John's Yard support who carried the team over the line.

Man of the match was St John's Yard keeper Adam Good.

WKSFL Senior Cup

Green Lane will meet Tonbridge Origin's first team in next week's WKSFL Senior Cup Final. Minds will be cast back to 2009, when the same two teams met in the Intermediate Cup Final, won by Green Lane on penalties.

Green Lane won their semi-final by a 5-1 aggregate, beating Armada 2-1 in the second leg. James Knight and Josh Harris scored the all important goals. I do not have the Armada scorer.

Neither side has won the Senior Cup, Tonbridge Origin coming closest when beaten in last year's final by Simla. Form might slightly favour Green Lane. The two league matches ended in 5-5 draw and a 4-0 win for Green Lane.

WKSFL Intermediate Cup

Crowborough Town will meet Cassidy's Phoenix in the Final on May 6th after a 5-3 aggregate win over last year's Junior Cup winners FC Grinstead. Form is with Town, they have beaten Cassidy's twice in the League this season.

Played on probably (make that certainly) the worst pitch ever. In spite of FC Grinstead having informed their local Council that it was a cup semi-final and the pitch needed some attention, nothing had been done apart from the pitch markings and even they were not straight. This made what should have been an enjoyable game with a cup final appearance to play for it became a lottery.  Good football was impossible and both teams resorted to the 'long ball' tactic - unless they forgot and tried to pass to a team-mate.

The first half was littered with mistakes by both sides and it was thirty minutes before anyone provided a shot on goal and Town grabbed that 'honour' when Darren Nicol forced a save from the home team's keeper. Ten minutes later another shot on target, this time by Crowborough's Luke Leppard, saw the Grinstead keeper produce a tremendous save that brought deserved applause from 'the crowd' including the Crowborough manager, substitutes, and supporters.

Half Time :  FC Grinstead  0 - 0  Crowborough Town FC

Soon after the restart, Grinstead produced their first shot on target but found the visitor's keeper able to collect the ball before it hit the ground or found the net. Just three minutes later this was not the case when Crowborough's Marcus Alexander chased a long ball into the home team's penalty area and the poor surface saw an uneven bounce beat the 'keeper and let Alexander put the ball into an empty net. Three minutes later the Guile-Leppard partnership produced another goal for Town when Rob Guile rolled the ball across the Grinstead penalty to find Luke Leppard and his well stuck shot beat the keeper. Although this put Crowborough 6 - 2 ahead in the two leg tie, the home team were not going down without a fight. Midway through the half their efforts were rewarded with a well taken goal by Luke Boakes following a corner. For the rest of the game, unable to rely on the bounce of the ball, Crowborough resorted to clearing their lines with the 'long ball' whenever Grinstead threatened, and even when, in the closing minutes, Grinstead broke through they found Town's keeper producing a fine save.

Credit must be given to the Match Official Leigh Judd who, prior to the game, had expressed his concern over the condition of the pitch and he took this into consideration throughout the game. Concern had also been expressed by the Crowborough 'physio' who was relieved, at the end of the game, that no player had suffered an injury as a result of the poor playing surface.

Division One

Artois United have a chance of the runner's up spot and went the right way about it by beating Paddock Wood 8-2 at Tonbridge Farm.  Two hat-tricks featured, one by Peter Shaw and the other by Reegan Cork. Goals from Nathan Mosely and Josh Marshall rounded off the scoring. George Bourne and Mark Inglis scorfed for the Wood.

If, as expected, Artois United are awarded six points as a consequence of their opponents in the double header last week failing to raise a team, that would gve them 25 points with four to play, but they include trips to all three teams at present immediately above them.

Pembury Sunday, playing for the first time in a month, beat Insulators 3-1 thanks to two goals from Alun Evans and one from Marc Chappel all in the first half. Insulators completely switched off for the first 15 minutes of this match and found themselves two goals down. Pembury continued to have the better of things and added their third in the 37th minute. Insulators gave themselves some hope with an immediate response from Marc Scott and it remained at 3-1 at half time.

The away side grew into the game more in the second half without creating too many clear chances. Pembury remained dangerous on the break, but the score stayed the same despite a much improved performance from Insulators.

For the second week running, Dormansland Rockets were unable to raise a team, therefore the double header with Simla was not played.

West Kent Sunday League Division One including Sunday 22nd April
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Simla (C) 14 13 1 0 55 15 40 40
2 Green Lane 12 8 2 2 38 23 15 26
3 Armada 14 8 2 4 38 34 4 26
4 Tonbridge Origin 14 6 3 5 51 33 18 21
5 Artois United 10 6 1 3 38 17 21 19
6 Pembury Sunday 15 4 1 10 34 46 -12 13
7 Dormansland Rockets 8 2 0 6 22 37 -15 6
8 Insulators 11 1 2 8 21 43 -22 5
9 Paddock Wood 12 1 0 11 19 68 -49 3

Division Two

A key double header for Royal Oak went awry. Six points would have put them to within one of the leaders, but opponents Cassidy's Phoenix pulled off a surprise win in the second game. Oak had won the first 2-0, Spencer Alford and the Division's top scorer Ash Bell scoring, but the second went the way of Phoenix, who won 4-1 with the scorers being Ollie Muggeridge, Rob Harman, Lynos Rwodzi and an un-named Oak player who put through his own net. Luke Graham did pull one back, but with two games remaining for both teams, it could hardly be closer. Royal Oak face a horrible job next Sunday as those two remaining games will be a double header against Crowborough Town. Green Street Blues must travel to FC Grinstead and Tonbridge Invicta.

West Kent Sunday League Division Two including Sunday 22nd April
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Green Street Blues 14 12 1 1 68 23 45 37
2 Royal Oak 14 11 0 3 48 25 23 33
3 Crowborough Town 9 7 0 2 46 18 28 21
4 Cassidy's Phoenix 14 6 2 6 39 31 8 20
5 Brenchley 13 6 1 6 21 31 -10 19
6 FC Grinstead 10 4 1 5 36 22 14 13
7 Goudhurst United 14 3 2 9 36 56 -20 11
8 Langton Green 16 2 2 12 25 72 -47 8
9 Tonbridge Invicta 12 2 1 9 24 65 -41 7

Division Three

The only scheduled game, between Tonbridge United and Paddock Wood Reserves, did not take place with the latter being unable to raise a team. Therefore no change to the league table.

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