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Saturday April 29

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Premier Division - Final Day

Ashford United are champions. They have been runners-up in 2014-15 and in 2015-16 but they have finally made it to the Number One spot this time around.
They celebrated by hitting a spirited but ultimately ineffective Rochester United for 7 with 0 in reply. Along the way Shaun Welford hit a hat-trick which helped him to set a new Club record for goals scored in one season. He is now joint Golden Boot winner (most League and League Cup goals) with Warren Mfula of AFC Croydon.
The Nuts and Bolts season has been pretty spectacular. As well as winning the League they also won the Kent Senior Trophy and reached the semi final of the Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup. They went out in the second round proper of the FA Vase (their first game in the competition this season) and lost to Three Bridges in the FA Cup Preliminary Round. These early exits from outside competitions allowed them to concentrate on their main target, the League Championship.
Behind the scenes there has been constant worry for the Ashford Board and players but now everything is coming right and we all wish them all the best in the Isthmian League next season (whoever the main sponsors will be).

Crowborough Athletic have also had a memorable season. Neck and neck in the title chase until the last game they got to the 1/4 final of the Sussex Senior Cup, losing only to mighty Brighton & Hove Albion. They got to the semi-final of their County Charity Cup and the 1/4 final of the Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup. Best of all was their superb FA Vase run where they reached the 5th round proper, just 3 wins from Wembley.
Today they were held to a 0-0 draw at Hollands & Blair ending on a comparatively low note but they will look back on this season with justifiable pride. It may not help them at this time but the SCEFL Management Committee will be very happy to have them in membership for another season, such is their reputation as a well run club They also look forward to considerable ground improvements during the close season.

Sevenoaks Town, in finishing 3rd, recorded their highest ever placing in the club's history. They also have a place in this season's Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup Final. They reached the 1/4 final of the Kent Senior Trophy and they also had the best FA Cup run of all SCEFL clubs in which they beat Lewes in the 1st Round Qualifying and only went out in the following round after drawing with mighty Chesham United then losing in the replay.
In their final League game of this season they beat Croydon 4-0 at Greatness Park. Chris Edwards, Andy Irvine (2) and Jimmy Rogers were their marksmen.

Cray Valley PM ended up in 4th place. They were also Kent Senior Trophy finalists and Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup 1/4 finalists so they can be very satisfied with their season when they look back.
Today they enjoyed a best of 7 win at Sheppey United with Denzel Gayle scoring a brace before Enoch Adjei and, with a last minute penalty coversion, Jason Thompson scored the other 2. Dan Bradshaw (2) and Lee Friend were the Islanders scorers.
Speaking of Sheppey United, they had a season worthy of mention as one of the 2 clubs promoted from step 6 last season. They finished in 6th place in the League and are in the Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup final. They played in the Kent Senior Cup as KST holders and only lost 2-1 to Ebsfleet United. Another club with a season to look back on with pride and a great stepping stone for the future.

Whitstable Town may be forgiven for underestimating the quality of SCEFL opposition they faced on their return from Step 4. They had a slow start to their season and that probably accounts for their 5th place final position. It will not be the same next time around (or not for want of knowing the score anyway).
Today they ended their season with a 2-2 draw at Corinthian. Kane Rowland and Rob Gillman scored the Natives goals before Marcus Evans and an un-named other scored for the Hoops to earn them the point.

AFC Croydon Athletic spent a large part of the early season at the top of the table. The latter 2/3rds of the season saw others flexing their muscles and the Rams dropped back. However, in only their second season back at step 5 their 7th place finish must be satisfying and in Warren Mfula they have the League's top goal-scorer.
They ended their season losing a 3-1 lead (Mfula scoring 2) to end drawing 3-3 at Lordswood. Carlton Murray-Price scored the other Rams goal while Jordan Wells, Charlie Plummer and Dan Smith scored for the Lords.

Also worthy of mention is Bearsted who were the other club promoted to step 5 this season. Their 12th place finish is commendable as was their 3rd round exit from the Macron SCEFL Challenge Cup. They went out at the 1st hurdle in their FA Vase debut season.
They ended the season with a best of 5 win at Beckenham Town. Reece Collins (2) and Lucian Scarlat were the Bears marksmen while a Ryan Dolby brace made up the Becks tally.

At the other end of the table Erith & Belvedere lost 3-1 at home to Canterbury City to confirm their bottom place finish and relegation to Step 6. It is indeed ironic that today was John McFadden's 25 anniversary of becoming Deres chairman.
Nad Nwitua scored the Deres final step 5 goal before Sam Conlon, Partick Nzuzi and Connor Partridge replied for City.

Also relegated are Fisher. They saved their best performance for last as they notched double figures for the first time at home to Erith Town. 10-1 was the embarrassing scoreline for the Dockers and Luke Haidarovic stood out for the Fish with a hat-trick. Trey Williams, John Ufuah, Harry Bugden, Juan Pineda, Richie Hammil, Daniel Tano and Hamid Bangura scored the others. Jack McMahon was on target for the Dockers.

The other game today was the Deal Town v Tunbridge Wells encounter which Deal won 4-1. A Ryan Philpott penalty conversion and goals from Joe Anderson, Dan Adams and Joe Reeves accounted fo the Deal tally while James Pinnock scored the Wells single.