SCEFL Challenge Cup semi-final draw
SC Thamesmead v Chatham Town
Corinthian v Fisher
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Saturday 16th February
Bearsted v Lordswood
Beckenham Town v Glebe
Canterbury City v Tunbridge Wells
Chatham Town v Punjab United
Crowborough Athletic v Erith Town
Croydon v Sheppey United
Deal Town v Corinthian
Fisher v Cray Valley
Hollands & Blair v K Sports
Rusthall v AFC Croydon Ath
With 10 games taking place on Saturday all 20 Premier Division sides get the opportunity to strengthen their League positions with key battles taking place at the top and bottom of the table. The BIG match of the day takes place at St Pauls Sports Ground with leaders Fisher welcoming 3rd placed Cray Valley. The hosts have Corinthian breathing down their necks and not far behind have 3 other teams, all with games in hand, desperate to take their place at the top of the tree. An unbeaten run of 6 games has given Fisher the chance of a League and League Cup double but half of that dream will be heavily put to the test today. The Millers lost their own opportunity of that same double when losing in extra-time during midweek but changes in their starting line-up on that evening reflect the importance of this match and also the huge FA Vase game that they will be playing in 7 days time.
Corinthian go into their game at Deal Town on an incredible 11 game winning run which has put them in a great place to compete for honours on two fronts. They are level on points with Fisher but with that side having such a tough game today a point or three at the Charles Sports Ground could be enough for Corinthian to go top. The hosts returned to winning ways last week after a disappointing run but if they want to win this they will need to find a way to stop an on-fire Sam Bewick, who has scored an incredible 17 goals since he came back into the the team just 14 games ago. The only draw for Chatham Town this Season came against Punjab United back in August and it is those opponents that are in-front of the Kent Senior Trophy finalists again today. They are used to winning though and 10 consecutive victories has seen the 'Chats' stay alive in two Cup competitions while remaining firmly in League title contention and a further win here will keep their main objective alive while handing their visitors a 3rd loss in a row.
Beckenham Town will be keen to get back on the pitch after their last two home games were postponed. The match at Eden Park Avenue will not be in doubt this week though and the hosts will be keen to stay in the title race by taking maximum points against Glebe. The visitors make the short journey from Chislehurst with several high-calibre additions to their squad which clearly shows that they have no intention of just cruising through to the end of the season in the lower reaches of the table.
Bearsted and Lordswood will be aiming to improve their mid-table positions when they clash in Otham. Both sides won their last match but will have to go some to replicate the drama of the reverse fixture which ended 4-3 in favour of the Bears. Canterbury City will hope to bounce back from their extra-time Cup loss against Chatham in midweek when welcoming Tunbridge Wells to Salters Lane. The visitors are going through a sticky patch having gone 4 games without earning maximum points and will be eager to get back that winning feeling.
After losing their last 4 games both Croydon and Sheppey United will be desperate to win their encounter. A striker crisis at the 'Ites' has left them struggling to find the net while Croydon have still failed to earn points against any side not called Glebe. K Sports bounced back from heavy back-to-back defeats when beating Lordswood last time out and will be hoping to win again when taking on Hollands & Blair at Star Meadow. The hosts still need to get some points on the board to stay away from danger and will see this as a decent chance to earn a first League win in 10 games. Crowborough Athletic will look to continue their decent run when entertaining Erith Town. 7 points from 9 shows the Crows are flying at the moment but the Dockers won last time out and will be no easy match-up. The Rusthall fans are yet to see their side win at home this season in the League and indeed have to go back 23 matches to remember their only victory of the campaign. That poor form has left them deep in trouble at the foot of the table yet it is still not too late to turn things around. A win against AFC Croydon should see them rise from the base and could then inspire them to go on and fight to keep their place in this Division. The online match programme is available for that game here.
FC Elmstead v Phoenix Sports Res
Kennington v Forest Hill Park
Kent Football United v Greenways
Lewisham Boro v Welling Town
Lydd Town v Sutton Athletic
Rochester United v Erith & Belvedere
SC Thamesmead v Bridon Ropes
Snodland Town v Holmesdale
With the top 6 all in action the First Division promotion picture could well look a little clearer on Saturday evening. The toughest game to call looks to be the one at Homelands where Kennington host Forest Hill Park. The two met just last month in the reverse fixture where FHP put on a great performance to take the game 2-1 which severely damaged Kennington's promotion hopes. Expect the hosts to come flying out of the blocks seeking revenge and looking to secure the win that will keep their dreams alive.
A 5-game unbeaten run has helped keep Welling Town clear of the pack but with all of their rivals playing today this is no time to slip up and miss an opportunity to gain three points. Lewisham Borough play host to the leaders and go in to this game in decent form after gaining 4 points from their last 2 games. The two met at the start of the season with the 'Boots' gaining a comfortable win but that was a different Lewisham side then and Justin Fevrier's men will be a tougher challenge this time around.
Erith & Belvedere have the best points per game average in this Division meaning if they carry on in the same fashion it could be them on top once they have played their games in hand. Their 12 match unbeaten run has helped them reach the London Senior Trophy final for the second year running setting up an intriguing clash with Bridon Ropes in April but until then they will be fully focused on their promotion aspirations. Rochester United stand in their way this week but with the basement boys on a 10-game run without a win the Deres will be fancied to return home with the points.
Despite going 5 games without a win Sutton Athletic are still firmly in the mix at the top and will hope to improve their promotion chances by winning at Lydd Town. The hosts put on a great performance to win last time out against Forest Hill so will fancy their chances of sending Sutton away empty handed.
SC Thamesmead have an exciting double-headed Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to in a few weeks time but before that will be looking to rack up some points in the League. They have a tough one on their hands today though as Bridon Ropes are in town and very few teams have managed to get one over on them!
Snodland Town have put together a good run of results distance themselves from danger at the bottom of the table. Back-to-back 2-0 wins alongside a further clean sheet has shown that their defensive improvements in the last 3 games are the reason they now find themselves in 13th place. That back line should be put to the test at Potyns today though as Holmesdale are pretty lethal upfront and are needy of the points that will keep them in the promotion hunt. With both teams in good form this could be one of the games of the day but which team gets the points is anyone's guess!
Kent Football United should finally host a game after two postponements and will hope their return to the pitch brings them 3 points against Greenways. The hosts have gone 3 games without a win but in December did beat this side 5-0 so will feel confident of returning to winning ways today. Greenways followed an awful run by picking up 4 points in the last 6 games suggesting that a corner has been turned and their form is back. A further win should confirm their place in this Division and give them the freedom to play out the season without pressure.
A losing run will end for atleast one team at the London Hire Ground as FC Elmstead, and their 9 game losing run, host a Phoenix Sports Reserves side that have lost the last 4. Elmstead have slid towards the bottom of the table while on this run and will find themselves level on points with their visitors should they lose this game. Phoenix are in the drop zone so will be hoping the misery continues for their hosts and the short journey to Hextable is a fruitful one.
Photo: Respect shown for Gordon Banks ahead of tonight's Quarter Final between Cray Valley and Corinthian.
Wednesday 13th February
Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Canterbury City 0-1 Chatham Town - AET
Cray Valley PM 2-3 Corinthian - AET
In a fiesty game at Badger Sports Corinthian scored twice late on in Extra Time to put their name in the semi-final hat. A Sam Bewick penalty just before the break gave the Hoops the lead before Denzel Gayle equalised on 66 minutes. The game went into extra time where Ryan Flack soon put Cray Valley ahead before Sam Bewick got his second of the game shortly after. With the potential of a penalty shoot-out getting closer Corinthian found themselves a winner through Shaun Brown and with it kept their hopes of a League and League Cup double firmly in their sights.
Paul Vines scored the only goal of the night at Salters Lane as Chatham Town made their way through to the semi-final. With the match goalless at the end of 90 minutes the game went in to the added period but Vines soon popped up to get the winner and keep the 'Chats' treble hunt alive.
Corinthian and Chatham Town now join Fisher and SC Thamesmead in the semi-finals. News of the date of the draw when we have it.
Tuesday 12th February
Lordswood 3-1 Hollands & Blair
Punjab United 1-2 Erith Town
Meridian VP 1-1 Lewisham Borough
Lordswood moved up to 12th place in the table after a 3-1 home win against Hollands & Blair. The game exploded into life at the end of the first half when Rob Denness scored his first goal since returning to Blair to give the visitors the lead. Their joy was short-lived though thanks to a moment of magic from Fjord Rogers who equalised when dancing through the defence before sliding the ball home. In the opening stages of the second half the hosts took the lead thanks to Euan Sahadow's defelected effort before a Jordan Wells header sealed the game soon after. Hollands & Blair remain 18th in the table and have now gone 9 League games without a win.
One place behind Lordswood are Erith Town who edged out Punjab United tonight at the Elite Venue. An Aaron Jeffrey penalty gave the Dockers a 23rd minute lead which was doubled with 10 minutes to go by Steadman Callender. Will Johnson-Cole quickly got the hosts back in the game but they could not find the equaliser as the Erith Town defence stood firm.
In the First Division all the goal action was in the first 10 minutes between Meridian VP and Lewisham Borough. Owen Price got the visitors off to the perfect start when giving them a 3rd minute lead but Brandon Hobbs soon found a way to get the hosts back into it. With the scoreboard no longer troubled the points were shared meaning neither side could improve on their League positions.
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