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Photo: Welling Town celebrate returning to the top of the table - Credit: Dave Cumberbatch

Friday 19th April

First Division
Forest Hill Park 2-1 Bridon Ropes
Greenways 4-1 Phoenix Sports Res.
Holmesdale 0-3 Lewisham Borough
Kent Football United 0-3 Welling Town
Lydd Town 2-1 FC Elmstead
Meridian VP 2-4 Snodland Town
Rochester United 1-3 Stansfeld
Sutton Athletic 1-2 Kennington

The First Division threw up more drama today as we saw another change of League leaders with Welling Town returning to the top after winning at Kent Football United while Bridon Ropes are now in third place after a loss at Forest Hill Park.
Welling started the day in third themselves but a strong professional performance when seeing off KFU 3-0 means they now have the title in their own hands with just two games to go. The impressive Harry Gamble got the opener early on before Ryan Golding added the other two, the first of those coming from the penalty spot. They now have a 1 point advantage over Erith & Belvedere with Bridon a further two points behind.
Many would have expected the Ropes to have returned from Ladywell Arena with the points but Forest Hill Park proved what a good side they are by sending them away empty handed. After a goalless first half Kaz Bishop, then James Shields scored to give Forest a 2-goal lead which meant James Murphy's last minute effort was no more than a consolation strike. The hosts move up to a season-high position of 6th while Bridon are now relying on others to do them favours if they are to finish in a promotion place. Kennington are now guaranteed a top 4 finish after they edged past Sutton Athletic 2-1 at Lower Road. Gary Lockyer and Gary Clarke got the goals for the visitors in the first half before Tom Mendietta pulled one back just after the break to set up an exciting finish to the match. Kennington held on though, extending their unbeaten run to 6 games but keeping they still remain as heavy outsiders for a promotion place. Sutton are now confirmed to finish a creditable 5th place. Things are still not looking good for Meridian VP if they have hopes of climbing off the bottom of the table. A 4-2 home defeat against Snodland Town keeps them 3 points adrift with a game at Welling Town to look forward to on Monday. It is Rochester United that are just ahead of Meridian and they failed to extend the gap over them when losing 3-1 at home to Stansfeld despite taking a very early lead. A 2nd minute Luis Dos Santos goal was soon cancelled out bya double from Ryan Hassan, which was added to by Joe Minter as Stansfeld kept their hopes of a top 6 finish alive. Holmesdale have slipped out of that top half-dozen for the first time this year after a 7th consecutive loss, this time at home to Lewisham Borough. Omari Hibbert was on the scoresheet twice for the visitors as they kept hold of their 13th place in the table. Just ahead of them are Lydd Town, who beat FC Elmstead 3-1, with Dale Horton scoring twice, while Greenways are 10th thanks to a 4-1 win at home to Phoenix Sports Reserves even though they were behind as we entered the final 10 minutes. Brad Cross with a double for the hosts in that one.



Thursday 18th April

First Division
SC Thamesmead 0-4 Erith & Belvedere

Erith & Belvedere have gone to the top of the table for the first time this season with a 4-0 win away at SC Thamesmead. After Rob Curtis had got the opener Harry Harding hit a hat-trick to take his season tally to 37 League goals but more importantly keep his side in contention for the title and promotion. The pressure now heads back on to Bridon Ropes, Welling Town and Kennington, who all play on Good Friday.


Saturday 20th April

Premier Division
AFC Croydon v Punjab United
Canterbury City v Beckenham Town
Chatham Town v Cray Valley PM
Corinthian v Deal Town
Croydon v Crowborough Athletic
Glebe v Bearsted
Hollands & Blair v Rusthall
K Sports v Fisher
Sheppey United v Erith Town
Tunbridge Wells v Lordswood

A full Premier Division fixture list for us today but with one game jumping out from the page quicker than the others. With things so tight at the top Cray Valley PM cannot afford to drop points but so a trip to Chatham Town is the last thing they would ask for. The hosts will be bouyant after their Cup win last week and although the title may be beyond them they will be more than happy to damage Cray's chances and send them away empty handed. That is certainly what leaders Corinthian will be hoping happens too giving them a chance to extend their current 2 point advantage by gaining more at home to Deal Town. There have already been 3 Hoops v Hoops match-ups this season and the Hoops from Longfield have won on every occassion so far and with so much at stake it would be a surprise if they didn't make it win number 4. Fisher only have a small chance of glory but if the top two do slip up they need to make sure they are near enough to pounce, therefore win is a must when they go to Cobdown to face K Sports.
If results go against them this could be a bad day for Rusthall. A loss for them at Hollands & Blair and Punjab United winning at AFC Croydon will mean the Rustics stay in this Division will be over. Croydon already know where their destiny lies in fact they are the only team with a confirmed poistion at the moment. They still have their pride to play for though and Crowborough Athletic will not have it all their own way when they turn up in Surrey on Saturday. A top 6 finish for Erith Town would have sounded like a crazy prediction just a few weeks ago but if they return from Sheppey United with all 3 points they will be level with the Ites and could go on to finish above them.
Elsewhere there are mid-table places to be played for when Bearsted visit Glebe and Tunbridge Wells host Lordswood and also in Faversham where Canterbury City welcome Kent Senior Trophy runners-up Beckenham Town.


The FA Non-League Finals Day

Non-League Finals Day is returning to Wembley Stadium, connected by EE, this season and the line-up for both finals have now been confirmed.

The Buildbase FA Vase final will see Chertsey Town take on Cray Valley (PM) whilst the FA Trophy will be contested by AFC Fylde & Leyton Orient.

Both Cup Finals will be played back-to-back in a bumper day of non-league football on Sunday 19 May 2019.

To book tickets go through to the FA Website here

Be sure to book in the Cray Valley PM area! Lower Tier Blocks 123-129 and Central Tier Blocks 228-235.

The FA have located tie Millers section next to Leyton Orient, which is ideal as they will be supporting our SCEFL side on the day thanks to Kevin Lisbie being a star performer for the O's in the past!

Get your tickets and see you on the day at Wembley!


As we enter the final month of the season here is a summary of the current Promotion and Relegation picture involving the teams in our Premier and First Divisions.

Last update - Friday 17th April

Premier Division - Promotion

Quite simply, only the title winners get promoted and with less than two weeks to go there are 4 teams just about in the hunt for this prize. Corinthian are in the driving seat with Cray Valley close behind. They both have to play one of the other top teams so there are sure to be lots of twists and turns to come before the Season ends on the 27th April.

Standings

Team xxxxxxxxxxx Playedxx Points xx GD
Corinthian 35 84 +49
Cray Valley PM 35 82 +64
Fisher 35 78 +43
Chatham Townx 35 76 +55

Remaining Games

Corinthian - Deal (H), Fisher (A), Bearsted (H)

Fisher - K Sports (A), Corinthian (H), Chatham Town (A)

Cray Valley PM - Chatham Town (A), Croydon (H), Canterbury (A)

Chatham Town - Cray Valley (H), Bearsted (A), Fisher (H)

Premier Division - Relegation

Two sides will get relegated from the Premier Division this Season. One will be Croydon, but who will be joining them on their journey to Step 6?

Standings

Team xxxxxxxxxxx Playedxx Points xx GD
Hollands & Blair 35 29 -25
Punjab United 35 26 -22
Rusthall 35 22 -54
Croydon (R)x( 35
8
-58

Remaining Games

Hollands & Blair - Rusthall (H), Punjab Utd(A), Erith Town (H)

Punjab United - AFC Croydon (A), Hollands & Blair (H), Croydon (A)

Rusthall - Hollands & Blair (A), Glebe (H), Sheppey Utd (A)

Croydon - Crowborough Ath (H), Cray Valley (A), Punjab Utd (H)


First Division - Promotion

The Title winners will be promoted to Step 5 alongside the second placed team as long as their Points Per Game average is in the top 9 of the 19 second placed finishers in the Step 6 Leagues across the country. Teams folding higher up in the pyramid will see this number increase so the FA will confirm the successful sides after the season has ended. Our own updated spreadsheet trying to explain it all further can be viewed here which currently shows that there could be an issue for us with our League being so competitive and tight.
Welling Town have just returned to the top of the table. Will they stay there?

Standings

Team xxxxxxxxxxx Playedxx Points xx GD
Welling Town 32 72 +39
Erith & Belvedere 32 71 +52
Bridon Ropes 32 69 +48
Kennington
32 68 +44
Sutton Athletic 32 61 +35

Remaining Games

Welling Town - Meridian VP (H), Lydd Town (A)

Bridon Ropes - Holmesdale (H), Sutton Ath (A)

Erith & Belvedere - Sutton Ath (H), Snodland Town (A)

Kennington - Greenways (H), SC Thamesmead (A)

Sutton Athletic - Erith & Belvedere (A), Bridon Ropes (H)

First Division - Relegation

The bottom two teams will be up for relegation from the First Division. Teams could potentially survive if there are not enough sides coming up from Step 7 to take their place. Once again Points Per Game decides this and the current spreadsheet can be found here. Whatever happens, the aim has to be to not finish 17th or 18th.
The relegation battle currently appears to be between three teams.
The situation has been made more complicated by the withdrawal of Phoenix Sports Reserves for next season but that may not mean a reprieve for any team in the bottom two so finish 16th or higher if you want to stay safe!

Standings

Team xxxxxxxxxxx Playedxx Points xx GD
Phoenix Res 32 26 -34
Rochester Utd 31 24 -40
Meridian VP 32 21 -62

Remaining Games

Phoenix Sports Res. - Kent Football Utd (H), Rochester Utd (A)

Rochester United - FC Elmstead (A), Phoenix Sports Res (H), SC Thamesmead (H)

Meridian VP - Welling Town (A), Stansfeld (H)

I will keep this article here and update it as games get played so we are all informed of the complicated Promotion and Relegation scene across the SCEFL!



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