Slump Continues as City Crash Out of the Kent Senior Trophy
By Kevin Olver
A heavy defeat and a one-sided match in which City fail to cope with or respond to Chatham Town's all-round dominance.
Canterbury City 0 Chatham Town 5
City were sent crashing out of the Kent Senior Trophy with a sorry whimper as a dominant Chatham Town side put them to the sword with some flourishing and pacey attacking football at Salters Lane.
A sloppy opening goal started the rout and at no stage thereafter did City look as if they were going to get anything from the game barely causing visiting keeper Dan Ellis to make anything other than a rare routine save.
Although the early opportunities were shared, the writing was soon on the wall once you compare them. Chatham began with Matt Bodkin volleying well over the City bar but he was allowed far too much time and space on the edge of the City box for comfort and they then had a goal chalked off for a tight and late offside call. City's first two opportunities were meek in comparison. A Dave Pilcher free-kick was fired into the box but only ran through to Ellis while another launched long from the back by Jack Delo was comfortably cleared by the Chatham defence.
The first goal then arrived for Chatham in the thirteenth minute when City gave the ball away in the opposition's half and were immediately under pressure as Chatham streamed forward at pace. The ball was then hoisted high into the far post going over City keeper Jack Delo who was caught in no-man's land and simply knocked inside for Byron Walker to have the simple task of stabbing the ball home from close range for 0-1.
Just minutes later City found themselves two behind when a brilliant unstoppable Jack Evans strike from around thirty yards flashed past Delo leaving him motionless and helpless for 0-2.
With two goals already in the bag, Chatham just forged forward in search of more and City just didn't have an answer or a repsonse. Michael Hagan was allowed time and space to pull the ball down and turn on the edge of the box - although the subsequent shot lacked real pace, while a classy ball in from the left just eluded Bodkin and needed Gary Sayer to sprint across with a hurried clearance at the expense of a corner from which Corey Walters-Wright headed over the bar.
More chances then came the visitor's way as Jon Pilbeam's shot took a heavy deflection and went out for a corner, Hagan saw his long range powerful effort fly just wide - with again, far too much time and space on the ball allowed - while a corner was defended but only by a fortuitously sliced clearance that flew wide of the post instead of inside it.
City were under constant pressure and in the run up to half-time they had just a couple of attacks that badly fizzled out and an unsuccessful Pilcher attacking free-kick to show for their rare lack-lustre attacking efforts and they reached the break with a two goal deficit and seemingly not a lot of hope.
Clearly they needed to score the next goal to have any chance of getting back into a game for which they had been a long way second best, but any hope of that was quickly extinguished when they soon went three behind. Pilbeam had already been put clean through but was only denied by a great blocking save from Delo before moments later Chatham were awarded, what has to be said, was a hotly disputed penalty. Jack Evans stepped up and fired it goalbound, Delo diving well to block but he could do nothing to stop Evans slamming home the rebound for 0-3.
All hope now appeared well lost for City and Chatham were looking to ram the point home. For City, Jordan Casey's token effort was a comfortable and regulation take for Ellis as they finally found their way to the Chatham goal and Sayer's burst from the back through the heart of the Chatham side and into the box fell apart as soon as he had laid the ball off. There was far more activity at the other end however as Pilbeam's thirty-yarder just cleared the City bar - dipping just a fraction too late, before Chatham scored their fourth when a sparkling left-sided run by Hagan delivered a pin-point cross for Paul Vines to crash an unchallenged header home for 0-4.
A Rob Lawrence header just over for the home side did nothing to lift the ever increasing doom and despondency of the City faithful and the visitors continued to attack in force and numbers. Vines saw his shot saved by Delo while Laurence Harvey charged down a Hagan effort, but the inevitable fifth was soon to arrive when the impressive Hagan took out the whole City defence with a lovely chipped ball over the top and Vines ran through to side-foot home for 0-5.
In the time that remained all City could muster was a Brett Ince shot blocked with Lawence firing the rebound over the bar, but any next goal was far more likely to be at the other end as a free-kick was fired at the far post - only just clearing the angle, Hagan saw another effort blocked and then a header from another of his many crosses was headed just over the bar - at least saving City from the embarrassment of an even worse defeat.
Now out of the Kent Senior Trophy and well off the pace in the league, City must quickly find a way out of the slump they're in to have any chance of progressing in the FA Vase next Saturday, a game which after recent results, has taken on even more importance than it already had.
Final score: Canterbury City 0 Chatham Town 5.
City: Jack Delo, Michael Turner, Gary Sayer, Laurence Harvey, Liam Quinn, Dan Keyte, Liam Middleton (Robel Grant), Brett Ince, Jordan Casey, Dave Pilcher (James Turner), Rob Lawrence.
Unused subs: James Nurden, Josh Froggatt