Back To Winning Ways In The League At Salters Lane
By Dave Morgan
City bounced back from a disappointing draw against Bearsted with a dominant performance against AFC Croydon at Salters Lane.
The victory probably came as a welcome relief for despite the incredible run of home triumphs in the FA Vase this was the first home league three points since before Christmas and only the second such haul since, in mid October, K Sports ended a run of 5 successive home league wins.
In truth City were never really troubled and the score-line by no means flattered the home side. Before the kick-off the AFC players formed a guard of honour to applaud the City players on to the pitch to mark the progress to the Vase semi-finals. A very nice touch.
City made a number of changes to the starting eleven with a surprise return for Ben Gorham at the heart of the defence. Once the first half got underway City were totally dominant with keeper Jack Delo pretty much a spectator during those 45 minutes and the visiting officials left wondering whether their side would manage a shot on goal during the second half! City will have been left wondering how they failed to score, worried about an injury to Vase hero Chris Saunders and relieved not to have picked up significant knocks following some pretty exuberant challenges from the visitors.
The second half was a tetchy affair with AFC regularly on at the referee for decisions he had made but clearly having little or no affect as unsurprisingly no decision was changed. City took a further 15 minutes before taking one of their many chances. Adam Woollcott’s free-kick into the Croydon area was missed by Bola Dawodu but fell nicely for Gorham to force the ball past Carpanini for his first City goal since netting the winner against Glebe in the Kent Senior Trophy in January 2017, his previous City appearance.
City had the ball in the net again a little over 60 seconds later when James Turner was played through and easily beat Carpanini but his joy was short lived as the assistants raised flag indicated his run had not been perfectly timed. The view from the lucky decking was somewhat different, suggesting that the run had indeed been well timed with Turner running past two defenders from a position a yard onside. Still as one referee remarked to me a few years ago, “football is all about angles, and yours doesn’t count!”
City calmed any nerves by sealing victory when with less than quarter of an hour to go Dawodu fed Dean Grant and the striker, who had come off the bench to replace Saunders, made no mistake.
So a welcome home victory that lifted the side up to 7th in the league and the hope that this can kick start a run in the league to accompany continued progress in the Vase.
City: Jack Delo, Ryan Cooper, James Nurden, Phil Starkey, Ben Gorham, Ollie Lee, Kyron Lightfoot, Chris Saunders (Dean Grant (Dan Keyte)) Bola Dawodu, James Turner, Adam Woollcott (Rob Lawrence). Subs. Jordan Casey, Michael Turner,