Thursday, 25 April 2013

Malgo 2 v 1 Forest Hill Park

Wednesday 24th April 2013
Kent County League Division One
Cobdown Sports and Social Club, Ditton
Admission and Programme: None
Attendance: 21 (head count)
Match Rating: 2

A second successive evening of silly season groundhopping in the Kent County League took me to mid Kent this evening, for a fixture that was not particularly attractive, but one that gave me an opportunity to visit a ground that has aroused my curiosity for some time - a ground that had proved elusive for various reasons over the years.

Cobdown Sports and Social Club is located about a ten minute walk from Aylesford rail station, immediately adjacent to the M20 and despite its location, is a very pleasant venue to watch football at, with a rural feel to it if only one could block out the sound of the constant traffic. For years, this was the home venue of Aylesford Paper Mills / APM Contrast, but when that club relocated to share Bearsted's ground at the start of this season, Malgo, previously based in West Malling, moved in. The most striking feature of the ground is a large green corrugated iron grandstand with bench seating and which would offer good elevated views of the action. One has the impression that spectators are not intended to enter the stand though, with high unsightly fencing along the front of the stand impeding one's view, one entrance locked up and although the other was open, the impression was that it shouldn't have been. The pitch is fully railed off, with hard standing along the grandstand length, and with trees lining this length and behind the goal with the motorway behind it, whilst the remaining sides are open to adjacent playing fields.

Neither of this evening's teams have much to play for this season, both stuck firmly in mid table, Malgo one place above than Forest Hill Park in sixth place in the thirteen team division, separated only by goal difference although Forest Hill Park have a game in hand. When the two teams met in early December, Malgo triumphed 1-2.

On an overcast and slightly muggy evening, the first half was a desperately dull affair, with a real meaningless end of season feel to the game, played at a pedestrian pace with little commitment. Malgo had the better of three few chances that came along, although a minute before half time, it was Forest Hill Park who took the lead, when a free kick was put into the left top corner of the net, giving the keeper no chance.

Happily, the second half was a more entertaining affair, and within five minutes of the restart, the home side were back on level terms. After the ball bobbled around the penalty area, it was eventually drilled into the net from the middle of the penalty area. Forest Hill Park's goalkeeper's distribution from goal kicks was erratic all game and was looking likely to be an accident waiting to happen, and this indeed was how Malgo took the lead on 55 minutes.  The keeper weakly kicked the ball straight to a Malgo forward, who raced towards goal and although his initial half-hearted shot was blocked by the keeper, he then showed good composure in taking the ball slightly wide of goal, and his cross across the six yard line was deflected into the net. The game became rather scrappy for the remainder of the game, not helped by an inconsistent and overly fussy referee. Malgo always looked the more likely to score, but in the end two goals was enough to claim the three points and complete the double over Forest Hill Park


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