Wednesday, 9 April 2014

APM Contrast 2 v 0 Snodland Town

Tuesday 9th April 2014
Kent County League Premier Division
Honey Lane, Otham
Admission and Programme: None
Attendance: 12 (head-count)
Match Rating: 3

For my first "silly season" fixture of 2014, I ventured to the outskirts of the county town of Kent to revisit a ground over seven years since my previous visit, for my first game in the Kent County League of the season.

APM Contrast moved away from their traditional ground at Cobdown in Aylesford at the start of last season with a view to progressing up the football pyramid and now share the ground of Kent Invicta League club Bearsted. Facilities here are very basic, but more than adequate for the Kent County League that APM Contrast compete in. As one enters the ground in one corner, there is a rather unattractive collection of portakabin style buildings housing the changing rooms and refreshments bar, whilst straddling the half-way line on this side is a small modern metallic all-seater stand, an addition to the ground since my last visit. Hard standing only extends to slightly beyond this stand, with just grass around the rest of the ground, although the pitch is railed off all the way around. Along the opposite side is an attractive row of short trees, which separates the main pitch from a further pitch. The ground has a pleasant peaceful and rural setting, lined with trees and a horse stable area, and only small country roads and a few houses in the vicinity. No programmes were produced for this game.

This evening's game promised to be an entertaining one, with fourth placed APM Contrast hosting third placed Snodland Town. APM Contrast have applied for promotion and although they are nine points behind the top two clubs, have three games in hand. Having won three if their last four league games, they went into this game with 37 points from 17 games, a point and a position behind Snodland Town, who have played two games more. Snodland also came into this game in good form, unbeaten in their last seven league games.

On a mild, sunny evening, with full 45 minute halves agreed by the teams which seemed slightly ambitious in early April with a 6.30 kick off, this was a predictably close encounter, with both sides have good chances to open the scoring in the early stages. Slightly against the run of play, it was the hosts who opened the scoring on 15 minutes. A free kick from the left wing close to the half way line was nodded on towards goal, and was then headed beyond the keeper's reach.

The game became something of a midfield battle up to and beyond the half time interval, and Snodland's players seemed to let their frustrations get the better of them as the game wore on as their hosts just got on with the job in hand and on 70 minutes they doubled their lead. The ball was crossed into the box from the right and after a couple of failed attempts to get meaningful contact on the ball, a scuffed shot at the far post went in off the opposite post. Almost immediately Snodland had agreat chance to equalise when a close range shot was deflected away by the keeper, and that was to turn out to be their last real chance of getting back into the game. APM Contrast almost scored a third on 82 minutes when some great footwork in the box finished with a fierce shot which smacked off the bar. The final minutes of the game were played in dark conditions, the sun having set about 20 minutes before the end of the game, and APM Contrast comfortably held out to go above Snodland in the table and remain very much in the hunt for a promotion place.

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