Thursday 01st September 2005
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Saturday 15th
January 2005
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Premier Division
Julian Leigh reports from Erith Sports Stadium
Erith Town 0  
Sevenoaks Town 0  

Referee bottles it!

A very mediocre match coupled with some strange refereeing decisions were the main talking points in this otherwise forgettable match at the Erith Sports Stadium.

Within 30 seconds of the kick off controversy ensued when a superb through ball from Balmer split the home defence, finding former Dover Athletic striker Gary Wood who raced into the penalty area with defender Steve Smith in close pursuit.

Smith, however, appeared to be pulling the striker back and with the referees assistant waving frantically play was allowed to go on and goalkeeper Chris Arnold saved the shot.

Referee Butler, however, failed to award a  penalty and decided against issuing any cards to the offender.

With both sides finding it difficult to create any openings, Sevenoaks new signing Dave Waters and the return of central defender Ollie Young both did sound jobs to keep the goalscoring threat of Glen McTaggart and Matt Russell quiet.

More controversy soon followed with 20 minutes of the half remaining.  A seemingly harmless back pass was played back to visiting goalkeeper Darren Smart.  As he was shaping to clear McTaggard made a two footed lunge at the ball.

The ball ricocheted away from both players and McTaggart dived to the ground and to the amazement of both sets of players a penalty kick was awarded.

Smart, however, saved the resulting penalty and was booked for celebrating his save.

The second half started well for the home side with Smart saving well with his legs from Russell and Cohen whilst at the other end Arnold saved with ease from Dave Forster.

Richard Bryce came off the bench for Wood but failed to make an impact for Sevenoaks apart from getting a yellow card for an off-the-ball incident and Jon Whitty, making his first team debut in midfield, replaced Miles.

Sevenoaks assistant manager Julian Leigh was left bemused after his side were denied an early penalty.

He said: "Why the referee was not brave enough to award the penalty in the first minute only he knows.

"It would also have reduced them to ten-men - maybe he did not want that so early on."

Sevenoaks Town: Smart, Clarke, Waters, Young, Miles (Whitty), Balmer, Forster, Ralph, Jenner, Cramp (Gibson), Wood (Bryce)