Slade Green secure comfortable victory over Crocks
SLADE GREEN joint-manager Phil Miles admitted his side made hard work securing their place in the next round of the Kent Senior Trophy, writes Stephen McCartney (interview) and Keith Tucker (report).
However, a 2-1 win at Crockenhill - last season's British Energy Kent County League champions - has set them up with a mouth-watering clash at Thamesmead Town on 8th January in the last eight of the competition.
The Small Glen outfit, also play the Bayliss Avenue side in the quarter-finals of the Kent League Cup, this time at home, later in the season, so there is plenty to play for.
repeat of last season's fixture in the same competition, two first half goals at
Wested, scored late in the half, were scant reward for Slade Green's attacking
Shaun Malyon, under strong attention from a defender, saw his shot blocked by the out rushing Dean Redpath after 9 minutes, and Dean Kearley had a volley blocked on the line by Stuart Nicholson from a Billy Bonds free kick.
When Crockenhill did manage to break clear, their shots were either off target or comfortably mopped up by an organised defence, ably assisted by the hard working Lee Barber, dropping back to cover.
Hayes went close again on 28 minutes after being set up by Stuart Abbott, again Redpath made the save knocking out for a corner.
Crocks only first half attempt on target came after 40 minutes, Steve Belsham's near post effort was cleanly caught by Paul Vines.
The breakthrough came a minute later, a Dean Kearley clearance found Hayes who advanced into the box, where Alex Whipps was adjudged to have handled when Hayes tried to lay it back into the path of Malyon. Former Thamesmead Town man Kearley converted the resulting penalty.
Two minutes later Hayes nipped in to score the second from a Bonds cross.
Crockenhill upped their pressure in the second period enjoying longer bursts of possession, Stuart Hammond and Scott Pazensky went close but were unable to penetrate Slade Green's rear guard, whilst Green were happy to hit on the break.
The hosts hopes of retrieving the situation were enhanced on 83 minutes, Whipps sent over a diagonal ball that eluded the keeper and fell kindly for Pazensky to head in, making for a nervous last few minutes amongst the visiting support.
Just two bookings, Nicholson and Harry Martin of Crockenhill, in a match that saw neither physio overworked.
Speaking about the victory, Miles added: "I felt we made quite hard work of it, to be fair.
"I felt we actually played reasonably well within ourselves and at 2-0 we looked quite comfortable.
"Baring the last five minutes when Crockenhill got their goal, we didn't look under any pressure.
"But saying that, Crockenhill, to be fair, should have equalised in the very last minute.
"At the end of the day, the most important thing, was the result."
With a double date with local rivals Thamesmead Town in cup quarter-final action coming, Miles, will be looking to climb up the Go Travel Kent League table.
They make the short trip to Eden Park Avenue to play Beckenham Town on Saturday, before travelling to East London the following Wednesday, playing Sporting Bengal United and hosting Lordswood - in a bottom of the table clash - on 11th December.
Miles added: "Hopefully we can look to put in a better performance against Thamesmead in the cups than in the league game earlier in the season.
"But more importantly we have to put these matches at the back of our mind and concentrate moving up the league.
"We've got three important games coming up.
"They are going to be very difficult games. As I've said before, the league has improved from last year, and there aren't any whipping boys this year.
"You've only have to look at Beckenham Town and Sporting Bengal, especially, after being the laughing stock of most team's last year, they have moved on leaps and bounds."
Speaking about Lordswood, Miles added: "We've played them already this year. They are improving and got a great result at the weekend. A good victory against a very good Herne Bay side."
Crockenhill; Redpath, Whipps, H. Martin, Dyer, T. Martin, Ring, Pazensky, Nicholson, Hammond, Parker, Belsham. Subs: Curtis, Gallagher, Collard Manners.
Slade Green; Vines, Lewis, Bonds, Barber, Kearley, Penny, Abbott, Barrett ( Gallagher 80), Malyon, Little, Hayes. Subs: Brown, Sallis, Bowey, Martin.