Erith Town P-P Whitstable Town - I want to win things for this football club and that’s what I’m here to do, vows Whitstable Town boss Scott Porter
Erith Town – Whitstable Town
|Location||Oakwood, Old Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 4DN|
ERITH TOWN P-P WHITSTABLE TOWN
Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Quarter-Final
Sunday 21 January 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakwood
FURIOUS Whitstable Town manager Scott Porter says the circumstances behind today’s Kent Senior Trophy Quarter-Final postponement was the biggest balls up that he has seen.
Erith Town secretary Peter Dale called in referee Billy Woods to conduct a pitch inspection at 10:30 and he passed the pitch as playable.
However, someone else called in another referee, who deemed the pitch unplayable at 11 o’clock, although both club’s and the match officials were not informed and arrived at the ground in Crayford expecting to play the game.
Match referee Aaron Conn conducted a pitch inspection upon his arrival at the ground and deemed the pitch unplayable 62 minutes before kick-off, despite both managers confirming in the post-match press conference that they were happy to go ahead with the game.
“It’s embarrassing mate, it’s embarrassing! Biggest balls up I’ve seen for a long time for The Kent FA to get someone here at 11 o’clock, call the game off with the VCD chairman and then no-one gets notified,” said a furious Porter.
“We all know what the weather’s going to be like, we’ve seen the forecast. We’re here now, the pitch is playable in my eyes. Adam and I want the game to be played and so do all the players and the referee is more concerned about the touchline where the linesman runs up and down it because there’s a couple of puddles and it’s a bit muddy.
“It’s embarrassing, absolutely embarrassing! We’ve travelled all the way from where we’ve come from, everywhere, we all want a game of football so if you’re going to call games off because the pitch is like that then you’re not going to play many games in winter are you? It’s embarrassing!
“You get fined for stupid, having three people standing up (in the technical area). What are they going to get fined for? For having the biggest balls up I’ve ever seen!”
Adam Woodward, the Erith Town manager, added: “Disappointed, frustrated, not a lot you can say is there really?
“I was here at half-past-ten with a match official. The game passes, not a problem with the pitch. I left at a quarter-to-eleven.
“We was told at one o’clock that someone had come down at 11 o’clock and called the game off so within 15 minutes the pitch was unplayable, so we turn up and the referee’s turned up and he’s decided the pitch is unplayable.”
When asked whether he thought the game should have started, Woodward replied: “Yes! The referee’s called it off. He’s saying the weather forecast is meant to come in. It’s not raining at the moment (it was slightly raining at the time of the interview). It was meant to be raining from 12 o’clock so in my opinion, the pitch is playable.
“Someone’s supposedly came down at 11 o’clock and done a pitch inspection and neither Erith Town, the match officials or Whitstable Town were told. VCD were told it was off but no-one else was!”
Lessons need to be learnt from this avoidable farce.
“Yes, communication's great really,” added Woodward.
“We done everything, I feel, in our power but we can do no more. We’ve had a pitch inspection and a pitch inspection was done 15 minutes after we’ve done one and it was deemed unplayable – why?
“It is what it is. We can’t do anything. We’ve done what we can. The powers at be need to have a look and arrange it better next time.”
The fixture has been re-arranged for Wednesday, 24 January (19:45) at the same venue, 24 hours after VCD Athletic host Dartford in a friendly match.
“It’s a big competition for us, I want to win things for this football club, that’s what I’m here to do,” added Porter, as he targets Kent Reliance Senior Trophy glory.
“We’re in two quarter-finals, we’re fourth in the league, so we’ve got everything to play for.
“I want to keep the season alive right to the death to keep the winning mentality going.
“We’re four unbeaten at the moment, we’re not conceding many goals and we’ve got people coming back from injury.”
The Oystermen are in fourth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 39 points in the bag from their 20 games, with 18 league games left to fight their way into the top-two promotion places.
Sevenoaks Town are at the summit with 43 points from their 18 games, followed by Beckenham Town (42 points from 20 games) and Crowborough Athletic (39 points from 20 games).
“We need to go on a run until the end of the season in these cups and the league,” said Porter.
“The league is our priority. We’ve had a few ups and downs but we’ve got players coming back now. Shaun Welford’s fit again now, people are coming back from suspension and injury so we’ve got it all to play for. We’ve got to be up there and go on a run and stay in touch with the teams above us.”
Whitstable Town’s home league game against Rochester United on Tuesday night has now been postponed to make way for their trip to Erith Town on Wednesday night.
Erith Town boss Woodward, meanwhile, goes into the game sitting in the bottom six in the table with 28 points from 22 games – but they are only nine points adrift of sixth-placed side AFC Croydon Athletic.
Woodward, who won the First Division title with Glebe in his only season in charge of the Chislehurst based club last season, is targeting a rise up the league table during their final 16 league outings.
The Dockers also host Crowborough Athletic in the Quarter-Finals of the Challenge Cup and that game is scheduled for Wednesday 7 February.
“You’ve sort of got the top six and then you go down to about 15th or 16th so if you win a couple of games you shoot up four or five places,” added Woodward.
“It’s been tough this season. We were unlucky last week at Deal (losing 2-1) but if we play like we did against deal in the second half, hopefully we can get a few points.”
Referee: Mr Aaron Conn (Gillingham)
Assistants: Mr Ryan Andrew (Gillingham) & Mr Tim Burman (Greenhithe)
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