Faversham Town 0 Crockenhill 0

Tuesday 21st March 2006
Referee Steve Kendall played eight minutes of injury time in the second half - it could have been eight hours and still Faversham Town would not have scored on Saturday, writes Harrison Grant, courtesy of www.favershamtownfc.co.uk

The return of top scorers Ross and Rikki Cable had supporters licking their lips at the prospect of a goal feast against North Kent strugglers Crockenhill.

But it was not to be on a day when Ross, Rikki and any number of other Faversham Town players could and should have made the three points safe long before Mr Kendall's final whistle.

Crockenhill, languishing at the very bottom of the British Energy Kent County League Premier Division, refused to follow the script. They turned up at Salters Lane with two under-18 players who had signed senior forms just hours before kick-off.

Two other players then injured themselves in the warm-up forcing secretary Steve Palmer to take a seat on the bench. And all this just two weeks after the club sacked Fabio Rossi as manager following a string of bad results.

Yet Town have made a bad habit of slipping up against the lesser sides this season. Indeed, Crockenhill were the first beneficiaries back in October when they defeated Terry Cordice's men 2-1 at Wested Meadow.

And they went on to take a fourth point from Town on Saturday with a battling performance that dents Town hopes of promotion at the first time of asking.

Palmer, who also works as the Crockenhill groundsman, was an unlikely hero for the visitors with a succession of cracking saves after coming on in goal as a second-half substitute.

He covered himself in glory with a great stop just two minutes from time when Ross Cable found himself completely in the clear just seven yards from goal.

And skipper Julian Beal was also denied by Palmer ten minutes earlier, seeing his 18-yard drive fly straight at the stand-in keeper.

Brad Maguire was another Town player cursing his luck after failing to find the target with two excellent opportunities.

Faversham Town boss Cordice said: "We didn't take our chances, it's as simple as that. We had opportunities all over the park. Forwards, midfielders and defenders - they all had chances to score but didn't. It was so frustrating.

 "They came to defend and relied on the counter. I also thought we could have had a couple of penalties. But to be honest, we have only ourselves to blame - we lacked the killer instinct in front of goal."

Town's best chance of the first half saw Ross Cable play a neat one-two with his brother Rikki before letting fly only to see his shot  hit the post.

Some 140 supporters braved the bitter cold and they almost saw the breakthrough when the Cables reversed roles with Rikki's shot forcing a good save.

Crockenhill had their chances with Sean Stanton producing a good, finger-tip save from Tim Holmes in the Faversham goal.

But it was the other end where the main action took place. Maguire had a great chance after more good work from Rikki Cable but his effort was blocked just minutes before a carbon-copy move presented a second opportunity. This time, Maguire mis-timed his shot completely and the ball whizzed across the face of goal.

Rikki Cable could have had two penalties but Kendall waived away both appeals in the second half. Cable appeared to be sent sprawling by Palmer for the first and was then bundled over by two defenders for the second.

If the first claim was dubious, the second looked a cast-iron penalty although the fact the winger tried to stay on his feet before finally going down probably counted against him in Kendall's eyes.

Then came those late chances for brother Ross Cable and Beal, each going unconverted to leave Town with it all to do entering the final phase of the season.

Yet Cordice said the trip to play Stansfeld on Saturday held no fears for Town despite a disappointing run of results that has seen them lose to Old Roan, scrape past Snodland and now draw with strugglers Crockenhill.

He said: "Our finishing was awful this week and that is annoying because all we needed to do was show some composure in front of goal.

"But I know the lads are more than capable of raising their game and they are more likely to do that against better opposition to be fair. The challenge is there for them. We have six games left to play - they should be thinking about six wins, that's 18 points."

Cordice said it was important the squad did not rely too heavily on the Cables - everyone had to work hard for results.

He explained: "I thought that Rikki did ok and Ross worked hard.  They will score goals for us, there's no question about that.

"They want to be back at Faversham Town which is good news for us and it has given the lads a lift. It's just a shame we couldn't convert our chances against Crockenhill.

"The fact is that even though the Cables are back, all of the lads must take responsibility for putting the ball in the back of the net and winning games."

Faversham Town: Tim Holmes, Brad Maguire, Scott Price (Mark Smith 80), Kris Browning (Matt Tallon 73), Adam Hewitson, Gary Stock, Julian Beal, Dave Hockley, Ross Cable, John Goodwin (Kris Parker 73), Rikki Cable.