VCD Athletic 0 Erith & Belvedere 1

Sunday 05th February 2006
A 50th minute strike from debutant Christian Wheeler earned all three points for Erith & Belvedere at Harrow Meadow on Saturday, writes Thomas Hawes.

As a consequence of the ex-Harlow Town players goal, the Deres move up to fourth place in the Kentish Observer League Premier Division table.

A terribly overworked pitch at Harrow Meadow, home to VCD and Greenwich Borough’s first and reserve team, caused some dire passing and subsequently chances were few and far between.

Vickers, with far more experience on the ground, slightly held the upper hand in the first period.

Former Dere Stuart Abbott came closest for Vickers with just two minutes of the half remaining, but his shot was straight at the away sides goalkeeper, Ricky Hall.

Previously, Hall had fell victim to a terrible bobble when his mis-hit clearance went straight to VCD’s Mark Greatorex. Fortunately for Hall, the Vickers striker failed to give Vickers the lead.

Having got used to the sparsely covered field, the Deres played much better in the second half, although it was VCD who had the first clear cut opportunity of the match.

After some good work down the right, Kevin Winchcombe played the ball to veteran striker, Richard Dimmock. His shot seemed perfectly placed when it left his boot, but having thumped against the inside of Hall’s post, the ball ran away to safety.

Two minutes later, however, Kent’s only side still in the FA Vase fell behind. Tommy Martin thrust the ball forward to former Welling and Margate striker Leon Braithwaite.

Braithwaite showed his class as he laid the ball back to Wheeler who fired home from 18 yards to give the Deres a valuable lead.

Despite some late rallying from Vickers, the Deres never looked like conceding and they had numerous chances to add to their lead, most notably when Grant Wallis’ clearance went straight to Braithwaite. Fortunately for Wallis, the ball bounced kindly off Braithwaite into his grateful arms.

VCD are now virtually out of the race for third place, but Erith are now behind third place Thamesmead Town on goal-difference.