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|Peter Wiseman reports from The Small Glen
Malyon's special keeps Green's mini-run ticking over
Although stretching their unbeaten run to three games Slade Green had to settle for a share of the spoils when they drew 1-1 at home to a strong and focused Herne Bay side on Saturday.
Going one down on 59 minutes – the first goal conceded by Green in 310 minutes of play – The Small Glen side pulled back to all square thanks to a well taken goal from Shaun Malyon.
The framework was hit four times by the two side’s and with a referee who, for once, was ebbing on the side of leniency the game turned into a free flowing, end to end thriller, devoid of bookings.
A pleasant change from Green’s experience of the previous week when three names went inexplicably into the officials book.
As well as having a strong wind against them in the first half, Green also suffered the loss of centre back Mark Penny, with a thigh strain in the opening minutes – and this on a day when they were without another natural central defender in the squad.
And so Green’s goal had a rather charmed life in the first period as Herne Bay threatened – but failed – to cash in on these advantages.
Bay’s Sam Denly crashed a shot against Green’s crossbar and saw two other chances go begging. But it was the power of Danny Kedwell who ought to have punished Green in this period. Twice on 25 minutes and twice on 38 minutes, Kedwell either shunned good heading opportunities, or tested Paul Vines to the full, the latter of Vines’ saves being of the highest quality.
The restart had the wind in Green’s favour, and it showed!! Ryan Hayes (twice) and Chris Tuley, forced Bay’s keeper, ex Charlton junior, Jack Delo, into three early saves.
Dave Martin, returning to Green after a fleeting sojourn at local rivals , Thamesmead, showed he had lost none of his many skills as he outstripped three defenders before drilling in a cross which Hayes played down into the ground, from where it flew up and over the bar.
On 59 minutes it was Bay’s first threat of the half when the thrusting Kedwell brushed aside perfunctory challenges from two home defenders before drilling the ball past Vines to open the scoring.
Green’s service from midfield to the forwards lacked quality, but the goal supply from the wings compensated, and it was a telling cross from Hayes on the right that led to Green’s leveller on 72 minutes.
Delo’s unconvincing attempt to punch the ball away fell to Malyon, lurking on the 18 yard line. He controlled and worked the ball well before whipping it into the net past the stranded keeper to make it 1-1.
Following good work by Mark Sabatino, sub Danny Little nearly capped a lively performance for Green when a good lob from distance grazed the visitors crossbar.
Meanwhile Bay’s danger man, Kedwell, made his 90th minute ‘play for glory’ ‘with yet another crashing shot on goal, this one thumping Vines’ right hand post as it just evaded the keeper’s outstretched palm.