Friday 27th February 2004

VCD Athletic enjoying life at top of Kent League

Slade Green have a string of injuries for the visit of league leaders

Martin Ford, manager of new Go Travel Kent League Premier Division leaders VCD Athletic, stretched their lead over defending champions Cray Wanderers to six points thanks to victories over Deal Town (1-0) and Thamesmead Town (3-2) over the last seven days, writes Stephen McCartney.

Speaking on the club's website, Ford said: "It's been a busy but enjoyable week which has seen our team go top of the Go Travel Kent League for the first time this season, moving six points clear of nearest challengers Cray Wanderers with wins at Deal Town last Saturday and the midweek win over our old rivals Thamesmead Town.

"Firstly we travelled down to Deal Town on a filled up coach knowing a win or draw would put us top of the league for a short duration. 

"I'm not having a pop at Deal Town when I say this, because I understand money these days at our level,  unless your Maidstone United or Cray Wanderers is at a minimum, but the facilities we faced on our arrival were quite appalling.  The pitch looked like it had not been cut or rolled this season and off the pitch things were not a lot better.

"Thankfully we got our bit of luck you need now and again when one of Deal's defenders handled in the box to give us a much needed break.  Jon Maine did the rest from the spot, although I must have witnessed one of the worst penalties this season, it was three points in the bag."

Ford lost the services of Terry Barry, Dean Frost, Steve Coatham and with Matt Russell out injured the Vickers were struggling for personnel for the home clash against arch-rivals Thamesmead Town.

Ford admitted he blasted the players during the half time interval "I can tell you, I was not a happy chappie at the interval and questioned some of the players desire, thankfully it had the desired effect and after we equalised I always felt we would go on and win it.  With a bit of luck again along the way this was the case and the club and players certainly enjoyed the 3-2 win." he said.

Ford added: "Don't ask me if we can win the league, but let's just say we are enjoying being top for a while, and as the saying goes, we will take one match at a time!"

VCD Athletic, who are groundsharing Kent League rivals Lordswood this season, make the short trip to the Small Glen on Saturday to take on their bogey side, Slade Green.

Looking forward to the game, Ford added: "Slade Green always do well against the top sides for some reason or another.  They also have a couple of our former players in their side so you could say this is going to be tough.  Make no mistake, if we are sloppy we will get beat.  However, if we perform as I know we can I expect to be nine points clear on Saturday night.  Let's me positive and push on."

Phil Miles, manager of Slade Green said: "This weekend we take on table-toppers VCD Athletic.  Many people wrote Martin Ford's side off after a draw against us and a defeat against Thamesmead Town a few weeks back.  How wrong can people be, they have once again gone on a winning streak, maybe not as fluent as earlier in the season but at this stage the result is the most important thing.  We still obviously hope to put a "spanner in the works" and try to continue our improving form, this will be a very hard task but one that I'm sure we are up to.

He added: "I don't believe the injuries have cleared up in time for the weekend, so I expect to still be without Shaun Malyon, Phil Miles, Mark Barton, Darren Laming, Tony Weir and possibly Lee Barber.  This is a big blow as we only have a small squad so to lose such players is hard.  Still never mind, it will give Terry Hodgekinson and Jo Frimpong the possible chance against their old club."


Slade Green  vs  VCD Athletic, Saturday 28th February 2004, 3pm @ The Small Glen, Slade Green, Go Travel Kent League Premier Division

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