Soccer Shorts: Margate boss Jay Saunders brings Sam Blackman back to Hartsdown Park while Shield winning boss Luke Johnson leaves Farnborough Old Boys Guild

Monday 21st June 2021

Here are today's Soccer Shorts articles.

ASHFORD UNITED newly-appointed director of football Paul Bowden-Brown says he wants to give the club's youngsters’ a chance of progressing through the ranks to play for the Isthmian League South East Division club in the future.

“I would like to start by thanking Don Crosbie and Derek Prestridge) for inviting me on to the board in the role of director of football and having faith in me to oversee and carry out new football initiatives and the restructuring of the Youth Section,” said Bowden-Brown in a statement on the club website.

“Since being involved with the reformation of this club previously when I was here during the 2011-12 season, I have always kept my eyes on the goings on’s at the club as the club and the supporters were always close to my heart and I am very excited in progressing the club further ready for promotion with the help, input and support from everybody around me.

“Firstly, I think it’s vitally important that we have a clear pathway for our male and female players.  We will look to put in place a structure that allows this to happen. “It will be great to see how many make the grade of representing our male and female first team’s respectively.

“With this in mind, I am meeting the staff of the Youth Section in the very near future, as well as those that hire our facilities.

“It is important to see how we can work in unison to create clear pathways for our own youngsters. It will take time to build but we have some very good foundations in which to build upon.

“Moving on to the current first team – I know and have worked with Tommy Warrilow and Alex O’Brien (at Thamesmead Town) in the past.  I strongly feel that with their vast experience and knowledge, combined with their backroom staff and the squad the club is putting together, we can look ahead to some exciting times.”

BROMLEY striker Michael Cheek, 29, has been named in the Vanarama National League Team of the Season, having claimed the accolade of leading goalscorer for the 2020-21 season.

CANTERBURY CITY manager Chris Woollcott has signed goalkeeper Tom Benham.

“I’m delighted to welcome Tom to the club. He’s someone I’ve been a fan of for many seasons and look forward to working with him,” said Woollcott.

The Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side have also signed Sam Lawford.

CHATHAM TOWN manager Scott Lindsey has blooded Academy prospects Jack Palmby, Harry Maher, Ike Orji, Harvey Brown, Josh Strouts, Harvey Mills, Josh McIlheron and Freddie Martin in the Post Lockdown Tournament.

Chatham Town will play fellow Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division big-hitters Sheppey United in the Final on Thursday 24 June (19:45) at Chatham’s Maidstone Road ground.

The two sides finished top of the table with five wins and three draws from their eight group games to qualify for the inaugural final.

Punjab United finished third on nine points (two wins and three draws), Lordswood finished in fourth-place on five points (one win and a draw) and Rochester United finished in last place, having won once and drawn one of their eight group games.

CROYDON manager Liam Giles has re-signed former Horley Town attacker Richard Pingling and centre-half Taylor Maddock, who has gained promotion three times from Step Six during his career.

EBBSFLEET UNITED manager Denis Kurtrieb has signed former Stevenage defender Joe Martin, 32, who has dropped down two divisions from League Two to play for the Vanarama National League South club. 

The Fleet have also signed former Aldershot Town winger, Craig Tanner, 26.

ERITH & BELVEDERE newly-appointed joint-managers Danny Murphy and Marlon Patterson have signed former Whitehawk winger, Dave Martin, 36.

The Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side have also signed former VCD Athletic central midfielder Joe Bingham and have retained the services of Reece Barrett.

FARNBOROUGH Old Boys Guild manager Luke Johnson has stepped down as manager tonight.

"Taken the really tough decision to step down as manager of Farnborough Old Boys Guild," said Johnson.

"Had an absolute blast and enjoyed every minute of it.  The club couldn't be in better hands going forward as (assistant manager) Mark Warner will take over the role."

Johnson guided the Kent County League Premier Division club to Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield glory by beating Metrogas 3-2 in his last game in charge on 28 May.

FISHER manager Ajay Ashanike has signed Melvin Adesida, Ben Brown, Malaki Coker, Luke Thomas and Christian Udo for next season’s Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign.

Meanwhile, Ashanike's former assistant manager, Ashley King has been appointed Justin Gardner's number two at Isthmian League side Barking, replacing former Cray Wanderers coach, Adam Flemming.

IDE HILL manager Paul McDonagh begins the search for a new coach after Joe Bailey stepped down from the role at the Sevenoaks based Kent County League Premier Division club.

K SPORTS chairman Rene Bennet says he is delighted to have received a grant of £12,000 payable over a period of six years from the Premier League, The Football Association and the Governments Football Foundation under their grass pitch maintenance fund.

“This is a huge achievement for the club and will enable our dedicated ground manager and his team to improve the quality of the grass pitches at our K Sports Cobdown ground,” said Bennet, the chairman of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division club.

“The investment was provided following the completion of a full inspection of all the grass pitches using the Football Foundation’s specially developed Pitch Power app, a mobile tool used for assisting the quality of the individual grass pitches and the grant will be used to undertake the maintenance work identified in the Pitch Power assessment report, which includes applying fertiliser, aeration seeding and other maintenance practices.”

LARKFIELD & New Hythe manager Kris Browning has retained centre-half Scott Whibley, ahead of the clubs Southern Counties East Football League First Division maiden campaign.  Whibley made one appearance for the club last season. 

The club were leading the Kent County League Division One Central & East at the time of the season curtailment due to Covid-19 and ground improvements at New Hythe Lane have ensured a rise of two levels.

LORDSWOOD manager Neil Hunter used plenty of younger players as the club finished in third-place in the inaugural Pre-Lockdown Tournament this summer.

“The Post-Lockdown Tournament has been amazing. Thank you to our fellow clubs, Chatham Town, Sheppey United, Punjab United and Rochester United for their sportsmanship and teamwork in providing this spectacle,” said a club statement.

“Thank you to all the supporters who have attended from near and far to help make it the success it became.

“This tournament has really given the opportunity for the club as a whole to give a chance for players to prove themselves.

“So many players have stepped up from the reserves and featured during the tournament and made an impression.

“Congratulations to Alfie Lapper, Alex Taylor, Oscar Smitherman, James Bush, Zak Jakubowski, Damon Lanckmans and Callum Rollings, amongst others, who all played and put in assured performances despite their young ages.

“Well done also to the trialists’ and new boys who impressed during their appearances and also to the Kent Youth League under 16 lads who were given matchday experience over the last month.”

MAIDSTONE UNITED have lost the services of striker Justin Amalizor, 24, who has signed a one-year contract at Scottish Premiership side Motherwell, managed by former Salford City boss Graham Alexander.

MARGATE manager Jay Saunders has brought midfielder Sam Blackman back to Hartsdown Park, having played for the Isthmian League Premier Division club in 2018.

Upon signing the former Concord Rangers player, Saunders told the club website: “I’m really pleased to bring Sam back to Margate.  He’s a player supporters will know well. He’s a good technical player who brings a competitive edge and desire to get on the ball. It’s a great one to get over the line as Sam knows the club well too and is pleased to be coming back.

“Sam is a player I’ve been trying to bring in for the last six weeks. He’s had lots of offers to consider including those from a higher level. He had those offers to consider but we kept in touch and when one fell through late on, we were able to pick the conversation back up and with Doug Loft leaving (to sign for National League South side Tonbridge Angels), the timing came together.

“Sam offers that experience in midfield I’ve been looking for and with that brings a quality that will add to our strengths and those of the boys we have in the squad.”

TONBRIDGE ANGELS manager Steve McKimm has signed Montserrat international Craig Braham-Barrett, 32, who played for their Vanarama National League South rivals Dartford last season.

The defender has made 14 international appearances for Montserrat, the latest being on 8 June when he was in the side that beat Grenada 2-1 in a FIFA World Cup 2020 qualifier. However, it was not quite enough to see The Emerald Boys continue their journey to Qatar.

However, the former Dover Athletic and Welling United man is back on international duty next month for a fixture against Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

McKimm told the club website: “This is a player that’s impressed me for some time and I’m delighted to have obtained his services.”

Meanwhile, the Southern Counties East Football League are looking to increase its Match Officials Panel ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, which gets underway on Saturday 31 July 2021.

“With an expanded constitution we now have more games than ever to cover and an area that reaches from Chessington and Wimbledon in the west to the Kent coast in the east,” said a League statement.

“With around 800 games across two divisions, there will be plenty of opportunities for match officials in the Southern Counties East Football League next season.

“If you think that you have what it takes to be involved in senior football, please email us at”

The League has confirmed that its first batch of fixtures will be released once the Isthmian League publish theirs in mid-July.

The early rounds of The FA Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase and FA Youth Cup will be published by The Football Association on 9 July 2021.

The Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division will see the champions promoted to Step Four (Isthmian League).

Second-place finishers will take part in a play-off game away at a Step Four club that finishes third or fourth from bottom. 

The bottom two clubs in the Premier Division will be relegated to Step Six.

The First Division will see its Champions promoted to Step Five. Then next four clubs will participate in play-offs with the overall winner being promoted to Step Five.

The bottom three clubs in the First Division will be liable for relegation.