CROWS GET THE DEAL DONE AGAINST CANTERBURY CITY.
McCreadie with the match-winner in the second half.
Difficult journey made worthwhile.
Report supplied from a blog written by Crows Unofficial and we thank him for letting us use his copy.
So the good news, for people who like good news, is that Canterbury City are going to be ground-sharing with the Town of Faversham next season rather than the Town of Deal, so the long trek down to the deepest, darkest part of the Kent Coast will be a one-off next year if we’re still in this division, rather than the two-off that we have now. It was bad enough having to go to Ashford twice last season but Deal really takes the biscuit, and the fixture gods turned it into a right Hob Nob by scheduling this match for a Wednesday night. While we’re on the subject of biscuits, I bought a Twix for the first time for ages on the way to the game and they are definitely smaller. I haven’t saved any from my childhood to compare my new one with but there are some things I just know. I also know it’s a flipping long way from Crowborough to Deal and it’s not much fun on the M20. True, City had to make the trek to Alderbrook for the Cup match in December, but then the Cup is a competition where you accept the challenge of the draw. Don’t get me wrong, I like Deal, I like the ground and the easy access to Fish & Chips but it ain’t no fun day out at the seaside with your bucket and spade when it’s on a cold, dark February evening. It’s such an annoying place to get to outside of respectable hours and even with the EV charged to full capacity, it was still touch and go that a full battery would get me to and from the ground – obviously it did but only by a slim margin.
I had looked at the trains as an option but once you’re there, it appears that no one leaves Deal to anywhere useful after about 9pm, so the car, an emergency Twix and the radio were the only real choices (apart from maybe a Snickers rather than a Twix). As a result, I was pretty grumpy all the way down but cheered up immeasurably when I arrived and saw pretty much the best available Crowborough team warming up (bar the injured). Normally these midweek games are equally tricky for the players, who still have to work during the day of course, but the sight of all the usual suspects jogging around on a very reasonable playing surface brought a big smile to my face and probably everyone else’s, at least those of a blue persuasion. It was the usual suspects off of the pitch too, and I think 12-15 of us hardy mortals negotiated the traffic jams and pot holes of Tunbridge Wells to turn out to support the team, which was a pretty good effort by us too! Unlike Saturday in Gillingham, Deal kindly opened their tea bar so we felt obliged to partake of mugs of decent tea and the cheeseburgers, just to be friendly. The team sheet was posted just before kick-off and a new but familiar name appeared amongst the subs for the second game running, this time that of Adrian Stone
who made a brief cameo for three games in October last season. He got 4 goals in those three games so if he sticks around until the end of the season, he could be very handy for the run in.
If memory serves me correctly, we made only one change to Saturday’s line up for this game, with James White
returning to the back three in place of Jason Barton, who may well have been our only “had to work” casualty. James had a really good game, as did all of the back three, and this was a much better all round performance from Crowborough on a good pitch that suited our passing game much more than the muddy slope of Hollands & Blair. The first half was pretty much attack v defence, with the Crows coming up with most of the questions and the City defence supplying the answers. Once again, better finishing would’ve reaped better rewards but McCreadie, Attwood and Treleaven were all causing problems for City at the back. With half an hour gone, Ross had the ball in the net, a close header from a Henry Muggeridge
free kick but the assistant had his flag up, presumably for a very tight offside that we couldn’t see. Just before the break, Ross had another great chance but drove his shot just wide of the City post and we went into the dressing rooms winning easily on corners awarded but 0-0 where it counted.
The second half initially repeated the pattern of the first, with Crowborough passing the ball through City until it was eventually hacked away by their defence, only to be collected, recycled and brought calmly back into the City half by the Crows, starting with the back three in most cases. We nearly took the lead 7 or 8 minutes in to the second half when Ross got around the back of the City defence before delivering the perfect ball for Henry who volleyed over from about 6 yards out, making a great run but unable to fully control the firmly hit cross. Two minutes later, we were ahead, Ross Treleaven
again the supplier but this time into the feet of Trevor McCreadie
who took care to make sure he had the ball under control before firing a fierce drive past the despairing dive of the keeper from the edge of the box. It was no more than we deserved on the balance of possession and chances up to that point.
As we past the hour mark, City gradually started to wake up a little realising they were a goal down and had their first decent chance when a forward was through one on one with Dan Ellis but chipped wide. Crows seemed fairly content to let City come on to them a little more, coping fairly easily and looking dangerous on the break, before things took a more sinister turn with about 20 minutes to go. Tom Vickers
tripped a City player down near the corner flag and the City player appeared to react a little – neither the foul nor the reactions seemed especially serious to me, but players from both teams rushed over, pushing and shoving, finger pointing, blah blah blah. The ref, who’d had a reasonable game up to this point, decided that Vickers and the City 11 needed to return to the dressing room immediately which seemed extremely harsh all round unless I missed something. Vickers was running the show in midfield and his red card certainly disrupted the Crows much more than the dismissal of the No.11 did for City. Things got fractious now but it hadn’t been that sort of game, and City picked up another quick booking when Trevor M was body-checked as he tried to run at the City fullback. With 15 minutes or so to go, the bench made the sensible decision to try to take the heat out of the game with some substitutions, bringing the welcome return of Lewis Unwin
on for the excellent Ross Treleaven
, to add some fresh legs in midfield. Crows still looked dangerous coming forward but City were finally applying some pressure of their own through the gap where Tom Vickers
had been. With 5 minutes of normal time to go, Stone made his second debut replacing Trevor McCreadie
, followed a couple of minutes later by Marcus Goldsmith
for Henry Muggeridge
, who’d just been booked for appealing for a throw-in.
As we entered 7 minutes of added-on time, City finally started to look like they might get something from the game, forcing a series of corners, with their keeper coming up for some last ditch heroics and all that jazz, but the Crows stood firm and deservedly packed up the points to take back up the M20. A good solid team performance only really disrupted by the sending off, and even then we worked very hard and defended our slender lead well.
We clapped the lads off and shuffled back to our cars for the long drag home, all relatively uneventful until a pot hole in Green Lane woke me up as I re-entered the Borough, which meant a stroppy email to East Sussex Highways and terse reply promising resolution. Fixtures seem to be flying all over the place at the moment but it’s back to the Kent coast – or rather the Medway estuary – on Saturday for the away day at Sheppey and what I hope is another decent playing surface. Unless something weird happens, Sheppey should be the last burst of sea air this season and we turn our away intentions inland with exotic trips to Chislehurst, Chatham and the like. Feels like a long season but maybe that’s just the double dose of Deal talking.