BEARS END THE CROWS PROMOTION HOPES.
Defeat at Honey Lane and a win for Whitstable Town on Wednesday ends promotion hopes.
Not quite good enough in the end.
Similar to last season, the Crows dip in form has occurred at the wrong time for them and has cost them any chance of finishing in the top two of the SCEFL Premier Division. There's no doubt that for the Crows the number of games towards the end of March and throughout April has cost them dear, as tiredness, injuries and suspensions have hampered team selection.
This match was a point in case as the Crows started the game well and created some good chances which we unfortunately missed and as last season, missed chances in key end of season games, ended costing the Crows their promotion hopes.
Overall, the first half was an entertaining affair with both teams trying to keep the ball on the deck and the match became an end to end encounter whilst being keenly contested all over the pitch. The only thing that spoilt the flow of the first half was the break for too many free kicks, awarded, in my opinion, by an over-fussy referee who could have played advantage more and not treated every tackle made as a foul.
In the end it took a wonder strike from the edge of the area by Ryan Croucher to get what proved to be the only goal of the half and game in the 46th minute. Controlling the ball on his thigh some twenty yards out, he hit a fierce and well directed shot in to the corner of the Crows goal. Burbridge was left standing as still as a statue as the ball passed him and in to the net, 1-0 Bears.
The second half wasn't quite as free-flowing as even more free kicks and yellow cards were dished out to both sides. Eventually, the frustration of the players got the better of them and the goalscorer, Croucher, and Walder for the Crows saw straight red cards for a coming together in the 75th minute. The final total of yellow cards at the end of the game was five to the Crows and four to the Bears, in a match that didn't have a bad tackle in it from either side, although the bookings for dissent can and should be avoided and are not necessary.
Overall, the Bears deserved their win and are a good side, well drilled, strong at the back, have some skilful players but also work incredibly hard for each other, something the aching limbs and tired minds of the Crow players would not allow them to do in the second half.
In the end it's Sevenoaks Town who guarantee promotion first and will probably win the title, so we have to congratulate them and Whitstable Town who finish as runners-up and may be promoted as well if their points per game value is better than most. The Oystermen have been on a fantastic run since before Christmas, being unbeaten now in some 27 games, and they've handled the pile-up of fixtures better than most.