90th MINUTE PENALTY DENIES TOWN
A hard-fought game ends all square. But victory snatched from Town in the final seconds.
A game of very contrasting halves played in testing conditions. A very wet day in North Surrey.
A first-half dominated by Faversham. But despite their control, Town are only able to convert one of a series of chances. It will come back to bite them later in the cruelest of ways.
A bright, confident start from the Lilywhites.
As early as the first minute a Danny Walder free-kick from nearby the centre-circle is launched into the Chipstead area. It ricochets off a defender and away for a corner. An unconvincing clearance, with a hint of not knowing too much about it.
Ryan Cheek throws long into the area. Oliver Lee plays mini keepy uppy before turning and volleying over the bar. A very decent chance.
Chris Barnard wins good possession for Faversham on the right, drives forwards and plays a low sweeping ball for George Monger arriving at the D. Monger collects, evades the defensive attention, shapes to shoot, but with goal in sight, the shot lacks power and is relatively easy pickings for Michael Sibley in the Chipstead goal. Decent move, decent chance.
Dan Carrington makes a timely interception in midfield to bring an attempted Chipstead counter to an abrupt end. Carrington cuts through challenges and clips a glorious ball forward for Luke Griffiths who takes it forward into the area before arrowing a rising shot goalwards. Again, relatively easy pickings for Sibley who plucks it out of the air.
Still in the Chipstead half, Carl Rook challenges and wins possssion back for Town. Rook rolls a ball forward for Mark Lovell who jinks past the challenges and slips a ball into the box which releases Griffiths in on goal. In on the keeper, Griffiths stabs a low angled shot towards the right hand post, but Sibley gets down quickly to push it round the post to deny Town what was looking like the opening goal.Very decent save.
Chipstead fire a warning shot across Town's bow. A Town free-kick is cleared, Chipstead break quickly down their right and a ball played into the area is subsequently thumped towards Simon Overland's near post. A sharp save ensues and a corner conceded.
Town duly acknowledge the Chipstead warning and respond in the best way possible. Matt Bourne takes a free-kick from within the Town half, Rook with back to goal wins the aerial battle to send the ball into the path of Griffiths' run into the area. Griffiths gets to the byline and pulls it back towards goal where Lovell slots home at the near post from close range. It had been coming. Fine move, simple goal. Perfectly executed. (0-1 after 36 minutes).
Town continue to have the upper hand. A free-kick from 22 yards suggests a pop at goal is on the cards. Walder takes. The wall's beaten and it's dipping in until Sibley sticks out an arm and tips it over the bar.
Town finish the half with a period of sustained pressure on the Chipstead goal. But resolute Chipstead defending frustrate. A Griffiths pull back from the byline into the area is stabbed away from goal. Lee's shot is blocked on the edge of the area. Still Town probe. A cross from the right is met by Lovell's header but again the keeper does well to make the block.
The half ends with Town very much on top but denied that all important second goal.
0-1 at H-T.
Based on the first-half showing, the collective half-time wisdom expected Town to see out an inevitable Chipstead 10/15 minute period of pressure as they seek to get back into the game before Town re-assert their first half authority etc, etc. Easily done from the sidelines!!
The second half sees the already difficult conditions worsen as heavier rain makes an appearance and persist throughout the half. And Chipstead decide to ignore the wisdom from the sidelines and extend the 10/15 minutes period of pressure to 45.
Town call on resolute, organised defending and a sprinkling of last ditch defending. Lee's important defensive header early on to clear a dangerous centre and later Barnard's well-timed interception on the edge of the Town area just as the trigger was being pulled are just a couple of many such examples. And a fair number of let offs as Chipstead's final ball is found wanting. Numerous promising Chipstead forays end with over hit crosses or passes. But crucially, despite the pressure, and the fact that Town are defending deeper and deeper there is no way through to Overland's goal.
Halfway through the half. Cheek clears Faversham's lines and finds Rook. Rook is isolated and attempts an audacious lob/shot which smashes against the outside netting. Despite Chipstead's pressure, Faversham register the first shot on goal.
Ultimately, with Town still deep a Chipstead chance must come. A quick break down their right, a ball inside to the edge of the area, but Dylan Cascoe's low strike lacks power and Overland comfortably collects.
Into the final minutes and still Town frustrate Chipstead. Substitute Charlie Penny gets to the byline pulls a ball back for defender Matthew Warren on the edge of the area. The shot is charged down and deflected for a corner. As the ball makes it's way into the area, the referee blows his whistle, points to the spot and raises a yellow card in Lee's direction for an infringement. The lack of appeals by the Town players is suggestive. Substitute Chris O'Flaherty steps up and sends it to Overland's right but despite getting hands to it the ball bizarrely finds the opposite corner. (1-1 after 90 minutes).
There's just time to restart before the referee blows for full time.
1-1 at F-T.