Match Date: 13 August 2016
Match Report by Allan Hefferon
Following last season’s promotion to the league premiership, Bearsted, had to come to terms quickly with the extra level of pace. This they did very well, particularly in defence, having to cope with the threat of Croydon wingmen James Fray and Lauris Chin. However, as the game wore on so the balance of play was even with Bearsted trying to exploit the presence of front man Andy Irvine and exerting pressure onto the Croydon back line. At times this proved to have its’ effect, particularly when the striker got onto the end of a Charlie Epps long throw and then after, shooting narrowly wide of goal. Soon after though they thought that they had got their reward when Bradley Webb got the ball into the net only for him to be denied by the referee spotting an infringement. Unfortunately immediately after the Bears were to suffer another major disappointment, when their influential skipper Rob Lyall was forced to leave the field after picking up a knee injury leaving them to re- form their defensive set up. Croydon though also had their chances, notably when a left wing corner by Fray found Andy Mott at the far post only for him to be denied by a Callum Naessens interception and then again when a Fray effort was saved by Scott Andrews just before half time.
Following the break Bearsted emerged having to replace Andrews through injury with equally competent Pat Lee. However after only 10 minutes play the visitors went in front when a corner from the right was not sufficiently cleared, allowing Fray, lurking on the edge of the area, to send the ball back low into the net. Although the prospects now looked bright for Croydon they were never allowed to build upon a score on the back of their goal, during which time James Pinnock shot over and Chin was denied by a fine save by Lee. So much so that as the half wore on an equaliser looked a real possibility? With great chances falling to both Naessens and Irvine from close range. . However, their efforts were finally rewarded following some neat interplay between Jack West and Connor Cox, the ball was crossed into the box, finding Sam Flisher for him to be tripped and for the referee to award a penalty. The outcome of which seeing Bradley Webb stepping up and scoring from the spot. The scoreline did eventually remain the same, but following a goalmouth scramble, Cox missed a great opportunity of sealing a Bears win firing the ball over from close range with only seconds remaining.
Team: S.Andrews, (P.Lee) J.West, A.Foster, R.Lyall, (C.Naessens) G.Andrews, O.Bartrum, M.Holliday, C.Epps, (C.Cox) B.Webb,A.Irvine, S.Flisher