Match Date: 30 October 2016
Bearsted met with fierce rivals over the weekend as they faced the only side to have taken points off them this season – Hollands & Blair. This game was labelled by many as the game that would decide the title which meant that both sides knew the importance of the fixture. Bearsted would welcome the arrival of striker Callum West in this contest.
The opening 10 minutes were rather cagey and you could tell both sides were on edge due to the lack of football being played. Nevertheless, Bearsted were edging the earlier exchanges as they looked to gradually break down the Blair defence. Although, the 30 minutes that followed were extremely poor from Bearsted’s perspective. Blair were able to take the lead as the Bearsted defence failed to clear a cross properly, the clearance landed at the feet of the Blair right-back who struck a shot from range which deflected off an onrushing Bearsted defender which left Fraser Lee stranded as the ball flew in the opposite corner of the goal. Blair continued to pile the pressure on Bearsted as the home side were giving possession away very cheaply which allowed the visiting side to run at the Bearsted goal.
The last 5 minutes of the half would finally see Bearsted come into the game as they began to settle into a good rhythm which allowed them to play their passing game. Kieren Patel received the ball on the halfway line which prompted him to set Chris Carcary in the middle of the park who did excellently to turn out and play a stunning pass; Carcary was having a great game and this pass typified the sort of game the captain was having. The ball landed at the feet of Albert Courtnell who raced past the Blair full-back and looked up to see Ryan Golding lurking in the Blair six-yard-box. The number 9 took the chance, tapping the ball into the net to make it 1-1 just before the stroke of half-time which meant the striker now has 3 goals in the league. This goal gave Bearsted a new lease of life and they almost took the lead as Courtnell arrived at the back-post but the full-back was only able to direct his header straight into the keeper’s arms. The first-half would end 1-1, with Bearsted eventually getting into the game just before the break.
The second-half started with Bearsted enjoying most of the ball in the opening 5 minutes. This early pressure lead to a chance for Golding as he managed to get to a stray pass which played him through on goal, but the striker was unable to take the chance as he fired straight at the Blair keeper. Bearsted were piling on the pressure and they would soon engineer another chance as Joe Sturrock was picked out by a Golding cross and in fairness to the midfielder, he struck the ball well and kept it low but he was unfortunately denied by a Blair defender who had rushed back onto the line which meant he was able to block the shot and prevent Sturrock from scoring his first league goal for the Bears. Yet another chance would come Bearsted’s way in the final ten minutes as Callum West played Golding through, however - much to the frontman’s frustration - the keeper came out quickly and plucked the ball off his feet.
These missed opportunities meant that Bearsted were unable to capitalise on their second-half pressure which meant the players felt an overwhelming sense of frustration, alongside a distinct feeling of disappointment. The home side felt unlucky not to have won this game which saw both sides come away from the tie with a point apiece.
Bearsted Team: Fraser Lee, Harry Hays, Kieren Patel, Callum MacGregor, Tom Lindsey, Albert Courtnell, Chris Carcary, Edoardo Cammarano, Gabe Foster-Crouch, Ryan Golding, Callum West.
Bearsted Subs: Harry Whitfield, Joe Sturrock.