Match Date: 28 February 2017
Match Report by Allan Hefferon
This game turned out to be a very close affair throughout and really not testimony to the positions in the league of both sides. Indeed Bearsted should have gone in front after just 2 minutes when Andy Irvine found himself in the clear only to be denied by advancing goalkeeper Bob French. However this might have brought false hopes as Sevenoaks began to dominate possession and the wing skills of Kieron McCann in particular, were causing a great deal of concern for the home defence. So much so that as a result of a McCann run and cross Byron Walker did not make the most of a great opportunity firing high over the bar. McCann though was rewarded after 20 minutes when his low shot from wide found its’ way through a ruck of players before entering the net past unsighted goalkeeper Scott Andrews. Perhaps this may have signalled the possibility of the visitors going on to finish with a comfortable win? Any hopes of that though faded just 5 minutes later when the home side got back onto level terms, when Kevin Mooney picked up the ball on the right hand side to send the ball over to Irvine for him to chest the ball down and thrash it home from 25 yards. This strike certainly changed the game’s momentum and the Bears may well have gone in front immediately after on two occasions. The first when Moony sent over another ball which left keeper French scrambling across to tip the ball over and the other when Irvine headed over the resultant corner from close range. In addition to this Reece Collins was also unlucky, volleying just wide from the edge of the area. At the other end Andrews had to be at his best in denying Walker from scoring with a run and cross shot on goal just before half time.
The commencement of the second half continued in the same fashion and with all to play for. However following a long innocuous ball down the right which was picked up from deep by Andy Hart during which time the referee felt that the ball had hit his hand and awarded a most unwarranted free kick. This not only was a very harsh decision but turned out to be a real game changing moment. Perhaps then outcome was all the more disappointing for the home side as the resultant free kick was sent over for Ike Robertson to score from close range. As the clock ran down so the chances fell to both sides and the Bears had to be grateful once more to keeper Andrews for further saves from both McCann and Walker, whilst at the same time mounted a series of attacks against their opponents, during which time seeing both Collins and Peter Williams going desperately close to scoring an equaliser. However perhaps the real disappointment came a minute before the final whistle, when defender Chris Edwards seemed to have handled a Collins shot on goal in the area, which sadly for him saw the referee deciding not to award a penalty, even after a very strong and justifiable appeal seemed. So much so that after the sound of the final whistle most players and supporters were left wondering what the interpretation of hand ball might have been. In addition, they still had to deal with memory of the first encounter away, when they felt somewhat robbed by losing the game in the last minute.
Team: S.Andrews, S.Flisher A.Hart, G.Andrews, S.Sage (J.Hayes) K.Mooney) M.Holliday (C.Carcary) M.Garner, A.Irvine ,R.Collins P.Williams (O.Wells)