Chatham Town Res 2 Erith and Belverdere 3
Saturday 13th March
Match Report by John Crow
While the First Team were coming from behind to collect a very welcome three points down at the seaside, events proved not quite as satisfactory back at the old homestead.
In fact, the game got off to the worst possible start - as highly-rated new boy Brett Ince found his debut coming to an abrupt end after just two minutes. A - shall we say - "robust" challenge from one of the Erith & Belvedere forwards left him surrounded by his anxious team mates, as the stretcher was called for amid fears that his leg was broken.
The prompt appearance of a paramedic eased everyone's fears somewhat, but he was still whisked away to Maidstone Hospital for X-Rays (he comes from the County Town, no slur intended against our own fine establishment!).
Within minutes of the restart after a five minute stoppage, however, the hardworking Physio found himself being dragged out of the Treatment Room to take a look at Charlie Davenport - who had also fallen victim to the enthusiastic visitors. A "dead leg", (and a few stud marks), brought his part in the game to a similarly early end - and, just to round things off, the Chats were out of substitutes as the third man had broken down en route to the ground...
In the midst of all these changes the Chats went a goal down after 13 minutes, and the 'Deres added two more in the seven minutes of stoppage time at the end of the Half, their third a slightly generous Penalty Kick.
By this time, though, Chatham were down to ten men - Alex Blaze having succumbed to a kick on the ankle a couple of minutes earlier, after coming on to replace Davenport.
Things looked bleak as the Second Half began, with the visitors clearly planning to do their Goal Difference a bit of good. They were in for a shock...
Shortly after the restart, Chatham were awarded a Penalty Kick of their own - only for the 'keeper to block Darryl Hollington's attempt. But wait, the eagle-eyed Assistant Referee had noticed that the 'keeper was nearly on the edge of the six-yard box when it was taken - so try again. And bless me if he doesn't block this one as well, with James Smith putting the rebound just over the 'bar!
But now it was the visitors who were rattled, and as the ten-men stepped up their game Craig Pryor finally pulled one back for the Chats in the 63rd minute, with a neatly placed shot from some 20 yards out into the bottom right-hand corner after some good work by Kane Parker.
Eleven minutes later it was 3-2, Smithy making amends for his earlier miss with an absolute cracker into the top right following a Corner Kick. The last 15 minutes saw the Chats throw everything into getting the equaliser - but sadly it wasn't to be, with the final whistle seeing Ryan Laker pulled up short as he headed for goal.
Defeated but not disgraced, nobody can say you don't get your money's worth with Chatham's Reserves!
CHATHAM: R.Bull; S.Woolley; R.Laker; J.Smith; M.Mirza; B.Ince (B.Jones - 4 mins); K.Parker; D.Hollington; C.Davenport (A.Blaze - 13m); C.Pryor; G.Wickenden.