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Harry Taylor vs Glebe, SCEFL Play-Off Semi-Final, 30-04-2024

Match Report – Glebe vs Erith Town SCEFL Play-Off Semi Final, 30-04-2024

By Michael Avery

When The Dockers moved to Bayliss Avenue for the SCEFL Premier Division 2023/24 season, one of the things promised was exciting football that would ignite the passion for non-League football in the local area and get everyone on the edge of their seats… but no-one could have predicted what we have seen so far in this campaign!

Adam Woodward’s sides have had some highly placed finishes in recent years, including the 2022/23 season where Erith Town were part of a four-horse race for promotion to the fourth tier, so The Dockers had the play-off places firmly in their sights this season, along with a good run in the regional and national cups. Looking at the season now, it’s safe to say we’ve had some fantastic moments at our new home, coupled with our historic wins in the SCEFL Challenge Cup and Kent Senior Trophy, but the result last night at Foxbury Avenue will live long in the memory.

Going into the match, Erith Town were seen as the plucky underdogs, and the raucous crowd of 450 in attendance at Glebe FC made some feel it might be a game too far for the SE28 side. A tense opening game of chess from both sides saw very little goal mouth action, but made for an entertaining and enjoyable start which seemed like it would only be decided by the slightest of errors from either promotion chaser.

Harrison Carnegie vs Glebe, SCEFL Play-Off Semi-Final, 30-04-2024

On the 16th minute the deadlock was broken by the home side. A long ball played over the top to the attacking line who brought it down and deftly rounded Dockers’ goalkeeper, Mackenzie Foley, before lofting a cross to the far post where Nathan Mampono, standing alone just a yard or two out, will not have had an easier tap-in all season whilst the Erith Town players appealed forlornly for an offside from the match officials. No infringement was given, and the home side found themselves 1-0 up. Woodward’s men could have easily continued the game feeling hard done by and with their tails between their legs, but as has been shown on many occasions this season, these lads just don’t know when to give up.

But for some incredible heroics from the Glebe shot stopper, one of Harry Taylor’s outstanding aerial attempts would have certainly brought the game back level. Not to be outshone by our Number 10, The Dockers’ backline kept the home side at bay for the remainder of the half gaving them very little encouragement. Erith Town went in at half-time 1-0 down, but certainly not out.

Continuing the second half in the same vain, The Dockers continued to dominate proceedings, but frustratingly could not find the equaliser their determination so desperately deserved. Glebe had a rare attack half way through the second half, one that would have beaten most goalkeepers at this level, but it was Mackenzie Foley’s turn to show why he is has been so key to the success of Erith Town this season, acrobatically tipping the effort over the bar.

James Dyer vs Glebe, SCEFL Play-Off Semi-Final, 30-04-2024

Midfield maestro, James Miles, who was excellent all evening controlling and building Erith’s attacks, also came agonisingly close to scoring. His high and looping effort from distance looked destined for the top corner but a great stop from Nathan Edwards in the Glebe goal kept his sheet clean. That was until the 78th minute…

You’d have been guilty for thinking that this was not to be Erith Town’s night, and that it would be Glebe who would face off with Faversham or Corinthian in the SCEFL Play-Off final, but the gladiatorial full back that is Tom Ash had clearly not read the script. Battling until the end, Ash managed to read the bounce of a ricocheting corner in the 78th minute, and cooly placed it into the bottom corner to bring The Dockers back level. Glebe were left reeling and on the ropes, and with a vibrant away support behind them, Erith Town took the lead just 5 minutes later when Harry Taylor gathered a loose ball from Ladic Melconian, spun and slotted it calmly into the bottom corner to make it 2-1 to the away side.

The home side and crowd were stunned, and the only noise in BR7 was the roar from the away fans when the net rippled, and that roar only got louder when the final whistle sounded and Erith Town had confirmed a home tie with Corinthian at the Stanmore Stadium on Monday 6th May. The game will be a repeat of the SCEFL Challenge Cup final, and with both sides boasting wins over the other this season, it could go either way.

This season has been a fairy tale that would make an epic story, but there is still one final chapter that needs finishing.

Roll on Monday.