Erith Town 3-2 Punjab United
written by MARK DOIG
In miserable wet conditions, Harry Taylor scored a brace to help Erith Town edge out Punjab United in an entertaining Southern Counties East Football League match.
It took the Dockers just two minutes to go ahead when Rodney Eruotor sent Steadman Callender away down the right wing. He pushed it beyond goalkeeper Hayden Chipping before rolling it in from a tight angle.
Veteran striker Paul Vines had a header saved by Erith goalkeeper McKenzie Foley before a low drive from James Miles skidded across the surface and Chipping dived to push it round the post.
From the corner, the hosts extended their lead. Miles delivered into the middle and Taylor rose highest to head home.
Jayden Hussein was unable to finish when Foley couldn’t hold Chandler Kasai’s shot but Erith had the last chance of the half when Ladic Melconian surged through and sent in a low shot that zipped off the surface but went just wide.
Half time was extended as ground-staff, committee members and volunteers worked hard to fork the pitch to enable the second half to go ahead and the visitors were quickest out of the blocks when it restarted.
Hussein’s first time volley flew wide from Andrew Dythe’s cross before Foley had to be alert to save when Lea Dawson’s header took an exaggerated bounce.
Midway through the second period, Punjab pulled one back. Dythe delivered an inswinging corner from the right and Jamie Watson bundled it home at the far post.
Two minutes later, Erith restored their two goal advantage. Callender slid a pass through and Taylor clipped it past Chipping and into the net.
Jamie Humphris came on as a substitute and immediately had a shot deflected wide after collecting another well weighted Callender through ball.
As Punjab looked to attack, they left themselves vulnerable at the back and Erith had a chance to wrap the game up in a four versus one break.
Daniel Carrington rolled it across to Alfie Aldridge whose shot was saved by Chipping.
Will Johnson-Cole intercepted a headed back pass but ran it out as he attempted to round Foley, then the Erith goalkeeper made a point blank save from Dythe.
Seven minutes of stoppage time were signalled and Vines burst through only for Foley to rush out to clear. Chris Edwards shot over from twenty-five yards before Johnson-Cole cut in and shot into the arms of Foley.
There were still two additional minutes remaining when Punjab pulled one back. Foley punched out an Ashley Probets corner as far as Arun Suman and he finished confidently.
Although Punjab won another corner, they made nothing of it and the Dockers held out to claim the three points to move into third place, seven points behind Erith and Belvedere.
Erith Town: Foley, Carrington, Trueman, Jayaguru, Melconian, Ash, Saunders, Miles (Humphris 71), Callender, Taylor, Eruotor (Eldridge 62).
Unused subs: Chalker, Nosike, McClean.
Goal scorers: Callender (2), Taylor (27), (70)
Yellow card: Foley
Punjab United: Chipping, Edwards, Dythe, Watson, Ratcliff (Probets 77), Campbell, Kasai (McKenzie 58), Dawson, Vines, Hysi (Suman 53), Hussein (Johnson-Cole 53).
Sub not used: Bushell.
Goal scorers: Watson (68), Suman (90+5)
Yellow cards: Vines
Referee: Krystian Kaczala
Assistants: Martin Belsom and Stephen Gorman
This match report first appeared in the Kent Sports News.