Saturday, 7 May 2016

Glebe 2 Sutton Athletic 1

Match 98/15/1303 - Saturday, 7th May 2016 - Kent Invicta Trophy Final

Glebe (0) 2 Alderman 83, Golding 114
Sutton Athletic (1) 1 Murray 10
Attendance: 173

Entrance: £3 Senior
Programme: £1.50
Mileage: 54/6,903
Played at Sheppey United
New Ground: 286

A game that was a great credit both to the clubs involved and the Kent Invicta League with a winning goal that could grace any Final at any level.

Having crossed the impressive Sheppey bridge to take us onto the island, Holm Park is a welcoming facility. The booming music might not have been to my taste but it sort of purveyed the carnival atmosphere of a Cup Final.

The first thing you notice, with a little bit of wonderment, was the pitch. For this late stage in the season, it was absolutely immaculate. Even inside the six yard boxes there was barely a bald patch of grass. You had to pinch yourself to remember that this was Kent Invicta League level. There was a small, but perfectly formed, grandstand and a covered enclosure behind the Botany Road End, over the top of which, in the distance, you could see a container ship in dock.

As to the game itself, I have to differ from the viewpoint of the respective managers who described the game as a bit scrappy. Once again, taking account of the level, I thought it was of a standard that certainly would not have disgraced the level above, Southern Counties East, it was competitive and on the whole, entertaining.

The game ultimately hinged on one poor clearance from the Sutton Athletic goalkeeper, Dean James, that landed at the feet of Glebe's Danny Gannon. As the striker had a clear shot at an open goal when he was hauled back by Chris Mirrlees the referee had no alternative but to show the red card.

Sutton had taken an early lead when a superb bypass dissected to defenders and Johnny Murray fastened on to it and curled a fine finish past the Glebe goalkeeper, Alfie George.

Once they had gone down to ten men, it was backs to the wall stuff from Sutton, but they produced a defensive masterclass putting bodies on the line as the Chislehurst team sought to level the game.

At the start of the second half, Sutton might have given themselves some breathing space as Arlie Desangnes placed shot was saved by George's outstretched leg.

Sutton's captain, Sean Heather was the hero as twice he made goal line clearances to preserve their fragile lead. Ismail Ismail, so good they named his twice (couldn't resist it) seeing his mazy run and shot beat James but not the desperate defending of Heather.

There appeared to be no way back for Glebe as Ryan Golding's shot on the turn was brilliant kept out of the top corner by James.

Among the neutrals in the crowd, there had to be just a little sympathy for Sutton when Glebe finally equalised with seven minutes remaining. A long throw into the box was laid back to James Alderman whose shot went in off the far post.

The opening chances of extra time went to Glebe but it was Desanges that went closest hooking the ball agonisingly wide after looping his shot over the advancing keeper.

As penalties approached, what could almost be my champagne moment of the season arrived. A long throw into the penalty area found Golding cushion the ball on his chest and as the ball dropped, with his back to goal, produced a sensational overhead kick into the far corner. It was a winner to grace the Champions League, but it won the Kent Invicta Challenge Trophy.

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