Having watched a nail-biting Isthmian League North game last night, I decided to travel today to watch VCD Athletic in their Isthmian League South East match at home to Whitstable Town.
I had never been to “The Oakwood” before and drove upto it from home in about 25 minutes, with the ground being situated in Crayford, South-East London.
The ground is less than 250 yards from that of rivals and fellow Isthmian League South East team, Phoenix Sports. I was able to park easily on the road outside. The Oakwood holds 1180 fans when at capacity and was reopened to the club, after development in 2006, with the site having been out of action since 1999. The club was founded in 1916 by workers at the Vickers Armaments factory at Crayford.
The ground has a bar, club shop, refreshment stand and one long seated and covered stand. It boasts a grass pitch, which looked very well cared for, as well as having six floodlights around the pitch. There are two covered standing areas alongside the far side of the pitch.
The league table in the Isthmian League, South East Division, shows that VCD Athletic were just outside the playoffs, prior to kick off, in seventh place. Whitstable Town who struggled earlier in the season before new manager, Keith McMahon, formerly of VCD Athletic himself, joined and has stabilised the situation, pulling the team out of the relegation places and upto fifteenth in the league.
Yousuff Bamba has been VCD Athletic’s talismanic goal scorer this season with 13 league goals although ably supported by striking partner, Anthony Adesite, with 10 league finishes. Whitstable Town’s attack has been less prolific and their top joint scorers this season, Kemo Darboe and Harry Stannard, both have just 6 goals.
The game started, in front of a crowd of 160, with VCD Athletic looking sharp and making some good passing plays in midfield. In the eighth minute, after a delay for a head injury, there was a break through when Youssef Bamba went through on goal and put VCD 1-0 up.
On 32 minutes Jeff Duah Kessie ran through, in a one on one with the Whitstable Town keeper, Dan Eason, but it was bravely saved. Whitstable had a goal disallowed on 39 minutes, when the offside flag was raised.
At halftime the sides went in to the break, with the score 1-0 to VCD Athletic.
On 52 minutes Youssef Bamba scored his second, to put VCD Athletic 2-0 ahead, after some battling forward play by Dua-Kessie.
The second goal seemed to rally Whitstable at last and their front line, led ably by Harry Goodger, created some chances. VCD Athletic’s midfield tackled and fought hard, to ensure they kept the Whitstable Town goal charge at bay.
In the 85th minute, after a period of pressure from Whitstable Town, VCD Athletic finally extended their lead, to 3-0, with a headed goal from Ben Gorham.
That third goal took all of the energy out of the Whitstable Town side. At the final whistle it was clearly the VCD players, management and fans who left in good voice, delighted with the three points, after an emphatic victory.