I had planned to travel elsewhere but the lure of this mouth watering league fixture between Chatham Town, who were top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division and Glebe FC who are third, was just too much to resist.
Both sides came into the tie on the back of a run of straight wins in their previous five fixtures. Chatham are top of the league, just a point ahead of second placed Sheppey United, who have a tough tie today themselves, away to, 5th placed, Erith and Belvedere. Glebe sit in third place just outside the two possible promotion places and facing a 14 point gap to Sheppey United, although with four games in hand. Defeat for Glebe today would certainly represent a major knock to their outside hopes of claiming the vital second place, crucial to their chances of promotion.
Glebe’s Foxbury Avenue ground, is home to many mens, girls and youth teams. Glebe have seen the fruition of their talented youth programme this season, not only in their own first team side, but also in the development of Emile Smith-Rowe who graduated through the Glebe ranks and has made the England and Arsenal teams this year, as well as the recent signing of Nico Lawrence, a Glebe graduate and defender, by Premier League side, Southampton. The ground itself sits adjacent to a clubhouse busy with families and fans. I was able to enjoy a couple of tea before the game and watch Premier League football on a big screen.
The pitch is grass, and after this week’s rain, was very wet for the game today. The ground has floodlighting, two covered standing areas and a main stand with seating for about 100.
Glebe sacked their manager, Harry Hudson, just two weeks ago, after he had applied for the vacant position at Sevenoaks Town. Charismatic Chairman, Rocky McMillan took no time in appointing coaches, Dan Hogan and Aadam Flemming as interim joint managers and with the money the club has spent this year they will be expecting Isthmian league football in the next season or so.
Jamie Philpot has top scored for Glebe FC this season with 28 goals in just 26 games. ChathamTown’s own marksman this season, Dan Bradshaw, has bettered that rate, with 39 goals in 28 matches. Jack Evans who partners Bradshaw for Chatham, has also impressed this season with 22 goals from 29 games.
The game started with Glebe using the slope well to their advantage and keeping Chatham tied back in their half for much of the play. As the half progressed Evans, Hayes and Bradshaw began to link up for Chatham Town and they started to create chances.
On 30 minutes, Chatham were awarded a penalty, which Jack Evans uncharacteristically blazed wide. A delay ensued after a plastic cup was thrown from the crowd and struck the Glebe goalkeeper, causing him to fall to the ground, which ended up in a confrontation between players and fans.
At half time the teams left the pitch with everything still there to play for.
The second half saw Chatham hold the ascendency, pushing more and more for the winning goal, as the game progressed. Glebe never gave up with Azeez and Philpott always posing a risk.
As the final whistle blew with the scores still locked at 0-0, it was the Chatham players and fans who left feeling happier, as they had kept a Glebe charge towards the top two places at bay, and moved ever closer to their goal of promotion this season. There was a feeling amongst the Glebe contingent, that this might be the end of their chances this season, although with ten games to go, loyal fans may think that might be a premature judgement.