For the first September match of the season, I decided to visit Jubilee Field, the home of Isthmian League, Three Bridges FC, for their FA Cup 1st Qualifying round fixture with Erith Town. Erith Town play in the Southern Counties East Football League (Premier Division) and this season has seen them make a disappointing start, with just three points from their opening three games, leaving them in sixteenth place in the table.
Manager, Adam Woodward, saw his side beaten 3-1 at home in two consecutive fixtures, by high flying Rusthall and Phoenix Sports, who were relegated from the higher ranked Isthmian League South East Division, last season. This was balanced by a fine 1-0 away victory, at Fisher FC, in Rotherhithe. In the previous round of the FA Cup, Erith Town beat Bedfont Sports 2-1, at home, in front of 109 fans.
The Jubilee Field ground holds 1,500 at full capacity. The ground has a grass pitch and decent quality floodlighting. There is ample free parking at the ground and one main grandstand, with seating for around 150 and a smaller stand with seating for 60. The club had a well stocked refreshment stand and decent clubhouse and toilet facilities.
Opponents today, Three Bridges FC, play in the the Isthmian League South East, and have made a positive, if mixed, start to their season, winning against VCD Athletic and Lancing at home, but being beaten by Whitehawk and Sevenoaks Town in their away fixtures.
Kieron Pamment has top scored for Three Bridges FC, in the opening league and cup fixtures this season, grabbing four goals in six matches.
Manager Jamie Crellin captained the club for four seasons, before being appointed manager in the summer of 2021. Three Bridges FC qualified for this round, of the FA Cup, by beating another SCEFL side, Deal Town, 3-1 in front of 116 fans at the Jubilee Field.
The game opened to light showers but with the temperature still warm, the rain passed. There was a good Friday night crowd of 295 generating a positive atmosphere.
The game had barely kicked off, when in the second minute, top scorer Kieron Pamment fired the ball home, to put Three Bridges FC, 1-0 ahead.
In the 14th minute Erith Town were level, when Alfie Eldridge scored after a period of Erith Town pressure.
The remainder of the half was fought out evenly, with chances for both teams, however on the stroke of half time, Curtis Gayler hit a free kick, from outside the Erith Town penalty area, which rocketed past the keeper to make it 2-1 to the home team.
The second half was just as entertaining as the first, with both teams pushing hard to score, and both goal keepers being forced to make decent saves.
In the end it was the home team who clung on to win 2-1 and progress into the next qualifying round of the FA Cup. Erith Town had given everything against higher league opposition but at the final reckoning it was the quality of the free kick strike by Three Bridge’s Curtis Gayler, that sent the home team through.