A mild but dry, Wednesday, November evening after a week of heavy rain, brought me back to Potyns Field for a Southern Counties East League Challenge Cup (Second Round) tie.
This season has been a really positive one for both tonight’s teams, with Snodland Town sitting second in the SCEFL Division 1 table, with 25 points from 13 games. Faversham Strike Force are well situated for their own promotion push, in sixth place with 22 points from 12 games.
Goals this season have just flowed for Faversham Strike Force and Marshall Wratten (ten goals) and Tom Barton (nine goals) have top scored. Snodland Town too, have plundered a lot of goals to date, this season, with Rob Denness (eight goals) and Josh Jackson (five goals) leading their own goal scoring chart.
Potyns Field has been developed this summer and the bar area and facilities have been extended. Snodland Town’s form, combined with the attractive faculties have ensured crowds have improved this season, with the club averaging 230 for each game, which is the leading average in the division, with near neighbours, Larkfield & New Hythe, averaging the next highest, some 90 fans less per game.
Faversham Strike Force made the second round with a fine 0-1 away victory at Premier Division rivals Lordswood. Snodland Town received a Bye into the second round.
As early as the fifth minute Faversham Strike Force took the lead, after a mazy run and finish by Tom Barton, which tore a hole in the Snodland Town defence and gave them fair warning of more to come, later in the game.
Snodland Town recovered from the early set back and built attack after attack. Then, with a sense of inevitability, in the 18th minute, a free kick from the left, found the unlucky foot of Faversham Strike Force’s Zac Benfield, which flew into the net and equalised the scores at 1-1.
Two minutes later, Harry Earls in the Faversham Strike Force goal, came out to make a challenge on the edge of his area, which he lost. The ball was passed to Snodland Town’s Harry Bradford, who finished from close range, putting the home side 2-1 ahead.
In the 30th minute another skilful run on the edge of the Snodland Town area, led to an equaliser for a Faversham Strike Force. Tom Barton cleverly fooled the Snodland Town defence, with a late pull back, before slotting the ball neatly home.
The final 15 minutes of the first half, saw chances for both teams, but no further goals. The break came, with the tie still locked at two all, and everything to play for.
In the 50th minute, Harry Bradford broke and when through on goal, lobbed the keeper, to score his second of the game and put Snodland Town 3-2 ahead.
In the 80th minute the scores were level again, when Faversham Strike Force’s Tom Barton scored his third and hat trick goal, with a well placed shot from the left hand side of the Snodland Town area, to tie the scores at 3-3.
Both sides threw everything into a frenetic final ten minutes, but at full time the scores were tied and the game moved straight to penalties.
As the final penalty was saved by Harry Earls, it was Faversham Strike Force’s players who were left celebrating their progress into the third round. Snodland Town’s players left frustrated, knowing they had this game won with ten minutes left. However the Snodland Town fans had yet again seen entertaining football from their high quality side. There will surely be league success for the Potyn Fields faithful this season. The crowd of 151 in attendance, left knowing they had seen a fierce battle.