Faversham Strike Force v Larkfield & New Hythe – Wednesday 15th February 2023 – The Aquatherm Stadium

Having decided, diplomatically, that going to see my midweek game on Wednesday 15th this month was better than risking my marriage by attending the night before, I found myself spoilt for choice of Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFl) and Isthmian League fixtures. I resisted the urge to see the Sheppey v Chatham battle at the Bauvill and instead came back to Faversham’s Aquatherm Stadium, to watch a second v fourth fixture from the SCEFL Division 1.

SCEFL Division 1 table at kick off –
Courtesy of http://www.scefl.com

Larkfield & New Hythe came into this game believing it was a “must-win” tie. The Larks, having lost out, to Sutton Athletic, in last year’s play off final, are level, this year, with leaders and local rivals, Snodland Town, at the top of the table, however with +19, compared to Snodland’s +32, have a much lower goal difference. Defeat tonight, would give Snodland the mental advantage and a game in hand, as the teams enter the final third of the season.

Larkfield & New Hythe Matchday Team –
Courtesy of Club Twitter Account
Larkfield & New Hythe warm up, before the kick off.

Larkfield & New Hythe’s manager, Kris Browning, will also have come into the fixture knowing that home advantage last Saturday was passed up, when his side could only draw 0-0 with their title rivals, in an understandably tense and hard fought game. The game was attended by 510 fans, which was the highest Step 6 attendance in the country last weekend, reflecting the huge support, that both of the top two sides benefit from. The Lark’s intent for promotion was further illustrated this week, when they secured the signing of Arron Hopkinson, an experienced player from Step 3 and 4, to boulster the side.

Top Goalscorers in SCEFL Division 1
– Courtesy of http://www.scefl.com

For Faversham Strike Force, this season has been all about goals. With Tom Barton (15 goals) and Marshall Wratten (12 goals) leading the way, manager Gary Axford’s team have plundered 46 goals in just twenty two games, and would be even higher in the league if they hadn’t conceded thirty eight. Nonetheless this has been a real breakthrough season for the Strike Force side, who currently rent their ground, from the Isthmian League’s Faversham Town.

Faversham Strike Force Matchday Team – Thanks to the FSF management team for taking time to write this out for me!!
Faversham Strike Force warm up

The first half opened with Larkfield & New Hythe bombarding the Faversham Strike Force goal with effort after effort. Faversham’s keeper, Harry Earls made some crucial saves, as Frankie Sawyer and Aaron Hopkinson for the away side, created pressure down the flanks, with wave after wave of attack.

Faversham Strike Force in the all blue kit. Larkfield & New Hythe in yellow and black shirts and black shorts.

The scores however, remained goalless, as the half hour mark approached and at this point, Faversham Strike Force, with a triple array of strikers Tom Barton, Alex Wills and Lee Pankhurst, always posing a credible threat up top, edged their way back into the match. Two free kicks created chances which could have given the home side the lead, against the run of play. True to form, Larkfield and New Hythe’s defence remained solid and well organised. As the referee blew the half time whistle, there were still no goals to separate the two sides.

The second half started in much the same vein, with both sides out defending each other. Then out of the blue, on 67 minutes, a cross from the right found the head of Matt Day, who was in the right place to put Larkfield & New Hythe 0-1 ahead.


The goal brought both sides to life and the earlier tension, which had held back the free flowing play, evaporated. There were good chances for both sides but it was the Faversham Strike Force players who celebrated, when Alex Willis was able to spin and shoot in the Larkfield & New Hythe area, to make it 1-1, in the 90th minute.


There was still time for some late drama, when Larkfield & New Hythe’s Lee-Wharton pulled off a point blank save, to ensure the away team didn’t leave without anything. At the final whistle, both sides left with a valuable point although Larkfield would have been disappointed, that they were one minute away from securing three points, which would have put them clear of Snodland Town, at the top of the table.

Final whistle

One Comment Add yours

  1. john says:

    Good diplomatic choice🌊

    Liked by 1 person

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