The first warm and dry day in a while brought me after work to Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium, for the Kent FA, DFDS Kent Veterans Cup Final.
The Gallagher Stadium makes a fine venue and surprisingly this was my first visit of the 2022-23 season. Both teams have backing from successful Kent clubs, Glebe FC riding high in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division and Herne Bay FC having just been relegated from the Isthmian Premier League.
Both teams routes to the final saw some high scoring affairs. Herne Bay FC beat Minster 1-3 away in round 1, hammered Betteshanger Vets 6-0 in round 2, before a 3-1 win against Metrogas in the quarter finals. Herne Bay won away at Segas 1-4 in the semi-final to secure their place at the Gallagher.
Glebe FC had a bye in round 1, before beating Vinters 6-0 in round 2 and Kings Hill by the same score in round 3. Glebe beat Herne Bay’s Over 35’s in the quarter final, 6-3 and secured their final spot, with a narrow 0-2 away win at New Ash Green.
The game started with Herne Bay veterans looking much more likely to score. They had much of the play in the first fifteen minutes, but could not capitalise.
Then, on 19 minutes, Sean Hetterly, for Herne Bay, found himself with some space in the Glebe FC penalty area. He fired home to put Herne Bay 1-0 ahead.
In the 36th minute Glebe were level, against the run of play, when Terry Butcher rose above the Herne Bay defence to finish, with a downward header, after some attractive approach play.
On the stroke of half time, Glebe were in front, with centre half Freddie Fleming, finding himself in the opposition box with little to do but tap home from close range. Seconds later, the referee blew for half time.
In the 53rd minute Glebe we’re 3-1 ahead when Warren Killick finished clinically, after a break away run left the Herne Bay defence standing.
Sean Hetterley made it 2-3 with his second goal on 59 minutes to give Herne Bay hope again and remind Glebe that this final was far from over.
The game sparked up in the 63rd minute, when Glebe and Herne Bay both had players dismissed after an angry altercation.
The game was then very evenly fought, with good chances being created for Herne Bay and Glebe. Then, on 87 minutes, Warren Killick broke free to go around the keeper and make it 4-2 to Glebe, bringing the trophy within touching distance.
A minute later Glebe’s lead was cut again, when a seemingly aimless cross was headed into the Glebe net by one of their defenders, as the pressure got to them. Sadly for Herne Bay, the final whistle blew soon after with Glebe finishing as 4-3 winners.
The DFDS Man of the Match award went deservedly to Glebe’s Warren Killick. A decent crowd stayed to see the sides receive their medals before Glebe Veterans lift the DFDS Kent Veterans Cup to loud applause.