|Date||7 August 2018|
|Opposition||Phoenix Sports Reserves|
|Venue||Park View Road|
|Result||W 2 - 1|
|Time played||Normal time|
|Scorers||Harry Harding, Harry Harding|
Erith and Belvedere 2 Harding pen 40, 68
Phoenix Sports Res 1 Allsopp 33
HARRY CANES THE SPORTS
With virtually an entirely new squad following Luke Coleman’s resignation in May, Erith and Belvedere are an unknown quantity this season, but their performance against a young Phoenix Sports Reserves side showed a lot of promise.
Only two players in the Deres squad, Elyon Marshall-Katung and Jamie Taylor, had ever turned out for the club before, making a total of just 17 appearances – by contrast, returning favourite Paul Springett in Sports’ central defence played 144 games for Deres and won the double in 2012-13.
But on the night the heatwave broke into an evening of welcome rainfall, the new Deres produced some fine passing moves and imaginative buildup play which should gain a lot of friends this season. Among those standing out were George Jones, a stocky, calming influence at the back, Chan Quan, an energetic midfielder with a knack of playing quick balls at unexpected angles, and Harry Harding, skilful up front and hard to dispossess.
Goalkeeper Dillon Green was the first to shine, with a fine save from Emmanuel Oshinowo in the 6th minute. Harding had an effort saved by Steve Phillips soon afterwards, and Quan shot straight at Phillips’ legs in a one-on-one and then shot too high as Deres began to impress. But it was Phoenix who drew first blood on 33 minutes, when a blocked shot came out to a midfielder who buried the loose ball from 15 yards. Thus the satisfyingly 1930s name of Eddie Allsopp was on the scoresheet!
Five minutes later the crowd cheered as a wayward effort from Connor McCormack bounced on the roof of a passing 89 bus, but in the 40th minute they had more to cheer as good work by Ashley Wright and Quan gave Harding an opening. He was sandwiched by Sports defenders in the box, a penalty was awarded and Harding placed the kick low to the keeper’s right to equalise.
The second half saw more good chances in a very open game with no bookings and played in a spirit which was a tonic with no bad tackles or haranguing of the referee. Oshinowo shot well over the bar to spoil an excellent Sports buildup, then Harding shot across the face of goal with nobody there to convert. Another ex-Dere, Lee Friend, shot straight at Green as Sports threatened. But on 69 minutes a fine move between Jones and Quan let in Harding for a fine finish to give Deres the lead.
Sports continued to press, Friend slicing a shot on 75 minutes which nearly hit the corner flag and sub Kameron Mendez almost pouncing on Jones’ slightly underhit back pass. But in stoppage time Jones, Quan and Harding combined in an excellent close-passing move which ended with Harding’s venomous shot superbly tipped onto the bar by Phillips. It could have been an early goal-of-the-season contender: as it was, it was a great memory to take away as a hope for the coming season.
DERES: Green; Hill (Muchenje 49), Harvey, Taylor, Curtis, Jones, J Wade, Quan, Marshall-Katung (R Wade 62), Harding, Wright (Heskey 67).
SPORTS: Phillips; Smith, Dythe, Allsopp, Springett (Mendez 63), Slee, Oshinowo (Tagg 85), Fitzgerald, Friend (Gakaka 79), Malon, McCormack
|Munyaradzi Bruce Muchenje|
|Guyliano Tresor Mpungi|