From Kevin Anderson
A milestone victory in a local derby? Or a low-profile practice game? Well, of course, it depends who you support and who you listen to. But don’t raise your eyebrow too far: this result won’t shake the foundations of local football.
Certainly neither manager was getting carried away afterwards. “A useful workout for both teams,” judged Danny Bloor. “I was pleased with our team shape, and the squad for the new season is not far from complete. But I’d rather beat Faversham on the first day of the season than win a friendly.”
Borough boss Tommy Widdrington, while under-impressed with some individual performances, was equally low-key. “I need to look at triallists and I learned a little bit more about them tonight. We had several key players missing, but the side we put out at Lewes on Friday will be nearer to a first-choice eleven.”
In a tightly contested game – including a couple of over-robust challenges – neither side looked full of goals. Borough edged the first half, with the eye-catching Chris Shephard – freshly arrived from Exeter City – outstanding in midfield. Former Dover striker James Walker should have given the Conference South side an early lead, but screwed his angled shot wide. Simon Johnson headed Town’s best effort, a Nick Fogden header, out from under the bar, and we reached half-time goalless.
The string of second-half changes, especially by Borough, affected the flow, but it was the members of the Priory Lane Old Boys club who came into their own. Ben Austin looked assured at the back, while Matt Crabb was running his own little master class in midfield. And it was the man in a class of his own, Town player-coach Danny Simmonds, who nicked the victory. The legs may be thirty-something years old, but the football brain was as quick as ever as Simmonds pounced to strike from ten yards after a free-kick was knocked down.
So 1-0 it finished. Borough fans in the 330 crowd had a few more names to learn, but their manager is getting closer all the time to knowing his front side. And Ryman South should certainly take note: Danny Bloor’s side will be real contenders.
Town: Reed, Lansdale, Sutton, Austin, Fogden, Elliott, Sam Crabb, Cobbs, Curd, Matt Crabb, Billings. Subs: Geard, Hollobone, Summerbell, Greenfield, Simmonds, Brooks, Hartley.
Borough: Jordan, Baker, Kubu, Turpin, Marsh-Brown, Strevett, Johnson, Shephard, Walker, Knight, Ajala. Subs: McFarland, Okus, Carvalho, Hart, Lok, Potter.