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Saturday 20th December 2014 ko 14.00

Kent County League Premier Division

APM CONTRAST 1 (Brown 53)

STAPLEHURST MONARCHS UNITED 0 Metland sent off (violent conduct) 75 Tharp sent off (dangerous play) 90

Att 15

Entry FREE

Programme NO (althought they do normally)

As a groundhopper there are truths to be found self-evident. Amongst these are that you will see mile after mile of motorway roads, and that you will eat in barn-style chain pubs named in part after a “Dukes of Hazzard” character and they will all smell of stale beer, farts and despair.

You’ll fly past football pitches on those rivers of asphalt and you’ll glance across and wonder who plays there, and you’ll make a mental note to pay them a visit; more often than not you’ll forget.

I honestly don’t remember when I first spotted the wooden stand the other side of the M20 from the Aylesford Newsprint factory, complete with the intriguing footbridge (now closed) between the two sites.

Of course the two are linked, Cobdown Sports Club in Ditton was the works ground for Aylesford Paper Mills as the factory was known back in the day. It’s football team was a major force in the Kent League, now the Southern Counties East, but now find themselves 2 promotions from that level. And therein lies many of their problems.

The ground is still owned by Aylesford Newsprint, but is up for sale, and the company hasn’t put any money into the football club for some time. The club has tried to replace the funds through sponsorship, Contrast is a local building firm, with APM being an abbreviated nod to the club’s past.

The stand is closed, deemed too decrepit for use and the club would like to move slightly closer the clubhouse, and install a 3G pitch. That doesn’t bode well for the stand, but money as ever is the problem, and nothing can happen in any case until the ground’s ownership is stabilised. Until then enjoy this friendly club where it is, and that fantastic stand before progress will probably destroy it, and what goes on in front is well worth the effort too.

It was one of those blood and thunder games that the neutrals love and makes a club’s fans nervous. Every tackle was at 100% and although APM had the majority of possession, poor finishing maintained equality. That was until one defensive error allowed Josh Brown a clear run on goal, and he made no mistake finishing well.

I suspect the game would have still finished 1-0 even if the visitors hadn’t lost two players to red cards, Jack Metland to a retaliatory sedentary kick after a heavy challenge, and Jason Tharp to a tackle that ticked all the boxes of being high, two-footed, and out-of-control.

The two dismissals shouldn’t be what those there should remember the game for, after all there was only one other booking! As the sun set over a bus heading to Maidstone it was a most convivial gathering with the festive season just round the corner.

Since this will be my last piece before Christmas Day, I’d like to thank both of my readers a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas.