Hammers lift cup in centenary season
Westerham 3 Platt 0
Report courtesy of Paul Hart.
Westerham celebrated its centenary season in befitting fashion last Wednesday night by winning the Kent County (ARC) Junior Cup Final for the first time in the club's history.
Two goals from Hammers' striker Paul Sadlier and another from man-of-the-match Michael Sterling gave them a thoroughly deserved victory against weakened Division Two side Platt, who are in their first season in the league.
But for several outstanding saves by Platt's inspired goal keeper and captain Rob Dobereiner Westerham's victory margin would have been even more emphatic although this was never a showpiece final.
Watched by a sizeable crowd, many of them Hammers' fans who had made the short trip to Corinthians Football Club's Fawkham ground on a cold night, Westerham always looked in control of the game and finished worthy winners. Platt manager Glenn Broad had wanted the match postponed because several key players are currently on a club tour in Marbella, Spain, but his request was refused by the league.
Determined Westerham took the game to their opponents right from the kick-off and the ball was scrambled away from the Platt penalty area in the very first minute. Platt created a number of half-chances, but their depleted forward line lacked any real fire-power. The Mid-Kent side's goalkeeper's goalkick's proved an effective weapon and his opposite number, David Salako, was almost caught out on 10 minutes by one particularly long punt.
A good cross from Platt's Gary Whatman almost had the Hammers' defence in trouble but there was nobody in support, while at the other end Warren Packman played a good ball through to the dangerous Paul Salako, only for Dobereiner to race off his line to save. A free-kick conceded by Westerham midway in their own half was headed down by Stan Faulkes, but Trevor Shaw shot over when well positioned. Mark Taylor bore down on the Platt goal after 29 minutes, but Dobereiner again booted the ball clear.
Westerham took the lead in the 40th minute. Full-back John Whittaker broke down the left before playing the ball to Salako, a constant threat to the Platt defence and his low cross found Paul Sadlier, who fired in from about eight yards. Shortly afterwards Platt's centre-forward, Martin Soames, had a good chance to equalise but fluffed his shot when well placed.
Hammers increased their lead three minutes later when again Salako was the provider this time crossing for the unmarked Sterling at the far post to score from close in.
Immediately after the interval Dobereiner made good saves from Sterling and Salako. Platt replied in the 60th minute when Peter Faulkes sent a 25 yard volley dipping over Westerham's crossbar and Sterling was denied by Dobereiner. Platt then introduced substitute John Baldwin for Richard Cox in a bid to get back into the game.
In the 76th minute Platt made their second substitution bringing on Dave Weller for Peter Hall, but Westerham put the game beyond their reach five minutes later with a controversial and disputed third goal. Following a corner there was a scramble in the Platt goalmouth and the ball was eventually forced in by Sadlier, although the Platt players claimed it hadn't crossed the line.
With the game safe Westerham made a double substitution replacing Harrington and Packman with Grant Styles and Mark Edwards for a taste of cup glory.
In the dying moments Dobereiner made probably his best save of the game when he dived to turn a Salako shot from the edge of the area round the post.
Hammers' delighted manager, Derek Edwards said after the match: "I felt we were in control and had all the game. My players put in a lot of work on a big pitch."
His disappointed Platt counterpart lamented: "This was the worst team performance since I took over as manager 10 years ago. We just froze. The occasion was too big for us."
Team: R.Dobereiner, P.Hall, D.Vidgeon, P.Faulkes, B.Charlton, T.Shaw, R.Cox, D.Faulkes, M.Soames, G.Whatman, D.Fisher, J.Baldwin, D.Weller