It's the Road To Wembley in the Buildbase FA Vase 1st Qualifying Round this weekend and today I was at Park View Road to see Southern Counties East Premier Division side Erith and Belvedere take on Thurlow Nunn First Division South side Fire United Christian.
The home side were promoted back up to Step 5 after finishing runner's up in Division One last season - they spent two seasons at this level after relegation from the Premier Division in 2017. They did spend one season in the Isthmian League Division One (North) in 2013/14 where they finished bottom of the table. They did reach the final of the FA Amateur Cup in 1924 (lost to Clapton at The Den) and in 1938 when they lost to Bromley also at The Den. They reached the quarter-final of the FA Vase in 2014/15 where they lost to the eventual winner's of the competition - North Shields won 0-2 at Park View Road in front of 503 people.
It's been somewhat of a struggle for the club who currently play at The Terrance McMillan Stadium in Plaistow. They finished bottom of the table last season and prior to kick off today had started with two losses against Burnham Ramblers and Little Oakley - their game last week against May & Baker was abandoned on 83 minutes with Fire losing 1-6. A combination of three red cards and injuries meant they didn't have enough players to continue.
MANAGER OF FIRE UNITED - GUSTAVO FERREIRA
LOPEZ-PREZA MADE SOME GOOD SAVES BUT IT WASN'T HIS DAY UNFORTUNATELY
The Deres had opened up this season with six 1-1 draws in a row followed by a 1-0 win and then two defeats (1-5 and 1-2).
The home side had much of the possession in this match and it was no surprise when they took the lead just before half-time through former Dulwich Hamlet youth player Kameiko Pope-Campbell who finished from close range and an acute angle when the Fire keeper Clair Eduardo Lopez Preza parried a shot into his path. Fire had a few chances to score themselves.
In the second half The Deres had some good chances to score but it remained 1-0 with Fire looking dangerous on the break at times. The home side were awarded a penalty kick when Mohamad Sokar was adjudged to have a made a foul in the box. He had already been booked for pulling back a player on the edge of the box - the second yellow followed by a red card was a little harsh for me as the challenged didn't look that bad in my opinion.
Chan Quan (who has played for a number of clubs in the local area including Fisher FC Elmstead and Beckenham Town) added a second goal on 83 minutes before Pope-Campbell got another on 87 minutes to make the final score 3-0.
EIGHTEEN MINUTES OF HIGHLIGHTS
They will entertain Oakwood of the Southern Combination League Division One in the next round - With Welling United scheduled to play Wealdstone in the Vanarama National League South on Saturday 14th September it's likely The Dere's game will be played either on the Friday night or Sunday afternoon.
MINI HIGHLIGHTS - JUST THE GOALS
For fans of old school terracing Park View Road is a must visit. There are two stands on each side of the pitch - One being Welling United's original stand (who E&B ground share with) and one being built in the early 2000's after The Deres had moved into PVR in 1999. Each end has the aforementioned terracing with red barriers.
Fire United's next game comes is a league fixture against Lopes Tavares on Wednesday night. Lopes are the home side - they both play at the 'Terry Mac' in Plaistow. Erith host Tunbridge Wells in the league next Saturday - they have won all four of their league games so far.
SOME VIEWS AROUND PARK VIEW ROAD