Cook goal maintains unbeaten record
Hythe Town 1, Erith/Belvedere 1
HYTHE TOWN maintained their record as the only unbeaten side in the Bulmer’s Cider Kent Premier League this season with a hard-earned point at home to Erithand Belvedere on Saturday. A splendid second-half strike by midfield dynamo Dave Cook pulled it back to 1-1 having conceded a soft first-half goal to former Hythe man Aiden Pursglove. Either side could have ended up taking the win from this game and it took a crucial late save from Hythe keeper Paul Hyde to keep out a strike from former Ashford Town man Joby Thorogood to preserve the point. The draw keeps Hythe on track just behind leaders Holmesdale who won 1-0 at VCD Athletic. Hythe were missing several first choice players with injury or availability but gave a late debut to defender Aaron O’Leary. Will Dunlop stepped into the side for the unavailable Sam Marsh at the heart of the defence but his uncertain start ended on 21 minutes with the goal that gave the north Kent side the lead. His collision with team-mate Gavin Ransley allowed Pursglove to waltz through unchallenged on goal to finish well. Dunlop limped off with an injury from the collision with John Walker joining the defence. But Hythe came back strongly and probably should have been on terms by half time. Striker Gary Mickelborough filled in at midfield and his great run and shot was only denied by a smart save from Erith keeper Matt Bromby and the keeper won a rather fortunate free kick after a header by Buster Smissen found the net but was disallowed by the referee. Bromby then made an excellent save to keep out Smissen while at the other end Hyde did well to palm away a looping header from Nick Smith, Hythe squandered another great double chance in the opening minutes of the second half when Mickelborough’s byline cross saw Bromby again keep out Smissen’s close range strike and then Cook had his first post effort well blocked. While the visitors were always a threat the Hythe side looked the more likely to get on the mark, which they did on 73 minutes when Cook’s superb first touch and swivel shot nestled in the net.