Monday 10th January 2005

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

I don't feel any pressure, insists Brickies boss Nolan

STEVE NOLAN insists he isn't feeling any pressure after winning only once in seven games after replacing Mark Beeney at the helm at Bourne Park, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Sittingbourne manager witnessed his side lose 2-1 at home to Erith & Belvedere on Saturday in a bottom five Southern League Division One East clash.

With second from bottom side Great Wakering Rovers beating basement boys Tilbury and Eddie McClements' goal enough for Dartford to beat Harlow Town at Stonebridge Road - three Kent sides remain in the bottom five.

Speaking about his side's application against the Deres, Nolan said: "You couldn't fault their effort really - enthusiasm and effort wise.

"We told them it was going to be a hard game.

"It meant a lot to Erith and I think it meant more to them than it did us."

Nolan, however, admitted his coaching staff - which includes former Dover Athletic head coach Richard Langley - prepared the team the best they could for their battle against Barry Lakin's men.

"I think the organisation and the preparation from the coaching staff was there but we needed the players to have the real desire and the will to win the game.

"The attitude and the effort is there - we're a little naive on how to win games at the moment.

"I am not critising the players attitude or effort - you saw in the second half - we really had a go."

Nolan, however, saw his side go 2-0 down due to Chris Dickson's brace, stroking home from the edge of the box after 28 minutes and a superb lob over Kevin Fewell from 25-yards thirty minutes later.

Brickies striker Bradley Spice netted in the 89th minute, but it was too late to salvage anything from the important must-win Kent derby.

Erith & Belvedere, however, gave former Tottenham, Brentford and Gillingham star Brian Statham his debut, and the player, signed from league rivals East Thurrock United, impressed, including Nolan, during his 69 minute stint.

Nolan admitted he is looking for that type of leader on the pitch to assist his younger players.

He said: "Brian Statham has got years and years of experience.

"I thought the encouragement and the organisation to everybody else was good.

"He demanded work from the midfielders, insisted they came back and picked up.

"He was a good character to have in there - I was pleased when he came off in the second half."

When asked if he needed a player whose a little bit nasty and can put some challenges in? Nolan added: "We need a strong character who demands everybody to play at that 100% right through the game, demands concentration and they really play to win."

Nolan revealed he had an agreement with a Ryman League player - whose played at a higher level - to join the club but he had to go through the players agent first.   He admitted the deal is dead because he hasn't heard anything from the middle man.

"We are working hard.  I think it's an opportune moment to have a few fresh faces - with a little bit of character to assist some of the younger players," he said.

"I am not feeling pressure with one win from seven games but I feel very frustrated from only having that one win and certainly the draws we should have turned into wins," added the former Dover Athletic reserve team boss.

"We will bounce back - we will certainly do a lot better in the next few weeks," the 45-year-old promised.

Nolan takes his side to Berkhamsted Town on Saturday and he added: "Berkhamsted are a well organised side - they are young - but that's going to be a tough one.

"That sort of game suits us better," he insisted.

"They are certainly higher in the league but we tend to play our better football on moist pitches against good sides.

"We will keep plugging away and hopefully turn it round."

Southern League Division One East table (Bottom 7)

Pos Team PLD W D L F A PTS
16 Beaconsfield SYCOB 23 7 7 9 28 31 28
17 Aveley 25 8 4 13 38 45 28
18 Sittingbourne 23 7 4 12 34 40 25
19 Dartford 25 5 9 11 31 46 24
20 Erith & Belvedere 24 7 4 13 36 55 22*
21 Great Wakering Rovers 24 4 9 11 32 40 21
22 Tilbury 24 3 5 16 21 62 14

* 3 points deducted
Relegation zone in Red