Beaconsfield SYCOB 1-3 Greenwich Borough - They underestimated us and we will get better, says Blade

Saturday 27th September 2014

The FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Saturday 27th September 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Holloways Park

GREENWICH BOROUGH assistant manager Paul Blade praised his side’s togetherness after they caused a FA Cup shock by knocking out Southern League Division One Central outfit Beaconsfield SYCOB.

Manager Ian Jenkins discharged himself from hospital on the morning of the game after undergoing an operation yesterday to watch his club book their place in the Third Qualifying Round for the first time since 1993.

Beaconsfield SYCOB went into the game sitting in the bottom four in the table having picked up eight points from nine games and had lost all four of their home league games at Holloways Park.

Andy Hurley’s side had beaten Didcot Town (5-1) and Godalming Town (2-1 after a goal-less draw) to reach this stage, while this was Boro’s toughest test on paper after getting past Lancing (2-1), St Francis Rangers (5-2) and Chessington & Hook United (1-0).

But confidence was high in the Greenwich Borough camp after they arrived in Buckinghamshire on a seven-match unbeaten run – winning six on the bounce – and sitting in the top nine of the Southern Counties East Football League table with 13 points from seven games.

Beaconsfield SYCOB got off to a flying start and 26-year-old player-coach Lee Togwell opened the scoring after only 81 seconds.

But Greenwich Borough restored parity through a quality 30-yard free-kick from specialist Chris Edwards.

Diminutive striker Lewis Wood stroked home his eleventh-goal of the season on the stroke of half-time, before man-of-the-match, substitute Billy Bennett scored a third to earn a deserved place in Monday’s draw.

“We set our stall out. We’re solid at the minute and we’re creating chances,” said Blade afterwards

“We had a sloppy start, gave away a silly goal but we got ourselves back in the game six or seven minutes after, which sort of nullifies that, but it allows us to then carry on.

“Scoring just before half-time is always a good time to score, going in 2-1, instead of being 1-1, so the team talk’s slightly different.

“They probably had to change the way they approached the second half because they got to come at us but that helps us because we picked them off after that and we could have probably scored a couple more.”

Blade added: “More than anything else I think they underestimated us. That was their downfall.  They looked at us as being a lower league side but we’ve got players that have played in the Ryman Prem, Ryman South and you can’t beat that experience with what we’ve got at the minute.”

Blade didn’t know that the last time the club reached The FA Cup Third Qualifying Round was back in 1993 when Molesey beat them 4-0 at home. Ironically, Borough travel to Molesey next Saturday in The FA Vase Second Qualifying Round.

“Yes, didn’t know that, but good,” came Blade’s reply.

“Another record but our aim is to get as far as we can and if that means the First Round that will be brilliant.

“But we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing at the minute and keep winning games, that’s our main objective and to creep up the league.  The league is our main objective, but The FA Cup is a good financial spin for us and keeps us going.”

Beaconsfield SYCOB got off to a dream start by scoring with their first attempt on goal.

Edwards was in fact guilty of giving away possession in midfield and Lee Thompson released Omari Patrick down the left. 

The striker cut into the penalty area to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back for skipper Togwell to sweep his left-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from six-yards.

“I just think we gave the ball away from a bad position which allowed them to get on the front foot,” said Blade.

“The cross went over and I don’t think he made a great connection. I think it just more came off him than an actual finish that wrong-footed Craig in goal, so disappointed because you’ve got to chase the game.”

Beaconsfield were on the front foot during the early stages of the game and attacker Ollie Jones drove his left-footed shot sailing harmlessly over the bar from 25-yards.

But a fine save from Greenwich Borough keeper Craig Holloway kept his side in the game.

Thompson’s initial shot from inside the penalty area was blocked by Greenwich Borough defender Danny Young and Thompson steered his follow-up shot towards the bottom left-hand corner but Holloway dived to his right to make a smart block.

“He didn’t have bundles to do,” said Blade.

“They slung a few balls in to the box. Apart from that we had more of the better chances and a little bit more composure in front of goal, and knowing the players that you’re playing with as well, we could have probably made the tie a little bit easier than what we did in the end.”

It proved to be a vital save from the 30-year-old former Margate stopper, because Greenwich Borough equalised inside seven minutes.

Edwards whipped a right-footed free-kick over the wall and over the diving keeper’s outstretched right-hand to find the top left-hand corner from 30-yards.

Blade hailed the strike, saying: “He gave the ball away on the half-way line for their first goal so it shows good character that he can step up and take a free-kick and what a great free-kick it was!

“Any other game, in any other league of football on the pro-side it will be shown and shown again on TV.  It’s always a good finish when you score 30-yards over the wall into the top corner!”

However, the turning point came when Beaconsfield SYCOB were denied the lead after eighteen minutes.

Tom Gant, who strode forward with the ball from right-back, got the better of Joe Vines, who was playing out of position at left-back, to whip in a cross into the penalty area towards the near post.  Striker Aaron Berry held his head in his hands in agony after seeing his header clip the crossbar with Holloway rooted to the spot.

“You’ve got to expect that,” said Blade. 

“At the end of the day they’re the home side. You expect them to put balls in to our box.  They played three up top so they’re always going to be on the front foot and sling balls into our box but I felt we dealt with it.

“I thought we were solid. We wasn’t concerned to a point where we were panicking. I still felt that we dealt with what they had.”

Gant whipped in a second cross just 56 seconds later and this time Togwell made space at the near post to hook his shot into the ground, which aided Holloway to make a comfortable save.

Greenwich Borough created a half-chance towards the half-way mark when Edwards clipped a diagonal pass which sailed over Danny Phillips’ head, but the winger retrieved the ball, beat his man to cut into the penalty area and goalkeeper Sam Bunting gathered the ball low to his left.

Substitute Bennett, who replaced Chris Saunders who was earlier forced off with a turned ankle, was the driving force for Greenwich Borough.

Edwards played the ball into Bennett, whose flicked reverse pass released striker Paul Vines, who drilled his right-footed shot past the near post from sixteen-yards.

But Blade felt striker Vines should have gave Greenwich Borough the lead in the 29th minute.

Phillips floated over a cross from the left towards the far post which a rising Edwards headed across goal for Vines to hook a left-footed volley just over the bar from 12-yards.

“I thought he could have done a lot better than that,” said Blade.

“I think anything over to the keeper, he would have struggled to get it but being a six foot four keeper anything in the air he’s got half a chance but anything low to either side of him he would struggle.

“You can only do what you see what’s in front of goal. It’s his natural reaction just to get a strike on target.”

Bennett picked up the ball and drove into the left channel before floating a cross into the box where Paul Vines’ looping header was caught by Bunting, whose dad Trevor made 400 appearances for Slough Town, who now hire this ground.

Paul Vines continued to have chances to add to his seven-goals that his scored for Greenwich Borough this season.

Young clipped a long free-kick towards the edge of the Beaconsfield penalty area and the striker stung Bunting’s fingers with a fierce left-footed half-volley from 25-yards.

Bennett then played the ball inside to Edwards, who drove his right-footed shot flashing past the left-hand post from 30-yards.

But Greenwich Borough deservedly took the lead with sixteen seconds into time added on at the end of the first half.

Bennett stole the ball from Charlie Hill inside Beaconsfield’s half and stroked forward before dinking the ball through to Wood, who poked his first time right-footed shot under Bunting for the ball to nestle into the bottom far corner.

Blade admitted the goal came at a perfect time for his troops.

“Great finish. That’s what he does, toe poke in,” he said.

“He doesn’t have to score a 25-yard worldy free-kicks, a little toe poke in and it goes under the goalkeeper and goes into the corner of the goal. 

“It’s a good time to score. It changed our team-talk. It put more of a buzz in what we’re trying to do.”

When asked about the Jenkins’ message to his troops during the interval, Blade revealed: “Trying to do things a little bit….nullify their strengths, try to keep the ball a little bit better, a little bit more composure in front of goal.

“We just thought they’re going to come at us now and we’ll have opportunities to pick them off at the right time and that’s what seemed to happen.”

Beaconsfield SYCOB made one change at the break with Jordan Chandler replacing Zac Martin at left-back, but Greenwich Borough were guilty for not killing off the game after only 54 seconds.

Edwards played a sublime defensive splitting through ball to release Paul Vines down the right and the striker cut in towards the edge of the box before clipping his left-footed shot straight at the advancing nineteen-year-old goalkeeper.

“We kept telling him to work hard and appreciate players around him,” said Blade.

“He’s always going to have chances. The players’ we’ve got, we’re always going to create chances.”

Chandler advanced into Greenwich Borough’s final third to whip in a cross towards the near post where 19-year-old striker Berry looped his header wide of the near post.

Paul Vines cracked a first time right-footed volley on the angle from 30-yards, which forced Bunting to dive to his right to hold on to the ball.

Eight-goal striker Berry was to have a frustrating game for Beaconsfield and on the hour-mark he cut in and dragged his shot rolling past the far post.

But Greenwich Borough wrapped up the scoring with a third goal with a set-piece in the 65th minute.

Joe Vines hurled in a throw into the penalty area where his younger brother Paul flicked the ball across goal towards the far post where Bennett ghosted in to stroke his right-footed shot across Bunting to find the bottom far corner.

“We worked really hard. I think we just got our reward really,” said Blade.

“The way we were pressing them I think they just ran out of ideas.  I think they not gave up, they done what they could do.  They didn’t have much more to offer. They looked tired and we always looked strong.

“They’re chasing the game and we’re in front so it helps us to keep the ball.”

Beaconsfield SYCOB rallied in the final ten minutes but the Greenwich Borough defence held firm, helped by holding midfielder Gary Alexander, 35, who protected his team-mates behind him.

“With Gary Alexander in the middle, he’s always going to pick people out. He’s got loads of strengths, he’s got a good football brain. He can talk to people and that helps the other players around him.”

Beaconsfield substitute Elliott Carey drilled a low right-footed shot through a crowd of players from 22-yards, the ball flashing just past the foot of the far post.

Beaconsfield’s best chance of the second half, however, came from Carey, who hit a first time right-footed drive with his right-foot, which was flashing towards the bottom far corner, but Holloway dived low to his right to save well.

Blade said: “I always say that’s their job but to have a keeper like Craig in goal.  He’s got good hands; he’s got good information; he’s experienced and it helps us as a back four, back five when you’ve got an experienced, good goalkeeper like we have and it just breeds confidence throughout the side.”

Berry then unleashed a right-footed drive which screamed wide of the near post from outside the penalty area as Holloway had a quiet afternoon at the ground adjacent to Junction 2 of the M40.

Greenwich Borough’s FA Cup run has banked the club £10,925 in prize money and they join Kent clubs Bromley, Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United in Monday’s draw.

Vanarama Conference sides Dartford, Dover Athletic and Welling United kick-off their FA Cup campaign in the round after that but Blade wants his side to win two more ties to reach the First Round.

The last club in their league to reach that stage of the competition were Hythe Town, who were defeated 5-1 at then League Two side Hereford United on 6 November 2010.

Blade said: “Everyone’s working hard for each other at the minute. The team, the atmosphere, the togetherness, our work-ethic, we’re just improving. Seven wins out of seven now.

“Hastings done it last year. They got Middlesbrough (in the Third Round) and they had a good run in it and they got relegated (from the Ryman Premier League) for the good run that they had in The FA Cup.

“First and foremost (our aim) is to get promoted but in the meantime if we keep winning games and that gets us into the First Round then so be it.”

When asked about the draw, Blade replied: “Don’t care! Doesn’t bother us one bit! Whoever we get we know we’ll give them a game and they’ll know they’ll be in a game.

“We’re not worried about anyone. If the draw can favour us, good, we’ll take advantage of that but it’s about keeping winning games and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

When asked what this FA Cup win means to the club, Blade replied: “It’s just another win really. The winning streak continues, that’s it.  That’s what we’re here for, to win games.  We’ll go out to win every single game as we can, no matter who we play against and we’ll try and play the right way and that’s all we can do and see where it takes us.”

Greenwich Borough are now clicking into gear and after today’s games have slipped down to eleventh-place in the table, 15 points adrift of leaders Erith & Belvedere, but with four games in hand.

“It takes a bit of time,” admitted Blade.  “The transition of the club, new chairmen, committee and everything else.  It’s just not a about the playing staff. It’s everything that we’re trying to do, but it does take a little bit of time.

“We’ll get stronger and we will get better.”

Beaconsfield SYCOB: Sam Bunting, Tom Gant, Zac Martin (Jordan Chandler 46), Charlie Hill (Elliott Carey 58), Jon Munday, Alex Murray, Lee Togwell, Lee Thompson, Aaron Berry, Ollie Jones (Spencer Eales 80), Omari Patrick.
Subs: Tom Willment, Ashley Kelynack, Jed De Souza,

Goal: Lee Togwell 2

Booked: Aaron Berry 52, Jordan Chandler 68

Greenwich Borough: Craig Holloway, Chris Saunders (Billy Bennett 15), Gary Barrowdale, Aaron Day, Joe Vines, Danny Young, Lewis Wood, Gary Alexander, Paul Vines, Danny Phillips, Chris Edwards.
Subs: Frankie Beale, Scott Kinch, Reiss Powell, Steve Jerom, Jack Mahon, Ricky Bennett

Goals: Chris Edwards 7, Lewis Wood 45, Billy Bennett 65

Booked: Gary Alexander 33, Joe Vines 57, Paul Vines 68

Attendance: 140
Referee: Mr Paul Forrester (Luton, Bedfordshire)
Assistants: Mr Mat Filipiak (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire)  & Mr Charles Kitson (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire)