Bearsted 0-2 Glebe - Our aim is to beat the teams that are around us and have got games in hand and hopefully the rest will take care of itself, says Glebe coach Tom Jewers

Tuesday 20th February 2024
Bearsted 0 – 2 Glebe
Location Otham Sports Ground, Honey Lane, Otham, Maidstone, Kent ME15 8RG
Kickoff 20/02/2024 19:30

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 20 February 2024
Stephen McCartney reports from Honey Lane

GLEBE coach Tom Jewers says there is no external pressure on his side after they extended their lead at the summit of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table to nine points.

The Chislehurst-based outfit extended their unbeaten run to 10 games in the process after becoming only the third side to come away from Honey Lane with a league victory this season, as Kevin Stevens’ side’s eight match unbeaten run came to an end.

Glebe left-back Darion Dowrich produced a clinical counter-attacking three-man sweeping move to give Danny Oakins’ and Craig Nelson’s side an early lead, before they sealed the deal with Malachi Morris coming off the bench to curl in a free-kick to score his 15th goal of the season.

Both sides last tasted defeat on 23 December, when Glebe lost 3-2 at their local rivals Holmesdale, while Bearsted lost 2-0 at Deal Town.

“I think it was a close game. I’ll be honest, probably one of the best sides we’ve played this season, really good football, very clear in the way that they wanted to play, I think we were very impressed,” said Jewers.

“We knew before coming here how good a side they were.  I think they were eight unbeaten. We knew we were coming to a tough place on the road but we’re on a good run of form and we had no doubts we could come here and continue ours, which I think it takes us up to 10.”

Reflecting on joining Faversham Town (2-1, 10 October) and Deal Town (4-2, 24 November) on being only the third side to win at Honey Lane in the league this season, Jewers replied: “Oh, that’s good news.  I think that’s just testament to the group we have and the work we put in.

“I think we have been a fantastic group so far and the training has been fantastic and the application from all the group has been brilliant.

“They given us everything we asked and more, especially when you come on the road as well.  You don’t always expect to dominate the ball. I think we are a team that likes to keep possession, move the ball with tempo but Bearsted 100% matched us and if anything they probably had a bit more possession than we did today but I think we were definitely more clinical in the final third, which has been good to see.”

Stevens sent out club advisor Danny Wakeling for post-match media duties, who was standing within the technical area with coach Elyon Marshall-Katung during the game.

“I think the overriding feeling was that it was a game of few chances.  We felt we had perhaps, particularly in the first half, a few opportunities that we felt we’re not perhaps gilt-edged opportunities,” said Wakeling.

“I can recall their goalkeeper making a very good save in the top-corner from an Ollie Freeman header.  We didn’t quite make the opportunities that we have done in the last few weeks.

“But I would also say in terms of defensive work, we limited Gebe to very few gilt-edged opportunities as well.”

Bearstead dominated the corner-count by 6-0 and they went close following their first corner of the game inside the opening eight minutes.

Holding midfielder Adam Turton swung in a high-quality delivery with his right-boot from the left and visiting goalkeeper Nathan Edwards tipped Daniel Melvin’s towering header onto his crossbar, before Joel Wakefield and Melvin had attempts to score with the rebound.

Wakeling said: “Those are the sort of chances that we had tonight.  It was a very good reaction save and we’re always a threat from set-plays.  Our coaches work extensively on them, to their credit.  Both side’s genuine penetration, goal-scoring chances we’re non-existent in the game.”

Jewers added: “We were more clinical in the game but hats off to Bearsted, I thought they were really, really well drilled and a good organised side.”

Glebe produced a well-worked counter-attacking move to grab the lead with nine minutes and 52 seconds on the clock.

Right-winger Rodney Eruotor pinged a diagonal over to left-winger Jason Banton, who put it on the plate for Dowrich, who clinically swept home a firs-time left-footed drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 15-yards.

Jewers said: “Bants (Banton) for us is a huge outlet for us. He’s got such good delivery into the box. It came into him and set down the side and Darion runs off inside him as full-back and scores his second goal in two games, so it’s great to see and it’s nice to see a different kind of run from a full-back running on the inside.”

Wakeling added: “We went in the dressing room at half-time and spoke about it and we broke it down, not to necessarily apportion blame but to remind them of their responsibilities.

“It started with a throw-in on our left flank, where our wide player didn’t get in quick enough to be on the toes of the receiver of the ball. By the time that the ball had been worked wide, our right-back (Dennis Agbudume) was far too detached, didn’t communicate effectively with those around him and to compound that our right-winger (Tingley) didn’t track the left-back.

“It was a very good finish, take nothing away from the kid obviously, but it was more our lack of diligence, lack of communication and a lack of reactions that lead to the lad despatching the shot.”

Bearsted called the Glebe goalkeeper into action in the 16th minute when Turton hit a diagonal pass to release right-winger Jordan Tingley through on goal but Edwards rushed off his line to make a vital block low to his left.

“That’s something that Jordan needs to do more off, in terms of penetration. It’s something that he needs to do consistently six or seven times in game to be a more consistent threat at this level,” added Wakeling.

Attacking midfielder Jack Palmby played a one-two with quiet winger William Johnson-Cole before trying to place his right-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner, but his shot lacked conviction and Edwards made a routine collection.

Bearsted were to be denied a deserved equaliser on the half-hour mark thanks to a great save from the Glebe goalkeeper.

Andrew Allassani was penalised by referee Stuart Beadle for a soft foul on Palmby some 35-yards from goal in a central position.

Turton floated the resulting free-kick in with his right-foot towards unmarked striker Ollie Freeman inside the six-yard box and his header was pushed over the bar by Edwards’ outstretched right-hand to prevent the ball sailing into the top left-hand corner.

Wakeling said: “it’s a great set-play, which we’ve worked hard on.  We are good and we are a threat from set-plays. It was a good header.

“If I was to be hyper-critical, perhaps with better timing he would have gained an extra inch with his leap and perhaps directed the header out of reach of the keeper but it was still on target and a brilliant save from Nathan.”

Jewers added: “I think there was a lapse in concentration from out defenders but again they probably should’ve scored and luckily for us it was in our favour.”

Freeman cracked a left-footed half-volley towards goal from 35-yards, which forced the busy Edwards to back-peddle slightly before plucking the ball out of the air.

Glebe created only their second attempt on goal inside stoppage time when central midfielder Nathan Mampono released 25-goal talisman striker Jamie Philpott but he lacked composure inside the box and shot straight at the diminutive Bearsted goalkeeper Frankie Leonard.

“I thought Jamie could do a little bit better. He had a bit of time, probably had too much time to think about it. Look, it was a great pass from Nathan. Jamie made a really nice run across the defender,” said Jewers.

“He’s been very clinical unfortunately he didn’t finish off today, which is a shame but I think he’s been fantastic for us throughout the season, consistently scoring goals.  I think we always demand and want more from Jamie.  We think he can score even more and that’s our job, to give them the opportunities to put more away.”

Wakeling was full of praise for Ryan Blake and Melvin for keeping Philpot in their pockets for most of the match.

“Everyone knows Jamie Philpot’s a good player.  He’s a serious goal threat at this level and I believe our two centre-halves were excellent all night with the attitude and their application, which was superb all night.  Both played well and played their past in Jamie being quieter than he would perhaps usually be in matches.”

Wasteful Bearsted also created one final chance before the interval, when left-back James Nurden found space to whip in a dangerous cross into the Glebe box but Freeman failed to keep his header down.

Wakeling said: “We were relaxed and composed and calm in our message. We quickly dissected how we conceded and dealt with that and then we moved to the fact that once we went behind Glebe were playing from a mid-block and not overly coming out to press us as we played out, which left the middle third of the pitch very condensed, so we asked the lads to stay patient in possession, gave them instructions on when to deliver and how to deliver the ball into slightly wider areas to eliminate their full-backs but we also said you don’t have to go direct too quickly, too often and that in order to play through the condensed areas our midfield trio needed to be sharper and firmer with their passing combinations.”

Jewers added: “I think it was stick to what we’re doing, keep looking to move the ball. I think we’ve shown a little bit with our press in the first half, we changed that slightly and seemed to have a bit more success in letting them trying to play through the lines and tick over the ball and play on the counter attack, so we tried to be a little bit more impact and try to get the win on the road, which is all that mattered.”

Glebe created the first chance of the second half when Mampono fed right-winger Eruotor, who cut onto his left-foot before unleashing a 30-yard drive straight into Leonard’s midriff for a comfortable save inside the opening four minutes of the second half.

“We brought Roddy in after a couple of games into the season and he’s been fantastic and he’s so comfortable in terms of shifting the ball onto his left-foot and trying to hit one across.  I’m never going to moan at a player for getting a shot off at goal. He probably could’ve done better but I think the full-back was kind of tight to him, so it was hard to bend one around the keeper,” said Jewers.

When asked about Leonard’s progress this season, Wakeling replied: “Over the course of the season and particularly that will be the time that I’ve been at the club, I would say he’s developing reasonably well and games such as these will begin to define him and it’s these kind of games where he may come up short at times like all young players.

“In terms of his character and his ability to bounce back at times, accept constructive criticism, which will develop his character in order for him to grow in stature and to grow in confidence to become the kind of goalkeeper that will lead defences to be able to perhaps improve and take himself to an improved consistency level of play.

“If he keeps his feet on the ground, continues to absorb from the goalkeeper coach and the management team, he will continue to improve as a goalkeeper and if he focuses solely on that, then where he’s ambitious he may get to where he wishes to down the line.”

In a game of little goalscoring chances in a promotion six-pointer, Bearsted had their big moment to level in the 70th minute.

Glebe lined up a five-man wall for Nurden’s free-kick from the edge of the D but the former Hollands & Blair man stroked his left-footed free-kick over the wall and over the crossbar, although the referee bizarrely awarded the Bears their fourth corner of the game.

“It was a good free-kick. To be honest no one in our technical areas saw it took a touch off anyone but Noddy, as he’s affectionately known, is a new addition to the side and is well-liked by the lads and does give us more strings to our bow with dead-ball situations and set-plays,” added Wakeling.

Substitute winger Robbie Roberts took the resulting corner from the right and the ball fell nicely for substitute Eniola Hasan, the former Glebe man had a rush of blood and lashed his shot high over the top of the near-post when in a great position to equalise.

Bearsted kept plugging away, however, with Freeman switching the ball out to Roberts on the left, who put the ball into the Glebe box for Freeman to cut the ball onto his left-foot before drilling his shot over the crossbar from 16-yards.

Glebe grabbed their second goal to seal the victory with 32 minutes and 5 seconds on the clock, with a free-kick outside the left-hand corner of the Bearsted box.

Morris shaped up to curl his right-footed free-kick into the danger area, the ball bounced right in front of Leonard and bounced around the keeper to find the bottom far corner, to score from 35-yards on the angle.

“Malachi’s done it before and he’ll do it again, that’s all I can say with Malachi,” said Jewers.

“He’s a great kid, an amazing talent, so much ability. His attitude has been fantastic over the last few weeks.  You could see when he came on he wanted to make an impact.

“Before he came on I said to him to ‘kill the game off’ and that’s exactly what he did, so I’m over the moon with Malachi and look forward to seeing him score a few more goals until the end of the season.”

Wakeling added: “My initial reaction was bitterly disappointment.  We did speak about it as a management team after the game. We’ve all decided to watch the footage before coming to any conclusions. We’ve all got different opinions but until we watch it back I can’t make any definitive comment over than it was a disappointing goal to concede.”

Glebe centre-half Jamie Coyle, 40, meanwhile, who is once again representing the England Senior team in the summer, put in a resilient performance and was very vocal and encouraging his much younger team-mates as Glebe showed their promotion credentials tonight.

Jewers said: “Since Jamie has come in, he’s been absolutely fantastic to the group, leader, mentor.  He’s very key to the way that we want to play. Sometimes you want to move the ball with real purpose and tempo and other times you want to put your foot on the ball and slow the game down.

“For me, Jamie has been so influential to this group and I think that shows in the run of games and the clean-sheets, not just individually but in terms of performances as well - he’s been outstanding!”

Edwards maintained his clean sheet (49:26) flying high to his right to push away Palmby’s right-footed swept shot after running at the Glebe defence after being put through by substitute striker Louis Lovell.

“Cat is such a good goalkeeper, he’s called Cat for a reason, a great shot-stopper,” said Jewers.

“He has come on leaps and bounds this season, not just in terms of his shot-stopping but distribution. I think he’s fantastic and you could see that as well.”

Wakeling added: “I think that was probably the theme of the night, as you have stated we seemed to have far more opportunities on goal than Glebe but as I said in the outset, neither team created gilt-edged chances tonight.

“It is indeed our first defeat in nine games. I think we rather lose having played at your maximum and the other team plays at their maximum and however sad and disappointed that you feel, if their maximum was better than yours, than you have no complaints.

“So what I would say we wasn’t at our maximum and we didn’t pass the ball as sharply as we normally do and consequentially didn’t create the gilt-edged chances we have done of late.

“Despite losing we didn’t feel that on the night the general consensus of ourselves and those supporters that watched, we weren’t beaten by the better side this evening but having said that credit to Glebe for putting two goals away, despite having more opportunities than they id. It was our responsibility in the manner that we usually play to create more of those higher scoring opportunities.”

Something needs to be done by this League in terms of club’s having far too many games in hand. It’s the same year-on-year-out, when club’s catch up on their games in March and April, whereas the Isthmian League always re-arrange their postponed fixtures within a six-week timeframe.

Glebe are at the summit of this ninth-tier division with 65 points (19 wins, eight draws and four defeats) from their 31 games, with nine league games remaining.

The play-offs contain Corinthian (56 points from 27 games), Deal Town (55 points from 24 games), Faversham Town (54 points from 29 games) and Bearsted (53 points, 16 wins, five draws and seven defeats) from 28 games.

Whitstable Town – who went down to a 2-1 home defeat to lower-division side Croydon, who will now play Erith Town in the Kent Senior Trophy Final – are in sixth-place with 50 points from 29 games.

Erith Town (45 points from 26 games), Punjab United (45 points from 26 games), Snodland Town (44 points from 26 games) and Lordswood (43 points from 27 games) make up the top 10.

Jewers takes his side to Whitstable Town on Saturday, with the pressure on Marcel Nimani’s side as Deal Town, Faversham Town, Whitstable Town and Snodland Town were the sides favoured to challenge for promotion this season.

“Cor! It’s close isn’t it. Get your popcorn ready,” said Jewers, when asked about the title and play-off race.

“No, all we can do is keep winning. We’ve played more games than other teams but we’ve got points in the board, which I think is key right now.

“There’s teams also in a rich reign of form. We’ve come here and beat Bearsted. We’ll play them again (at Foxbury Avenue on 9 March). We’ve got Whitstable at the weekend so our aim is to beat the teams that are around us and have got games-in-hand and hopefully the rest of it will take care of itself but it’s very close.  Who knows? It’s all up for grabs.”

When asked about Glebe’s current situation at the summit, Jewers was asked whether it’s good to have the points on the board or the games in hand at this moment in time.

“Do you know what? I ‘ve had this debate at work in the pub over a few beers and who knows?  We’re happy with the position we’re in,.  We definitely go into the season with aspirations to push for promotion. We’re there or there abouts. We’re top of the league but there’s still plenty of games to play and all we can do is keep winning game-by-game.

“Whitstable are a good side. I know a lot of boys who have moved there this year, some big signings.

“We’re excited to go there. Our boys want to be in and around the better teams now.  If you actually look at our form, we do better against the top teams than the teams at the bottom and that’s because the boys turn up.

“Now I think we have got a more mature mentality where every game is taken seriously, so going there, same as always, a good side, taking it very seriously and our aim is to do our best to take all three points.”

When asked what success for Glebe is this season, Jewers said: “Winning, in my view winning is doing everything we can to push for promotion.

“We’re in a very, very good run of form so irrelevant of who we’re playing against, whether it’s someone at home or travelling away our mindset is to go and win.

“We approach every game to take three points away so as a management team we have a winning mindset 100% but the utmost respect for Whitstable. We know they’re a good side, got some very good players so we do our best to go and get three points.”

There is no pressure on the likes of Glebe, Corinthian and Bearsted in this title race because they’re not the club’s that are spending big money to try to get out of this division.

“Do you know what?  There’s pressure, no pressure from the outside.  We put pressure on from the inside.  We have a management team full of people that have all won stuff.  We’ve got a few senior heads that have come in that have also won stuff, so we’re always have the mindset of a winning mentality.

“The pressure wants to be on other teams.  Faversham (with their £10,000 per week playing budget).  We’ll brush that aside and let them take the pressure and we’ll just keep winning and if we can keep getting points on the board and we’ll see where we end up at the end of the season.”

Bearsted, meanwhile, travel to play Adam Woodward’s Erith Town on Saturday.

“At the end of the game when we spoke to the players, we didn’t portray an image of being dejected or bitterly disappointed,” revealed Wakeling.

“This is because the lads have been on an amazing run and have put themselves in a position that nobody else put Bearsted would be in, so we take the stance that we have no internal pressure or no external pressure and having already achieved a club record points total at this stage of the season, that we can quite literally and honestly approach games in a game-by-game manner irrespective of being home or away or wherever our opponents at in the table.

“There is generally no external or internal pressure therefore there isn’t any concerns about making play-offs.  That said, we are where we are in the table and due to a cluster of clubs around us all striving for promotion, or league title or the play-offs, that we are able to attack each game without any undue pressure in comparison to other clubs, which makes us fearless.”

Bearsted: Frankie Leonard, Dennis Agnudume (Robbie Roberts 65), James Nurden, Adam Turton (Phil Headley 65), Ryan Blake, Daniel Melvin, William Johnson-Cole (Nathan Palmer 79), Joel Wakefield (Eniola Hassan 65), Ollie Freeman (Louis Lovell 79) Jack Palmby, Jordan Tingley.

Booked: Dennis Agbudume 46

Glebe: Nathan Edwards, Ben Mundele, Darion Dowrich, Parish Muirhead, Jamie Coyle, Aaron Goode, Jason Banton (Malachi Morris 74), Nathan Mampono (Jonathan Eruabor 90), Jamie Philpot, Andrew Allassani (Michael Adepoju 46), Rodney Eruotor (Marcel McDonald 65).

Goals: Darion Dowrich 10, Malachi Morris 77

Booked: Rodney Eruotor 64, Jason Banton 68, Michael Adepoju 90

Attendance: 122
Referee: Mr Stuart Beadle
Assistants: Mr Michael Donnelly & Mr Michael Donnelly
Observer:  Mr John Paton