Bridon Ropes 1-1 Holmesdale - We’ve taken a Southern Counties team all the way, two minutes away from winning, says proud Bridon Ropes boss Mark Murison

Friday 04th September 2015
Bridon Ropes 1 – 1 Holmesdale
Location Meridian Sports & Social Club, 110 Charlton Park Lane, Charlton, London SE7 8QS
Kickoff 05/09/2015 15:00

(after extra time)
The FA Vase First Qualifying Round
Saturday 5th September 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Charlton Park Lane

HOLMESDALE assistant manager Ross Mitchell admits to be feeling relieved that his side are still in The FA Vase after Michael McKenna’s last-gasp equaliser saved their bacon.

Bridon Ropes – fourteenth-place in the Kent Invicta League – were making their FA Vase debut and winger Nick Dunsdon created history by scoring the Charlton-based club’s first ever goal in the competition with thirteen minutes of normal time remaining.

But substitute striker McKenna came off the bench and rolled in a last-gasp equaliser – timed at 49:27 on the clock – before referee Adam Humphreys called a halt to proceedings with 52:41 on the watch.

Bridon Ropes played the entire extra-time with ten men as they lost holding midfielder Kamal Chakarto to a second yellow card, but neither side could find the winner and will replay at Oakley Road on Wednesday night to see which team will travel to Erith Town in the Second Qualifying  Round on 3 October.

Bridon Ropes manager Mark Murison said: “I think we was the better team.  We was two minutes away from winning it in normal time!

“I think the lads have come a long way so far under our management. We’ve got a very young team, average age around the age of about 20.

“We had a lot of injuries at the start of the season – so it’s one of the first games we’ve shown a full-strength squad and show what we can do.

“We’ve taken a Southern Counties team all the way, two minutes away from winning.  I think the only thing I’d say, the boys need to learn a little bit more about game management with a few minutes to go, but to go down to ten-men and cope (with) 30 minutes (of extra-time), probably actually created the better chances in that extra-time.

“I’m proud of them. I can’t say how proud of them I am.”

Holmesdale’s Mitchell, who works alongside manager John Wilfort, felt his side should have taken their many chances.

He said: “I think we should have won the game! We’ve created about 10 or 12 very good chances and just not put the ball in the back of the net! That’s my one criticism of the team today.  We’ve got to take our chances and when you don’t, teams only have to have one shot and they score!

“They had a few shots and a few chances. Our goalkeeper Jack (Yerlett) has had an amazing game!

“We were a bit too comfortable I think. We were just waiting for the goal to go in. We lacked a bit of desire in that final third, some bad decisions that we’ve made in terms of our pass selection or whether we should’ve passed or shot and we shot and we should’ve passed, but not overly concerned because I’ll be concerned if we were not creating chances but we created loads today.”

The opening half-an-hour of the game was the more entertaining part of the game for the 53 supporters, as both goalkeepers excelled.

Bridon Ropes created the first chance of the game after only 104 seconds.

Left-winger Gibson Donson charged past Jack Saunders to reach the by-line and he cut the ball back for lone striker George Maddocks to hook his shot past the near post from eight-yards.

Holmesdale, who went into the game sitting in the bottom four of the Southern Counties East Football League table and smarting from their humiliating 10-1 home defeat to Ryman League Division One South side South Park in The FA Cup Preliminary Round – were to be denied by a save from Anthony Gaughan.

Aaron Day played the ball out to right-winger Victor Okisor, who whipped in a first time cross into Junior James whose downward header forced the Bridon keeper to dive to his left to push the ball away towards safety.

A short corner by Bridon’s Dean Gould was played to Dunsdon, but Gould drilled his shot into the foot of the side netting.

James, who was making his debut following his brief spell with Ryman One South side Whitstable Town, trapped a long ball forward before feeding Marcus Cassius, but his shot lacked power and Anthony Gaughan made a comfortable save.

Donson, whose best moments came in the first half, cut in from the left and stroked his right-footed shot towards goal, which forced Jack Yerlett to dive to his right to clutch onto the ball.

Yerlett then made a couple of diving saves to thwart Bridon Ropes’ dangerman Gould, who played out wide on the right.

Left-back John Woodcock’s corner from the left came out to Gould, who unleashed a right-footed drive towards goal from 35-yards, which forced the Holmesdale keeper to dive to his right to push the ball away to safety.

Then Adam Smith released Dunsdon down the left and his cross found Gould at the far post, who caressed his volley towards the far corner from eight-yards, forcing Yerlett to make the save diving to his right.

Murison said: “On another day though, to be fair their keeper in that first half pulled off a couple of wonderful saves from Nick and one cleared off the line as well. On another day, the first 30 minutes we could have been two or three up. It could’ve been a different game, but that’s football.”

Holmesdale called Anthony Gaughan into making a save – as the game entered a whirlwind 12 minutes.

James played the ball in behind Bridon’s back four to put Tre Zialor through on goal, but the Bridon keeper stuck out his right leg to make the block with his foot.

Mitchell said: “I though the keeper played really well, I thought both goalkeeper’s had really good games.

“Yes, all our shots were at the goalkeeper but he had to save them and he’s pulled off about four or five good saves today.”

Anthony  Gaughan was called into action again in the 17th minute, sticking out his right hand to tip over James’ dipping right-footed free-kick from 35-yards.

The game started to die down after 20 minutes, much to the disappointment of the people watching the game.

Donson whipped in a cross from the left towards the near post and lone striker Maddocks flicked the ball on to Gould at the far post who ghosted in to drill his shot into the side netting from six-yards.

Holmesdale left-back James Teodorescu whipped in an excellent free-kick out on the right from 35-yards, which bounced inside the penalty area and was curling towards the far corner, forcing the Bridon keeper dived to his right at the last moment to push the ball around the post.

Murison added: “It was weird chances. It wasn’t probably clear cut chances that he was saving, it was all shots from outside the box.

“To be fair to Holmesdale though they were all on target and they were all actually hard for Anthony to make sure he saved them. He done really well. It’s probably the best game that Anthony’s played.  His head dropped at little bit in that first week of the season after he felt he made a mistake for a goal and he’s really got his confidence back up and showing what a great keeper he is and an integral part of our team.”

James then cracked a right-footed dipping shot on the turn from 35-yards, which was tipped over the bar by Anthony Gaughan, who caught Lee Coburn’s far post header following Teodorescu’s in-swinging corner.

Bridon Ropes squandered an excellent chance to take the lead in the 38th minute.

Cassius was booked for committing a needless foul some 25-yards from his goal as he attempted to break away after the men in yellow cleared away Woodcock’s corner from the left.

Dunsdon stepped up and drilled his right-footed free-kick into the wall and the ball came back to him.  He sprayed the ball inside to the unmarked Donson, who rolled his shot straight at Yerlett from eight-yards.

Murison said: “We said at half-time, the first 25 minutes was probably the best we’ve played all season.  We got the ball down, the runs, the overlapping runs, players running in off each other and supporting.”

Holmesdale created a couple of late first half chances.

Sean Mason came up from his central defensive position to latch onto Deree Thompson’s pass to whip in a cross from the right by-line, which was powered wide by Zialor’s near post header.

Teodorescu then fed James, whose through ball was chased down the left channel by Cassius, once inside the box he cut inside to drill his shot over the bar from 15-yards.

But despite the flurry of first half chances, neither side could find the breakthrough.

Murison said: “The lone striker that we had up there today, we started to lose it a little bit because the goal didn’t come. We sat back a little bit, allowed them to get into their game. We felt they were trying to play off their big man up top.

“It was a really good half of football. I agree, the first half was the best half.”

Mitchell said: “We weren’t happy to be honest and not through our performance perspective but just through our application in the final third and we conveyed that message to the players at half-time.”

The second half, however, failed to match the first half and was an uninspiring stalemate.

Murison said: “We started to sit back, we weren’t getting in their faces and weren’t engaging the players quick enough, which was allowing them to try to play the ball and try to get into that box from a long ball.

“We started to play their football, knocking long balls to our lone striker and we weren’t getting any joy, so it was really just try to create that confidence to make sure we were playing the ball to feel because when you’ve got players out there that have come back from injury, the worst thing you want them to do is run from end-to-end. You want to keep the ball when you’re in possession and you want to make the other team work.”

Half-time substitute McKenna released Cassius through on goal straight down the heart of the pitch but Anthony Gaughan advanced off his line to make the block with his right knee after 51 minutes.

Thompson was urged on by the Holmesdale bench as he raced with the ball down the right flank and he cut the ball back to Cassius, who failed to hit the target.

But as the game entered the final 20 minutes it was evident that the game would go into extra-time.

Day released James, who from the right-hand side of the penalty area, drilled his angled drive from 15-yards, which the Bridon keeper held diving low to his right.

James then hit a powerful first time drive just over the Bridon Ropes’ crossbar from 16-yards.

Holmesdale sub Bradon Hobbs released McKenna down the left, who reached the by-line to cut the ball back towards the far post but an unmarked James steered his shot straight at Anthony Gaughan from 8-yards, the keeper gathering at the second attempt.

“Junior signed for us this week,” said Mitchell.

“Junior played for Fisher last year. He signed for us this week. We had a behind closed door game the other day and he took his goal really well and there’s no doubt in my mind that he will go on and score a lot of goals for us. He hasn’t been playing recently and he’s a bit rusty but in two or three weeks he probably could have scored four or five today.”

Bridon squandered an excellent chance to break the deadlock when Dunsdon’s flicked pass released Gould but he looped his shot just over the crossbar when he only had the keeper to beat.

Murison said: “I think Dean was unlucky today. Just actually before Nick scored in the second half, we had one when we was one-on-one with the goalkeeper and probably took it a bit too early and on another day Deano probably would have had a hat-trick.

“An outstanding performance from Dean. He ran himself in to the ground, one of those players who has actually had an injury, so again I’m proud of him to get through the minutes.”

But Bridon Ropes scored their first ever FA Vase goal – with 32:31 on the second half watch- courtesy of their two most impressive players on the pitch.

A ball out of defence found Gould, who played a sublime low through ball in behind the Holmesdale defence and Dunsdon drilled his shot across Yerlett to find the bottom far corner from 12-yards.

Murison said: “A good finish to be fair.  It couldn’t have landed to a better player because he’s family’s very associated to Bridon.

“He used to play here a couple of years’ ago and the committee have been trying to get him back for a long, long time. He never really wanted it. He’s been a busy boy with his work but we’ve managed to talk him round this season.

“With the amount of injuries that we’ve had, we had to do a bit of beginning to try to get him back. You’ve  seen today why we tried to get him back. He’s an absolute top drawer, quality player that’s taking us to that next step.  Now we’re getting our full squad with the likes of Nick in the team we can only get better.”

Mitchell said: “I think it was poor defending! We can’t let the ball get in behind like that! One chance and they’ve squeezed one in so we had to pick ourselves up. There’s no point dwelling on it and try and go and get the equaliser – luckily we did!”

When asked whether he felt it was game over for the Bromley-based outfit at that point, Mitchell replied: “No, no, no! Not at all! We’ve got confidence in the boys.  You look around that changing room, there’s so much quality in there, a bit of experience but a lot of youth as well.  They just need to realise their potential and apply it in the right areas.”

Gould was presented with another opportunity when his shot from 25-yards bounced up off the pitch into Yerlett’s hands at the second attempt.

Yerlett pulled off an excellent save to prevent Bridon Ropes causing an upset with 43:31 on the clock.

Substitute Kieran Fanner whipped in a quality free-kick with his right-foot from the right high towards the far post.  Dunsdon rose like a salmon and planted his downward header towards goal, Yerlett somehow got the touch high above his head to flick the ball over his crossbar.

Mitchell, himself a goalkeeper, said: “Jack’s had a great game! I’m not going to go on too much about Jack. He’s a young goalkeeper. I’ve worked with him for a long time and our view is if you’re good enough, you’re old enough and he’s produced a really good performance today for us.”

But Holmesdale broke Bridon Ropes’ hearts as McKenna got his side out of jail.

Teodorescu played the ball out wide to substitute Jay Garrick, who danced forward with the ball and cut inside and ran along the by-line. He centred low across the face of goal and McKenna pounced, scuffing his left-footed shot across the flat-footed keeper to roll his shot into the bottom far corner from 8-yards.

“He scuffed it but I’d rather him scuff it than bang one in from 35-yards, it went in at the end of the day,” said Mitchell.

“Macca’s got a natural art to score. He’s scored 3 in 3 for us now and he’s a good lad and he’s a good player so I was always confident when we threw Macca on that there was going to be a goal.”

When asked how he was feeling at the time, Mitchell replied: “Relieved but justice as well. If we’d have lost that game it wouldn’t have been a fair reflection on the game but relief but also a bit of justice!”

Murison added: “I was absolutely gutted! I’m glad you’ve mentioned the times. I did feel there was a bit added on! My watch said 45 about four minutes before they scored and there was another couple of minutes after that so we must’ve ended up playing about 52 minutes.

“I think there was a couple of injuries but looking at pro football you don’t really add on seven minutes of injury time generally so a bit surprise of that.

“I’m not going to blame anything. I’m not going to use excuses. We should’ve seen the game out.  We had a couple of minutes left but the boys will grow up and learn. We’ve got a very young team, average age of 20, maybe 21 at a push.”

There was still time for Chakarto to be sent-off for picking up his second yellow card for a sliding tackle on Thompson.

Murison admitted he had no complaints about the decision.

He said: “He’d already had a yellow, it was a definite foul. I think the ref got it right. It was definitely a second yellow.  I’m not sure about the first yellow but he’s definitely got that one right.

“He had to make the challenge, the boy was going through. He was one inch from getting the ball but one inch means if you get the main it’s a sending off.”

Mitchell said: “The second is a yellow card for sure. The first one is not!

“I think the referee got some really weird yellow cards today for soft fouls and ones that were strong tackles, I think the tackle on Aaron Day was a straight red and the referee should have been a bit strong there.  I think he’s got that one wrong.”

Bridon Ropes created the first chance inside the first period of extra time after only 61 seconds but right-back Finlay Chambers danced his way into the penalty area only to stab his deflected shot just past the foot of the right-hand post.

Woodcock swung in the resulting corner from the right but Eamon Gaughan held his head in his hands after the central defender planted his header over the bar.

Coburn pumped the ball forward, which was knocked down by Day, but Garrick smashed his volley high over the Bridon bar.

Dunsdon was then released through on goal but his shot deflected off Teodorescu and Yerlett was forced into diving to his right to push the ball around the post.

Garrick then played the ball into James, his 25-yarder looping into Anthony Gaughan’s hands for a comfortable catch.

McKenna then drilled his deflected shot just past the post after good work by Garrick again.

Bridon Ropes were clearly tiring during the second period and Murison was keen to park the bus as Holmesdale struggled to find a breakthrough.

He said: “They were forcing us into that position because they knew we was down to ten. They knew they had an extra man and they did well to push four players on so at any one stage when we had a corner or a free-kick in that final 30 minutes they were keeping four and then one on the outside of the box so in theory if we pushed any more up we’ll have a break on five v whatever so I had to leave at least four and try to cope with the five-v-four otherwise it would’ve been a dangerous thing to play.

Mitchell added: “We were just waiting for that bit of quality and again in extra-time we had chances, just didn’t go our way.

“I sound a bit like a broken record, if we keep creating these changes, they’re going to come.

“Our strikers are still getting to know each other but the link up play is good and we’re getting in some good areas.

“We always felt our fitness would show. We’ve got a bit of youth in the team and we’ve got some naturally fit players but again credit to them, they dug deep and it’s one all at the end of the day, so we’ve both got what we deserve.”

Saunders, now deployed as an emergency forward, stung Anthony Gaughan’s fingers with a 30-yard drive, the keeper then picking up a deflected shot from Hobbs.

Coburn charged forward at the death, but his right-footed drive from 30-yards was comfortably saved by the Bridon keeper and both sides will have to replay on Wednesday night in Bromley.

Murison added: “It’s a weird feeling at the moment but I’m really proud of the boys.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic that we’ve taken a team a division higher than us all the way to a replay but I feel we were the better team over the 90. I feel we were the better team over the 120 and I think two minutes to go we should’ve seen it out!”

Bridon Ropes: Anthony Gaughan, Finlay Chambers, John Woodcock, Matt Dennis, Eamon Gaughan, Kamal Chakarto, Nick Dunsdon, Adam Smith (Kieran Fanner 55), George Maddocks (Taylor Bowley 55), Dean Gould (Lewis Summersby 107), Gibson Donson.
Subs: Ibrahim Abdul Al-Kamara, Mark Murison

Goal: Nick Dunsdon 77

Booked: Adam Smith 31, Kamal Chakarto 54, Kieran Fanner 65,

Sent Off: Kamal Chakarto 90

Holmesdale: Jack Yerlett, Jack Saunders, James Teodorescu, Aaron Day, Sean Mason, Lee Coburn, Dereece Thompson, Tre Zialor (Bradon Hobbs 52), Marcus Cassius (Jay Garrick 75), Junior James, Victor Okisor (Michael McKenna 46).
Subs: Jamie Fernandes, Steven Kokari

Goal: Michael McKenna 90

Booked: Marcus Cassius 37, Aaron Day 89, Lee Coburn 109

Attendance: 53
Referee: Mr Adam Humphreys (Billericay, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Paul Stratton (Upminster, Essex) & Mr Stephen Davies (Purfleet, Essex)