Chatham Town 0-1 Faversham Town - You have to have steel to win at these places, says Faversham Town assistant Clive Walker

Monday 16th January 2017
Chatham Town 0 – 1 Faversham Town
Location Maidstone Road Sports Ground, Bournville Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME4 6LR
Kickoff 16/01/2017 19:45

Ryman League Division One South
Monday 16th January 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Maidstone Road

FAVERSHAM TOWN assistant manager Clive Walker says he has every faith that Chatham Town will maintain their Ryman League status after his side snatched a deserved last-gasp winner


The Lilywhites claimed their 12th league win of the season courtesy of returning striker Liam King scoring the winner 29 seconds into injury time to help Faversham Town climb up a couple of places into thirteenth in the Ryman League Division One South table with 39 points from 26 games.

Chatham Town’s 20th league defeat of the season keeps them in the bottom three on 20 points – six points adrift of Guernsey (taking goal-difference into account), who have a couple of games in hand – with 16 league games left.

The home fans in the crowd of 179 saw Chatham Town put in a spirited display, as they looked to bounce back from their humiliating 6-1 defeat on Carshalton Athletic’s plastic pitch at the weekend.

Chatham Town made three changes to the side that were thrashed at Colston Avenue, with Josh Bray, Ryan Flack and Kyron Lightfoot coming in to relegate Tom Michelson, Owen Price and Austin Edwards to the bench.

Faversham Town, meanwhile, saw the return of Ryan Cooper, Jamie Maxted, Daniel Carrington, King and Luke Harvey after missing their last game, an impressive performance in a 2-1 defeat at Dulwich Hamlet in the Alan Turvey Trophy (Sponsored by Robert Dyas) seven days ago.

The original game between these two Kent sides back on Monday 21 November was abandoned after 27 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch with the score all-squad at 1-1.

“It was a real tight game, tacky pitch, had to move the ball and we dug in well.  We defended well when we had to and it was going to be 1-0 either way and we just looked a little bit brighter,” said Walker, who faced the questions as manager Ray Turner collected his bag from the changing room and left the ground immediately as the firefighter was on the nightshift.

“I thought we played well second half.  We could’ve taken a few more shooting opportunities but 1-0’s enough. If you win one, it’s three points at the end of the day, isn’t it?

“I just think it’s a good result. It’s very hard to come here on a Monday night with conditions like this. It’s a tacky pitch with the frost that’s been on it, the water being on it.  I just think they adjusted well to it and it’s that bit of steel that you have to have sometimes.

“It wasn’t going to be a classic match was it, so you have to have steel to win matches at these places.”

Paul Piggott was taking charge of his tenth Chatham Town game tonight and this was his seventh defeat, while the other games have ended in two wins and a draw – but the club have now gone seven games without a win.

“Kick in the teeth! I felt we deserved more out of the game. The players’ felt it, I felt it, but the hard reality is we didn’t win a game of football,” he said.

“But we’ll get there, but we’ll take the positives out of it that we competed for 90 minutes today and we didn’t do that Saturday, so that’s a progression for us.”

Piggott is not used to being involved in a relegation dog-fight because his time at Gillingham based outfit Hollands & Blair brought him success.

“That has no bearing on me to be honest with you, you’re still trying to win games of football. The only difference we had at Hollands & Blair, I had a settled side. Everyone knew what they was doing and that becomes easy for your side when everyone’s playing together week-in-week-out and season-by-season, the football becomes a little bit easier.

“We’re shipping players at the moment.  We’ve got a lot of players going out of the door and a lot of players coming in so we’re getting no pattern of play and some of our decisions that we’re making as management are based on people coming and going rather than form and tactics or anything like that, you know.”

The game started at a frenetic pace, with little quality, as both sides had to play on a sticky pitch.

“Yes, it was, there was a lot of pace about the game,” said Piggott, who demanded a positive reaction from Saturday.

“We was poor on Saturday, we know it, no one needs to tell us about that so we needed a reaction from that. We were playing a good side on Saturday, a very good side in Carshalton but today we needed to respond from that bad performance and that’s why it was a little bit quick which we probably paid the price for in the last 10-15 minutes because I think we got a little bit tired just towards the end.”

“You expected that,” added Walker.

“They’ve just come off a 6-1 defeat, they’re an energetic little side and we had to match that.  Probably the first 20 minutes of the first half, especially the first 20 minutes of the second half, I thought we dealt with it well.  You have to deal with that side of the game.  They’ve got to come at you. They’re not that bad a side.”

Chatham Town created a half-chance inside the opening six minutes but Freeman Rogers screwed his shot wide after coming up from the back following Ryan Flack’s corner from the right.

Chatham Town swung in a free-kick through Dover Athletic Academy product, winger Kyron Lightfoot, which was headed out and Bray’s driven shot was blocked before Connor Hefferman’s right-footed drive from 25-yards sailed over the crossbar.

Walker said: “It was a very hard game really. I thought they came out of the traps well Chatham to be honest for the first 20-25 minutes and they sort of died a little bit but if they’d have scored in that time I think we’d have a real game on our hands.”

Faversham Town’s right-back Ryan Cooper played the ball inside to Daniel Carrington, whose shot from the edge of the box deflected off Connor Hefferman, looping past the right-hand post.

The Lilywhites went close from the resulting corner, which was swung in from the right by winger Josh Stanford and left-back Jamie Maxted held his head in his hands in despair after his free glancing header at the far post from six-yards sailed past the far post.

Walker briefly added: “Well, they either go in or they don’t, he’s got up well.”

Piggott said: “We’re struggling to compete in the air sometimes but today I thought we was on it!  Their two experienced lads they’ve got there and they’re going to attack things but as long as you’re challenging and you’re trying to do enough to put them off, that’s all you can ask.”

A low pass in from the left from winger Renford Tenyue fed striker Harvey, who teed up a shot for central midfielder George Monger, who took a touch before hitting his left-footed drive from 30-yards high over the bar and into the trees, which summed up the poor quality on show.

Chatham Town should have broken the deadlock in the 29th minute with a headed chance following their second of seven corners.

Set-piece specialist Flack swung in the corner from the right and Rogers rose and planted his header over the bar from eight-yards at the near post.

Piggott said: “He should’ve done better there, he knows it! He got himself in a good position, it’s a good delivery and sometimes they’re the defining moments in games. That’s a little bit of luck that you need sometimes and we just didn’t get that tonight.”

Faversham Town missed a glorious chance to take the lead in the 37th minute through route-one football.

Goalkeeper William Godmon launched a big kick straight down the heart of the pitch, the ball was flicked on by Harvey and went over to King on the right-hand side of the box, but the former Hythe Town striker dragged his right-footed shot across the keeper and past the far post from 20-yards.

Walker said: “He had a bit of a chance there. He probably should’ve hit the target but he hasn’t played for a bit.  He scored the winner didn’t he, so you can’t complain too much about it!”

Piggott added: “Luke’s as good as anyone in the league with his back to goal and we was wary about that and we knew about the kick so we spoke about it but talking about it and dealing with it, I felt for 89 minutes of the game, I felt we dealt with that because he’s good at what he does Luke and I felt we dealt with it.”

Chatham Town went close on the stroke of half-time when Flack’s deep corner wasn’t cleared and Ricky Freeman picked up the ball inside the box drove towards the by-line and cut the ball back but Rogers poked his deflected shot past the far post.

Piggott said: “I didn’t quite see what happened in there because there was a lot of bodies in there at the time, but we should’ve scored.  I couldn’t see who was in there but I knew Ricky had pulled it back. Yes, we should’ve scored.  We need to be a little bit more clinical to take pressure of ourselves we need to score goals. We know that, we’re not stupid. Look, it’s the hardest thing in football to score goals, you know.”

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the interval.

Piggott said: “We gave them a few pats on the back because we asked for a reaction. We wanted a little more work-rate and I had players in there that were puffing and panting and it’s the bare minimum you should be able to give a manager and they gave me that so we congratulated them for that.

“But we spoke about one or two things that we could improve on and I think we did improve on them but we didn’t get that bit of luck at the end.”

Walker added: “Well, it’s just stay in the game. It’s always going to be a 1-0 game either way, I thought, that sort of game, I’ve seen it before. I’ve been here at this place for 15 months (managing Chatham Town) so I know what it’s like and it looked as though who was going to nick a goal at a certain time was going to win it. It was not going to be a big scoring game anyway.”

Faversham Town were much better than Chatham Town during a dominant second half.

Monger floated in a free-kick, which was miss-judged by Chatham defender George Benner, his header sailing towards his own goal and Harvey and Cooper could not rise together at the far post to steer the ball on target.

Chatham Town’s central midfielder Flack floated in a free-kick into the Faversham box and nuisance Rogers glanced his header into Godmon’s hands just before the hour-mark.

But Stanford squandered an excellent chance to give Faversham Town the lead seconds later.

Tenyue played in a low cross from the left and Stanford swept his left-footed shot on the turn straight at Hyde from 16-yards.

Walker said: “I thought we had a spell. I thought we dominated the second half after about 10 minutes. I thought we looked very dangerous going forward at times without really putting the thing away.  We probably should’ve scored a couple more but we didn’t and sometimes it works like that.”

Piggott added: “Faversham are a good side as well. Ray gets them organised, he's got some good players’ there so they’re going to come at you for 90 minutes, but it was down to us to stand firm and I felt we did for most of the time. Other sides are going to create chances in a game. It’s how you deal with it and how you deal with it from there.”

Faversham Town called Hyde into making a low save in the 66th minute when Stanford played the ball in from the right to Monger, who took a touch before unleashing a low left-footed drive towards goal from 30-yards.

It’s quite a shock that talented midfielder has only scored a couple of goals this season.

“It’s about time because he gets good shooting opportunities and doesn’t take them half the time so I’m glad he got shots in to be honest because he can score goals, George,” came Walker’s reply.

Piggott added: “I think they had three or four shots form distance. We held a good line outside the box and kept them to three or four shots form distance, which is fine. If you’re going to concede any shots on your goal let them be from there. Those shots don’t worry me at all.”

Monger then hit another shot from similar distance which flashed past the right-hand post as Faversham Town pressed and looked the more likely to score than a Chatham Town side that lacked quality in the final third.

An example of Chatham’s poor finishing came from their final corner, which was swung in by Flack, the ball was cleared out to Lightfoot, who hooked his volley screaming high and wide of the far post from 25-yards.

A long ball out of Faversham’s defence by Matthew Bourne released Harvey down the left channel but his low shot was gathered low down by Hyde, who held the ball before King could slid in to poke the ball over the line.

Harvey then drove in an angled drive from the other side, which was parried away by Hyde at his near post.

And as the game entered the final five minutes Cooper played the ball inside to Harvey, who dragged his shot across Hyde and past the far post from 25-yards.

Chatham Town failed to create any second half chances in open play, as Bourne and Cheek offered protection in front of Godmon, who made a comfortable catch in the final three minutes.

Flack swept a high hanging free-kick into the Faversham penalty area, which dropped down onto Benner’s head, the ball looping into the keeper’s hands underneath the crossbar.

Piggott revealed he is looking to strengthen his forward line.  Gillingham-based former Cray Wanderers and Cray Valley striker Leigh Bremner, 33, is currently a free-agent and is currently listening to clubs at this level of the one below.

Piggott said: “As the game got on I was looking around to see where I could help the players in an attacking force and we didn’t have that today and that’s why I’ll be looking over the next week or so to bring one or two players in to help us because we didn’t have any attacking options to help us get over the line today and I need to address that and we will.”

Walker added: “I thought they were an energetic side without really creating lots but we defended well.  Ryan Cheek played well but the back four played very well. I glad for Cheek because he’s only a young lad and he’s sort of growing a bit now, he’s starting to look a decent player and that releases Carrington in the middle of the field, he gives us some energy in there.”

Monger then hit a deflected drive from 22-yards, which was caught by Hyde, before Faversham Town sealed a deserved three points with the winner timed at 45:29 on the clock through cameo substitute David Blaikie’s driving run and King’s sublime finish.

The Lilywhites hit Chatham Town on the break as Monger fed the versatile Blaikie driving forward and he passed to King, who flicked his right-footed shot over the diving Hyde into the top right-hand corner.

Walker was full of praise for Blaikie, who only made his first team debut against Dulwich Hamlet seven days ago.

“He started as a forward, he played right-back against Dulwich, he’s been playing really well. He played centre half for the under 21s. He’s quick, strong, he's been a striker. We looked a bit tired so he gave us some energy to chase a few balls down for us in the last few minutes in the game and it worked for us. It don’t always work but it did this time!

“It was a good finish, he looked sharp Liam at times.”

Piggott added: “That was just a little bit of tired legs in the end. We gave the ball away on the edge of the box when we should’ve have done and it was a breakaway goal. Just tired legs at the end, we just didn’t deal with it in the end.

“It happened to us a couple of weeks ago down at Herne Bay. We was one-all at the time and we had the point snatched away from us. I wouldn’t say we deserved three points today, it would’ve been good if we could’ve got it, but we definitely deserved a point at a minimum and we’ve had it snatched away from us.

“As far as I’m concerned I was looking for a big improvement from Saturday and we got that today and the players just didn’t get that bit of luck to get some points on the board today.”

Faversham Town are 15 points adrift of fifth-placed Lewes and 19 points better off than Chatham Town.

Gillingham resident Walker still has an affection for Chatham Town and believes Piggott will keep them up.

“I love this club, I had 15 months here. I enjoyed my time here before I went back to Dover,” reflected Walker. 

“I like the club. It’s always nice to be here. I always come to watch games when I can. Good people. I just hope they start picking up a few points. I think they will. I think they have a bit about them to pick up a few points. 

“There’s still a lot of games to go. I wouldn’t read into that too much. I think they’re capable of winning here a few times. I’ve seen them play two or three times at home this season and they’ve played alright actually.”

Chatham Town: Alex Hyde, Cameron Hefferman, Abdul Lydbi, Connor Hefferman, Freeman Rogers, George Benner, Josh Bray, Ryan Flack, Ricky Freeman, Enoch Adjei, Kyron Lightfoot (Austin Edwards 78).
Subs: Owen Price, Sam Stace, George Acland, Tom Michelson

Booked: Abdul Lydbi 2, Ricky Freeman 54

Faversham Town: William Godmon, Ryan Cooper, Jamie Maxted, Daniel Carrington, Matthew Bourne, Ryan Cheek, Josh Stanford (Jack Steventon 90), George Monger, Liam King (Liam Mayell 90), Luke Harvey (David Blaikie 90), Renford Tenyue.
Subs: Kieron Campbell, Jordan Casey

Goal: Liam King 90

Booked: Ryan Cheek 47, George Monger 77, Matthew Bourne 87

Attendance: 179
Referee: Mr Ryan Head (Kennington, London SE11)
Assistants: Mr Ronald Albert (Catford, London SE6) & Mr Jordan Whitworth (Catford, London SE6)

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