Corinthian 2-4 Canterbury City - It's the hardest way to lose a game and it's the best way to win a game, says Canterbury City boss Ben Smith

Saturday 03rd November 2018
Corinthian 2 – 4 Canterbury City
Location Gay Dawn Farm, Valley Road, Longfield, Kent DA3 8LY
Kickoff 03/11/2018 15:00

(after extra time)
The Buildbase FA Vase Second Round
Saturday 3 November 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Gay Dawn Farm

CANTERBURY CITY manager Ben Smith says his side must use their FA Vase win at Corinthian as a springboard to improve their league form.

Corinthian went into this Second Round tie sitting in second-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 26 points from 12 games, while Canterbury City were in eleventh-place with 19 points on the board from their 11 league outings.

Corinthian, who beat Canterbury City 3-0 in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on 11 August, raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening 17 minutes through winger Conor Johnson and striker Shaun Brown.

Controversy reared its ugly head when assistant referee Christopher Bunce waved his flag and called over referee Reece Pinchback, who pulled a straight red card out for Canterbury centre-half Liam Quinn.

Mr Bunce claimed Quinn called him the C-word but both camps insist the actual word that was used was “clown.”   

Despite being reduced to ten men in the 48th minute, Canterbury City were galvanised and scored twice in the space of four minutes through striker James Turner’s fine finish and a downward header from the man who played behind him, Jordan Casey.

Neither side could find the winner so the tie was settled with two late goals at the end of extra-time.

Rob Lawrence came off the bench to score a Frankie Raymond-Esque (Bromley midfielder who takes a quality free-kick and scored a similar free-kick in his side’s 1-0 win at Gloucester City in The FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round), before Lawrence slotted in a flattering fourth at the death.

“We’re delighted because we didn’t expect at half-time to actually get anything, at 2-0 down we were dead and buried,” admitted Smith.

“A couple of minutes after the kick-off the linesman seems to hear something that a player said and sent him off.  It’s laughable at times some of the decisions we get against us, you can’t believe at times how they get things so badly wrong!”

Corinthian manager Michael Golding admitted: “Bitterly disappointed but we got what we deserved! It was hard to take. We were nowhere near it today. They deserved it from the first whistle, they got on top of us.”

Canterbury City started the game on the front foot.  Casey launched the first of five long throws into the Corinthian box, which was met at the far post by Kane Phillip, hooking his shot harmlessly wide of the far post from 10-yards.

Turner skipped past Jamie Miller but stroked a speculative right-footed shot past the right-hand post from 25-yards.

Canterbury City missed a glorious chance in the 12th minute when Casey’s sublime diagonal pass played winger Remell Davis through on goal but he lashed his right-footed shot high over the bar (as Alexander Jack Billings slid in) from 15-yards.

Smith said: “Remell is lacking a bit of match fitness, match sharpness but I think give him a good run of games under his belt with us I think he’ll start hitting the net and taking those.  That’s what we’ve brought him in to do that but he was our dangerman from minute one in the game.”

Golding added: “Canterbury were good. We played them in The FA Cup so we knew what they were going to be like. They started lively. We’ve done ok in the last few games in terms of early goals but they got on top of us and we struggled to get to trips with them early on.

“Remell’s a good player, lots of power, lots of pace and their front three are good at what they do. They get the ball into them quite quickly and they’re big, powerful lads so they’re going to create chances against us.”

Corinthian grabbed the lead – totally against the run of play – with 14 minutes and 53 seconds on the clock.

Steven Ita released winger Kameron Gyeabour on the overlap and his right-wing cross floated over to the far post where an unmarked Johnson planted his diving header past Jack Delo from four-yards out to score his fourth goal of the season.

Golding said: “It was pleasing. Steve’s got himself back into the side, played a good little ball out to Kameron and he’s in a rich reign of form at the moment and I thought he worked extremely hard for the side, maybe lacked a bit of end product but when he had the opportunity he was helping our Jordan (Campbell) up against Kane Phillip.

“Conor’s got himself in the box and Conor’s scored quite a few goals, which is good.”

Smith said: “I thought we started quite brightly but the same as the FA Cup game, they catch us on the break and they’re clinical.  They had two chances early on and they scored both of their chances.

“I think they’re a very under-rated side in this league. People talk about the Beckenham’s of this world but these are decent, every time we play them they’re decent.

“It’s disappointing, we felt it was like against-the-run-of-play, it was! But it keeps happening to us.  I can through the last three defeats we’ve had we’ve conceded against-the-run-of-play and we’ve gone into our shells, which is a problem and it’s something that we have to address quickly.”

Clinical Corinthian doubled their lead just 85 seconds later, courtesy of the impressive Brown’s sixth goal for the club since his move from Bostik Premier Division side Corinthian-Casuals, where he scored one in one game this term.

Ita slipped the ball through for Brown, who turned Canterbury centre-half Laurence Harvey inside the box before cutting inside and drilling his left-footed shot over Delo’s head to crash the ball into the roof of the net.

“Pretty much against-the-run-of-play. Shaun will take his chances when you give them to him and I thought it was a composed finish. He took it onto his left and put it past the keeper so I was pleased with that,” said Golding.

“He’s done well. He was recommended to us by James Bracken at Corinthian-Casuals. He played for them last year and we’ve got a good link up with them.  We get on well with James and Shaun was looking for a club and he’s missed the start of the season but he’s finding his feet now. He’s gone into the middle and we’ve got a little bit of competition with Luke Tanner and Kameron, who can play down the middle.”

Smith said: “I think it was soft from Laurence. He is a commanding centre-half. We’ve brought him in and he’s been outstanding for us but I think he’s got rolled too easily and he needs to be stronger and a bit more composing in that situation.

“Having said that, he more than made up for it in the second half.  I thought he was arguably the best player on the pitch for us.”

Canterbury’s defence went to sleep halfway through the half when Oscar Housego played the ball into the box, Ita had time and space to retrieve the ball on the other side of the box and Johnson let rip from 22-yards, which dipped just over the crossbar.

“We’re thinking how we’re 2-0 down, we’re scratching our heads,” said Smith.

“You feel sorry for yourselves initially and then you’ve got to try to get something out of it.  We needed to create a spark from somewhere.  After they scored their second goal it didn’t look like we we’re going to have a spark from anywhere.  The players starting to argue with each other, feeling sorry for themselves. It’s a bit of a disease that spreads around the group.”

Six-goal winger Gyeabour’s attempted cross from the right-wing was intended for Brown, but a kind ricochet fell in the striker’s path, but he drilled his shot past the near post from 15-yards.

Canterbury’s best chance of scoring during the first half was from set-pieces.

Adam Woolcott delivered a deep free-kick out on the left and Quinn jumped up with goalkeeper Aiden Prall to nod past the right-hand post from the edge of the six-yard box.

Corinthian wasted a glorious chance to race into a 3-0 lead in the 39th minute.

Left-back Jack Billings, striker Ita and central midfielder Housego all linked up down the right and Brown outpaced Harvey but dragged his shot across the keeper and tricking past the far post.

Golding said: “As much as I thought we weren’t in it and we underperformed but I did feel 2-0 should’ve become three, possibly four before half-time and you back Shaun to find the net from there and it’s come back and bit us on the backside.”

Smith added: “That’s a good chance for him. I thought he was a real threat from minute one to the final whistle.  I thought he was a real difficult player to play against.  Corinthian pick up a gem of a player again, they do it so often and all credit to them because they have a good set-up down here.”

Canterbury City keeper Delo kept his side in the game as he made a couple of saves towards the end of the first half.

Johnson skipped past Davis’ challenge in midfield and seconds later the ball was worked to the edge of the box for Housego to tee up Johnson on the edge of the box.  Brown did well to dig the ball out from underneath his feet and Delo held the shot low to his right.

“He kept us in it and you’re thinking one more and it’s going to be a bit laughable really and they’re just going to run away from us and probably should’ve but Jack’s pulled off a couple of saves to keep us in it and give us something to hope for at half-time,” added Smith.

Brown played a one-two with Housego but produced a weak shot which rolled into Delo’s gloves.

Canterbury City had the last chance of the half when Woolcott’s free-kick was cleared out to James Turner, whose right-footed 25-yard drive flashed through a crowded penalty area and past the left-hand post.

Smith revealed he tore into his players during the half-time interval.

“I said they’re playing for their future at the club, very simple!  There was a sense of feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit and not actually taking responsibility so they had 45 minutes to actually show me they want to stay at the club.

“We’ve not been happy with the recent form and they’ve not been playing to the level we expect and they expect.  They set high standards earlier on in the season and we looked like a side that could go and do something but just recently we’ve had a couple of injuries which everyone has and the players have gone off the boil slightly.”

Golding added: “We felt we could get at their back four and it was just about getting that next goal, getting three up would’ve given us a nice cushion but two should’ve been enough.

“I told them to liven up, get tighter, all the clichés came out. We didn’t feel we were anywhere near it.  We felt we were quite lucky to be 2-0 up. We were clinical, we took 50% of our chances but we needed to do more, a bit more energy and enthusiasm all over the pitch.”

Corinthian forced their third of 12 corners and before Housego could trot over to the right-hand corner flag, assistant Mr Bunce waved for the referee’s attention and after a discussion, referee Mr Pinchbank called Quinn over and pulled out a red-card out of his pocket with two minutes and 27 seconds on the clock.

It took Quinn 98 seconds to leave the pitch as he and goalkeeper Delo were clearly upset with the decision and when left-back Gary Sayer questioned the decision to the assistant, Mr Bunce could be heard saying “That’s one word I won’t be called.”

With 62 people watching the game, you would certainly hear if a player did use the C word – but Quinn did NOT use such language and the match officials have got this horribly wrong.

Smith said:  “Well, the referee said he’s sworn at the linesman appealing the decision.  Liam Quinn’s in the centre of the goal and the linesman’s saying he’s called him a C***. He’s actually called him a clown!

“Their player (Brown) is standing next to him even said he didn’t say that.  The referee said he didn’t hear it so he’s standing in the middle of the goal shouting across over to the linesman, I’m sure people will hear those sort of things.  Their player has come over and said he didn’t say it.

“Liam Quinn has been in the game a long time, I don’t think he’s ever been sent-off for something so ridiculous as that!  It’s an outrageous mistake!”

Corinthian manager Golding admitted the officials got it wrong and it is hoped The Football Association use these quotes as evidence to rescind Quinn’s red-card.

“I didn’t really see, I spoke to Shaun Brown who said he (Quinn) didn’t say what the referee sent him off for,” said Golding.

“I’m 80 yards away so it’s difficult to say but everyone seemed a bit of bemusement about what actually went on so that was probably the turning point that gave them the bit between the teeth and that was what spurred them into action.”

Corinthian striker Brown insists Quinn used the word clown during the verbal exchanges.

Golding added: “That’s what the fella (Quinn) came off saying and you can only believe what he’s told him and I think that was what our player was backing him up saying that was what he said so if they’ve got that wrong, they’ve got it wrong. 

“Shaun was trying to convince them that he did actually say clown and Shaun’s an honest guy, he’s not going to lie.”

Canterbury City could so easily have crumbled but the controversy spurred them on.  Smith played three men at the back (Michael Turner, Harvey and Sayer) and Corinthian didn’t have the quality to break them down.

Smith said:  “We weren’t going to see long spells of the ball with the extra man, it’s not the side we should be playing against with 10 men because they move the ball well, they’re fit and well-organised but we just found something from somewhere.

“I said to the players we need a spark, something to spark us off and going down to ten men did spark us off. Sometimes it does go in your favour and somethings you’re harder to beat with 10 men.”

Golding added: “We’ve struggled against 10 men recently.  That was the bit that gave Canterbury their bit between their teeth and from that point really they looked like they had the 11 and we had the 10 and we never came to grips with it.

“They were running all over us and that’s credit to them.  They wanted it more and on FA Vase days it is the team that wants it the most that generally come out winners.

“We’ve got to be good enough to see the game out at 2-0. We’ve got to be mature enough.  I thought we turned the corner in terms of personnel in terms of maturity of the squad but there’s a few question marks have come out today.”

Woolcott swung in Canterbury’s second corner which was met by Phillip’s far post header, which was caught by Prall at his near post.

“He was a threat but he lacked the end product,” Smith said of winger Philip.

“You look at them in the first half, they punished us. We had chance after chance causing problems getting into the box and then lacked the end product so he’s got to find that end product again.

“When he came to us pre-season from Hythe, he hit the ground running and looked an excellent player for us. Since he got a suspension he’s come back and looked a little bit rusty and get his form and rhythm back again but he’ll do that and he showed signs that he can do that for us.”

Ita floated in a corner from the left which was met by Brown’s diving header, which bounced off Sayer and sailed past the left-hand post.

Housego swung in the resulting corner which was met by Jack Healey’s looping header, which was plucked out of the air by Delo.

Phillip exchanged a one-two with Davis down the left and burst past Corinthian right-back Jordan Campbell to reach the by-line but the angle was tight and Prall held the ball low to his left.

Woolcott floated a free-kick into the Corinthian box on the hour-mark, which was met by a free-header from Harvey, which looped into Prall’s gloves for a comfortable save.

Canterbury City grabbed hold of the all-important lifeline, timed at 20 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock, courtesy of James Turner’s fifth goal of the season.

Woolcott fired in an excellent cross from the left which sailed over Jack Billings’ head and picked out an unmarked James Turner. He brought the ball down well on the edge of the box, cut inside and from 12-yards buried his left-footed shot past the former Charlton Athletic keeper.

Smith said: “We had a sub ready to bring JT off because he was getting very leggy, he’s struggling with an injury and yes he comes up trumps. 

“He can be very clinical in the penalty box and the composure from him, I thought he took a touch too many but the composure to cut inside and finish it was fantastic.”

Golding said: “We gave them a lifeline, which is poor on our part.

“We’ve not stopped it at source. We’ve given him too much time in the area and I thought all day from back to front and front to back we allowed them too much time and space.  We allowed them to turn, we dropped deep when we should’ve stayed high and we were high when we should’ve dropped deep and we were a little bit out of sorts today.”

Corinthian had a chance to increase their lead when Ita played the ball inside to Housego, who teed up substitute right-winger Jack Holland and his deflected drive from the edge of the box was comfortably saved by Delo.

Canterbury City pulled an equaliser out of the bag, with 25 minutes and 55 seconds on the clock, courtesy of Casey’s tenth-goal of the season.

The introduction of right-winger Joshua Froggatt sparked Canterbury into life with his driving runs down the flank.

He whipped in a great cross from the right touchline and picked out Casey in space, who buried his downward header into the bottom right-hand corner from eight-yards.

“We needed legs, the only way we could win was on the counter or from a set-piece so we had to bring legs on and Josh was disappointed that he didn’t start in the first place,” revealed Smith.

“He came on and travelled with the ball and gets you further up the pitch.

“It was pretty much similar to how they killed us off in the first half when they scored two quick-fire goals and they probably switched off. It was great to have Jordan back. He’s not match fit. We played him because we’ve missed him too much and we needed to get a presence up there. Sometimes bringing new players in isn’t always the answer so it was great to have him back out there although he was at 70% today.”

Golding added: “Again, it came from our mistake. We had a shot, first time, on the edge of the area. If we take a touch or look for an extra pass – we always tell the boys to take shots from that area – but it was on Jack’s weaker foot and he’s pea-rolled it into their keeper and 10 seconds later they’ve scored.

“Aiden’s probably got to save it. It’s not really a criticism of him because he’s a great goalkeeper but you expect goalkeepers to make those kind of saves.”

Corinthian almost snatched the win just 110 seconds later when Housego’s free-kick from the left was met by a towering free-header from substitute Oliver Milton, which crashed back down the underside of the crossbar.

“I think it was probably our only chance of the second half and extra-time combined,” admitted Golding.

“A good delivery from Oscar. We’re on at the boys all the time about their delivery and it was almost if Ollie had not have touched it, it probably would’ve gone in but it’s hit the underside of the bar and that’s the little bit of luck that you need in the Vase that probably finishes them off at 3-2.

“That gives us a little bit of belief back because we were scratching at that point for something to go in our favour and you just worry at that time of hitting the bar and it just gives them another little boost but a good delivery and we should’ve scored!”

Smith admitted: “You’ve got to ride your luck and we did ride our luck.  If you’re looking at the game, they should’ve won the game. I said to them at half-time, you’ve got to make a little bit of your own luck and in all fairness we probably did that and we worked our socks off in the second half with 10 men against, in my opinion, one of the better sides in this league.”

Canterbury City central midfielder Woolcott went close when his right-footed free-kick from 25-yard deflected just past the foot of the left-hand post inside the final 15 minutes.

And Corinthian captain Jack Bath came up from the back to flick his header across goal and past the far post after meeting his side’s eighth corner, taken by Housego inside stoppage time.

Canterbury City worked so hard that you had to remember that they were reduced to ten men three minutes into the second half.

“So often you see that.  It’s so often you see a team down to 10 men and the players work that little bit harder,” said Smith.

“Maybe we sat off them a little bit more so there was less space for them to play and it worked.

“When they beat us in The FA Cup game they killed us on the counter-attack so we weren’t going to give them an opportunity to counter because we had bodies behind the ball, which saw us through it.”

It was evident straight from the first seconds of extra-time that both teams were happy to take it to a replay in Faversham on Wednesday night.

“Can we get to a replay?  I was even trying to test the referee to see if the paperwork was done properly and it was down for a replay,” said Smith.

“If we can get to a replay we’ve done tremendous.  We had bodies that were starting to fail on us out there. Thankfully we had the extra sub this year, which on another year we’d be finishing with nine men.”

The Corinthian manager pretty much had the same aspirations.

“Take the replay on Wednesday night! Canterbury with 10 men and with us being nowhere near it, we would’ve taken a replay,” admitted Golding.

“Given another 30 minutes, we fancied it with our fitness and they were starting to flag a little bit but it didn’t look like 11-versus-10.  They matched us for running, they put themselves through it and maybe we went hiding a little bit and we didn’t want to get on the ball in tight areas and we just stopped doing what we’re good at.”

Corinthian substitute Reule Powell-Downey gave the ball away and Canterbury substitute striker Liam Middleton released Davis through on goal but after cutting into the area he lost his footing as he tried to sweep the ball into the bottom near corner with his left-foot.

Froggatt unleashed a speculative right-footed shot from 35-yards, which bounced once and was comfortably gathered by Prall at the end of the first period of extra-time.

Golding said:  “I don’t think anything happened and we certainly didn’t have an opportunity. We huffed and puffed. We gave the ball away numerous times when choices and technique should’ve been better.  I don’t think Aiden had anything to do in the first period.”

With the game destined to end in a stalemate, Canterbury City notched two dramatic late goals.

The first one came with 14:19 on the clock as Canterbury won a free-kick out on the left-touchline.

Lawrence whipped in a right-footed free-kick, which curled over Prall’s head and dropped into the top far corner of the goal to score a dramatic late winner from 35-yards to spark wild celebrations.

“Obviously we’re over the moon,  I can’t dress it up any other way,” said Smith.

“It’s the hardest way to lose a game and it’s the best way to win a game.  You take that over coming here and winning 2-0 all day long.

“He’s actually miss-hit it being honest and it flew in.  On another day that goes over the stand and they go up the other end and score.

“I felt aggrieved about a lot of the decisions today, nothing was going for us and suddenly a little bit of slice of luck has come out way. You’ve got to celebrate those moments.  As a manager it can be very frustrating and very lonely at times when you’re not doing well so to get a lifeline like that and something to go your way, you’ve got to celebrate it.”

Golding added: “Poor from us, it was two free-kicks in 30 seconds.   The shot from deep, Jack Billings has got his head onto it, gone out wide and we’ve given the free-kick away.  We didn’t even need to give it away.

“The frustration, if you want to nip-pick is he moved it four yards off the touchline to give himself that angle and as we tell our boys, if you put it in the right area, you’ve got half a chance.   It’s gone over the top of Aiden and we were not going to come back from that!”

Canterbury City grabbed a flattering fourth goal, timed 57 seconds into injury-time.

Corinthian went to sleep and failed to deal with Dan Keyte’s long ball over the top and Lawrence had time to bring the ball down and slot his shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 10-yards.

Smith said: “We were screaming at him to go to the corner and try to win us a free-kick or a corner down there or a throw-in, anything, just to keep it away from our goal, because for large spells of that game it was just relentless pressure on us so we had to try to relieve pressure and hoping the referee was going to blow his whistle which he didn’t seem to want to do but he did in the end.”

Golding added: “We pushed our centre-half Jack Healey up and they’re all screaming at him to go to the corner and he could do what he wanted. He could’ve done as many kick-ups as he wanted.  We were nowhere near him!

“At that stage you’d rather not concede goals but 3-2 or 4-2 doesn’t make any difference to us.  It was fully what we deserved today. Canterbury were the better side from the first minute to the last minute with 10 men, 11 men.”

Twelfth-placed Canterbury City are 12 points adrift of leaders Beckenham Town but with three games in hand.

“We have underperformed so to come here today and actually get a win like that, it shows we have got some character in there and hopefully now that can spur our league form on,” said Smith, who has promised to make changes for Tuesday night’s trip to K Sports in the Challenge Cup Second Round.

“The chances in The FA Vase are very slim. I think we were 100-1 or something to get to Wembley. When you get there, it will be the best moment in their careers but realistically we need to use that as a springboard for our league form because that’s ultimately where we’re going to be judged, it’s the league and recently we’ve not been good enough.

“The next FA Vase game is a bonus game really. We go there and there’s no pressure on us.  It’s a one-off game and can we go and get in the last 32?”

When asked about the Last 64 draw - matches takes place on 1 December -  Smith replied: “I just hope we don’t draw another Kent side because you know what will happen, we’ll draw a local club.

“We want to go somewhere away, somewhere different and someone who doesn’t know us. That’s where the excitement is in the Vase.  There’s no excitement really - and it’s the same for Corinthian – in playing a side in your league.”

Corinthian slipped down a place to third after today’s results and travel to Cray Valley on Sunday 11 November – five points adrift of Beckenham Town with two games in hand.

Kevin Watson’s side travel to Camberley to play Badshot Lea in The FA Vase on Sunday and are currently in the top six in the league with 23 points but with four games in hand on the top side.

Golding said: “Unfortunately, no trip to Wembley this year unfortunately.  It’s always a pipe dream.  I always say it’s the greatest competition because it gives everyone a reasonable chance.  We know it’s a very slim possibility but you always want to stay in it. We went to the nationals stage two years ago to the fourth round proper and that was the objective this year to get to that round and we’ve fallen short unfortunately this year.”

Corinthian: Aiden Prall, Jordan Campbell (Chris McDermott 111), Alexander Jack Billings, Jamie Miller, Jack Healey, Jack Bath, Kameron Gyeabour (Oliver Milton 72), Oscar Housego, Shaun Brown, Steven Ita (Reule Powell-Downey 103), Conor Johnson (Jack Holland 55).
Sub: Sam Bewick

Goals: Conor Johnson 15, Shaun Brown 17

Booked: Jack Holland 85, Jamie Miller 114

Canterbury City: Jack Delo, Michael Turner, Gary Sayer, Dan Keyte, Liam Quinn, Laurence Harvey, Remell Davis, Adam Woolcott (Ollie Lee 80), James Turner (Joshua Froggatt 70), Jordan Casey (Liam Middleton 94), Kane Phillip (Rob Lawrence 90).
Sub: James Nurden

Goals: James Turner 66, Jordan Casey 71, Rob Lawrence 120, 120

Booked: Michael Turner 42, Joshua Froggatt 120

Sent Off: Liam Quinn 48

Attendance: 62
Referee: Mr Reece Pinchback (Wickford, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Leigh Ballinger (Basildon, Essex) & Mr Christopher Bunce (Shoeburyness, Essex)