Corinthian-Casuals 1-2 Bridon Ropes - I fancied us to turn it round, says Daniel Frost

Saturday 12th April 2014

(after extra time)
London Senior Trophy Final
Saturday 12th April 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

BRIDON ROPES manager Daniel Frost says he is glad that his side have won their first piece of silverware as a Kent Invicta League club.

The Charlton-based outfit returned home with the London Senior Trophy in their grasp for the first time after beating the reserve side of Ryman League Division One South club Corinthian-Casuals.

Corinthian-Casuals, who are in seventh-place (bottom four) of the Suburban Premier with four wins, eight draws and three league defeats, grabbed the lead against the run of play through a quality finish from midfielder Chevy Green, 26.

But Bridon Ropes fully deserved to claim the silverware for the first time, after an impressive performance at Thamesmead Town’s Bayliss Avenue.

They equalised with only three minutes of normal time remaining when midfielder Gary Phillimore steered the ball home and the tenth-placed Kent Invicta League side were the stronger side inside extra-time.

Striker Brady Powell waited the right time to score his tenth goal of the season, scoring at the end of the first period.

Bridon Ropes skipper Adam Onansya collected the silverware at the end of 120 minutes, picking up the lid after it fell off before he held the trophy aloft above his head to the delight of his team mates.

“We started off really well first half,” said Frost, 33, who took charge of the club's greatest ever result.
“I thought there was only one team in it, no disrespect to them.

“They had one chance and he stuck it in the top bin. We probably had nine or ten corners (it was sixteen!). Their keeper pulled off three or four good saves and they had one other chance in the first half.

“One-nil at half-time I said to them, I still fancied us to turn it round and we did.”

Bayliss Avenue fell silent before the game so players’ and supporters could pay their respects to the 96 Liverpool fans that were crushed to death at the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April 1989. 

The FA Cup Semi-Final tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was abandoned after six minutes as the horrors at the Leppings Lane end unfolded, so games all over the country kicked off at 3:07pm today.

The minutes silence also gave the Kent football family to remember the sad passing of popular Kent footballer Paul Sykes, who tragically died during a Kent Senior Cup Semi-Final tie between Folkestone Invicta and one of his former clubs, Margate, nine years’ ago today.

Bridon Ropes came out of the traps quickly and went close to opening the scoring with only 52 seconds on the clock.

They took the first of their sixteen corners short and Sam O’Keefe cut the ball back to James Hawkins, who whipped in a cross towards the far post and Sam Fullilove sent his free header sailing agonisingly wide of the far post from eight-yards.

“We have James Hawkins who takes it from one side and they put it on the penny every time,” said Frost.

“Sam O’Keefe takes (them from) the other side and he’s done exactly the same and we do a similar corner and I think we’ve scored 12 goals from it this season.  We normally score one a game!”

The central defender squandered a second headed chance, when Corinthian-Casuals had ten players temporary on the pitch when left-back Connor Power received treatment to a knock.

Hawkins looped a throw into the penalty area and Fullilove sent another header wide of the far post.

Dominant Bridon Ropes then missed a third headed chance as they started the game on the front foot.

Hard-working striker James Doherty whipped in a cross into the penalty area where Powell got in front of his marker to plant his header past the post.

But Corinthian-Casuals grabbed the lead, against the run of play, inside seventeen minutes.

George Smith looped a throw into the penalty area, which was cleared away by Darren Shelton and Green produced a moment of quality, hooking a left-footed volley into the right corner of the net from seventeen-yards.

Frost said: “One touch and volley and stuck it into the top corner. Charlie didn’t have no chance but that was their one chance. They had one other chance but it’s just one of those goals that goes in.”

When asked how he was feeling when the opponents grabbed the lead, Frost replied: “We done what we normally do. We normally concede a goal and a little bit of panic sets in but we regrouped at half-time and we started well again in the second half and we got back into it.”

The Tolworth-based club almost raced into a 2-0 lead with their second chance after 25 minutes.

Jake Wilgoss floated a free-kick into the penalty area for James Richmond to flick the ball on for Smith.  The left-sided midfielder latched onto the chance but his right-footed angled drive was blocked by Charlie Martin, who swiftly came off his line to make a vital block.

Corinthian-Casuals were to be denied by Martin’s fingertips seven minutes later.

Wilgoss whipped a hanging corner from the right where large target-man Gareth Witter appeared to shove his marker before planting his downward header towards goal, which Martin back-peddled to tip the ball over with an outstretched arm.

Wilgoss swung in another free-kick into the Bridon Ropes penalty area towards the near post where Witter’s towering header sailed harmlessly wide of the left-hand post from fifteen-yards.

Reflecting on the first half, Frost, whose brother Dean is Jamie Day’s coach at Conference Premier Welling United, said: “We played the better football in the first half and then I just said to them let’s go out and do the same thing, how we started the first 20 minutes.

“I had faith in them that we could turn it around. We deserved it anyway.”

Fullilove was a big threat inside the Casuals’ penalty area from set-pieces and he looped another header over the bar from six-yards after Hawkins looped a long throw towards the near post.

This tactic was getting a bit boring, but effective and they went close again when Hawkins’ looped another throw towards the near post.  The ball was knocked on by James Doherty for Powell to loop a hooked shot into Bowry’s arms.

Another chance fell to Bridon Ropes when Powell cut the ball back to Phillimore, who rolled the ball crossfield to left-back Dominic Websdale, who was given time and space to drag his left-footed drive past the far post from 30-yards.

Bridon Ropes had claims for a penalty turned down in the 65th minute when Hawkins went down inside the penalty area following a tackle from Richmond, which resulted in a free-kick inches away from the box and a yellow card for the impressive eighteen-year-old defender.

Frost added: “To be honest with you, I was too far away from it.  I would say penalty, but I was too far away from it.”

Bridon Ropes continued to press for the equaliser that their play richly deserved, but their chances were not being taken.

Frost agreed, adding, “We did play well. We’ve been playing good football but results haven’t been going our way – but today it did!”

Hawkins swung over his side’s tenth corner of the game which was met by Onansya’s towering header, which was tipped over by Bowry’s strong right fist as he dived to his left to make a fine save.

Corners kept coming into the Corinthian-Casuals’ penalty area but no one in a blue shirt could apply the finish.

Corinthian-Casuals did venture forward in the final ten minutes but midfielder Jack Wadmore drove a right-footed shot towards goal from 25-yards, which was easily gathered by Martin.

But Corinthian-Casuals were to be denied the winner in the final seven minutes.

Wadmore clipped a through ball forward, which wasn’t cut out by Fullilove and substitute Jack Major could see the headlines as he raced towards goal, but Martin came off his line to make a vital smart block to keep his side in the game.

Frost said: “I think overall he pulled off three saves to keep us in it over the 120 minutes, but their keeper done just as many at the other end.”

Bridon Ropes swiftly went up the other end and just fifteen seconds later Hawkins was to be denied by Bowry’s left leg after the winger cut into the penalty area.

“It was a great save by their keeper.  We was getting in down their left hand side quite a bit and that’s where we got the final goal.”

Bridon Ropes substitute Drew Watkins was given space to flash a right-footed drive past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

But Bridon Ropes left it late to make the breakthrough, deservedly restoring parity with three minutes left on the clock.

They were dangerous down the left hand side throughout the entire game and neither Faizal Kiyingi or his replacement Matthew Roberts could cope with man-of-the-match Hawkins.

Hawkins whipped in a low cross with his left foot towards the near post where Phillimore steered his shot past Bowry into the bottom left-hand corner from six-yards to score a well-timed seventh goal of the season.

“I thought it looked quite a bit of a scramble to me,” admitted Frost. “I think he just toed it in. They all count but that’s where we were getting our joy down that side.

“They used their three subs up really early. I think their legs went to be honest with you and our fitness showed towards the end.”

But Bridon Ropes almost won it at the end of normal time.

A free-kick from Shelton was hooked on by defender Onansya which fell at Phillimore, who was unmarked inside the penalty area, but this time he showed no composure and lashed his right-footed shot over the crossbar and into the car park.

You would expect a lower league side to be dead on their feet for extra time but Bridon Ropes’ fitness was superb and it was the Ryman League club’s players that wilted.

“We’ve got two lads running the Marathon tomorrow and they didn’t play, Lee Doherty and another lad,” said Frost. 

“Luke came on for the last two minutes but they (my players) keep themselves quite fit.  We’ve been quite lucky this year. They only train once a week and that’s not fitness now but they keep themselves all fit, all of them.”

Hawkins should have capped an impressive performance with a goal inside the opening two minutes of extra-time, but he lashed his left-footed shot over the bar from the corner of the penalty area after James Doherty cut the ball back to him.

Powell grew into the game in extra time and he picked the ball up on the touchline on the half-way line, spun Power before running 30-yards to stroke a left-footed shot wide of the post from 25-yards.

Fullilove squandered yet another headed chance when he glanced the ball past the near post after Hawkins whipped in a free-kick from the by-line on the right hand side.

However, there were cries of “justice served” from the Bridon Ropes supporters when Powell notched the winner, ten seconds into stoppage time.

Hawkins was released down the left and he cut into the penalty area before pulling the ball back for Powell.  The striker placed his right-footed shot from ten-yards across Bowry and the ball nestled inside the bottom far corner.

“We changed to 4-3-3 (at the start of extra-time) and we just kept it like that and I said to Brady and Jim we’re going to get a one-on-one in a minute and we did.  I think we had two. Jimmy had a good chance at the end.

“I could see their back four. It looked to me their legs were going towards the end.”

Powell ripped off his shirt and sprinted towards the jubilant Bridon Ropes bench and picked up a yellow card from referee Turan Yesilyurt.

Frost said: “I think their 10 (Witter) that came off was giving him a bit of stick so I think he took his shirt off and ran passed him and give him what for!  I think he would’ve done the same to us if he would’ve scored.  I don’t think he (Witter) could run that far by the size of him!

Bridon Ropes continued to strangle Corinthian-Casuals during the second period.

Powell was put through on goal and after cutting into the penalty area, stroked a left-footed shot past Bowry, but looked on in despair as the ball clipped the far post.

Bridon Ropes’ sixteenth and last corner was over-hit by Hawkins and Phillimore did well to retrieve the ball before the ball rolled out of play.  The midfielder cut the ball back to James Doherty, who played the ball into Powell, but his left-footed shot was clawed out by Bowry, who dived to his left and the ball got caught underneath James Doherty feet and the chance went begging.

“All the boys worked hard.  Jimmy (Doherty) up front does a lot of work noticed.  He does a lot of running of the ball. It goes unnoticed players like that in the team.”

Corinthian-Casuals almost snatched a last-gasp equaliser to force a penalty shoot-out, but the crossbar saved Bridon Ropes with only eleven seconds of play remaining.

Tom Batten swept the ball out wide to left-back Power, who whipped in a cross with his left-foot, which sailed over Martin’s head and clipped the crossbar.

Frost admitted he breathed a sigh of relief.

“It was a cross, wasn’t it? It was one of those moments when I put my head in my hands and then looked up.  I thought it was going in to be honest with you.”

But despite pushing six men up front for the final exchanges, Corinthian-Casuals got exactly what they deserved – runners-up medals.

“We’ll enjoy a night out now, which we’re looking forward to,” said Frost.

“I’ve only been here one season and the committee work really, really hard and I know it means a lot to them so I’m glad we’ve won it.

“Most of the players live only two or three minutes away (from Thamesmead) so we met in a café this morning at 12 o’clock while they were on a motorway on the way round here on a coach so I think it helped us.”

Frost wants to guide the club to their second final next weekend when they travel to Hextable looking to claw back a 2-1 deficit against Sutton Athletic to reach the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League Challenge Trophy Final.

“I said to them when I took over – we were in two cups – that was the cup we’d rather win out of the two,” said Frost.

“We’re still in it. We’re only one goal behind so if we play like we did today there’s no reason why we can’t nick a goal and then see what happens.

“We’ve got to go for it. It’s, I wouldn’t say a rivalry, because we had two players sent off in the last game, so it’s a little bit of a grudge match but we’re going to go for it.

“We’re not going to hold back and sit back for nothing. We’re going to go for that goal early and take the game to them.”

Corinthian-Casuals: Ricky Bowry, Faizal Kiyingi (Matthew Roberts 52), Connor Power, Chevy Green, Tom Batten, James Richmond, Jake Wilgoss, Jack Wadmore, Shaun Brown, Gareth Witter (Jack Major 77), George Smith (Femi Balogun 49).
Subs: William Tamowe, Kieren Westwood

Goal: Chevy Green 19

Booked: James Richmond 67, Gareth Witter 77, Shaun Brown 107, Connor Power 113

Bridon Ropes: Charlie Martin, Darren Shelton (Luke Doherty 119), Dominic Websdale, Sam O’Keefe, Adam Onansya, Sam Fullilove, George Maddocks (Drew Watkins 78), Gary Phillimore, Brady Powell, James Doherty, James Hawkins.
Sub: Jack Turner

Goals: Gary Phillimore 87, Brady Powell 105

Booked: James Hawkins 25, Brady Powell 105

Attendance: 83
Referee: Mr Turan Yesilyurt (Wandsworth, London SW18)
Assistants: Mr Tim Sholer (Islington, London N1) & Mr Prince Frank (Bethnal Green, London E2)
Fourth Official: Mr David Lunani (Bromley)