Corinthian 5-0 Sheppey United - It would mean the world to this club, we're little Corinthian's, we're not fancied for whatever reason and we get a load of stick and it spurs the boys on, says title-chasing Corinthian boss Michael Golding

Saturday 06th April 2019
Corinthian 5 – 0 Sheppey United
Location Gay Dawn Farm, Valley Road, Longfield, Kent DA3 8LY
Kickoff 06/04/2019 15:00

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 6 April 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Gay Dawn Farm

CORINTHIAN manager Michael Golding says it would mean the world to the club if they went on to win the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title later this month.

Corinthian – whose zero playing budget was confirmed by the families of their players – are proving that they have the staying power in this exciting title race.

Corinthian remain at the summit on 78 points with five games left and are a point clear of Fisher, who have played a game more.

Big-hitters Cray Valley (Paper Mills) have 76 points with five remaining and Chatham Town are in fourth on 73 points with four games remaining.

Beckenham Town (62 points with three games left); Sheppey United (53 points with four games left) and Deal Town (52 points with four games left) make up the rest of the top seven.

Corinthian claimed their 25th league win of the season by thrashing a Sheppey United side that have now lost their last five games and are now struggling to hold onto their sixth-place position in the pecking order.

Emmanuel Oloyede capped off an impressive performance on the wing for Corinthian by scoring the opening goal and the third from the spot.

Andres Felipe Losada Tobon, Luke Tanner and Connor Johnson rattled in the goals past Aaron Lee-Wharton at a drizzly Gay Dawn Farm in Longfield.

“I thought we were good. I thought it’s the first time for a long time that we’ve had a performance to go with the results,” said Golding, who is five wins away from guiding the club in to the Isthmian League for the very first time.

“We’ve been good obviously but we’ve not played particularly well but we’ve been effective but I thought we were good.  I thought we moved the ball quite well, we moved them around.

“If I’m being ultra critical we should’ve been more up at half-time.  I thought we could’ve been four or five up at half-time. 

“Listen, we’ve just beaten a team sixth in the table 5-0 so I think you’ve got to be happy.

“Sheppey are a decent side, they’ve got one of the top goalscorers in the league in Dan Bradshaw, who is a very good player.  I thought we handled him really well today. He’s the dangerman.  I think if he’s playing for us he scores four by half-time, the chances that we had but we’re not concerned with what other people are saying, thinking or doing, we’re just worrying about ourselves.”

Sheppey United manager Ernie Batten said: “Obviously we’re very disappointed on the day. It goes to prove it’s a very strong league and if you make elementary mistakes then you get punished and that’s what we’ve done today and that’s what we’ve been doing in our previous games.

“We’re on a very poor run and confidence is low and I’ve just said to the lads we’ve got four games left and we owe it to the club and the supporters to get a couple of results and finish on a bit of a positive.”

Sheppey United travel to Bearsted next Saturday, before playing Erith Town (home), Deal Town (away) and Rusthall (home), before Batten switches off with a month’s holiday in Thailand.

When asked how his side will get out of their end-of-season-slump, Batten replied: “Only hard work! It’s been an incredibly disjointed season. As managers you don’t want to make excuses for why it goes wrong. We’ve had a lot of injuries. We’ve lost three of the back four. We lost centre-half Jon Ralph for the season, we lost a left-back Darren Cooper for the season and Chris Edwards went off to moneybags Cray Valley.

“All of a sudden Corinthian have shown and the top sides like Fisher that being solid, you don’t have to score the most goals but you have to be the one of the sides that concede the least.”

Sheppey United created the first chance of the game, inside 148 seconds after winger Tarik Ibrahim was tripped by Jack Bath on the very edge of the Corinthian penalty area.

Ian Batten drilled his right-footed shot, which bounced off Opeyemi Fernandez and looped past the right-hand post.

“A lot of things are indictive of how things have been going for us. It hit one of our own players, who was supposed to move out of the way. We work on that so Ian finds a hole, Manny moves out of the way and he’s stood there and he didn’t get out of the way,” complained the Sheppey manager.

Corinthian immediately went up the other end and went close to opening the floodgates.

Left-back Alexander Jack Billings played the ball into Johnson, who played a diagonal pass to an unmarked Tobon. He decided to pass inside, instead of shooting and Johnson scuffed his shot across goal and tricking just past the foot of the far post.

“I thought we started well today. I thought that was the key to get on top of them early on,” said Golding.

“We know they’ve been on a bit of a bad run so the confidence is maybe lacking but I thought all round the energy and effort was there from the first whistle.”

Corinthian opened the scoring with 11 minutes and 24 seconds on the clock.

Oscar Housego was released down the right channel and he whipped in a great cross into the Sheppey United box for an unmarked Oloyede, who planted his free header down and past Lee-Wharton from 10-yards, despite being the only Corinthian player in the box at the time.

Golding said:  “Andres tried to put the ball in, it came back out to Oscar and it’s probably something that Oscar has added to his repertoire this season, is to put the ball into an area and ask a question and it was a great ball in.

“It was a great header, he’s on a great run of form at the moment.  I thought he played well. He suffered with a bit of a tight groin, obviously we’ve got Tuesday night’s game so we took him off for a precaution. I thought he was playing really well and deserved his two goals today.

“Emmanuel has come in (from AFC Croydon Athletic) to us and he’s been fantastic. He’s been a great signing for us.”

Batten added: “You can work on stuff at training, you can talk to players but you can’t be out there for them.

“A lot of goals today were elementary mistakes. It’s basics! If the ball is going to come into the box they’re going to have a couple of players in there and you’ve got three or four in there. They’ve got to be picked up! If they’re not picked up, they’re allowed to have free headers and if you’re not working hard to cut the cross out in the first place, then you’ll get punished.”

Sheppey United built-up patiently in the 15th minute with Ibrahim, Ian Batten and Fernandez linking up before holding midfielder George Batten swept his right-footed shot from 30-yards harmlessly wide of the far post.

A lively Tobon sped past Sheppey’s left-back Will Thomas and wrapped his foot around the ball to whip in a cross towards the near post.  Jamie Billings arrived and was denied by near post blocks from keeper Lee-Wharton and centre-half Luke Girt.

Jamie Billings delivered a deep corner from the right and Bath arrived on the back post to see his header bounce off his head and over the crossbar from a couple of yards out.

Lee-Wharton kept Sheppey United in the game with a string of fine saves in the first half.

Johnson clipped the ball over the top of Oshilaja to release striker Tanner and with no where to go, he rolled the ball back some 30-yards to Jamie Billings, who fed the ball into Housego’s feet.  He laid the ball off to an unmarked Oloyede, who drilled a low angled drive towards goal, which forced the keeper to dive to his right to tip behind for a corner.

“They’ve got a really good goalkeeper, obviously I hope he’s alright after he picked up a little bit of a knock towards the end,! said Golding.

“It’s just being clinical. On another day we wouldn’t get the goals or the chances but on the flip side, which is a positive, we kept asking the question and we kept getting the ball in the right area and kept passing it through them and we kept knocking on the door.”

Batten added: “Aaron’s made a few good saves today. I’m sure he’ll be disappointed with a couple of the goals today and he made a few saves and he’s a good prospect.”

Jamie Billings chipped the ball over Girt’s head to release Oloyede down the left channel and he cut into the box and once he dug the ball out from underneath his feet, flashed a low drive from 16-yards, which was held low down by Lee-Wharton.

Sheppey United centre-half Jono Richardson hit a long diagonal ball out of defence, which was cushioned down by Ibrahim and latched onto by Thomas, but his left-footed angled drive from 25-yards was comfortably saved by Aiden Prall at his near post.

Batten said: “I think their lad’s a good keeper as well.  I didn’t think we put enough pressure on them. It was a game where the pitch was nice and slick, there was a bit of water on it, so we could pass the ball around. There was no excuses. Football’s a game of confidence and if you’re leaking goals, you’re lacking confidence and it hurts you all over the pitch.”

Golding added: “I don’t remember Aiden having to do much in and around the 18-yard box today.  It was all long-range efforts on a wet, slippery pitch that can always cause problems but I say it all the time I back Aiden if someone’s shooting from 25-yards. I’ve got trust and faith Aiden will be equal to it.”

Sheppey United forced five of their seven corners during a three minute spell but Ian Batten’s deliveries into the box and what happened with the second ball didn’t trouble Prall.

In fact, Corinthian hit Sheppey United on a devastating counter-attack to race into a 2-0 lead, the goal timed at 35 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock.

Corinthian broke away, Alexander Jack Billings played the ball into Johnson, whose trickery in and around the penalty area sent his marker on to his backside, before he teed up Tobon, who drove his left-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 16-yards.

“I thought Andres, again, was good today. It’s not been quite happening for him since he’s come but he worked incredibly hard,” said Golding.

“He’s worked well for the team but he’s not had the return in terms of goals and assists that we maybe expecting but again he’s another one today that’s stepped up to the plate. 

“He’s not been in the side loads recently but he’s got himself a goal and it was a little fortuitous how it got to him but Emmanuel caused problems and he’s a handful with his running directly at you and Andres with a cool finish for the goal.”

Batten added: “I said to them at half-time, you go into the game and you’re playing alright. We’ve had five corners and we’re managing to play a bit of football, managed to get a few balls into the box and you go from that to within 20 seconds later the ball is in the back of your own net!

“We say to them you have to be picking up and alert when the ball comes out and do your jobs. If you don’t do the basics in football, I’m afraid then you’re going to get caught.”

Sheppey United’s 34-goal striker Dan Bradshaw had a quiet and frustrating afternoon but he was involved in a chance in the 42nd minute.

“There wasn’t much service. We had a little bit of pressure first half going down the hill but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with a lack of defensive quality,” said Batten.

Thomas clipped a long ball out of defence, which was flicked on by Bradshaw and Ryan Lewis hit a low right-footed drive from 20-yards, which was saved comfortably by Prall at his near post.

Johnson played the ball out to the left channel to Oloyede, who cut into the box and steered a low angled drive, which was spilt by Lee-Wharton, before he grabbed hold of the ball swiftly.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Golding said:  “It should’ve been more than that, when you get those opportunities against a top six side, you’ve got to be clinical, so keep going!

“They’ll have their patch of five to 10 minutes like every team does and we’re in the ascendancy so we can control the tempo of the game and we can choose whether we can play quick or slow.

“For me it’s the finer details today. I just thought we could look after our passes a little bit better, the basics, clear our lines at the right times in to the right areas and just contain as they’re coming forward because they are a threat.  They’ve got some good players.  Ibrahim was good today, Fernandez is a decent player and 2-0 at half-time the clean sheet was important for us today.”

Batten added: “We go in 2-0 down, it’s basic and I said to them if you’re not picking up and you’re conceding goals it doesn’t matter how well you play – or not play – if you don’t do the basics I’m afraid you can’t win a football games and I said we’ve got to come out and take the game to them.

“It’s 2-0 so the next goal is going to be vital and unfortunately we immediately made a mistake at right-back!”

Corinthian killed the game off as a contest by scoring their third goal from the penalty spot with two minutes and 3 seconds on the clock.

Space opened up in front of Jamie Billings as he drove through the heart of the pitch before he played in Housego, who was bundled over by Girt, who was shown a yellow card by referee Joe McKay.

Oloyede danced his way to the ball before drilling his right-footed shot straight down the middle as Lee-Wharton dived to his left.

“A good penalty. A good run from Oscar, who made that deep run, a great ball from Connor Johnson into him,” said Golding.

“A clear penalty and it takes the complete sting out of the game. At 2-0 they get the next goal, it’s game on but 3-0 the game was over at that point baring a little bit of a fight-back that we didn’t really see coming.

“It was a good penalty from Emmanuel. Shaun Brown and Sam Bewick who are both injured are our penalty takers but Emmanuel has scored his last two so he’s someone we can rely on.”

Batten criticised Oshilaja for killing off his side’s very slim chances of grabbing something out of the game.

“It’s extremely disappointing because our right-back has got the ball. He has other decisions to make other than chip it up the line he tries to play it inside, which really wasn’t on and they cut it out and from our own lack of doing the basics, we’ve conceded a goal.

“There was no need for it! I said to them defenders in this league will just play the percentages, play the ball, they get it out of his feet and clips it down the line, no danger.”

Sheppey left-back Thomas released Ibrahim down the left and he was fouled OUTSIDE the penalty area by Corinthian right-back Jack Holland.  The referee booked the wrong player in Corinthian centre-half Jack Healey, while a frustrated Bradshaw was also booked for dissent.

Ian Batten’s resulting free-kick on the very edge of the penalty area on the left-hand side was palmed towards safety by the former Charlton Athletic stopper.

Corinthian went close to adding to their lead on the hour-mark when Jamie Billings’ ball over the top released Oloyede, whose power brushed aside Thomas and he turned his marked before dragging his shot across the keeper and watched the ball trickle just past the foot of the far post from 15-yards.

“I thought the keeper mad a save so I was expecting a corner.  I thought it was a really good save but it went for a goal-kick,” said Golding.

“Emmanuel is a willing runner. It probably sounds when people read this that we kept putting the ball over the top but we played some really good football today but what we’re not afraid to do is mix it when we need to do and that’s probably the difference to us this year and Emmanuel is a threat and on another day he expects to come out with a hat-trick, if not more.”

Substitute winger Ollie Milton, Alexander Jack Billings and Tanner all linked up well down the left and Tobon’s angled drive forced Lee-Wharton to dive to his left to parry.

“He’s a good goalkeeper for this level. He’s got a really good future ahead of him. Andres will be frustrated that he’s not scored there but he’s hit the target and he’s asked the question and that’s all we ask from the forwards,” added Golding.

Lee-Wharton leaked a couple of goals that he should have saved as Corinthian rattled in their last two goals.

Corinthian’s fourth goal came with 31 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock.

Losada showed trickery to skip past Thomas on the right hand side some 35-yards from goal before Tanner latched onto the through ball.  Tanner cut inside and onto his right-foot before placing his shot into the bottom near corner, past the outstretched leg of the keeper, who had got down low to his right.

Golding said: “I thought Luke was tremendous today!  I thought he’s waited a very, very long time with Shaun Brown playing very, very well and scoring a lot of goals.  Tanner’s been very patient this season and I know he’s frustrated and disappointed with his goal return but I thought he led the line tremendously well today.  I thought he was absolutely outstanding and the goal was the cherry on top. He deserved the goal for his patience today.”

Batten said: “I don’t know what’s happened there because it seemed like a routine save and I don’t know whether he’s read it wrong or he’s gone the other way and it’s gone past him. It seemed like a soft goal for me. I think that one was saveable.”

Corinthian were gifted their fifth goal when it arrived with 37 minutes and 50 seconds on the clock.

Johnson drove forward through the heart of the pitch and played a one-two with substitute Kameron Gyeabour and hit a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which Lee-Wharton allowed to slip through his fingers and the ball bounced and trickled over the line in the centre of the unguarded goal.

Golding said: “It was one of those days, the balls slippery isn’t it, the keeper expects to save that 10 times out of 10 but it’s that phrase we’ve used this year of asking a question. 

“I thought Connor was the best player on the pitch today. I thought when we played him in the 10 and played him a little bit deeper he got on the ball and that’s what Connor is capable of.  We’ve said it over and over again. Connor is more than capable of doing that. We’ve just got to try to get it out of him on a regular basis.

“When we played them in the away game when we won 4-2, we played him in the nine that day and he was very, very good, so I was very pleased with Connor today but you feel for the goalkeeper but we’ll take that all day.”

Batten added: “Look at those goals we’ve conceded, it’s so soft! There’s a routine shot straight down the middle and it goes through Aaron’s hands. At least two or three of those goals were very, very preventable and it’s very disappointing.”

Corinthian welcome eleventh-placed Canterbury City to Gay Dawn Farm on Tuesday night (19:45); before travelling to Hollands & Blair next Saturday, a side that are in the bottom four but now six points clear of the drop zone following their 4-0 win at Tunbridge Wells today.

Corinthian than host Deal Town (20 April), before a make-or-break clash away to Fisher on Easter Monday, before ending their league campaign at home to Bearsted on 27 April.

Corinthian then play Chatham Town at Longmead Stadium in Tonbridge in the Challenge Cup Final on Saturday 4 May.

“I think for the first time there’s a realisation that we are very much in a title race,” admitted Golding.

“We’ve played it down and we’ve just been ticking the games off. We set out to win the league, that’s no denying that, as every team does and we used the lesser analogy when we spoke previously and everyone is probably expecting us to drop away and have a bad run and it’s not come.  It’s not to say it won’t come – we hope it doesn’t. 

“The boys are just chomping at the bit to play games. With five games to go we have to consider ourselves in that title race, which is absolutely fantastic, not for me but the players.  They’re the ones that are out there executing what we’re asking them to do and they’re doing it very, very well.

“There will be lots of twists and turns. Chatham and Cray have got to play each other and we’ve got to play Fisher so people will drop points.

“We’ve got to give ourselves the best opportunity and that’s by winning games and not worry about others. As long as we win our games it will take care of itself.

“I think we should be proud – we’ve not achieved anything – but we should be proud to be in and around it with five games to go.”

When asked what it would mean for his amateur club to win the title, Golding replied: “I’ve not really thought about it to be honest. If you start to think about it and look further ahead you can get carried away.

“It would mean the world to this club. We’re little Corinthian’s. We’re not fancied for whatever reason and we get a load of stick and it spurs the boys on. Our boys love it. We’ve not spoken about winning things. We’re in a Cup Final as well. Whatever happens we’ve had a fantastic year but now at this stage to get this far it will be frustrating and disappointing not to kick on and not five ourselves that opportunity.”

Batten has to pick up his players ahead of their final four league outings of the season.

“I’ve just said to them, you’ve got to show a bit of heart! It’s a wonderful football club. We’ve had people come over today and what I’d like to see for them is you’ve got to show me you want to be a part of this club going forward and I’m not seeing enough at the moment,” said Batten.

“We need to try to win them, we need to win football matches. We want to finish in the top six but we’re not going to if we can’t win a game and at the moment it’s becoming increasingly difficult with the way confidence is.  We’ve got the players in the side to win games.”

When asked who he believes will win the title this season, Batten is going with the surprise package, the Leicester City of Kent football.

“My sort of feeling is was going to be Chatham because I felt that they’ve got a great squad and with Cray Valley mixed up (in the FA Vase).

“People said that about Leicester City didn’t they? It couldn’t happen but maybe it will be Corinthian’s season and good luck to them if they win it they’ve thoroughly deserved it.”

Corinthian: Aiden Prall, Jack Holland, Alexander Jack Billings, Jamie Billings (Kameron Gyeabour 77), Jack Healey, Jack Bath, Emmanuel Oloyede (Ollie Milton 69), Oscar Housego (Jai McKinlay 62), Luke Tanner, Connor Johnson, Andres Felipe Losada Tobon.
Subs: Jacob Gilbert, Steven Ita

Goals: Emmanuel Oloyede 12, 48 (penalty), Andres Felipe Losada Tobon 36, Luke Tanner 77, Connor Johnson 83

Booked: Jack Healey 57

Sheppey United: Aaron Lee-Wharton, Mohammed Idris Kiki Oshilaja (Michael Santangelo 77), Will Thomas, George Batten, Jono Richardson, Luke Girt, Tarik Ibrahim, Ryan Lewis, Dan Bradshaw, Ian Batten (Ryan Freeman 77), Opeyemi Fernandez.
Subs: Dave Botterill, Kane Butler

Booked: George Batten 37, Luke Girt 47, Dan Bradshaw 57

Attendance: 65
Referee: Mr Joe McKay (Maidstone)
Assistants: Mr Ronald Albert (Catford, London SE6) & Mr Daniel Wyatt (Queensbury, London HA7)