Cray Wanderers 2-0 Burnham Ramblers - We've got to turn this club around, says Michael Paye

Sunday 28th September 2014

Ryman League Division One North
Sunday 28th September 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

CRAY WANDERERS joint caretaker-manager Michael Paye says the club will be announcing some exciting news on their new stadium within a week.

The Wands claimed a vital 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Burnham Ramblers in front of their second highest crowd of the season to remain in the bottom four in the Ryman League Division One North table with 11 points from 13 games.

Michael Phillips, 31, capped off his debut with a man-of-the-match performance, scoring the first goal before setting up Shaun Welford to wrap up a comfortable win late on.

When asked what the result meant to the club, Paye replied: “Massive, massive! I think it’s been coming. We started showing signs at Needham Market.

“The main thing is the boys have got to learn how to win and hopefully with a bit of experience from myself and Gary Abbott you’re going to try to get that into them really.

“We have to learn how to win and then get on a little bit of a run and hopefully we’re going to turn the corner in a big way and start coming up the league.”

It was the start of two must-win games against two sides below them in the table in a vital three day period.

Paye said: “We got the boys in early, they got in at half-eleven, they had some breakfast here and we watched Bromley Ladies play and went on the pitch and we just had a real chat and went through a couple of set-plays and bits and pieces really. We had a really good build-up to the game and it’s paid off because the boys’ have given a really good performance today.”

Cray Wanderers almost got off to a flying start, creating their first chance after only 21 seconds.

Marlon Patterson, playing left-wing, found himself in a central position and he played the ball out to Adrian Stone, who swept a first time right-footed shot straight at Matt Belcher from eighteen-yards.

Paye admitted his side are generally slow starters and he was pleased that an early chance was created.

He said: “We’re sort of committing suicide from the start of the season really. I think its 20 minutes were conceding a goal in every game which you’re on the back foot with everything moving forward.”

Burnham Ramblers, however, offered very little as a threat going forward and their best chance came within six minutes.

Left-back Tyler Hayes clipped the ball towards the edge of the box where burly target-man L’Heureux Menga brought the ball down with his chest before cracking a dipping right-footed volley just over the bar from 18-yards.

“He’s a good player. We knew about him beforehand,” said Paye.

“We’ve done a bit of research and we knew he was very physical and he’s a handful and we played him in a certain way.  I think he only had one chance so it’s one too many but it’s good from our central defending point of view.”

Cray Wanderers’ right-back Max Fitzgerald clipped a ball down the line which was knocked down by the excellent Welford and Stone drove his right-footed shot past the near post.

Patterson reached the left channel before whipping in a cross towards the far post, which was knocked down by Welford and Dan Stubbs’ left-footed shot curled just around the far post.

Patterson almost turned villain in the 27th minute when he gave the ball away to Bertie Brayley who hit a poor left-footed shot from 25-yards, which trickled into Darren Behcet’s gloves.

Bradley Nobbs wasted an opportunity for the Essex side when he cut in and made space for a shot, which flashed past the near post.

Burnham Rambers put in a woeful performance and an example of this came in the 34th minute when Kye Jude clipped the ball up from the half-way line towards winger Gregory Akpele, but his left-footed curler from 22-yards sailed harmlessly wide instead of forcing Behcet into making a save.

Patterson, who is a natural left-back, plays in a more advanced role for Cray Wanderers and he went close to scoring in the 37th minute.

Behcet pumped a long kick down the middle of the pitch, which was controlled by Stone, who played a reverse pass to Patterson, who drilled a left-footed drive from 20-yards, which was tipped onto the top of the crossbar by Belcher’s outstretched finger tips.

“Marlon’s been a good signing for us,” said Paye.

“I think Dulwich released him – Laurent Hamici came across as well – but Marlon’s been great. He’s given us a bit of stability on the left-hand side and also he’s got pace there as well to get crosses in and that’s what we’ve done.”

When asked why Patterson is not playing in his natural left-back position and further up the pitch, Paye said: “I think he can do it at this level. Time will tell but we’ve put him in there and he keeps the ball, he’s not giving the ball away and he’s getting crosses in and with Steve Springett what they’ve done they’ve got an understanding so if Steve overlaps, Marlon just sits in and we’ve still got the safety there if that happens.”

Cray Wanderers were thwarted again by another excellent save from Belcher.

Steve Springett found himself on the right and he floated a deep cross towards the far post where Welford rose to plant his header towards the top near corner.  Belcher produced an excellent reflex save, sticking up a strong right hand high to his right to push the ball over the bar.

“Shaun just gives you that. We just need to get his confidence sky high and I think the more he scores, the more he’ll score,” said Paye.

“He smashed one in today and he scored the other night as well with a header. 

“He’s been playing with a little bit of an injury but I think he’s coming through that. I think he’s got a suspension now as well for five bookings so I think he’s got two weeks and then he’s got a bit of a rest for a game so hopefully it will give him a week off just to get back fit.”

When asked what he told his troops during the half-time interval, Paye said: “Basically we felt Marlon and Dan Stubbs was the key. It’s so fast moving from one end to the other and they were getting a little bit caught up and down and we spoke to them to work, work, work.  We’ve got boys on the bench that could come on but I felt the key to the game was for them guys and it turned out to be the case.”

Cray Wanderers came out of the traps on fire again, going close to taking the lead after only 24 seconds.

Left-back Springett whipped in a cross, which skimmed off Hayes’ head and fell at Stubbs’ feet, who cut inside and from the edge of the penalty area flashed his shot wide.

Springett whipped in another cross and a pressurised Welford nodded over, before Phillips played the ball inside to Stubbs, who was given time and space to crack a right-footed drive over the crossbar from 35-yards.

Phillips issued Burnham Ramblers a warning when he went on a 30-yard run with the ball before playing in Welford, but Belcher swiftly advanced off his line to make a smart block at the striker’s feet.

Cray Wanderers’ took a deserved lead in the 61st minute through a classy goal from Phillips.

Patterson fed the former Maidstone United midfielder, who was given time and space by a slack Burnham defence to cut in to the penalty area before producing a cool finish, stroking his right-footed shot into the bottom near corner from 12-yards.

Paye hailed Phillips for his impressive man-of-the-match debut performance.

“What a great signing for us! We had to work hard to get it. He’s a good player and he’s wanted by a lot of clubs but we done a lot of work behind the scenes and we had a meeting with Michael and he’s decided to come here.

“I think he’s got a little bit of a connection with Danny (Lye) and Shaun (Welford) from the Maidstone connection. He’s come across and made the big difference today.”

Reflecting on the goal, Paye added: “He’s going to give you that. From the first minute he sees things. The ball was dropping in midfield and he’s sort of attacking things and he’s seeing things before they’re happening, which we’ve been missing in there.

“I think he’s going to be a great, great, great signing for them. Great goal on his debut. I’m really, really pleased for the boy, really pleased.”

Burnham Ramblers won their second corner four minutes later which was swung in by Dave Collins, which was headed away and Brayley drilled his right-footed shot high and wide from 22-yards.

Giannoulis Fakinos, who was buzzing around the Cray Wanderers midfield, threw the ball to Stubbs, who whipped in a cross from the right out towards the edge of the box but Welford hooked his right-footed shot into Belcher’s gloves from sixteen-yards.

Burnham Ramblers’ right-back Joseph Nottage whipped in a deep cross towards the far post where substitute Dylan Gordon-Broadley rose and directed his header wide.

Phillips delivered a cross from the right channel which Stone instinctively stuck out his right leg and the ball bounced off Belcher’s body at his near post.

Phillips once again produced a fine ball over the top, which sailed over Welford’s head but Stone latched onto the pass to hook his right-footed shot into the side netting.

The entire Burnham Ramblers bench jumped up in anguish when substitute Isaac Aubynn appeared to be fouled by Nick Humphrey inside the box but referee Simon Finnigan waved away strong appeals for a penalty.

Paye admitted his side got lucky, by saying: “I think they had a fair penalty appeal. The ref didn’t give it and we went on the break and we got the second goal, which kills the game, so that hasn’t been happening but you make your own luck and the boys’ work hard.”

Moments later, Cray Wanderers killed the game off with Welford’s fourth goal for the club since his summer move from Hythe Town.

Midfielder Phillips played another sublime pass to release Welford through on goal and he drilled his right-footed shot across Belcher into the top far corner from sixteen-yards with only five minutes left.

Paye said: “He don’t mess about does he?  There’s no half-ways with Shaun. He gets in there and smashed it in the back of the net and at the right time really because the other night we sort of collapsed (throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw at Romford) and we were determined today we wasn’t going to collapse.”

Burnham Ramblers skipper Marc Gobell came up from the back to glance Dave Collins’ free-kick narrowly wide inside injury-time, before former VCD Athletic midfielder Liam Burgess hooked his shot wide after Gordon-Broadley’s knock down.

Paye admitted the players in his squad should be doing a lot better in this division and insisted Tuesday’s home game against basement side Redbridge is a must-win game.

He said: “We’ve got another one on Tuesday so it’s nice that the boys can go into that one on a little bit of a high. Let’s hope we can go and get another three points on Tuesday night.

“We’ve got four points out of two now so if we can get seven out of three that will be fantastic and I think with the league you only need to go on a four or five match run.

“I think we can really get out of this.  Our aims – and they’ve got to be – are still play-offs with the squad we’ve got. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be doing that.”

Paye is caretaker joint-manager alongside Gary Abbott and when asked how long they will be in the role for, Paye replied: “We’ve got no sort of illusions.  We know that we’ve got to turn this club round and this club is bigger than us.  It’s all about the club and we’ve got to get them out of the bottom and we’ve got to start playing some good football and we’ve got to get us further up towards the top of the table.

“The fans’ have had to endure a lot. It hasn’t been a good time for the club. Let’s hope we turn the corner and let’s hope we start getting the fans back here and let’s hope with the new stadium and stuff like that we can start building for the future because the club’s too big to be where it is at the moment.”

When asked about the latest situation about the new stadium, Paye replied: “Very close, very close. We should be having some news for you next week.”

The club are going for Plan B – Flamingo Park – on the A20 in Chislehurst.

Paye said: “I’m not involved with Sandy Lane, so I’m only going to be involved with Flamingo Park. It’s very exciting.”

Paye insists he is still friends with Keith Bird, who was sacked by the club following their 4-1 home defeat to Cheshunt on 16 September.

“We have been together for ten years, not just managerial, we’re really, really good friends.  We’re still friends and he texted me today and said good luck and I’ll give him a ring later as well. That’s not going to change, well I hope it’s not going to change.

“Just circumstances really. Perhaps things could have been different if he’d still been here, perhaps we still could have gone on a run, I don’t know? No-one will know now because it’s happened. The chairman has made the decision, asked me to come in with Gary Abbott.

“I love the club. I’m involved with the stadium going forward so it’s going to be my life whether I’m manager or sitting on the board.”

Cray Wanderers: Darren Behcet, Max Fitzgerald, Steve Springett, Danny Lye (Hussein Isa 21), Nick Humphrey, Giannoulis Fakinos, Dan Stubbs (Kery Kedze 86), Michael Phillips, Shaun Welford (Shawn Beveney 90), Adrian Stone, Marlon Patterson.
Subs: Nick Taylor, Gary Beckett

Goals:  Michael Phillips 61, Shaun Welford 85

Booked: Shaun Welford 8

Burnham Ramblers: Matt Belcher, Joseph Nottage, Tyler Hayes, Dave Collins, Kye Jude, Marc Gobell, Bradley Nobbs, Liam Burgess, L’Heureux Menga (Dylan Gordon-Broadley 69), Bertie Brayley (William Harris 78), Gregory Akpele (Isaac Aubymm 52).
Subs: Jay Kynaston, Bobby Bird

Booked: L’Heureux Menga 36

Attendance: 151
Referee: Mr Simon Finnigan (Maidstone)
Assistants: Mr Ryan O’Sullivan (Croydon, Surrey) & Mr Thomas Marshall (Eltham, London SE9)