Eastbourne Borough 0-3 Maidstone United - Winning treble is an outstanding achievement - Parkinson
EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 0-3 MAIDSTONE UNITED
The Conference Youth Alliance League Cup Final
Wednesday 7th May 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Broadfield Stadium
MAIDSTONE UNITED manager Jack Parkinson hailed his treble winning side as outstanding.
The Stones claimed The Conference Youth Alliance League Cup with a 3-0 win over Eastbourne Borough to go with the East Sussex/Kent Division title and Ryman Youth League under 21 crown that they’ve won recently.
Maidstone United, who finished their campaign thirteen points clear of Eastbourne Borough in the table, scored their goals during the first half.
Jack Leighton drilled in the opening goal, before his strike partner Gary Smith headed home his fifteenth goal of the season, before the third was credited as an own-goal from Eastbourne Borough defender Richie Welch.
Eastbourne Borough performed better during the second half and left-back Samuel Smith hit the crossbar from distance and substitute Alex Laing was denied by a world-class save from former Chelsea goalkeeper Will Godman.
“It’s a competition that we set out at the start of the year and we wanted to have another go at it,” said Parkinson, 24, who has a joint role of academy manager and first team player at the Ryman Premier League club.
“We reached the semi-final last year and being beaten the way we did I think this year was the year we felt, with our boys being second years, we’d have a go so to win it with the same group of boys is an outstanding achievement.
“We played them at home and we went 4-0 up at home and we got a little bit sloppy and we said tonight they’re a kind of team if you can get after them they will go.
“After we scored the first one it was only a matter of time, I think, until we doubled and trebled the lead and it’s credit to the boys really. The time they took after scoring the first goal to get back in and re-goup and go and get another one so quickly sort of killed them off a little bit.”
The game at Crawley Town’s Broadfield Stadium attracted a decent crowd and eight of Maidstone’s starting eleven have had experience off first team football either with the club or elsewhere.
Eastbourne Borough were made to pay for missing a good opening after only 43 seconds.
Winger Max Taylor was released down the left and he reached the by-line before cutting the ball back to Tobias Clifford, who poked his shot wide of the near post when he really should have tested the Stones stopper.
Maidstone United’s opening attempt arrived inside four minutes when man-of-the-match Charley Robertson floated in a free-kick from the left and Dan Johnson’s free header from eight-yards was pushed around the post by Daniel Hutchins.
The Stones created another chance in the tenth minute.
Jack Sullivan threw the ball into the penalty area, which was chested down by Leighton and Dan Parkinson played the ball inside to Robertson, whose skill bamboozled two defenders before Hutchins plucked the ball out of the air at the near post.
However, Maidstone United nearly gifted Eastbourne Borough the lead.
Clifford swept in a free-kick into the Maidstone United penalty area and the ball glanced off Aiden Hayes’ head and Godman caught the ball high to his left to prevent the ball sailing into the top corner for an unfortunate own goal.
But Maidstone United were gifted an eighteenth minute lead.
Eastbourne Borough central defender Ryan Worrall gave the ball away to Leighton down the right channel, who cut inside, left Worrall on his backside as the struggling backtracking defender tried to win the ball back, before the striker drilled a low right-footed shot across keeper Hutchins into the bottom far corner from the corner of the six-yard box.
“I don’t know what the centre half tried doing on the half-way line, he’s tried chipping up and volleying it and then he’s given the ball away,” said Parkinson.
“Listen, take nothing away from Jack Leighton. It’s a great interception and he’s chopped into the box and it’s a hell of a finish!
“As much as the lad has given the ball away he’s given it away quite wide so Jack still had a hell of a lot to do and massive credit.”
Clinical Maidstone United doubled their lead in the 37th minute.
Leighton turned provider when he released Robertson down the left and the winger floated a cross into the penalty area which saw Smith drift off his marker to glance his header across the keeper into the far corner from 12-yards.
“Charley has got unbelievable ability,” said Parkinson.
“We played him out wider tonight to try and get him on the ball and the one time that we did it was a great chop and a fantastic delivery and Gary’s done wonders to get across his man to glance it into the far corner so it was a pleasing goal.”
Maidstone United eased into a 3-0 lead within three minutes, but midfielder Dan Parkinson will claim it, following a left-wing corner.
Robertson cut a corner back towards the edge of the penalty area where Parkinson drove a right-footed shot from 25-yards, which looped off Welch, changing the ball’s direction and sailed over the goalkeeper’s head into the roof of the net.
Parkinson insisted his younger brother should be credited with the goal.
“Never been an own goal!” he said.
“For me an own goal is when someone puts it in the complete opposite corner. Dan’s struck it. I’m not saying it because he’s my brother. Well, I am saying it because he’s my brother!
“He’s had a shot, whether it was going in or not, it doesn’t matter. He’s kept it low, he’s done everything that you ask as a player, get your head over the ball, keep it nice and low and it has taken a deflection. At the end of the day I don’t class it as an own goal!”
But it gave Maidstone United a commanding lead going into the break.
“It was one of those scorelines where you go in at half-time 3-0 and you come out in the second half and it does become a little bit flat,” admitted Parkinson.
“You saw Eastbourne upped the ante a little bit. They had nothing to lose so fair play to them.
“Will’s pulled off a good save at the end. They had a few crosses going across the box but nothing worried us. Going in at 3-0, the game’s sort of dead and buried.”
It could have been four on the stroke of half-time had Jordy Robbins kept his shot down.
Robertson ran down the left and played the ball inside to Billy Woon, who played the ball back to Robertson, who cut the ball back but the ball was behind Robbins by the time he blasted his left-footed hooked volley over the bar.
To their credit, Eastbourne Borough made more of a game of it during the second half and maybe should have pulled at least a couple of goals back.
The Sussex coastal club pressed Maidstone United early as they went in search of a goal.
Strikers Olutobi Adebayo-Rowling (10 goals) and Dean Bown, who have scored 30 goals between them, linked up well and Bown sent his left-footed drive sailing just wide from 20-yards after only 79 seconds.
Midfielder Alexander Clarke then played the ball into Leuan Strong, whose left-footed drive from 19-yards only just missed the target.
Taylor then drilled a right-footed shot towards goal from 25-yards, which forced Godman to dive to his left to catch the ball cleanly.
Parkinson admitted his side got lucky when Eastbourne Borough hit the woodwork in the 56th minute.
Bown did brilliantly down the right channel, twisting and turning Maidstone United left-back Johnson, who celebrated Leatherhead’s promotion to the Ryman Premier League last Saturday.
Bown’s cross sailed across and out of the penalty area towards Samuel Smith, whose right-footed curler from 25-yards sailed over Godman’s head and bounced against the crossbar and towards safety.
Parkinson said: “In the first half they didn’t have a shot so at some point they were going to have a spell in the game where they were going to get on top so it was down to us as a group to sort of manage that. Are we good enough to see that out?
“In football you need a bit of luck, don’t get me wrong and we got a bit of luck with it hitting the bar.”
Maidstone United soaked up that early pressure and created a couple of chances to wrap up the game.
Johnson floated over a deep free-kick into the Eastbourne penalty area and Leighton’s header was palmed away by Hutchins at his near post.
A cross from right-back Sullivan was brought under control by Robertson inside the box, but his right-footed shot deflected off Eastbourne right-back Zack Kavanagh and bounced behind for a corner.
Eastbourne Borough were to be denied by a brilliant save from Godman as the game edged into the final twenty minutes.
Adebayo-Rowling cut the ball back to Smith, who floated over a cross towards the far post where substitute Alex Laing planted his header towards goal from close range, but Godman somehow tipped the ball over the bar, high to his left.
Parkinson said: “Will’s pulled off an unbelievable save. They’re going to get chances and I one thing we’ve got there, we’ve got an outstanding goalkeeper.
“Will was at Chelsea for seven years. He’s won the Barclays Premier League tournament so he’s no fool. You can see from his distribution and his handling, he’s outstanding.
“What pleased me the most, he didn’t have a lot tonight Will and the one time that he did, that’s a sign of a good goalkeeper. He’s had nothing to do and his concentration levels are as good as ever.”
Despite being denied by a wonder-save, Eastbourne continued to attack and Bown’s delivered another cross into the Maidstone United penalty area, which was acrobatically hooked narrowly over the bar by striker Laing.
Worrall, who was keen to make amends for his earlier costly mistake, pushed himself further forward and drilled a right-footed shot from 25-yards, which stung Godman’s fingers.
Eastbourne Borough substitute Henri Mepsted flashed a shot narrowly wide of the foot of the near post from the edge of the penalty area, but they couldn’t score a consolation that their second half performance deserved.
Parkinson, meanwhile, said he is proud that Maidstone United have collected 24 trophies in the past six years.
“We won the league and we’ve won the League Cup but we’ve won the under 21s league the other night as well with the first years so we’ve won the treble,” he said proudly.
“Not only we’ve won the treble we’ve had x amount of boys play for our first team this year, which is more than pleasing. We’ve had lads out on loan. We’ve had DJ (Johnson) winning the play-offs the other day and Dan (Parkinson), Sully (Sullivan) and Charley and a number of the boys playing in the cup competitions.
“Not only have we won the treble we’ve had massive, massive success with the number of lads that we’ve got into men’s football.”
With first team manager Jay Saunders heavily involved with the Academy on a day-to-day basis, Maidstone United can only grow stronger.
“As much as we’re losing a few of these boys tonight our recruiting’s gone well,” revealed Parkinson.
“We’ve got some real quality coming in next year. The emphasis is we keep trying to make sure we replace the boys that we’re losing. Are we going to do that? Maybe not because we’ve got a lot of quality here but at the same time we feel that we’ve got a good structure in the club with myself, Jay, Jim (Bodle) and Tom (Parkinson).
“We’ve got the owners that are backing us that you can’t believe. As you saw tonight the amount of support from the club was outstanding and that goes to show you they want the youth coming through.
“With Jay involved he gets to see them daily whereas before I used to go home and the phone would be ringing and I’m sure his wife would get the hump because I’m constantly chatting. Now he’s there seeing them day to day he can see them daily and it makes it easier. When he’s putting somebody in with the first team he knows, he sees them with his own eyes rather than going by recommendations. He does help massively.”
Reflecting on the club’s trophy haul, Parkinson added: “Twenty-four trophies in six years is unbelievable really. To be honest half the boys in there have played in most of those games.
“It’s an outstanding achievement and I’ll be making sure none of these lads go to waste and whether it’s with us or with another club I’ll make sure these lads push on in men’s football because there’s a lot of ability in them.”
The Stones set off on a six-day tour of Germany in the morning as they reflect on another successful campaign at youth team level.
Eastbourne Borough: Daniel Hutchins, Zack Kavanagh (Henri Mepsted 73), Samuel Smith, Ryan Worrall, Richie Welch, Leuan Strong, Tobias Clifford (Elliot Levy 54), Alexander Clarke, Olutobi Adebayo-Rowling, Dean Bown, Max Taylor (Alex Laing 68).
Subs: Wayne Giles, Baillie Rogers, Alex Read, Harrison Hilfiker
Maidstone United: Will Godman, Jack Sullivan, Dan Johnson, Aiden Hayes (Ross Bassen 57), Ashley Long, Billy Woon, Jordy Robbins (Lee Pleau 77), Dan Parkinson, Jack Leighton (Liam King 86), Gary Smith, Charley Robertson.
Subs: Sam Flisher, Harris Rodgers, Josh Wolley, Jamie Kelly
Goals: Jack Leighton 18, Gary Smith 37, Richie Welch 40 (own goal)
Referee: Mr Paul Howard (Bermondsey, London SE1)
Assistants: Mr Chris North (Guildford, Surrey) & Mr Jason Southwell (Farnborough, Hampshire)
Fourth Official: Michael Webb (Woking, Surrey)