FC Elmstead 1-3 K Sports - The reaction from the lads was superb and they've shown me great character tonight, says table-topping K Sports boss Kris Browning
FC Elmstead 1 – 3 K Sports
|Location||68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ|
FC ELMSTEAD 1-3 K SPORTS
Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Friday 17th November 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakley Road
K SPORTS manager Kris Browning hailed his players’ reaction after losing their second league game of the season last weekend.
The Paperboys came away from Oakley Road with a 4-2 defeat to Holmesdale but they returned to the same ground and came away with a 3-1 win over fourth-placed FC Elmstead on a chilly Friday night.
Marc Bentz has taken over from Fabio Rossi and this was his third defeat in 10 games, guiding the club to fourth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 24 points from 15 games after tonight.
But K Sports extended their lead to five points over big-spending Punjab United following tonight’s win with 40 points from 16 games, although Punjab do have a couple of games in hand.
FC Elmstead were the better side during the first half but K Sports were clinical in front of goal when it really mattered.
The home side missed two glorious chances to score early on but K Sports took the lead through striker James Alderman, who has now scored eight goals for the club.
Bailey Pearce doubled their lead with his tenth-goal of the season before FC Elmstead pulled a goal back through Charlie Sharman’s first goal for the Bromley based club.
However, Caine Smith chipped in his fourteenth-goal of the season to ensure the Aylesford based visitors went home with the three points in the bag.
“We made hard work of it but we responded really well. It’s always a tough place to come here as we found out last Saturday but it was a tough game, they gave us a tough game but we grounded out a win in the end,” said Browning.
“I just said to them before the game we’ve got to compete, we’ve got to battle, we’ve got to use the ball well on this pitch, just do what we did for the first 70 minutes last Saturday, just do what we’ve done all season, keep battling, stick together and it will come and we’ll get through it.”
Bentz, who is supported in the dug-out by Ricky Tompkins and Rob Curtis, said: “Disappointed, I think is probably the main feeling. We started so strong, created a lot of chances and had we taken maybe one of those chances it could’ve panned out slightly differently and we started the second half very strongly.
“The first three goals seemed to come from mistakes, defensive mistakes, errors. I just feel the difference today was they won a lot of second balls, every shot they had was pretty much on target and a lot of ours went wide. We just didn’t really punish them at key points.”
FC Elmstead missed a glorious chance to open the scoring after only 84 seconds.
Christian Howell played a sublime through ball to find an unmarked Dan Carpenter, but the left-back clipped his first-time left-footed shot across the goalkeeper and agonisingly past the far post.
Bentz said: “We were giving him a bit of stick in the changing room, he had enough time to bring it down, make a cup of tea and finish it but he’s tried to hit it first time and hit it with his weaker foot and steered it wide unfortunately. He’s actually filling it at left-back for us.”
Visiting keeper Rhys Coates was then called into action when FC Elmstead wide-man Ben Lockett delivered the ball in from the right and Sharman’s shot was tipped around the post by the visiting keeper.
Bentz said: “The keeper tipped it around the post and then we had another chance from the corner. That’s been one of the main things we’ve been working on since we came here, set-pieces. We seem to be getting a lot of joy against a team at the top of the league today. I said it to the boys as well, if you take those two chances and go 2-0 up, they might not have the fight to score those two goals and it would have been a different match.”
“I think we could’ve easily have been 2-0 down in the first five minutes. We started off really slow and I wouldn’t have moaned if we’d have been 2-0 down,” admitted Browning.
K Sports weathered the early storm and they also missed a glorious chance, this time a headed chance after seven and a half minutes.
Alderman whipped in a cross from the right towards the far post, which was just asking to be buried by the unmarked Pearce, and only he will know why he powered his header across the keeper and past the far post from six-yards.
“I don’t think he kind of expected it. It’s come to him early in the game. He normally buries them but he missed that opportunity,” said Browning.
Bentz added: “That’s all come from a throw on as well. That’s one of the things we try to work on, stopping the crosses. We started with Charlie Sharman today whose picked up a goal but I think that’s only his second or third match for us so I don’t think he really understood what his job was in that. If we stopped the cross that chance wouldn’t have happened.”
K Sports grabbed the lead, however, with 16 minutes and 15 seconds on the clock.
Central midfielder Richard Butler clipped the ball to release Pearce hurtling down the left-channel and he centred low for Alderman to poke the ball past Lyndsey Prescott-Kerr and keeper Dan Teeley from six-yards, the ball nestling into the bottom left-hand corner.
“I just thought it was a good ball in. It’s one of those things, a little bit of luck being 1-0 up. I think we’ve run our luck a little bit but apart from that we’re 1-0 up and we’ll take that,” added Browning.
Bentz added: “The boys are saying they thought it was offside. My thoughts are if you think it’s offside, you don’t stop until the whistle is blown and it’s given as offside. They stopped to argue and we got punished for it.
“I said forget about it, crack on, we’ve had the better chances and we can still create some more and get back into the game and that’s what we were trying to get across to the boys.”
Carpenter clipped the ball down the line to release Jordan Samuel, who sprinted down the left-wing, cut in to the centre before dragging his right-footed shot just past the foot of the post from 18-yards.
Bentz said: “Jordan does it a lot, he creates space for a shot but today there was a little bit of quality lacking either in the finish or the final ball. He does that all day, creates those chances, he just needs to get it on target really.”
Browning said: “They got close to us a couple of times, they were on the front foot, their movement up front, I thought, was exceptional in certain areas. They caused us a bit of a problem with that. We defended a little bit better.”
FC Elmstead winger Samuel then stroked a right-footed 30-yard free-kick around the wall and visiting keeper Coates made a comfortable save as the ball bounced into his hands.
K Sports were gifted their second goal of the night, timed at 33 minutes and 4 seconds.
Christian Howell’s miss-placed backwards pass towards a team-mate from 35-yards from his goal went straight to Paperboys winger Pearce, who drove forward before turning last-defender Joe Hart before clinically stroking his left-footed drive into the bottom far corner from 12-yards.
“It was a good finish,” said Browning.
“They gave it to us, we pounced on it, Bailey Pearce pounced on it and he’s given us a 2-0 lead.
“I thought here we go, we just have to stay solid, there were parts of the game even though we were 2-0 up, I wasn’t happy with.”
Bentz added: “Another defensive mistake and an easy goal for them because again we’re in good possession, it’s a loose pass and they’ve just got on the end of a loose pass and didn’t mess around and were clinical. That’s the difference between the top of the league and the also-rans, they take their chances and they didn’t make so many mistakes.”
FC Elmstead could have folded, but they pulled a goal back with 39 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock, courtesy of a pacy three-man move.
Redemption for Christian Howell as it was his pass out from his own half that released the fast Samuel down the left, who cut into the box and centred low for Sharman to tap the ball into the back of the empty net with his right-boot from four-yards.
Bentz said: “I felt we deserved a goal and going in at half-time 2-1 felt a lot better than going in 2-0 down and it really did put us in a good position at the start of the second half, trying to get that equaliser and maybe move on from there but unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise on the early chance we had in the second half as well.”
Browning added: “We gave away possession on the halfway line, which we ‘ve got to cut out and then it’s gone under Coopers foot, who has been superb for us this season. It’s the only error he’s made throughout the game and at this level you’re going to get punished.”
Christian Howell released Samuel down the left again, who once again glided past Martin Di Fede and a few more of his team-mates and from a central position, dragged his shot just past the post from the edge of the penalty area and referee Daniel Wyatt blew for half-time.
Bentz said: “Firstly that they were in this position last week, they were 2-0 up and ended up losing so the game’s not over. Secondly, we’ve created a lot of good chances against the (second best) defence in the league so get your heads up and more chances will come and we can work our way back in the game. I just tried to put a bit of belief into them, that they could actually get back into the game.”
Browning said: “I left the team talk to Graham Martin at half-time so I went in there, got myself a drink and stood outside because I was pretty fuming, so I let Graham do all the coaching and the talking at half-time. I don’t think he was happy and he gave a few a rollicking because that’s the way he is and you could see that in the second half because we definitely got more tighter, especially the midfield area and we just got tighter all over the pitch.”
K Sports’ goalkeeper Coates made a comfortable catch inside the opening three minutes of the second half.
Striker Richard Stevens worked the right-channel and whipped in a cross towards a couple of his team-mates and the ball was cleared out to an unmarked Carpenter, who hit a 30-yard drive that stung the keeper’s fingers.
Bentz said: “I think it was a good shot on target but I think it’s going to be difficult to beat the keeper from there because he seemed like a decent keeper. It’s the football that I’m really happy with. We create a lot of chances through good football. It’s just unfortunate we can’t put as many away what I’d like.”
K Sports turned defending a corner into scoring their third goal in a clinical attack with 11 minutes and 24 seconds on the clock.
Christian Howell’s corner from the left was cleared out by the K Sports defence and Butler won a foot-race with Prescott-Kerr in the left-back position to hit a long ball up to Sam Butterworth, who then put Smith through on goal. Keeper Teeley, dived low to his right to make the initial block before he was beaten by Smith’s left-footed chip which went in over the prone goalkeeper.
“He’s been suffering from a little bit of a lack of confidence lately but he’s one of those players we stick with and he’s come up with the goods again,” said Browning.
Star-man Smith has now bagged 14 goals this season and his manager said: “He’s got it in him. He should have more goals but that’s Caine for you. He gives everything, he gives absolutely everything, he’s a K Sports man and he plays with his heart on his sleeve.”
Bentz added: “Again, it was like that around the pitch, the second ball or the second chance. They were picking them up a lot today. Dan’s done fantastically well to make the save but really if he’s making a save we should be getting there first and stopping them having that second bite of the cherry.
“But if we’re in a position where we’re having a corner, we at least have to be having a shot on target or a shot off target to get ourselves back in shape. To lose possession so cheaply in their half and I think one ball over outdone us. That really was the nail in the coffin for the match really then.”
Butterworth was then released in on goal and after cutting inside his poor shot was superbly parried by Teeley, getting down low to his left and using a strong hand to push the ball into Smith’s path, but his shot glanced off a defender and only just cleared the far post.
FC Elmstead went close from a free-kick towards the middle of the half.
Christian Howell’s free-kick from midfield was flicked into the path of Hart, who flicked his shot just past the foot of the left-hand post.
K Sports were a strong, well-drilled machine for the final 20 minutes, firmly slamming the door in FC Elmstead’s face and shutting up shop.
Browning said: “We got back to the old K Sports defending, where it was no nonsense. We weren’t messing around with it. A few were trying to bring it down on their chest and trying to play the five-yard pass. They had to sort themselves out. It was back to where we were.”
A deep cross from left-back Jack Acourt sailed over Carpenter’s head and found K Sports’ substitute Sam Reed, whose angled drive from the right was held by Teeley, who then saw winger Butterworth drag his shot past the far post when put in by a long ball.
The last chance fell to the away side in the 77th minute as Alderman fed Pearce and his right-footed angled drive was palmed towards safety by Teeley, diving low to his left.
Bentz said: “He’s a fantastic keeper, I’m really happy to have him here. He’s definitely pulled out a lot of good saves.”
Browning said: “I think as the game went on we got stronger and stronger. It was us creating the chances where they had their chances in the first half. I think we created more than enough second half to take the game away from them.
“Our first half performance didn’t really please me but the second half performance pleased me a lot so the reaction from the lads after Saturday was superb. I know they were jittery in the first half, we weren’t at the races but again they’ve shown me great character tonight.”
FC Elmstead: Dan Teeley, Rob Haines, Dan Carpenter, Mark Axelll, Joe Hart, Lyndsey Prescott-Kerr (Marcus Howell 67), Ben Lockett, Christian Howell, Richard Stevens (Dexter Babalola 64), Charlie Sharman, Jordan Samuel (Kamarl Charles-Reid 80).
Subs: Ollie Lacey, Larry McArdie
Goal: Charlie Sharman 40
Booked: Lyndsey Prescott-Kerr 21
K Sports: Rhys Coates, Martin Di Fede, Jack Acourt, George Snelling, Liam Dawson, Ashley Cooper, Sam Butterworth (Josh Brown 81), Richard Butler, Caine Smith (Sam Reed 69), James Alderman (George Hadley 87), Bailey Peace.
Subs: Gabriel Luckhurst, Kris Browning
Goals: James Alderman 17, Bailey Pearce 34, Caine Smith 58
Booked: George Snelling 66
Referee: Mr Daniel Wyatt (Orpington)
Assistants: Mr Chris Spalding (Chatham) & Mr James Hewitt (Sutton At Hone)
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