FC Elmstead 2-2 Orpington - We need to take our chances, admits Orpington boss Byron Beard

Thursday 06th August 2015
FC Elmstead 2 – 2 Orpington
Location 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ
Kickoff 07/08/2015 19:45

Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Friday 7th August 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakley Road

FC ELMSTEAD manager Danny Wakeling hailed his side’s character after they claimed a point on their Kent Invicta League debut.


However, it should have been a completely different story as Orpington squandered numerous chances to kill the game off.

Impressive left-winger Alvin Turyatemba, 18, proved that he can play at a higher level of football after scoring two goals to give the O’s a deserved and commanding lead inside 33 minutes.

But the game changed thanks to the quality coming off the substitutes bench.  George Bryan came on for FC Elmstead, while Orpington took off Dan Akpoveta, who was pulling the strings in midfield.

Bryan galvanised FC Elmstead and it was his pass that was finished off by striker turned left-winger Romayle Wade, who later ghosted in at the far post to head home a leveller with a couple of minutes remaining.

FC Elmstead’s decision to play the game on a Friday night was rewarded as the club attracted a crowd of 203 to Holmesdale’s Oakley Road ground in Bromley.

Wakeling admitted his side were feeling nervous on their biggest night in their history – and Orpington, a side that finished in 11th place (bottom six) last season, capitalised.

Wakeling said: “Taking all things into context, some of the boys did get a little bit nervy in the first half. I said to them before the game I will absorb all of that. If you miss-place a pass or you’re not doing what you’re doing in training, I’ll wear it!

“Overall, on the night, I heard the roar when it went two-all. There were two minutes of injury time left. If there was another three I do think we get it.

“The most important thing is we send a lot of people home happy and I think quite a few people will come back.”

Wakeling, meanwhile, was delighted that the local derby attracted such a large crowd.

“I did say to Fabio (Rossi, the club’s general manager), we will break the 200 mark, but he said to me ‘not a chance!’  Fabio was a tad more conservative being Italian and a defensive type person. The first two pints are on him for me! I’m a bit bold and a bit braver and I’m prepared to fall over and make mistakes. I’m buzzing to have 203, that’s fantastic!”

Orpington manager Byron Beard, meanwhile, cut short his holiday in Tenerife and admitted his side should have comfortably walked away with all three points tonight.

He said: “Disappointed really mate to be honest! Two-nil up, probably had what 60% possession first half, really controlling it.

“We had a good two or three chances on top of the two goals to really take a foothold in it but second half we just took our foot of the gas and let it slip and conceded two really poor goals from individual errors that the boys know that.

“We just got to look on now and take the positives, which was that we had a great performance from Alvin (Turyatemba) out on the left tonight. He’s only young, just turned 18 and I think he’s got quite a good future in front of him.”

Turyatemba issued Elmstead a warning shot when he cut in from the left and drove his right-footed shot past the near post from 25-yards, before Orpington scored the Kent Invicta League’s first goal of the new season with only 7 minutes and 23 seconds on the clock.

Kieran McMahon stole the ball off Mick Mullane inside Elmstead’s half and played the ball to Akpoveta, who produced a quality 40-yard diagonal pass which sailed into the Elmstead box and Turyatemba showed great skill to dance past three defenders to flick his shot across the keeper and into the net past the despairing effort of Elmstead left-back Josh Witter to clear the ball off the line.

Beard was full of praise for his talented left-winger.

He said: “I thought he was outstanding today, what he did. I think he was probably the best player on the pitch. He sort of had the right-back for dinner for the first 60 minutes.

“The only problem is the youngsters get a little bit tired when they’re not used to men’s football but overall, a great bit of composure from Alvin to slot it home from a tight angle.”

Wakeling said: “I think before that there was a phase of play where we had our number eight Mick Mullane, the ball was played into him and he didn’t check his shoulder. He had the ball taken off his feet and there was a bit more of a pinball and then Dan Akpoveta got on the ball and switched the play.

“Dan’s a good player. If he got fitter he’d be a very good player but there’s no doubt about it, he can stand still and find space up top. When moves like that break down and when he does provides a pass like that and he did open us up.

“Credit to the two wide players, they took us to the cleaners in wide areas in the first half, especially on the left-hand side.

“But I’ve got to give Jamie Leggett credit. He knows he’s not the fastest full-back but if you start to play with him you’re asking their winger to defend him and to be fair to Jamie he didn’t shy away.  It was a shaky start and he was under it and I’ve got to praise him for turning that around and standing up and standing tall and getting through the game. 

“Towards the end we trust him that much we put him in central midfield to try to get the winner so in terms of character, he was under it tonight getting hammered by the Orpington lot on the side. He knows he’s not the quickest. He’s brave and turned the game around for us.”

Akpoveta, who pulled the strings, played a fine diagonal pass out to Antar Adams, but Orpington’s right-winger powered his drive high over the bar from the right channel.

Dominant Orpington went close to doubling their lead inside sixteen minutes – but the near post saved the Cocks.

Akpoveta cut back the first of their eight corners to the unmarked Adams, who drove his right-footed shot against the near post from 25-yards.

Beard said: “That’s one of the chances I’m talking about! It’s unfortunate we’re not there to tap in a rebound but chances like that you need to take, especially at this level because games are so tight and it’s just unfortunate really.

“It was unlucky from Antar. He’s a good lad. I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”

Wakeling admitted: “If that goes in then that would have been a big test! It’s a shot off target isn’t it?”

FC Elmstead were awarded a free-kick at the halfway mark and Luis Rozan swept the ball inside to his Witter, whose initial low centre was blocked and his second ball in was comfortably gathered by Jack Rankin.

Another precise deep cross from Akpoveta picked out Greg Barton at the far post but the central defender had too tight an angle to beat goalkeeper Luke Roberts with a header.

FC Elmstead, who started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, created their first real chance on the half-hour mark.

Mick Mullane, who alongside skipper George Jones sat in front of the back four, ventured forward and played a one-two with then lone striker Wade before stroking his right-footed shot straight at Rankin from 15-yards.

Wakeling said: “I know it’s an old cliché, but you have to take your chances when they come!

“The ball fell into Romayle. If he put his hand out he would have felt no centre half. He could have turned, shot himself and get on the goalkeeper for spillages. He didn’t. He laid it off into Mick’s right-hand side. A left-footed player, he took two touches and kind of squirted it towards goal.

“Romayle could have hit it and Mick Mullane, when it came to him, could have bent it.

“We needed a bit more conviction and been a bit more ruthless, a bit more ice cold.”

FC Elmstead were struggling to come to terms with Kent Invicta League football and they faced a mountain to climb when Orpington took a deserved 2-0 lead after 33 minutes.

Adams cut the ball back to central defender Barton, who hit a deep cross into the Elmstead penalty area and the talented Turyatemba took a touch before drilling his right-footed shot into the roof of the net from ten-yards.

Beard said: “Things we’ve worked on this year is getting that ball into a dangerous areas and it was good hold-up play by Antar, a good lay-off to Greg and what we work on in training is to try push up the pitch a bit and try to play in their half rather than hitting it from deep.

“It was a great ball from Greg and Alvin on the back post there just to come in and a good finish high above the keeper.”

Beard expects to lose his two-goal attacker, especially if he regularly performs like he did here tonight.

He said: “Alvin has put his name in the shop window. Alvin is a young had, he’s got potential. One of the reasons he’s come down here to us is to come to get first team football and get used to the men’s game. He’s quite raw. He’s got good pace and he’s got a good finish on him.

“But look, I know where we are as a club and I know what league we’re in. If teams come in from a higher level and they can guarantee him a good run of games then he goes with my blessing.  We told all the guys if a club come in for you and they can guarantee you playing week in, week out, then I’m happy to see them progress.

“There’s always other young lads out there looking for a chance.”

Wakeling added: “Again, we let a centre half have the ball, which we were quite happy to do but we asked our number 9 to press around the centre halves to make them feed the ball into central midfield to the deepest midfielder, who was good defensively but having watched them he can slow them down when he gets on the ball.

“We didn’t do that and we allowed Greg Barton to play a longer diagonal ball. Two centre halves missed the flight of the ball and it dropped around the penalty spot almost. The keeper can’t deal with that, one centre half goes up, one goes behind.

“I don’t like saying this, that’s a schoolboy goal. A good finish by the kid though in the floodlights to watch that ball drop and put it away.”

Struggling Elmstead should have done better with a 35-yard free-kick but Rozan skied his left-footed free-kick harmlessly over the crossbar.

Orpington should have gone into the break with a commanding 3-0 lead but Barton produced a central defender’s finish when through on goal.

FC Elmstead created a five-man move but Rozan was guilty of giving the ball away to Barton, who played a pass forward to striker Kieran McMahon, while continuing his run.

McMahon played in Barton through on goal but lacked composure and sent his right-footed chip dropping just over the crossbar from sixteen-yards.

Beard said: “That’s another one! I had a word with Greg at half-time about it and one of the main things that came out of the conversations we had, I like to have a general chat at half-time, not just dictating to them.

“We need to take our chances more!

“Chances like Greg’s, which is unfortunate for Greg, he could have finished that low but he reckons he couldn’t but I suppose it’s opinion but it’s chances like that we need to put away to kill games off.  If that gets put in we’re 3-0 up at half-time and sort of plane sailing from there.”

Wakeling added: “Just before that there was a couple of times when we was getting to the by-line and we just needed one to drop, to go in just behind.

“Then again we just left ourselves a little bit open. A good opportunity for them and if they take that its curtains but you’ve got to take your chances when you get given them!”

FC Elmstead failed to accept a lifeline just before the break.

Wade broke through the Orpington defence and slid the ball in behind to left-winger Adam Steward, who slid his left-footed shot across keeper Rankin and past the far post from ten-yards.

Wakeling added: “Adam’s chance, again should have been taken.  Take nothing away from Orpington, I’m not saying we deserved to go in level at half-time but again when you get your opportunities you’ve got to take them!”

Beard added: “Again, we limited them to half chances, chances outside the box. They didn’t really have a clear slight of goal and that’s something that the back four have been working on. It’s a brand new back four. In pre-season we’ve been working on our compactness. It’s going well and I think our first half is how we should be performing over 90 minutes.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at half-time.

Wakeling said: “At half-time I didn’t read them the riot act as such but told a few home truths because I don’t think we did what we worked on in training.

“I never thought we were out of it. We spoke at half-time about our triggers in wide areas that weren’t being produced. 

“The wide players got told in no uncertain terms there were two things that they weren’t doing, which could be worked on.  That could be nerves. You can listen to me all you like but when you go out there it’s down to the player.

“We told them at half-time what they needed doing. They agreed and it should’ve been done!”

Beard added: “It’s good coming in here 2-0 up and pushing on but we’ve got to be mindful it’s only 2-0! The next goal will pretty much win the game, kill the game off – or it will give them a way back in and one of the main criticisms I had off them is we missed to many chances and I was worried that it’s going to come back and bite us and surely it did!”

FC Elmstead went close to pulling a goal back inside the opening five minutes of the second half.

Rozan’s diagonal cross sailed over Witter’s head to pick out Mohan, who hit a low centre hard and low towards the near post which saw Wade nip across his marker to poke his shot just past the foot of the near post.

Orpington squandered yet another chance to put Elmstead out of sight in the 54th minute.

Akpoveta swept the ball out to right-back Tom Kember, who was given time and space to whip in an excellent cross towards the unmarked McMahon, who flashed his volley across goal and past the far post from eight-yards.

FC Elmstead started showing signs of a recovery in the 58th minute when Bryan came off the bench and moments later Wade cracked a deflected volley towards the top near corner from 18-yards, which forced Rankin to push the ball over the bar as the ball looped over his right shoulder.

Beard said: “We’ve brought in Jack this year. He’s a good lad. I know he’s a bit of a journeyman. He’s gone round the league above etc but I’ve known Jack a little while and I think he’s quality he’s shown there, he’s probably the best keeper in the league and hopefully we keep hold of him.

“He seems settled, he wants to come here and play here this season with the same band of lads. He’s integrated well so hopefully he shouldn’t have to make many more saves over the course of the season.”

Wakeling said: “It was a bit of a ricochet He couldn’t get the ball out from the sky. He got lost in the floodlights him and the centre half but he’s strong as an ox and he’s brave as a lion. He’s not the biggest but he just managed to get his shot away and it forced Rankin into a save, who by the way is a very good goalkeeper.  There were two excellent goalkeepers on show tonight him and Luke Roberts. I’m sure both can play higher, both are happy playing local football, I know Luke is.”

McMahon missed another chance when Alex Chapman released Turyatemba through on goal and he played the ball inside to McMahon, whose poor shot allowed Roberts to make a comfortable low save to his left.

Holding midfielder, Orpington skipper, Robbie Haines, went on a crossfield run with the ball before laying the ball inside to substitute Chico Egbe, who drilled his first time shot past the post from 25-yards.

FC Elmstead scored their first ever Kent Invicta League goal with 68 minutes on the clock.

Bryan capped off an impressive performance as he slipped the ball through to Wade who drilled his low right-footed shot across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 12-yards.

“We took Romayle out of the middle where he’s been playing a couple of times in pre-season,” said Wakeling.

“He’s good down the middle and on the bigger pitch here there’s lots of room in between full back and centre halves and we tried to get him to work off the slower centre half to come towards the ball and spin off.

“He didn’t quite get it. He lost his way a little bit but when you play him wider he could attack the full back and perhaps drive in towards the slower centre half and that would ask midfield to come deeper and we knew we could go a little bit higher to take the game to feet.

“Romayle looked far happier out there. I still see a number 9 in him but in the context of how the game was, we needed to make that adjustment in the same way we did when we brought George Bryan on. It was the right change at the right time and it got us in the game.”

Beard admitted the tide started turning by that point.

“I thought the substitutes they brought on, the guy up top, it seemed to unsettle us a little bit at the back.

“Technically he wasn’t great but he managed to get the ball and make it stick up top.  We weren’t picking up the runners. Unfortunately that’s where the goals came from.

“I had a chat with them and at that point the main problem I had with that was we had three players around him and no one has put in a tackle! I’m expecting my defenders to be putting in a tackle 25-yards from goal, whether it will be a block tackle or a slide tackle, someone needs to do something and they all just stood there and he managed to walk through.”

The goal lifted FC Elmstead’s spirits both on and off the field and they finished the game on the front foot.

Bryan was in space some 25-yards from goal but swept his shot on turn across goal and past the far post.

Wakeling was full of praise for game-changer Bryan, 18.

He said: “He’s a good young lad.  I’ve took him up from the under 21s last season. I put him straight into senior Kent County League football. I had a good look at him.

“He’s actually more comfortable in a deeper role but I’m convinced he can play a little bit more further forward, not as a genuine number 10 but playing in between the lines and pick up the ball and drive and be a bit stronger.

“He’s player with maturity and to come in and at that point play when you’re 2-0 down, he really showed proper maturity. He didn’t look out of place at all and he gave us a bit more momentum, a bit of grit as well and a bit of purpose. The ball stuck to him when he came on.”

A poor clearance out from Elmstead’s right-back Jamie Leggett went straight to Chapman, who flashed his first time shot just past the post from 22-yards.

FC Elmstead continued to press for an equaliser and it finally arrived with the last chance of the game with 42 minutes and 15 seconds on the clock.

Mohan found himself on the right wing and he whipped in a quality cross into the Orpington box, which sailed past Rozan at the near post, flew across Rankin and Wade ghosted in at the far post and capped an impressive performance by guiding his diving header into the near corner.

“Romayle kept making those darting runs,” said Wakeling.

“john Mohan, who was playing right-hand side of midfield to start with, has been with me since he was 15. He’s a very good player, can play anywhere and I just felt at that time with the last few minutes remaining we out him at right-back, not to defend, but we’re going to play with two wingers and Romayle will be our second striker on the left-hand side.

“Marcus (Howell), who is a young lad, did well when he came on, was going to come on as a right-back but a last minute decision was to play a little bit longer, with a lot more speed on the flanks to turn them around a bit more and have their back four facing in front of their own goal.

“John’s speed and persistence on the right-hand side allowed him to look like a right midfielder and he’s quality deliveries is up there with the best in this league and well put away by Romayle.”

Beard added: “It was disappointing that. If you take it back about 30-35 seconds it’s actually started with Alvin unfortunately taking a quick throw in.  He should’ve put it down to kill the game and he’s tried to take a quick throw in and they’ve nicked it and they’re suddenly on a counter attack and outnumbered us down the left with Josh Witter.

“It was a good ball in but again I’m expecting someone to come through and put their name on that and take a bit of responsibility and unfortunately they didn’t. Their guy ghosted in at the far post.”

At that point, the momentum was with FC Elmstead, but time ran out on them and they had to settle for their first point as a Step Six club.

Wakeling said: “We finished the game strong, which I’m proud off and we were assertive and we were positive and we had to deal with a negative situation with 203 people, 2-0 down at half-time and they all responded magnificently. Another three minutes, who knows?

“To show that strength of character – to come back from 2-0 down in front of everyone here tonight and get it 2-2. I know it’s an old cliché but it does feel like a win and the boys can only go forward from this.”

FC Elmstead:  Luke Roberts, Jamie Leggett, Harry West (Dan Carpenter 85), George Jones, Jack Baines, Christian Howell, John Mohan, Mick Mullane (Marcus Howell 78), Romayle Wade, Luis Rozan, Adam Steward (George Bryan 58).
Subs: Sam Truman, Barry Andrews

Goals: Romayle Wade 68, 88

Booked: John Mohan 89

Orpington: Jack Rankin, Tom Kember, Josh Witter, Elijah Akinlusi, Robbie Haines, Greg Barton, Antar Adams,  Alex Chapman (Gio Fullone 80), Kieran McMahon (Ben Slade 66), Dan Akpoveta (Chico Egbe 58), Alvin Turyatemba.
Sub: Byron Beard

Goals: Alvin Turyatemba 8, 33

Booked: Tom Kember 85

Attendance: 203
Referee: Mr Ben Bowles (Rochester)
Assistants: Mr Harry Graham (Orpington) & Mr Vince Kennedy (Welling)