Glebe 2-0 Sutton Athletic - I'm not interested in second. I want to win the league because it's an achievement, says Glebe boss Simon Copley

Tuesday 09th February 2016
Glebe 2 – 0 Sutton Athletic
Location Foxbury Avenue, off Perry Street, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6SD
Kickoff 09/02/2016 19:45

Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Foxbury Avenue

GLEBE manager Simon Copley says the pressure is on him to remain at the top of the tree after going two points clear of the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League.

The well-backed Chislehurst based outfit knocked visitors Sutton Athletic off the summit with an impressive 2-0 victory on a wet and chilly night at Foxbury Avenue.

Glebe displayed their title-favourites credentials by deservedly beating a Sutton Athletic side that had won their last eight games.

Ryan Golding broke the deadlock with the penultimate kick off the first half to score his nineteenth goal of the season, before Danny Gannon came off the bench to clinch the dominant victory towards the end.

“I think we deserved it, I think we deserved to go back on top,” said Copley, an under 14 coach at Premier League club Arsenal.

“We’ve been a little bit stale because we haven’t had that many games – we’ve played a couple of friendlies that haven’t meant much and we’ve not really been fired up for that.

“But I said before the game about we’ve beaten teams around us and Sutton are now in that bracket, obviously being top at the start of the day, albeit through games in hand and whatever else.

“I think we totally deserved the win, no disrespect to them. I’ve got a lot of time for Sutton. I used to play for them and I know their manager but we totally deserved to win that game.”

Sutton Athletic manager Ben Young added: “My thoughts, first thoughts, the better team won.  They came out of the blocks nice and early, put us under immense pressure, some quality saves from our keeper kept us in it and the pressure paid off with a late goal in the first half, which they thoroughly deserved.

“The title race is very interesting this season. There’s a lot of teams that are involved. We’ve worked hard to put ourselves at the top spot. A club like us will always try to improve season by season and for us we’ve put ourselves on a fantastic run and we went top.

“If we win on Saturday (at Kent Football United) we’ve got a chance to go back top again.

“Glebe are a fantastic club with some great players, who after tonight deserve to go back to top.”

A crowd of 106 fans saw Glebe return to the top of the table on 51 points from 21 games, although Sutton Athletic (49 points from 22), Bearsted (48 from 21), Sheppey United (48 from 22) and Seven Acre & Sidcup (43 from 24) are on their tails.

Glebe were an attacking force straight from the first whistle and Sutton Athletic keeper Dean Nash pulled off his first save after only 99 seconds.

Jaie Nuttall pumped a long free-kick into the Sutton penalty area and the ball fell to Gary Lockyer, whose right-footed angled drive was parried around the post by the immense goalkeeper.

“The keeper done well to be fair,” said Copley.

“The boys are telling me at half-time the keeper’s having a worldy, but I think it’s their way of covering up the fact that they should’ve scored more! I think on a different night that could be a little bit more in our favour.”

Young revealed he almost missed that first of many Glebe opportunities.

“I was still coming back with the tea’s so I literally came out, it dropped to him and I thought this is 1-0!

“What a fantastic save! We’ve got two keepers and he’s our number two because our other keeper’s away. He’s got an operation next week so we’re going to be missing him for a while but for me he as fantastic tonight and he kept us in the game, showing the quality and how high he should be playing.”

Nuttall swung in the resulting corner from the left which was met at the far post by left-back Daniel Palfrey, Glebe’s captain planting his free header past the post.

Palfrey then delivered a deep free-kick which Lockyer directed another header past the post, before Golding had a shot cleared off the line and James Alderman also headed wide following another corner from Nuttall.

Copley was pleased with his side’s start to the third-versus-top clash.

He said: “I put some notes up in the changing room and I divided it up in their positions and the forwards were about just relaxing on their finishing. Let’s not take seven or eight chances to get one goal and what happens? We take seven or eight chances to get one goal!

“We tend to dominate set-pieces and we dominate corners and even our centre halves came up.  Palfrey, far post, should’ve scored, Carson Dennis, far post, should’ve scored and then Lockyer and Golding, one each.  The balls should’ve been in the back of the net four or five times in my opinion!”

Nash was called into action again after sixteen minutes of Glebe dominance.

Alderman released Lockyer down the right and he whipped in a low cross towards the far post where an unmarked Golding seemed destined to score.

Nash, however, swiftly raced off his line to get down low to tip the shot around his near post.

Copley said: “I was delighted that those two actually passed it. We have three or four forwards that seem to be direct, not selfish, but direct and I thought it was a great ball in by Alderman to release Gary. It was a great cross from Gary.

“I thought if Golding was a yard or two sharp he can maybe take it first time but he’s had to cut back and shoot from the angle, but for me it was a bonus watching the front two players play together and play very well tonight.”

Another Glebe chance went betting when Palfrey swung in a free-kick towards the far post into a crowd of players where Carson Dennis came up from the back to send his header into Nash’s hands.

Sutton Athletic somehow weathered the storm and created their first opening at the half-way mark.

Right-back Joe Hill played a sublime diagonal ball which was trapped well by Daniel Gunner down the left.  He delivered an outswinging cross towards the edge of the penalty box, which was knocked down by Tom Hammond, only for central midfielder Will Roomes to hit over the bar from 22-yards.

Young said: “He’s unlucky! That was probably our first bit of play where we made a couple of passes, looked to play and get the set-off and Will was coming on top of it and was stretching.  I would’ve liked to see him hit the target because it was a nice ball for him to strike but it was pleasing to see because it kind of gave us the lift to get back into the game.”

The Hextable-based visitors almost grabbed the lead following a goal-mouth scramble.

Gunner whipped in a corner from the left which was headed down by Ben Williams and Roomes had a couple of efforts to stab the ball over the line.

Glebe winger Jordan Johnson then cut in from the right and his shot took a deflection off Roomes and was saved comfortably by Nash.

Glebe were sometimes too keen to hit the ball direct and this was a case with another Nuttall free-kick which flicked off Golding’s head and sailed harmlessly wide.

Holding midfielder Nuttall almost scored goal-of-the-season in the 35th minute.

Glebe were awarded a free-kick 40-yards from goal after Ben Williams gave away a needless left-handed handball in the middle of the park.

Sutton lined up a three-man wall and Nuttall unleashed a powerful drilled right-footed free-kick which screamed towards the top right-hand corner of the net, Nash saved by the top of the post.

“I said to Ian (Varley, assistant), I turned round and said ‘will he have a shot from there?’ He went ‘no’.

“I said ‘what’s he doing?’ and then it’s hit the post! An inch to the left that’s probably the greatest goal he’ll ever score!

“To me that’s added to the ones we’ve missed. Maybe that’s a luxury goal to be added to the tally of missed opportunities but what a strike!”

Young added: “I was right behind it and I see him and I thought he can’t be like Ronaldo can he?  What a great strike it was! Fortunately for us it struck the crossbar and what a great technique. That’s the quality that they showed all night.”

Out-played Sutton Athletic did create a chance within a minute when impressive left-winger Jonny Murray cut inside Glebe right-back Jordan Clark, but the shot from 16-yards was saved comfortably by spectator Alfie George in the Glebe goal.

“Jonny Murray’s a new player this season. He’s been about. He’s been a brilliant outlet for us this season, he’s terrorised defences,” said Young.

“He’s still got a lot to learn. We’ve talked about that he’s got to release it a little bit quicker and show a little bit of quality but he’s got 14 goals for the season from the left side and he’s got the ability and he caused them trouble all night.”

It seemed to be one of those nights for the home side when another chance went begging.

Alderman played the ball out to Lockyer down the right and he cut the ball back inside to Alderman, who stroked his right-footed shot into the hands of the diving Nash.

Glebe finally opened the scoring with 44:39 on the clock and when Sutton Athletic re-started the game the half-time whistle was blown by referee Harry Phillips.

Golding released Johnson down the right, the former Kent Football United winger cut into the penalty area.

Sutton Athletic’s central defender Sean Heather came across but landed on his backside leaving Johnson the opportunity to cut the ball back to Golding.

Golding’s shot on the turn was heading towards the far corner, but took a deflection off Williams and nestled into the bottom near corner instead.

“I didn’t see the deflection from where I was standing, if you’re saying deflection that’s fine,” said Copley.

“We gave JJ a target. The reason I signed JJ from Kent Football United was when he played against us he ran through our midfield. He was really, really strong and dominant and I said to him last week against Bridon Ropes can you trust your pace a little bit more because he’s so quick.

“He skimmed past their defender, he’s dumped him on his backside with a turn and he’s put the ball in the box and for me the big tick wasn’t just the goal and maybe there was a bit of fortune about it.

“Let’s be honest they’ve been leading a charmed life in front of goal today, so I was just pleased that Jordan has listened to what we’ve told him and he’s been direct, he’s been aggressive and a great ball in and when that went in straight on half-time, maybe our luck’s in because we do that a lot. We create a lot of chances and don’t finish them.” 

Young refused to blame Heather for the goal following his slippery mistake.

“I thought we weathered the storm throughout the half and for me it was just about getting the boys back inside so we could have a good chat and how we need to go for the second half,” said the Sutts manager.

“But that’s football, it happens, we’ve done it this season where we’ve been on top and we’ve nicked one near the end.

“But for me it comes from our own mistake up top. It was a sloppy pass, we got caught out but they showed their quality.

“I don’t think we needed to dive in. Again, they got the luck they needed and got the first goal via the deflection because I think it was going straight into our goalkeeper’s hands.

“Sean has been fantastic this season and I’m not going to blame him.  It was that choice that he made and I respect that choice. He was unlucky. Maybe he could’ve stood him up but he’s made so many last-ditch challenges this season.

“On the other hand, you can look at it, it’s good skill from the number eight, Jordan Johnson.”

Both managers were asked whether Golding’s goal changed their half-time team-talks.

Copley said: “I didn’t actually really change the half-time team talk. I was very conscience when we play at our home ground when we play up the hill we tend to stay a little bit too deep and I gave them the challenge of being very, very hard to beat, about being compact and the front two holding the ball up and letting us join in.

“The half-time team talk was ‘look, these are the games you’ve got to win.  These are the old fashioned six-pointers.”

Young added: “We just had a good chat where we could hit the areas and we need to get tighter in certain areas.

“We just talked about having a little bit of belief but for me what was disappointing and what we lacked all night was showing our quality in the final third, which we haven’t done all season to get to where we are you have to have that quality.”

Sutton Athletic raised their tempo and desire levels at the start of the second half.

They were to be denied an equaliser after only 68 seconds when Williams cracked a brilliant swerving drive from 35-yards down the left-hand side which was expertly palmed over the bar by George, high to his right.

“What a shot, great save,” hailed the Sutton Athletic manager.

“If I’m honest, I wanted Ben Williams to drive on a little bit more, just probably he could’ve got his shot away but great strike!

“I think the keeper made a meal of it – but what was pleasing for me, we was on the front foot from the start and that’s what I wanted to see.  It gave us that lift and we dominated for the next 25 minutes.”

Copley said: “Alfie hasn’t had a lot of saves to make in the game.  I’m not saying Sutton were poor by any means but we defended quite well so when he’s called upon I was glad he’s tipped it over, the lad’s hit a screamer.”

The introduction at half-time of right-winger Frazer Walker gave Sutton Athletic more attacking threat during the second half.

He put lone striker Arlie Desanges through on goal down the middle but his right-footed drive from 20-yards trickled into the hands of the Glebe keeper.

“He’s been unbelievable this season, Arlie,” said Young.

“He’s improved season-by-season. I played with him two seasons ago, I managed him last season and this season he’s been unbelievable.

“If he gets half a chance, he puts it away.  I think he got a little bit isolated tonight, which wasn’t pleasing for me. We could’ve got tighter to him and helped him out and when we did that’s when we started to cause trouble. Again, the boys have got to learn to manage the game.”

Sutton Athletic were to be denied an equaliser just past the hour mark, a good spell from the men in green and white.

Hill released Walker down the right and his cross-box pass found Murray at the far post and his low drive was cleared off the line by Jack Hooper.

Young said: “Great movement. We talked about getting in behind their full-backs because we’ve got that ability and that’s where we caused trouble all night.

“When I asked for quality, Frazer Walker drove in, fantastic ball across, that’s what I’m asking and Jonny Murray’s a little bit behind it and he’s done well on a bobbly pitch to keep it down and that’s your luck. If that goes in, it’s a different story, it wasn’t meant to be our night tonight.”

Copley said: “That’s the one that Jack reminded me when we came off. I said to Jack he’s got an outstanding fine that I would clear for him if we win the game with a clean sheet.

“After the game I thought actually if that had gone in it would’ve saved myself some money!

“Hoops has done a great job there. That’s no fluke that we’ve got someone on the line, that’s something that we’ve nailed down with the boys that we don’t come out of the box until we’ve got possession.

“That’s a little bit of luck on our side maybe, but then if that’s the only bit of luck on our side and you look at the six or seven chances that we had in the first half, in my opinion.”

Glebe went close to giving the scoreline a more justified look with 20 minutes left.

Lockyer played the ball into Johnson’s feet, who drilled his left-footed shot across the diving keeper and whistling past the post from 25-yards.

Palfrey fed Lockyer down the left, who cut inside to drill his shot across the diving keeper and screaming past the far post.

Glebe finished the game on the front foot and the brilliant Nash pulled off another great save with 17 minutes left.

Ross Morley drilled his right-footed shot towards the bottom left-hand corner from 25-yards, but Nash dived full-length to his left to tip the ball around the post.

Copley said: “Ross is energetic. He’s such a fit, aggressive, lively player and he breaks play up and he gets the ball and he’s full of energy and sometimes he forgets where the goal is and have a go at goal himself.

“It’s opened up for him, he’s hit the shot and the keeper’s tipped it round. It was a great effort and something I’d like to see more from him to do.”

Young added: “Great save! A lot of it was down to our sloppy play. We gave things away when we didn’t need to but they capitalise and when you play good teams you can’t give them mistakes and they get their shoots off.  Again, Dean Nash was keeping us in the game!”

Glebe waited until 39:59 on the clock before breaking Nash’s resilience, through substitute Gannon’s seventh goal of the season.

Palfrey ventured over the halfway line to play the ball into Gannon down the left, who from the corner of the penalty area, chipped in a cross towards the far post.

The ball was headed clear by Sutton left-back Marvin Francis but neither Hammond or Heather had the desire to clear their lines on the edge of the box.

Gannon showed that desire to cut across the penalty area and from a central position took a touch before stroking his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 20-yards.

“I’m pleased for him because at the start of the season he started off as our leading goalscorer, I think he got five in five or something like that then he got a bad injury and we’ve missed him for a bit,” said Copley.

“Last week he got quite a bad injury again. We thought that’s him done. He texted me today saying he’s buzzing to play and I just felt with his legs in behind Golding he can cause them problems and I know he can finish.”

Young added: “Great strike! Again, from my point of view as a manager our own mistakes. I think we could’ve cleared it when we had a chance and the thing is he’s come on back on to his second ball.

“I won’t take it away from him, a great strike. Poor Deano was on the end of letting it in but it wasn’t his fault because he’s been superb all night.

“Good strike but I felt we could’ve dealt with it ourselves.

“We’re pushing on and there will be a chance where they’d get a goal because you’re going for it but the frustrating thing is the boys worked hard on a heavy pitch and you could see it got to him and he’s a fresh sub and had the legs to get there.”

Nash was not to be beaten for a third time, however, using his right arm to prevent substitute Jamie Williams lobbing the ball over him when he was played in through on goal at the death.

Despite his injury-time cameo, Copley revealed Williams will start their Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final tie at Orpington on Saturday.

The Glebe manager said: “We made the change with Jamie and he’s got a chance to lob the keeper. Even Jamie has had three or four minutes, he’s done a job for us in those three or four minutes and he will start on Saturday.”

Young revealed Sutton Athletic do not pay their players and he is keen to push the big-boys all the way for the title.

He said: “It’s a learning curve for me, a second season as a manager. It’s a learning curve for all of us boys, I’ve never been top before, they haven’t.

“You could see the occasion got to them a little bit.

“We’ve had an outstanding season. We’ve beaten teams with nice little budgets, they’re pushing on, but our boys do it for the love of it, no budget at all, just turn up, play, they pay to wash their kit.

“That’s where we are. We’re a club that’s building. I’m lucky enough to get the players in that I have, they want to play for the club. A lot of them have played higher but they’ve fallen in love with what we are building.

“It’s a long season, we’ve got 16 games more to play and I think the title is going to swing around a lot this season with us Sheppey, Glebe, you’ve got Gravesham Borough, Bearsted, all fantastic teams. You’ve got APM as well, Seven Acre.

“Unfortunately we’ve got to play all of them again but that’s what it’s all about. You play the big games and you enjoy it. We move on and we’ll go from them.”

Glebe MUST finish in one of the top two promotion places or Copley and Varley will be looking for a new club to manage next season.

“We deserve to be top of the table on that performance, on the performance against Bearsted, Gravesham, against all the top sides, the sides that we’ve beaten, we deserve to be there,” said Copley.

“I’m not an arrogant person, but I just think there’s no point putting quality together if we’re not going to be on top of the tree so I’m a happy bunny tonight.

“Pressure? It is with my chairman, yes. I don’t think anyone’s got my chairman in their club. It makes it quite clear.  He told Ian we were sacked before the game if we lost tonight, all tongue in cheek.

“In the same way I’m saying to you I’m putting a squad together, he’s putting a facility together, he’s put me in charge to put a management team together and it’s like things like the tracksuits, training tops, with the decent pitch, the clubhouse, all those things, he’s not going to do that if he doesn’t want to be somewhere so I have to respect that and believe that we can do that and hopefully at the end of the season we’ll have a chat like this and it will be positive with a promotion so fingers crossed.

“I’m not interested in second. I want to win the league because it’s an achievement and it’s something that we strive for.

“Don’t get me wrong, if we do finish second I’ll be delighted that we’re going up but I want to win it because you’re a long time dead as they say so you have to enjoy the moments.

“I made sacrifices to be here. I’m away from my young children a lot especially with my other job at Arsenal. I do a lot of long hours. I’m not wanting to do that just to finish third, fourth, fifth or something. 

“Ian and I are committed to the cause and make sure we win the league, hopefully.”

Glebe: Alfie George, Jordan Clark, Daniel Palfrey, Jack Hooper, Carson Dennis, Jaie Nuttall, Ross Morley, Jordan Johnson, Ryan Golding (Jamie Williams 90), James Alderman, Gary Lockyer (Danny Gannon 76).
Subs: Connor Charlton, Ismail Ismail, Cameron Reardon

Goals: Ryan Golding 45, Danny Gannon 85

Booked: Ryan Golding 52, Gary Lockyer 52, Jordan Johnson 64

Sutton Athletic: Dean Nash, Joe Hill, Marvin Francis, Will Roomes, Tom Hammond, Sean Heather, Jonny Murray, Ben Williams, Arlie Desanges, Daniel Gunner (Luke Newman 83), Danny Ball (Frazer Walker 46).
Subs: Chris Page, Mike Mills

Booked: Ben Williams 13, Joe Hill 56

Attendance: 106
Referee: Mr Harry Phillips (Dartford)
Assistants: Mr Daren Rudd (Dartford) & Mr Ian Cowell (Dartford)