Glebe 2-0 Sheppey United - I hope that we can use this to ignite our season and kick on from this moment because if we go on a run we firmly believe we can still go up and that's our ambition, says Glebe boss Harry Hudson
Glebe 2 – 0 Sheppey United
|Location||Foxbury Avenue, off Perry Street, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6SD|
GLEBE 2-0 SHEPPEY UNITED
Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 18 January 2022
Stephen McCartney reports from Foxbury Avenue
GLEBE manager Harry Hudson says his side should use beating fellow promotion challengers Sheppey United to ignite their season and to kick-on and achieve their ambition of going up.
Sheppey United missed the chance to close the gap on Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division leaders Chatham Town to a point as they slipped up in Chislehurst.
The Foxes were hungrier and showed more desire than second-placed Sheppey United and they closed the gap to seven points with a game in hand, courtesy of goals from centre-half Nico Lawrence, 18, and second striker Charlie Penny, who notched his eighth goal of the season.
Glebe were knocked out of The FA Vase in the last 32 at the weekend, going down to a 3-2 defeat at Poole based Hamworthy United, who will host Tunbridge Wells in the last 16 on 12 February, after Richard Styles’ men beat Somerset outfit Bridgwater United 5-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at the weekend.
Sheppey United have sealed back-to-back league wins over Bearsted (3-0) and Crowborough Athletic (6-0) but Glebe have now won all nine of their league games at fortress Foxbury Avenue, on what was a chilly evening.
Batten was without 13-goal striker Jack Midson, midfielder Liam Gillies and winger Junior Aikhonbare through injuries and right-back Daniel Birch went off with a knock straight after Glebe’s clincher.
“Personally, I thought we were the better side in the game. I thought we had the better of the first-half and probably deserved to go in with more than a goal lead,” said Hudson, who shares his name with footballers at both Tonbridge Angels and Tunbridge Wells.
“We scored from a quick counter-attack because they had a little bit of pressure at the start of the second half and we took that chance and I felt pretty comfortable.
“Their best chance of the game came from us overplaying when we were 2-0 up but I’m really proud of the way the boys conducted themselves today. They worked, they grafted, they celebrated the little things that matter. It feels like it’s been a long time coming. It’s crazy, that’s our first league win since 13 November.
“The times we’ve questioned character within the group this season but they played with 10 men for 86 minutes on Saturday (our 3-2 FA Vase Fourth Round defeat in Poole, Dorset against Hamworthy United) and we had a long coach journey back.
“We’ve only made one change of the starting eleven on a Tuesday night and I thought we out-worked them and we looked hungrier than Sheppey and that’s credit to the boys.”
Sheppey United manager Ernie Batten said: “Obviously a disappointing result for us. I thought on the night we struggled a little bit at times. I give Glebe full credit, they got the two goals. I know we huffed and puffed at times. I think second half we applied a bit of pressure and got quite a few crosses and corners in but Glebe were better than us defending tonight.
“I think they showed resilience and I said to my side after that’s a big factor in the winter time especially when the pitches are going to be a bit heavy. You’ve got to show resilience and stand up and be counted and I thought at times we allowed them to score two goals. One, I thought was disappointing because we didn’t pick up in the box correctly and the other one was us having the ball around the half-way line and we’ve given the ball away and they knocked the ball into the box, a cross and it’s 2-0.”
When asked about Glebe’s 100% league record at home, Batten replied: “It’s a difficult place to come. Glebe are a decent side and it’s a little bit different here, the environment is different, the pitch has a huge slope on it and Glebe play that very well and you’ve got to come here and be resilient. Glebe have got some good players and they take advantage, they’re very good on the break and they get their goals and they defend well.”
The game was mainly a cagey affair – two good sides tend to cancel each other out – and Sheppey United created an opening inside the opening seven minutes.
Richard Hamill – one of two holding midfielders – split Glebe’s right-back Dami Olorunnisomo by clipping a diagonal over to the left, where winger Michael Hagan did superbly to bring the ball down from the chilly sky, take a touch before cracking a right-footed drive just over the centre of the crossbar from 16-yards.
Batten said: “I thought it might be going in for a moment and it just floated over the bar. If that went in that could’ve been a good start for us.”
Hudson added: “It was actually a great effort. I thought it was going to dip enough, one of the rare times they switched play against us today. They isolated our full-back and thankfully it sailed over the bar. If it clears big George’s head, you tend to know it’s going to go over the bar, thankfully.”
Ainsley Everett – one of three Glebe central midfielders – found himself in the right-back position and hit the right channel and the ball was cleared out to 37-goal striker Jamie Philpot, but his first-time speculative effort from 45-yards was well off the mark as the game entered the tenth minute.
Glebe’s holding midfielder Kalvin Morath-Gibbs released Philpot down the left channel and the striker drew a free-kick from Sheppey United’s centre-half Ashley Sains.
However, Bradley Wilson, whipped in a free-kick from the left channel close to the by-line with his right-foot and it was right on the money and Lawrence found a pocket of space at the back post to bury his header past Adam Molloy and into the roof of the net from two-yards out.
“It’s a great delivery and also the commitment and the aggression from Nico to get his head on it, it is phenomenal,” said Hudson.
“We’ve been talking about him a lot recently and bigging him up. He’s only 18 and a centre-half and he headed the ball like a man. A great delivery and a great header.
“Special mention for me goes to Kalvin (Morath-Gibbs). I thought Kalvin in the pivot position today was just phenomenal. The amount of fires he put out tonight, tackles he won. I thought he was man-of-the-match, really exceptional.”
Batten added: “We’re disappointed with the goal because we gave the free-kick away in dangerous areas and we’ve spoken about giving free-kicks away in those areas and the guy got away from his marker and he’s headed it in at the far post. We’ve got to be disappointed with that but credit to Glebe.”
Glebe had a second goal ruled out on the half-hour mark when King-Elliott teed up Wilson, who placed his shot across the keeper and into the bottom far corner, although assistant referee Thomas Nicholls had flagged Philpot for offside.
“It’s hard from my angle. I think he probably is standing offside,” said Hudson.
“My question I asked the lino at half-time ‘does the keeper save it if he’s not there?’ and my answer is 100% no!
“It was a great crisp finish into the corner. However, I can’t see from my angle how much our player was in the eye line. It didn’t look like he stepped over it or anything like that so it’s slightly disappointing but it would’ve been a lovely goal.”
Batten added: “The linesman said he was offside so that’s the rules (Laws) of the game so he’s disallowed it.”
Penny, who played just behind Philpot, kept composed after slipping over and fed Everett, who kept the ball at his feet on a mazy run before cutting inside and curling his left-footed shot over the crossbar from 18-yards, with Hamill pressing.
Glebe produced a good move in the 42nd minute when Everett fed the ball into Philpot, who flicked a back-heal into Penny, who produced a poor finish with his left-foot, slicing his shot harmlessly high and wide and heading towards the clubhouse.
“Again, really good interplay and we were split on the bench between whether he should’ve hit it with his right foot. I thought as he twisted onto his left, I thought he sat the defender down, unfortunately it was on his weaker foot and it looked like it,” added Hudson.
Glebe’s left-back Matthew Parsons fed King-Elliott down the left and the ball was cut back to Morath-Gibbs, whose shot on the turn was parried by Molloy, diving low to his left.
Sheppey United almost grabbed the lead inside injury time, kicking down the slope.
Right-winger Jefferson Aibangbee released striker Warren Mfula who drilled a first-time shot on the turn towards the foot of the near post, which forced goalkeeper George Kamurasi to get his huge frame swiftly down to his left and to use a strong hand to push the ball around his post.
Batten said: “I thought that was a fantastic save. I thought it was in because it went under George but he managed to get a hand low down. I thought it was a good strike by Warren on the turn, I thought it was an excellent save.”
Hudson added: “He got down really well. It was a good effort from a fair well out but it was struck well and Big G got down well and made a save and he was very, very solid today.”
Glebe deserved their slender lead going into the interval.
Hudson said: “I said to the players at half-time, if they had different solutions to press us what are the solutions for us to keep playing out? I wanted our players to keep being brave and just more of the mentality of keeping up the level of intensity we had in the first half. If we matched that again I felt like there were goals in it for us and we didn’t feel like they could get a foothold in the game.”
Batten added: “We were disappointed at half-time because I didn’t feel we played our game like we can. We’re used to playing good football. We got embroiled, I think, into a bit of a scrappy game. It was quite frenetic but we lacked quality on the ball and we weren’t able to assert the pressure that we normally can.
“In terms of the second half we needed to improve that, play our football. I thought we started the second half reasonably well and played some decent stuff and forced a number of corners and a number of crosses into the box but we just couldn’t make that breakthrough.”
Sheppey United started the second half on the front-foot, however, getting in behind Olorunnisomo on three occasions but clear-cut chances were at a premium as Glebe’s back four (Parsons, Lawrence, Antone Douglas and Olorunnisomo) were resilient.
Hudson said: I thought we came out a little bit slow and they had a good reaction but the second goal was really critical.
“I think they weren’t creating anything against us. I didn’t feel like there were lots and lots of chances, like there was a bit of pressure but I felt we were relatively comfortable. They were finding gaps and exploiting anything between our shape so that was positive.”
Glebe weathered the storm, however, and killed the game off by grabbing a second goal in the 58th minute when an attempted last-ditch block from Sheppey’s right-back Daniel Birch couldn’t prevent Penny from settling matters.
Wilson was released by a ball over the top down the right and he put it on a plate again for Penny to sweep a first-time shot across the keeper and into the bottom far corner, getting to the ball just before Birch, who was replaced by Lex Allan after receiving treatment.
Hudson said: “They had a little bit of sustained pressure at the start of the second half and for us to score at the time we did was massive.
“I actually thought there was a strong penalty shout in the build-up to that, which the ref waved away.
“It’s a massive goal for us, the importance of the timing, probably the most important moment in the game.”
Batten added: “It’s a disappointing goal because we had the ball around the halfway line. We gave up possession, an easy pass. We had the ball centrally and we knocked the ball out to somebody’s feet. It’s gone to one of their players so we gave possession away and they drilled the ball over the top of Ashley Sains and they got in behind crossed it and scored a goal and after having a good spell of possession we find ourselves 2-0 down.
“Dan Birch has been struggling with a couple of knocks recently. He missed Saturday’s game against Crowborough so he was feeling that a bit so we decided he should come off and not risk any further injuries.”
Sheppey United needed something and they missed a glorious chance in the 65th minute as a player who you expected to score was guilty of committing the cardinal sin of miss-of-the-season.
Kamurasi crossed his 18-yard line and the ball was stolen off him by Mfula, who slipped the ball on his outside to Bennett, who took a touch and from inside the penalty area stroked his right-footed shot over the crossbar of an open goal from a central position some 15-yards from goal.
Batten said: “You’d put your mortgage on him burying that with an open goal, the keeper’s out, he’s just has to roll it in and he’s got underneath it and lifted it over the bar.
“I think that was the difference between the two sides tonight. I thought Glebe were very resilient, they got their goal and they determined not to concede and defended very, very well.
“I mean it’s not a blame game. He’s looking to score, he’s going to score that 19 times out of 20 or 99 times out of 100 really but just on this occasion perhaps he'll blame a bobble on the pitch. I don’t know, I’ll speak to him later about it.”
Hudson admitted: “It was a huge, huge chance. Maybe that was the most important part of the game, I’m not sure. Those two moments were really key.
“If they score that with half-an-hour to go, it really gets their tails up and you start to think about surviving rather than having a bit of a cushion.
“That chance hasn’t come from them playing, getting the better of us. It’s come from a mistake and miss communication unfortunately. With the way we play sometimes that can happen. We got out of jail there.”
Sheppey United goalkeeper Molloy made a comfortable low save to his right to prevent Philpot unleashing a right-footed drive towards the bottom right-hand corner from a central position some 35-yards from goal.
“It was a bit of a battle. They were going to over commit with their press. They had to stop us playing and we’ve got a 2-0 lead and it’s not about over committing, it’s about being solid and compact,” said Hudson.
“It was a comfortable save. Philpot does try to hit things from distance at times. He struck it rather well but I thought it was barely half-a-chance.”
Batten added: “Philpot’s a good striker, you’re going to expect him to have chances and he’s got good movement. I thought we contained them quite well up front tonight. I thought we were decent. We just had lapses and that’s all it takes against good players, you just need a lapse and good strikers are going to find the back of the net.”
Batten threw caution to the wind by changing formation to three at the back (substitute Lex Allan, Sains and Howlett-Mundle) and three up top (Mfula, half-time substitute Dean Grant and Aibangbee) for the final 20 minutes but they couldn’t break down a resilient Glebe defence.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, Hamill swung in a left-footed free-kick from the touchline, the ball was cleared out to Sains, who clipped the ball back into a crowd of players and Kamurasi bravely came out and smothered the loose ball. The six-foot-six goalkeeper went down a couple of times for treatment on his dead leg during the second half.
Glebe were unlucky not to add the icing on the cake of a hard-working performance full of desire inside the final seven minutes when they hit Sheppey on the counter attack after clearing Hamill’s left-wing corner, the away side’s sixth of the half and eight in total.
The ball was cleared out to substitute Sam Johnson who switched the play from right to left and Everett cut inside Sheppey’s left-back Renford Tenyue (now in the right-back position) and Everett cut inside and powerfully drilled a right-footed rocket, which screamed towards the bottom far corner. However, with Molloy well-beaten, the ball crashed against the base of the far post, rolled almost along the goal-line and went out for a throw-in.
Hudson said: “Ainsley couldn’t have done anything more. He’s been playing on the wing for most of his career. We play him centrally but he brought back his winger days, come inside and it’s beaten the goalie all ends up. It’s almost bounced, it’s hit the post and gone along the goal line and out for a throw.
“If that goes in it’s the icing on the cake, an unbelievable effort from Ainsley. On another day that goes in and it’s 3-0.”
Batten added: “I think at that point we’re pushing on, we’re 2-0 down, we’ve gone three at the back there and we’re trying to push people forward and we’re either going to get a goal or concede another one but we had to that that chance and try to get back into the game.
“It was a battle second half. I mean they had a fair proportion of the game second half up the slope. I just think the real difference was they were able to defend their box extremely well. They had a real desire to win that football match.”
Glebe ran the clock down during the seven minutes and 45 seconds of injury-time.
Morath-Gibbs drilled a low shot forward which Penny swept towards goal which was heading wide of the base of the left-hand post but Molloy gathered but the Foxes ran out deserved winners.
Hudson said: “I don’t feel like we were put under immense pressure so that’s really positive that our shape was right but more than anything tonight it was our culture, it was out combativeness, it was our energy, it was our determination from player one to 11 and Sammy Johnson when he came on. I can’t praise the boys enough considering three days ago they played with 10 men for 86 minutes.”
Chatham Town remain at the summit with 57 points from 21 games, Sheppey United are in second on 53 points, while Glebe have a game in hand on 46 points. Erith Town have played 23 games and have collected 43 points and you can’t rule out Deal Town, in fifth with 40 points from 18 games.
Both managers were asked about the promotion race.
Hudson said: “We believe on our day we are the best side in this league, we just have to find the consistency.
“I’d like to think it’s going to go right to the wire. To be honest if we had lost today the gap would’ve been probably difficult.
“I hope that we can use this to ignite our season. I hope that we can kick on from this moment because if we go on a run, we firmly believe we can still go up and that’s our ambition.”
Batten added: “I think we are where we are. It’s a long way to go. I believe we’ve just gone past the halfway mark so there’s 17 games still to go so lots of games to play and I think the league will go right up to the final weeks, to the wire.”
Both sides are in Kent Senior Trophy Quarter-Final action on Saturday with Glebe travelling to Deal Town, while Sheppey United travel to Dartford to play Welling Town.
Hudson, meanwhile, explained why he and the members of his bench often cheer during battleground moments.
He said: “We don’t at the moment have the largest fan base. I thought today was different, a great atmosphere today. We drive the culture from the side line. We cheer, we congratulate, we cajole. We’re not shouting or swearing our doing anything to the other team. We just simply congratulate what we think is important to our success.
“I suppose sometimes that’s not what the other bench want to hear but fundamentally when Sheppey have 600 fans shouting the ball in the net that’s great but we don’t have so many fans so we try to build the culture ourselves.”
Batten replied: “Well teams have their own way of motivating players. I don’t believe that kind of shouting and screaming every decision should be part of the game. I don’t particularly like it but every team has a way of playing and managing and if they were saying about the fan base then I think their bench accounts for about 1,200 people.” (he said laughing).
Glebe: George Kamurasi, Dami Olorunnisomo, Matthew Parsons, Kalvin Morath-Gibbs, Nico Lawrence, Antone Douglas, Ryan King-Elliott (Sam Johnson 56), Ainsley Everett, Jamie Philpot, Charlie Penny, Bradley Wilson.
Subs: Wazir Azeez, Lauris Chin, Solomon Baugh, Reginald Rose
Goals: Nico Lawrence 23, Charlie Penny 58
Booked: Nico Lawrence 24, Ryan King-Elliott 35
Sheppey United: Adam Molloy, Daniel Birch (Lex Allan 60), Renford Tenyue, Helge Orome, Ashley Sains, Jahmal Howlett-Mundle, Michael Hagan (Dean Grant 46), Richard Hamill, Warren Mfula, Billy Bennett, Jefferson Aibangbee.
Subs: Frankie Dolby, Liam Northwood, Jack Marsh
Booked: Adam Molloy 24, Ashley Sains 50, Jahmal Howlett-Mundle 76
Referee: Mr Harry Phillips
Assistants: Mr Thomas Nicholls & Mr Darren Wilson