Glebe 2-2 Stansfeld - We can't dwell on the past too much, we really need to try to push on and to get back to the old Stansfeld way, says assistant manager Joe Minter

Friday 06th October 2023
Glebe 2 – 2 Stansfeld
Location Foxbury Avenue, off Perry Street, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6SD
Kickoff 06/10/2023 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Friday 6 October 2023
Stephen McCartney reports from Foxbury Avenue

STANSFELD assistant manager Joe Minter insists things are looking up and that his players have got to start believing in themselves a little bit more after claiming a deserved draw against their tenants Glebe.

Chislehurst-based Glebe leapfrogged over big-spending Faversham Town to reach the summit of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table on 22 points from 11 games, a point clear of Sammy Moore’s side who have a couple of games in hand.

Glebe broke the stalemate through a free-header from winger Michael Adepoju, before striker Malachi Morris poked in his ninth goal of the season to give Danny Oakins’ and Craig Nelson’s side a two goal advantage going into the break.

However, Billy Shinners’ side – with only one win in 10 league outings before tonight – showed great character to force a draw, with Dan Parkinson tucking home a soft penalty to score his fifth goal of the season, before centre-half Oliver Wright rifled home an equaliser.

Stansfeld (tradiitionally from Bermondsey) remain in the bottom three with six points from 11 games, with Welling Town (five points from 10 games) and Kennington (two points from seven) beneath them in the ninth-tier division.

“We’re very pleased with the result,” said Minter, whose side claimed a point in a 1-1 home draw against Bearsted last Saturday.

“Coming into the game, we’ve obviously been a bit up and down, more down than up actually for one reason or another.  We’re growing in confidence now and after being 2-0 down at half-time, it’s very easy to perhaps go and lose three or four-nil, which could’ve happened on another day.

“But we said to the boys at half-time ‘stay in the game, if we get a goal, you never know what can happen.’

“I thought in the second half we were the better team. Credit to them, first half, I thought they started really well and played some really good stuff.  I thought we edged it in the second half and I thought a point was a fair result.”

When asked whether he thinks their fans’ saw the real Stansfeld tonight – a club that do not pay their players but wear their badge with pride and full of commitment and working hard for each other – Minter replied: “I think so, yes, I think so.  The old Stansfeld way hasn’t been there for the first eight or nine games.

“Everyone knows it. We all know it.  Me and Billy (Shinners) know it, the players know it but tonight we were back to, not at our best. We can still be better but it was a real nitty-gritty performance from the boys and we’re both really proud of them.”

One Stansfeld trait of the past is working harder than their opponents and Minter admitted that was missing, before tonight’s second half.

“What do we need? How long have you got?  I mean it’s been a collective thing from everyone from myself and Billy. 

“We started off in pre-season, we were absolutely flying but we can’t really put our foot on it.  Individually, we haven’t really had enough quality on the ball going forward.

“Our fitness levels dropped off, which we know for a fact because we wear the player data vests, so we can see that we’re not working as hard as what we were doing in pre-season.

“When you strip it back, it’s a little bit of everything.  People being away, suspended, injured, not being fit enough collectively as a group. The quality has not been there but that’s in the past now.  We can’t dwell on that too much. We really need to try to push on and to get back to the old Stanfeld way.”

Glebe joint-manager Craig Nelson said: “I think a cliché of a game of two halves but the boys didn’t come out in the second half.

“We knew what Stansfeld are good at. They run, they work hard, they’re together and we just had to be a little bit braver and to play through them and not think that the game is finished at 45 minutes because we’re 2-0 up.

“We’ve been here before, been two up twice before and drawn both games, so they should know better and learn to manage it.  They (our players) need to learn to manage the game a little bit but we’re a young squad and the positive is a point on the board.”

This Foxbury Avenue dual started in a cagey fashion, with Glebe creating their first opening inside the opening seven minutes following the second of their five corners.

Winger Rodney Eruotor swung in a corner from the right towards the back stick where centre-half Reece Barrett knocked the ball back across goal for 10-goal striker Jamie Philpot to loop his header over the crossbar.

“It always will be (cagey).  They share our ground, there’s a long history between the two clubs so you add a little derby to it, a local derby, it becomes a little bit of a clash of will and then the game settles down, which is what we saw and we’ve taken two goals well – but we should be doing better after leading,” admitted Nelson.

Minter revealed: “We’ve actually started really badly.  I think we’ve conceded four or five goals in the first 10 minutes in eight games.  We were really pleased for the first 25 minutes.”

However, Glebe broke the stalemate by taking the lead with 24 minutes and 12 seconds on the clock, following a three-man move.

The energetic Tom Hever was within the right channel and he cut the ball back for right-back Scott Jarvis, who took a touch before whipping in a cross for Adepoju to bury his free-header into the top left-hand corner from eight-yards.

“It was a great move and a great finish. We spoke about getting the balls into good areas and over-loading the box and getting the ball in there and making them think that they need to defend. It was a great ball from Scotty and a great finish from Michael,” said Nelson.

Minter admitted: “It was a really disappointing goal to concede.  Tom Hever, who I know from being at Glebe last season, I actually thought he was really, really good for them today. His energy was excellent. He chased the ball down, crossed it back.

“Ryan Fowler has said he was pushed and tumbled to the floor and that’s why he got the free header.  I didn’t actually see that but yes it was a disappointing goal to concede, especially a free-header from eight-yards.”

Philpot’s attempted chip from 25-yards was then comfortably gathered by Stansfeld goalkeeper Charlie Cottrell just before the half-hour mark.
“Listen, they come off once in a blue moon but he’s got such a good eye for goal, if he sees it and he tries it and it didn’t come off, sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it’s in the back of the net and we’re celebrating,” said Nelson.

“I think we have to create more chances for Jamie.  We were a bit lacklustre. It wasn’t our usual energy that we show going forward, which creates chaos for defenders and when that happens gaps appear and he pops up.”

However, when you’re down at the bottom of the table, luck disappears and the match officials made a couple of big calls which left the Stansfeld management team stunned.

Frankie McCormack – a full-back in a five man defensive line – played a first-time ball in behind Barrett to release striker Cameron Macmillan, who skipped past the goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the empty goal, only for assistant referee Haniel Whitmore to raise his offside flag.

Stansfeld’s left-back Joedon Gugas-Cowin then floated in a cross into the Glebe penalty area in the 32nd minute and striker Tommy Whitnell was flattened by home goalkeeper Sheikh Ceesay, a late replacement for former Holmesdale goalkeeper Nathan Edwards, who suffered a groin injury in the warm-up.

“It was a stonewall penalty! The referee has got to be the only one inside the g round that doesn’t think it was a penalty,” insisted Minter.

“As you say, when you’re down those sort of things don’t go for you and we feel that we’ve had a lot of the rub of the green go against us and that was proved again tonight.

“The offside one, I spoke to Cameron afterwards and he said he felt he wasn’t offside – but it was touch and go and I can’t really comment on that.  I’m not really one to dwell on things that could’ve gone our way. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.”

Nelson admitted Glebe got away with one there.

“Personally, I think it was a pen. I think the saving grace is maybe our goalkeeper, he’s pushed our players first through to them so there’s actually no contact from the goalkeeper on to anybody but if it was given we wouldn’t have argued it.

“I think the second one they actually have given in the second half is a lot softer than that, so just rewards I guess.  There’s two decisions, one has gone against us and one went for us.”

Billy Martins, who sits in front of Stansfeld’s back five, floated in a cross towards the back post but MacMillan decided to knock his header back across goal instead of heading in his first goal of the season.

“It was a half-chance, not really a chance,” admitted Minter.

“It was a strange one.  The ball’s spinning and he’s sort of got his back to goal.  It was difficult for him. He needs a goal but it didn’t really sit for him really and by the time he had a second to think about, the ball got intercepted.”

Nelson was delighted with the first half clean sheet.

“We’ve been working quite hard on that because personally our defensive record in terms of goals conceded (18 before tonight) isn’t good enough, especially if the boys have got ambitions to fight for the title or challenge for it and win something.

“We have to stop leaking and conceding silly goals.  We haven’t conceded many good goals where you stand there and go ‘fair play’. It’s coming from a lack of concentration and focus, so it’s something that we need to get out of them very quickly.”

Martins was at fault as Glebe were gifted their second goal, just 47 seconds into stoppage time.

McCormack’s 10-yard pass inside to Martins was intercepted by Philpot, who released Morris through on goal and his pace took him past Ryan Johnson.  Cotterell came out and tried to stoop down to gather the ball but a lucky break allowed Morris to poke the ball past the goalkeeper.

“I think if Malachi sorts his feet out he can probably slot it earlier but he’s caught him on the way through, which has taken him closer to the goalkeeper and then ricochets in his favour.  I think he’s been lucky with that but sometimes that happens in football and you have to take what you get,” said Nelson.

Minter added: “A disappointing goal on the whole for the way it came around, especially when you’ve got a minute to go before the half.

“It’s game management, something that we’ve not done well enough this year.  Listen, Bill got caught on the ball, he’s tried his best to get back and they’ve just poked it past Charlie and it’s a disappointing goal to concede, even more so because of the fact that it was just before half-time.”

Stansfeld boss Shinners made a double change at the break with Whitnell and Martins both being hooked and bringing on diminutive pair, Harrison English (holding midfield) and Robert Hughes (striker).

“We were fairly positive really.  It’s so hard when you concede just before half-time, especially when it’s 2-0 and they’re second and we’re second from bottom. It’s like ‘here we go again,” added Minter.

“We just tried to rally the troops and sort of picked out the positives which was the first 25 minutes. They had the header and then the mistake for the goal, apart from that they haven’t had any other chances, so we told them to be positive, stay together, try to stay in the game.

“If we get the goal then our tails are going to be up and listen 2-0 is an iffy-scoreline, it’s an old cliché but 2-0 is a really iffy scoreline.”

Nelson, meanwhile, added: “We didn’t feel it was good enough. I don’t think we looked ourselves in that game. We normally move the ball well and good tempo and we did it in patches and caused them a lot of problems when we did move the ball.

“If we can get the third then I think the floodgates can open if we score first but we also said not to make sure we concede free-kicks and corners because that’s where they’re very strong and it was one of the first things that we did, conceding a corner for one of their goals.

“They haven’t taken on board everything but that doesn’t happen all the time but we’ve got to do better in the scenarios because we could’ve done better for both goals.”

Assistant referee Martin Bullock flagged after noticing Glebe centre-half Jonathan Erhabor had tugged back Hughes on the by-line and after consulting his colleague, referee Richard Myers pointed to the spot.

Dan Parkinson – one of three central midfielders – clinically placed his right-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, despite Ceesay diving the same way.

Minter said: “Rob Hughes has been a bit in and out, holiday’s, injuries, not being fit and he’s been in and out but a player that once we get firing, we think he’s one of the dangerous strikers in the league because of his work-rate.  His someone, if you’re a defender you don’t want to see him against you because of his non-stop running. He’s got a good touch and he’s surprisingly very good in the air for his size and it was a good performance from Rob.

“He’s definitely tugged him back because it’s one of them where you probably see quite a lot and you don’t actually give the penalty.  Listen, anywhere over the pitch, it’s a foul but you don’t seem to get them in the penalty box but today we did.

“Dan’s someone, nine times out of 10, you put your house on him to score a penalty. He took the penalty well and he’s always good for a goal.  He’s the captain when Billy Parkinson’s been out.  Like everyone else, he’s had a frustrating start.”

Nelson added: “If Reece Barrett clears the ball early then we deal with that and Johnno’s trying to marshal the ball out of play.  You have to put your body in between the man and the ball a little bit better and then he gets nicked round and ends up pulling back the striker for a very, very soft penalty.”

Glebe were a threat on the counter-attack and missed a decent chance to put the game to bed on the hour-mark.

Substitute Marcel McDonald was in the middle and he split open Gugas-Cowin to put Adepoju through on goal but he rushed his right-footed drive, which rolled into Cottrell’s gloves for a comfortable save.

“I think Michael’s done really well to break through. I think he needs to take one more touch to get closer to the goal because he’s beat the defender but he’s taken the shot a little bit early,” added Nelson.

Minter said: “I was quite pleased to see Marcel not start tonight. I know him reasonably well and he’s a really good player, carries the ball so well so when he picked it up and he drives, he’s a dangerous threat and he played a nice pass through but the shot was an easy save for Charlie.”

Cottrell pulled off a much better save following the home side’s fourth corner of the night.

Morris floated the ball in from the right towards the back post and Adepoju’s shot on the turn brought a diving save from Cottrell, to his left to use a strong hand to push the ball behind for another corner.

“It was a great save, even all of us (on the Glebe bench) applauded him.  Anywhere else it goes in from close range but the keeper’s pulled off a great save there,” said Nelson.

Stansfeld deserved their leveller when it arrived with 24:08 on the clock, following Dan Parkinson’s right-wing corner.

The ball was cleared by Glebe’s defence and English held his composure by dancing towards the left by-line and whipping in a lovely low cross with his left-foot towards the near post and Wright was there to clinically smash his first-time drive into the top left-hand corner.

“Brilliant goal, brilliant goal,” hailed Minter, who is delighted to see that English has recovered from an ankle injury to impress in midfield.

“Harrison has been out injured for a while and he’s someone we’ve been itching to get back into the side.  He just brings his positioning sense and his composure on the ball and he’s willing to press the other side. He’s unbelievable for someone who is only 18.

“We’ve been desperate to get him back in the team. He’s playing for the second team and the under 23s to try to get his fitness up but when he came on I thought he was exceptional. His composure for someone of his age and his size – a lot of people sort of look at him and he probably looks about 16 but he showed a lot of maturity tonight and I’m really pleased for him.

“Harrison does outstanding, a lot of people would’ve just chucked it back into the box but he showed some great composure to take it down the wing, a brilliant low cross and Ollie’s there to just top poke it, perhaps, maybe.

“He’s good for a goal Ollie, another youngster, only 18-19 perhaps, so that goal was made in the 23’s.”

Nelson felt his numerous defenders inside their penalty area should have prevented Wright notching his second goal of the season.

“That one was hard to take because we’ve been doing a lot of work on where to be, body shape etc. We were defending in good numbers but I think the boys have got to take accountability for the ball. There’s one ball, there’s a man obviously free. It was a good finish to put it where he did but we should be doing better with the numbers that we had.”

Jarvis delivered a couple of high hanging free-kicks into the Stansfeld box from close to the halfway line and Hever was a long way out and his header sailed into Cottrell’s gloves.

“Tom’s really good in the air and he’s really good at making the correct decision as well.  He’s done what he can to get on it, possibly should’ve headed the ball back across,” added Nelson.

Wright was booked after chopping down Glebe substitute winger Kelvin De Graft and almost paid the price in Glebe grabbing the winner with 45:21 on the clock.

Morris stroked his right-footed free-kick towards goal from 22-yards, forcing Cottrell to dive to his left to push towards safety.

Minter said: “Listen, we’ve said it for years’ how good and how under-rated Charlie is. He's magnificent for us and a great save to tip around and the free-kick at the end, listen, I expect him to save that. I think that one was for the cameras. Charlie’s different class,” added Minter, when asked about his keeper’s two saves.

Nelson added: “It was a good save from the keeper. I think that one was a little comfortable. If Malachi geta a little bit more on it, it makes him make a tougher save but he’s hit the target, that’s all we ask for. The next one may go in.”

Both sides then had a chance each to snatch the victory before the referee called for time at 49:41.

Hermitage played in a low cross from the right into Glebe’s penalty area for Ryan Fowler, who poked his shot straight at a brave Ceesay, who smothered the ball at his feet.

“Listen, I think we’ve conceded four last minute goals so when it went forward I thought perhaps this is our time to get one back,” said Minter.

“It was a great cross from Ben and it fell to Ryan and he tried to toe poke it past the keeper. The keeper made a save and then it sort of came back out, a little bit of a scramble. It was a good chance but not a great chance.”

Nelson revealed: “Nathan Edwards got injured in the warm-up so we had to make that change today.  Sheikh’s our goalkeeper coach and number two and stepped in literally minutes before kick-off.

“It looked like Sheikh didn’t have a warm-up.  He’s solid and I think by his standard he would say that he underperformed today.  He actually made some good saves that kept us in the game later on but I think he would say he could be doing better.”

Jarvis’ second hanging free-kick resulted in a swept shot from Erhabor, which comfortably bounced through a crowd of players and into the gloves of the Stansfeld keeper.

Both sides return to league action next Tuesday with Glebe hosting Sutton Athletic here, while Shinners and Minter’s men travel to fifth-placed Erith Town (17 points from 10 games).

“Things are looking up. We’ve got to start believing a little bit more in our selves. We’ve added some experience to the squad with Ryan Johnson and we’ve got George Snelling and Ben Wilson has signed as well,” revealed Minter.

“Erith Town have been one of the best sides over the last two years.  We know Adam Woodward in our circle of friends. He’ll have them organised. He’s got a really good side down there and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“We feel that we’re getting back to our best now so we’re playing them at a good time. Perhaps a time that Woody wouldn’t want to be playing us, I suppose.

“We just need to sort of start games a little bit better. I think, I believe, we’ve only taken the lead in one game this year, against Holmesdale and that was the game we won, so as long as we’re not conceding the first goal, we’re going to find it difficult, so we need to perhaps start a little bit better and push on from there.”

Glebe are working within a much reduced playing budget this season and their young squad has got them to the summit in early October and remain unbeaten at home in the league.

“I think the feeling in the camp is one of disappointment.  Even though it is a point on the board, we expect to win games when we’re ahead and unfortunately it’s been too many times that teams have been able to come from behind and gain a point,” revealed Nelson.

“Listen, it’s a long season, we’re only just a quarter of the way through, so we’ll take the point and we’ll move on to Tuesday where we have Sutton and we need to get our heads on now and prepare.

“Looking at the league position, it’s way too early and everyone in this league can beat everybody.

“Stansfeld are very good at what they do and sometimes they will ask questions of you that you may not have dealt with yet so I don’t think Sutton will be any different regardless of where they sit in the table (sixteenth with 10 points from nine games).”

Glebe are looking to install an artificial pitch at Foxbury Avenue.

When asked about Glebe’s aspirations for the season, Nelson replied: “Good question.  There’s a lot going on at the club off the pitch so a lot of investment is going in and around developing the ground, not just the main pitch but the ground in and around to build up our youth system as well.

“For us, we will just take every game as it comes, brick by brick. That’s the motto of the season. Brick by brick. We will take this, we will learn, we’ll move on and finish as high as possible.

“There’s no reason why we can’t finish in the upper part of this league.  In terms of challenging for the title?  The boys have to make sure that nights like this are put to bed and if we continue to do that then there’s no reason why we can’t talk about challenging but it’s too early to do that for now.  There’s still 29 games to go.

“You don’t win anything in October so our sights can’t be on winning that at the moment, so it will just be taking it game-by-game, let’s get to the end of the month and see if our points total gets to where we need them to be and look at November and then look at December and when it’s closer to wining the title then we’ll talk about winning the title but it’s too early to talk about that.”

Glebe: Sheikh Ceesay, Scott Jarvis, Timi Joseph (Louie Reid Newth 86), Parish Muirhead, Reece Barrett (Eniola Hassan 86), Jonathan Erhabor, Michael Adepoju (Kelvin De Graft 74), Tom Hever, Jamie Philpot, Malachi Morris, Rodney Eruotor (Marcel McDonald 59).
Sub: Armani Morris

Goals: Michael Adepoju 25, Malachi Morris 45

Booked: Frankie Sawyer 58 (coach)

Stansfeld: Charlie Cottrell, Frankie McCormack, Joedon Gugas-Cowin, Ryan Johnson, Oliver Wright, Freddie Cray, Ryan Fowler, Billy Martins (Harrison English 46), Cameron MacMillan (Ben Hermitage 62), Tommy Whitnell (Robert Hughes 46), Dan Parkinson (Billy Parkinson 84).
Sub: Chester Smith

Goals: Dan Parkinson 53 (penalty), Oliver Wright 70

Booked: Dan Parkinson 57, Frankie McCormack 73, Oliver Wright 90, Ryan Fowler 90

Attendance: 218
Referee: Mr Richard Myers
Assistants: Mr Haniel Whitmore & Mr Martin Bullock