Gravesend & Northfleet 4-1 Tamworth - Daish: DeBolla's free kick's were frightening!

Tuesday 15th August 2006

Nationwide Conference
Tuesday 15th August 2006
Stephen McCartney reports from Stonebridge Road

Gravesend & Northfleet boss Liam Daish has rewarded his full-time squad by giving them a day off tomorrow, following their 4-1 win over Tamworth at Stonebridge Road.

The Fleet bounced back from Saturday’s defeat, where they lost a five-goal thriller at Aldershot Town, to convincingly beat their part-time visitors.

Two stunning free-kick’s from Mark DeBolla, a summer signing from Grays Athletic, and a brace from striker Charlie MacDonald, puts both players on three goals apiece.

But Daish was forced to make three changes to his side that lost in Hampshire.

Paul McCarthy, Mark Ricketts and young striker Luke Moore were drafted into the team for the injured Frenchman Sacha Opinel, Danny Ekoku and the suspended Peter Hawkins, whose red card at Aldershot earnt him a three-match ban.

But Mike McKenna and Jack Roberts, two late substitutes, made their Conference debuts as Daish’s squad already looks thin.

However, the Fleet took just seven minutes to open the scoring - from their first shot on goal.

Jon Keeling, a summer signing from Canvey Island, floated a free-kick to the unmarked MacDonald at the near post, and from eight-yards the striker found the net, in off the far post.

But the visitors levelled with a stunning goal themselves just eight minutes later - the first one they’ve scored at Stonebridge Road in four attempts.

John McGrath’s cross picked out Jon Stevenson, whose left-footed volley from 20-yards curled past former Shrewsbury Town goalkeeper Lance Cronin and into the far corner, to the delight of the tiny travelling contingent behind that goal.

It was the striker’s first goal for his new club, having transferred from Alferton Town during the close season.

But that was the only joy they had all night, as goalkeeper Sean Bowles couldn’t do anything to prevent DeBolla’s first beauty ten minutes before the break.

His 30-yard, right-footed free kick, found the bottom left corner, past the desperate dive of the former Coalville Town goalkeeper.

More joy came the north Kent side’s way eight minutes into the second half, courtesy again from DeBolla’s right foot.

This time his free kick was five yards closer but he still drove his shot into the bottom right hand corner to the delight of the Fleet fans in the crowd of 936.

Tamworth’s misery continued after 67 minutes when MacDonald punished poor defending from Alan Neilson to wrap up the scoring on a very impressive night for the Fleet.

Daish, meanwhile, told in the press conference after the game that he was pleased with his team, but expects Saturday’s visitors York City to be tougher opposition.

“We were disappointed on Saturday but we haven’t let out disappointment last too long,” he said.

“Going forward on Saturday we were very good. I just thought we were a little bit laxed defensively, but today we were a lot more at it.”

The manager described DeBolla’s two wonder strikes as “frightening!”

“You can try things and tell them do to certain things but it all comes down to the execution,” he said.

“But Mark DeBolla’s free kick - frightening! - both of them.

“The execution. That’s the hardest part. Brilliant!”

But he warned the two-goal free-kick hero isn’t the only player at the club who can score from set-pieces.

He said: “Mark, Charlie (MacDonald) they can strike a ball. You haven’t see young (George) Purcell yet, but he hits it on his left foot.

“I’ve always said if you hit the target and make the keeper work, anything can happen - but great strikes!”

Daish also praised the other star off the show, adding: “One man doesn’t make a team of course but he’s a goalscorer,” referring to MacDonald.

“At this level you’ve only got two (goalscorers). It makes it hell of a difference because that’s your finishing. The hardest thing they say is to put the ball into the net. As much as you work you still need someone to finish it all off and that’s what Charlie’s paid to do.”

Daish was forced to switch his system to three at the back and his main priority is to find a left-back in time for York City’s visit on Saturday.

“I tried to get a left-back in but we’ve got a contingency plan in yesterday in training if we couldn’t get one in,” he revealed.

But its back to work on Thursday and Friday as they prepare for their next game.

“Important thing now is that we enjoy tonight,” said Daish. “We’ll have a rest tomorrow and then we forget about Tamworth, like we have Aldershot, and concentrate on York because they will be a different proposition all together.”

“The lads deserve their day off, but the good thing is we’re in Thursday and Friday and we’ll be all geared up for the game Saturday.”

Gravesend & Northfleet: Lance Cronin, James Smith, Paul McCarthy, Danny Slatter (George Purcell 71), Rob Quinn, Mark Debolla, Charlie MacDonald (Jack Roberts 90), Jon Keeling, Luke Moore (Mike McKenna 85), Ross Smith, Mark Ricketts.
Subs: Sam Mott, John Akinde.

Goals: Charlie MacDonald 7, 67 Mark Debolla 35, 53

Tamworth: Sean Bowles, Adie Smith (Capt), Matt Redmile, Dave Bampton (Kyle Storer 51), Graham Ward, Jon Stevenson, Matt Williams, Graeme Law, Alan Neilson, Lee Moore, John McGrath.
Subs: James Dormand, Mark Cooper, Tom Kemp, Gary Birch.

Goals: Jon Stevenson 15

Attendance: 936
Referee: Mr Nick Kinseley
Assistants: Mr Rob Whitton & Mr Graham Atkins
Fourth Official: Mr Lee Venamore

Gravesend & Northfleet's Mark DeBolla scored two stunning free-kicks as his performance earned the former Grays Athletic man the man-of-the-match award at Stonebridge Road tonight.
Pic: Courtesy of