Greenwich Borough 3-1 Hollands & Blair - We've achieved something as a club, says Greenwich Borough assistant Paul Blade

Friday 10th April 2015
Greenwich Borough 3 – 1 Hollands & Blair
Location Priestfield Stadium, Redfern Avenue, Gillingham, Kent ME7 4DD
Kickoff 12/04/2015 15:00

Kent Senior Trophy Final Sponsored by Darenth Design & Print
Sunday 12th April 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Hayes Lane

GREENWICH BOROUGH assistant manager Paul Blade says the club are coming towards the end of a fairly successful season after claiming the Kent Senior Trophy for the third time in the club’s history.

A hat-trick from striker Paul Vines upon his return to Hayes Lane where he used to score goals for both Bromley and Cray Wanderers inflicted Hollands & Blair’s first defeat after an impressive 21 match unbeaten run.

UNDERDOGS: Kent Invicta League leaders Hollands & Blair were playing in their second Kent Senior Trophy Final
Photograph: Alan Coomes


Striker Rob Denness capped off an impressive display for the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League leaders, scoring from the penalty spot to bring the game back to 2-1, before Paul Vines completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot with virtually the last kick of the game.

“It’s nice to win something for the club in our first full season,” said Blade afterwards.

“It’s a great day out for the supporters’ and the committee and the club for all the effort that the players’ have put in and everything.

“It’s nice to get rewarded and I thought we fully deserved it today on the actual overall game.

“Brilliant! Hopefully we’ll have a good night.”

For Hollands & Blair manager Paul Piggott, it was a shock to him that his players’ failed to pick up winners medals as is the norm on Cup Final Day.

Blair claimed the Kent Invicta League Challenge Trophy with a 2-0 win over Bearsted on Good Friday.

Piggott said: “We’re gutted! We’re gutted that we’ve lost a game of football.  We’re gutted! I won’t lie to you. We’re not used to losing games of football and I don’t think we deserved to lose the game either.

“You’re talking about 21 unbeaten. The last time we got beaten we deserved to get beat – and today I don’t think we did.”

Piggott admitted his side received a wake-up call when Greenwich Borough had a goal chalked off for offside after only 40 seconds.

Jamie Humphries’ flick on released Paul Vines, who cut inside to hold the ball up for Humphries to drill his right-footed shot past James Smith from 15-yards from an offside position.

Piggott said: “I thought (we started the game well), apart from the early wake-up call goal they gave us when they scored after 40 seconds – but that was offside thankfully.

“Apart from that wake-up call we didn’t show any nerves. We didn’t show any fear. We went into the game looking good, looking sharp and I was pleased with the start.”

But Hollands & Blair started to dominate proceedings against a Greenwich Borough side in the top five in the Southern Counties East Football League table.

The Gillingham-based outfit produced a sweeping move involving James McDonald and Luke Fewsdale, who played in Denness, who drilled his right-footed angled drive over the top of the near post inside the opening eight minutes.

Blade claimed his side should have received an eleventh minute penalty when Humphries cut the ball on to his right foot before putting over a cross from the left channel and Paul Vines acrobatic kick was blocked.

He said: “I thought we should have had a penalty in the first half with Charlie Vines, a good shot that he had. They’ve got a penalty for a similar sort of thing for raised hands.”

Hollands & Blair went close when Bryan Greenfield’s downward throw was hit on the turn by Denness’ right-foot from the edge of the box but the ball dipped just over the crossbar.

THREAT: Hollands & Blair striker Rob Denness (yellow shirt) scored his 27th goal of the season in today's Kent Senior Trophy Final
Photograph: Alan Coomes

“He will do that, he’s that type of player,” Piggott said of Denness, who has played higher for Chatham Town, Ashford Town and Lordswood.

“That’s why he’s in our side and that’s why we’re successful because of our centre forward boys create chances.”

Greenwich Borough’s right-back Chris Saunders stung Smith’s fingers with a right-footed free-kick which was heading towards the top left-hand corner from 35-yards.

Blade added: “It was on target. That’s what he does. All you can do is hit the target and make the keeper work.”

But Hollands & Blair missed a sitter in the 21st minute, which could have inspired them to bring the silverware back to Star Meadow for only the second time.

Steve Dampier clipped the ball up from the back and Edwards and Joe Vines let in McDonald down the left, who swept the ball across the face of goal towards the far post but Jordan Gallacher steered his shot past the near post from a tight angle a couple of yards from goal.

Blade admitted: “I thought the bounce and the wind took it away from him and we got away from that one.”

Piggott admitted it was a big miss from his left-winger.

“I mean it’s one of those moments he’ll want to forget about and one of those moments we want to forget about,” he said.

“But to be fair he could have crumbled after that but he didn’t! He knuckled down and made us battle.

“For sure we go 1-0 up you can’t tell how it would go from there. We felt we deserved to be 1-0 up at the time - but we weren’t. 

“We kept working hard and it was hard to go one behind to be honest with you.”

Humphries rolled a right-footed shot from the corner of the Blair penalty area which rolled into Smith’s hands for a comfortable collection.

Greenwich Borough went close when Jack Clark linked up well with Billy Bennett to whip in a cross towards the edge of the box but Paul Vines glanced his header just past the far post.

But Greenwich Borough opened the scoring in the 31st minute through Paul Vines 20th goal of the season.

Edwards played the ball up to diminutive striker Lewis Wood, who from sixteen-yards scuffed his low right-footed shot across goal.  Blair keeper Smith dived low to his right to parry the ball straight at Paul Vines, who smashed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from two-yards.

Blade said: “No he can’t miss! Having the knowledge to follow it up, which is what you ask your forwards to do as well. It’s a forward’s instinct. It was a tap in and that’s what sometimes you want as a centre forward – just a nice easy tap in!”

Piggott admitted Tom Staff and Lewis Taylor were too slow to react to the loose ball following Smith’s save.

“I was a little disappointed from the parry from James. He’s made the save, which was difficult but we didn’t have one of our players helping him out, backing him up to knock the ball away.

“Paul Vines was sharper and that’s why he got on the scoresheet.”

Smith stood on the edge of his penalty area with his hands on his hips knowing that he gifted a quality striker a simple tap-in.

Neither side failed to muster a clear-cut chance for the remainder of the first half, as Greenwich Borough led by the single goal in front of 341 fans at Bromley’s Hayes Lane.

Piggott said: “They’ve got their noses in front score wise so I can’t really say about them but it kicked us into life a little bit and we put in a little bit more effort into the game from there.

“I was pleased with the reaction from going one down against a good side. When you go 1-0 down it could knock the stuffing out of you, but it didn’t with our boys – they’ve got a bit of character!”

Blade said: “We was in control of the game then! They didn’t deal with the conditions better than what we did. We dealt with the conditions and they didn’t really know how to do that.”

A large majority of the team have played home games at Hayes Lane for either Bromley or Cray Wanderers earlier in their careers and Blade admitted afterwards that this helped Greenwich Borough win the game.

“It was good seeing a lot of friends and people we’ve seen before. It’s nice. We’re comfortable here so I think it might have helped us a little bit knowing we were in comfortable surroundings and players we’ve got with us have played here as well so it was comfortable. It’s not unforeseen. 

“They (Holland’s & Blair) probably have never played in a stadium like this before. It was a big game for them but we dealt with it better on the day.

“One-nil sometimes is never enough in this game and a team that scores goals like they score goals we thought they would really come at us. We broke them down and dealt with that. We always knew we would create opportunities.”

When asked what was said during the half-time break, Piggott said: “Just keep doing the same things, that’s what we were saying.

“We could see where their strengths and weaknesses were. To be fair to them they’ve got a lot of strengths but they did have weaknesses so we wasn’t overly disappointed with the way that we were playing. It was just plenty more of the same really.”

Blade added: “Just manage the game! It’s 1-0. We deal with the conditions, deal with what they’re going to throw at you within the first 10-15 minutes. Be solid and then pick them off.

Greenwich Borough created a half-chance inside the opening five minutes when Humphries rolled the ball across the penalty area but the ball ran away from the chasing Bennett for a goal-kick.

Greenwich Borough appeared to have killed off Hollands & Blair with Paul Vines’ second goal in the 54th minute.

Clark clipped the ball up the park from left-back, the ball sailing over Paul Vines head.  The striker latched onto Dampier’s poor attempted back-pass towards his keeper, skipped past Smith and kept his composure to steer his left-footed shot into the bottom near corner from a tight angle some eight-yards from goal.

HAT-TRICK HERO: Paul Vines (left) scooped the man-of-the-match award after scoring a hat-trick for Greenwich Borough in the Kent Senior Trophy Final at Hayes Lane.
Photo: Alan Coomes

Blade said: “Good goal, a really good goal. I thought he deserved that. It pretty much took the stuffing out of them a little bit. They got a little bit frustrated.”

Piggott added: “I think it was probably one of the only times in the game that we switched off.  We didn’t defend properly.

“Again, Paul Vines is a decent centre forward and to give him time and space in your box, he’s going to punish you and we switched off for once in the game.”

Piggott was delighted in the manner that his players’ showed character to make a game off it when they could so easily have folded against better opposition.

He said: “Let’s go and win it! Let’s get back in the game! That’s why we made the changes we did. We took a defender off and stuck a wide man on to make a positive change in the game – score wise get back into the game.

“I don’t think we was out of the game ability wise or the way the game was ebbing or flowing. It was just score wise we needed to change something and I was pleased with the reaction.”

Winger Fewsdale looped in a cross from the right towards the far post and McDonald’s drive was blocked superbly by Edwards at the near post.

Greenwich Borough should have killed the game off in the 65th minute when Jamie Wood latched onto a long ball and played the ball out to Humphries, who rolled his left-footed shot across Smith and past the far post.

Denness played the ball up to McDonald, who teed up Fewsdale, who blasted his right-footed shot high over Craig Holloway’s goal from 20-yards.

But Hollands & Blair accepted a lifeline through Denness’s 27th goal of the season from the penalty spot with nineteen minutes remaining.

Referee Tom Marshall booked Gary Alexander for his handball from McDonald’s shot and with left-back Bryan Greenfield now off the pitch, it was down to Denness to rifle his right-footed penalty into the top right-hand corner, sending former Arsenal, Bromley and Margate keeper Holloway the other way.

Piggott said: “It was a penalty. He’s not our normal penalty taker as well because we just brought Jock (Greenfield) off who’s our penalty taker so Rob got on it. He showed his composure and stuck it away, which got us back in the game score wise as well.”

Blade said: “When the referee gives another team a penalty, it gives them a lifeline and all off a sudden they’re on the front foot, makes it difficult for 10-15 minutes.

“It was a good strike but our one was just as good!”

McDonald, who went into the game with an impressive 52-goal tally to his name, squandered an excellent chance to equalise for Hollands & Blair.

Fewsdale slipped the ball through to Kent’s leading marksman, who beat the offside trap but from 20-yards rolled a weak angled shot towards goal, which Holloway dived low to his left to make a comfortable save.

Piggott said: “I thought we threw everything at them. That’s what our lot do. We’re not going to go down with a whimper. We went down with a fight and I thought we did that! We got in their half more times than they got in ours second half and I was pleased with the reaction.

“You put your life on your mortgage him scoring there but he just didn’t quite put it in the back of the net but it just weren’t going to be that time but again he kept probing, he kept trying to get in good positions to try to get himself a goal.”

Blade added: “They’ve scored 118 goals in their league so we had a dossier on James McDonald and Rob Denness and we knew what we had to do.  I don’t think they’ve played against two experienced centre halves like we’ve got (in Joe Vines and Danny Young) so it was a test for us as much as it was a test for them and our centre halves came out on top.”

When asked his thoughts at 2-1, Blade knew his side had the experience to see the game out.

“Manage the game! We made the change. We felt we were playing a little bit deep. We got caught a little bit open as midfield players were not pulling in there so we changed with a fourth player in there but I don’t think they were that comfortable on the ball and once we turn it over we are going to cause problems.”

Hollands & Blair continued to press in search for an and central midfielder Tom Michelson was given space to play the ball into the box but Holloway pounced on the loose ball after Denness spun in the box in an attempt to hook the ball into the net.

But Greenwich Borough turned the screw inside the final four minutes.

A hooked pass from substitute Chris Saunders played in Lewis Wood, whose low right-footed drive forced Smith to make a smart near post save with his legs.

Bennett then cut the ball back to Paul Vines, who cracked a powerful left-footed drive towards the top left-hand corner, but Smith made a fine save, beating the ball away high to his right.

Greenwich Borough won the silverware with their third goal with 49:29 on the clock – Paul Vines completing a special Cup Final hat-trick.

Lewis Wood cut inside Dampier down the right by-line and was hit in the face by the Hollands & Blair defender just inside the penalty area and referee Mr Marshall had the easiest option to point to the spot for the second time.

Paul Vines grabbed the ball and stroked his left-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, despite Smith diving the same way, to finish off the job and bring Ian Jenkins’ first piece of silverware to the club.

CHAMPIONS: Greenwich Borough celebrate winning the first piece of silverware under boss Ian Jenkins (front row, right, arms outstretched)
Photo: Alan Coomes

Asked about the challenge, Blade claimed: “He elbowed him across his face and he’s got a nasty cut on his nose.”

And on Vines’ hat-trick, Blade added: “As a centre forward you get a hat-trick in a Cup Final, its perfect. It’s job done.”

Piggott said: “I think he caught his arm. I’ve got no complaints with that! We were chasing the game by then. I think 3-1 is a bit of a harsh scoreline to be fair but at 2-1 the game’s nearly over.”

Piggott’s side will not come across such a quality striker as Paul Vines at their level of football and he claimed the man-of-the-match award thanks to his hat-trick.

The Blair boss added: “That summed his (Paul Vines’) day up for him. He’s a good centre forward and he’s got his hat-trick and fair play to him.”

Greenwich Borough face a hectic last six league games of the season before playing Tunbridge Wells in the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final at Welling United’s Park View Road on Saturday 2 May.

Boro’ face Lordswood (Tuesday), Deal Town (Thursday) and Fisher (Saturday) at Dartford this week, before travelling to Tunbridge Wells on Monday 20 April for the dress-rehearsal, before finishing their campaign at Canterbury City (22 April) and Beckenham Town on the final day of the season.

The club can reflect on a season where they reached The FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round for the first time when they gave Vanarama Conference North Worcester City a scare.

They reached the Fourth Round of The FA Vase but sitting in fifth-place in the league, 25 points adrift of leaders Phoenix Sports, can be classed as under-achievement.

When asked what today means for Greenwich Borough, Blade admitted: “I don’t know really. It’s a difficult one. Obviously we’ve achieved something as a club. We’ve put the club on the map. We’ve still got another Cup Final. We’ve still got six league games to go. We’ve still got to get as high as we can in the league and hopefully we can have another opportunity to win another cup.

“If we look at it that way, you can say it’s been fairly successful. Our aim was always the league. We’ve got one cup in the bag and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do.

“We’ve got 26 players in the squad so everyone will be used and we’ll pick and choose who we need to play and utilise the squad as well so that will take its place.  Hopefully that will stand us in good stead.  We won’t be saving players’ for Cup Finals.

“Our main objective is still to finish as high as we can in the league. Our next game will be Tuesday night at home, Thursday at home, Saturday at home so we’ve got games thick and fast so we haven’t got any time to enjoy tonight and then prepare ourselves and get ready for Tuesday.”

For Piggott, he wants his side to claim the point needed from their last three games – at home to Gravesham Borough on Saturday, or in their away games at Kent Football United (22 April) or Eltham Palace on final day to ensure that they’ll be competing against Greenwich Borough in a league game next season.

Piggott said: “That’s what I’ve said to the boys’ afterwards.  That’s the sort of side that we want to be playing next year, not in one-off, not in Cup Finals. We want to be playing against them every week. 

“I think the players’ have earnt the right to do that next year. We’ve still got a little bit of work to do to get into the League next year, but that’s what we want to do. We want to be playing those teams.

“They (my players) more than conducted themselves in the right way today. We’ve given a good side a good game and we were unfortunate not to get anything out of it. I’m pretty sure when they were 2-0 up people in the ground will disagree with that.”

Reflecting on their league position, six points clear of second-placed Lydd Town but with a game in hand, Piggott said: “We mathematically need to get one point between now and the end of the season. We’ll be fighting for. We won’t take it for granted we’re going to get it. We’ll do it the right way. We’ll still do the right things.

“These players’ will be gutted today. They’re going to brush themselves down tomorrow and they’ll be ready to go again.”

Greenwich Borough: Craig Holloway, Chris Edwards (Chris Saunders 81), Jack Clark, Aaron Day, Joe Vines, Danny Young, Lewis Wood, Gary Alexander, Paul Vines, Billy Bennett, Jamie Humphries.
Subs: Jamie Wood, Rob Gillman, Gary Borrowdale, Danny Phillips

Goals: Paul Vines 31, 54, 90 (penalty)

Booked: Danny Young 52, Gary Alexander 70, Chris Saunders 90

Hollands & Blair: James Smith, Lewis Taylor, Bryan Greenfield (Sam Welch 66), Stuart West, Steve Dampier, Tom Staff, Luke Fewsdale, Tom Michelson, James McDonald, Rob Denness, Jordan Gallacher (Anthony Carlton 84).
Subs: Ashley Doe, Joe Clark, Reece Butler

Goal: Rob Denness 71 (penalty)

Booked: Stuart West 60, Lewis Taylor 86, Steve Dampier 90

Attendance: 341
Referee: Mr Tom Marshall (Eltham, London SE9)
Assistants: Mr Danny Swannell (Aylesford) & Mr Joe Stokes (Dover)
Fourth Official: Mr Mike Marsh (Herne Bay)