Greenwich Borough 3-0 Crowborough Athletic - I'm here for the duration, says Ian Jenkins
GREENWICH BOROUGH 3-0 CROWBOROUGH ATHLETIC
Southern Counties East Football League
Wednesday 13th August 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Princes Park Stadium
GREENWICH BOROUGH manager Ian Jenkins says he wants to take the club as high as he can.
Despite going down to an opening day 1-0 defeat at Phoenix Sports at the weekend, Greenwich Borough put on an impressive performance to comfortably beat Crowborough Athletic in front of 190 fans at Dartford’s Princes Park.
Greenwich Borough dominated the first half and went in deserved 2-0 leaders at the break, courtesy of goals from attackers Lewis Wood and Paul Vines, before Gary Alexander, 34, killed the game off with a headed goal on the hour.
Greenwich Borough climbed up three places to tenth-place after two games, whereas Crowborough Athletic – who defeated Canterbury City 2-0 at home at the weekend- slipped down to 12th place.
“Good reaction from Saturday, but I knew the squad we had and the players’ I’ve got, they’ll put performances in like that,” said Jenkins, who guided Cray Wanderers to back-to-back Kent League titles back in 2003 and 2004.
“After Saturday, it was good to get out there and really prove a point to people really what we’re all about. We’re a passing side and I think tonight showed that and to get three points is a good start. I’m pleased with the start.
“Yes, it could have been (more than 3-0). If you’re honest and people are watching the game, it could have quite easily been seven, eight, nine.
“I don’t think (Craig) Holloway had much to do himself. We were wasteful in front of goal, which was the only real concern tonight because there might be tighter games than that and you need a goal – but I’m well happy with the performance.”
Crowborough Athletic’s joint-manager Simon Colbran said he was proud of his players’.
“We’re playing a team that’s paying mega-money out so it was always going to be a tough one from the start,” said Colbran.
“They’ve got players’ come in who are ex-pros so we knew it was going to be tough but I thought our lads’ done really, really well.
“I’m really proud of them because if you look at the statistics and the chances, I should imagine we had just as many chances as they did but they were a little bit more clinical, but if you’re paying top money they were paying then you’ll have played that are clinical.”
Greenwich Borough, who played a lovely passing game on a Vanarama Conference standard playing surface, created their first of many chances inside six minutes.
It all started by a long ball out of defence by Joe Vines and finished with Aaron Day releasing Lewis Wood down the right. He cut the ball back to right-back Chris Edwards, who whipped in a first time cross towards the far post which was headed over the bar by Alexander from six-yards.
Jenkins said: “He done one like that Saturday funnily enough just before Phoenix scored and headed over. There’s no one more disappointed than him missing chances because he’s a goalscorer, so he was disappointed with that.”
Greenwich Borough were to be denied a deserved opener inside 13 minutes.
Edwards whipped a right-footed free-kick towards the top near corner from 25-yards, which Crowborough keeper Michal Czanner was relived to look over his right shoulder to see the ball crash against the crossbar.
“He’s been practising them all pre-season,” revealed Jenkins.
“We do a little bit with him and Clarky on the other side. They’re well capable of hitting the top corners. A bit disappointing. We have to work on that!”
Colbran added: “These things happen! We’ve prepared a certain way and in the first 20 minutes I thought they had a lot of the breaks. They’ve hit the bar with a free-kick but throughout the game, I thought they had more breaks.”
Greenwich Borough midfielder Jamie Wood released Jack Clark down the left and his cut back was blasted over the bar by Paul Vines.
Crowborough Athletic’s first chance, however, arrived in the 20th minute.
Callum Ridley played the ball forward from the half-way line and a flicked pass by Scott Treleaven played in his strike partner Jack Funnell in behind the defence but he drilled his right-footed shot past the near post from 15-yards.
Edwards, who was getting forward at every opportunity, played the ball into Alexander’s feet and he made space for himself before feeding Clark, who cut in from the left and drilled a low right-footed shot towards goal from 20-yards, which was comfortably saved low down by the former Tunbridge Wells stopper.
Jenkins admitted: “We had four good chances before we scored. Lewis Wood missed a few and Charlie Vines missed a couple so disappointing in that fact other than that it was a good performance.”
But the deadlock was finally broken in the 27th minute.
Left-back Gary Borrowdale and Clark linked up well down the left and holding midfielder Aaron Day played the ball inside to Lewis Wood, who originally had his back to goal before turning and drilling a right-footed daisy-cutter across Czanner from 18-yards, the ball nestling into the bottom far corner of the net.
Jenkins said: “Very good finish. It was a good move as well between the forwards and the midfield. It was a brilliant move. A good finish from Lewis. It’s probably one of the harder ones he had today and he tucked it in.”
Colbran added: “All that it is that they’re a bit more clinical. That’s all it was. Like I say, if you pay out a load more money than you expect players to be more clinical.”
But Crowborough Athletic squandered an excellent chance to bring themselves back into the game just 57 seconds after going behind.
Funnell was released by a long ball along the deck and he danced his way into the Greenwich Borough penalty area and he drilled his left-footed shot over the top of the near post from eight-yards when he only had former Margate keeper Craig Holloway to beat.
Colbran said: “That’s what I’m saying. If he was a bit more clinical in front of goal we would have been coming in at two-all at half-time, not 2-0 down!”
Jenkins added: “To be honest with you, I can’t remember that but now you’ve mentioned it, it’s a chance. They would probably say they were a bit wasteful with that one but if you put away the chances we’ve missed, we’d probably be out of sight anyway!”
The Crows were to regret that miss as Greenwich Borough continued to stamp their authority on the game and ran out comfortable winners in the end.
Young played the ball into Paul Vines who cut the ball back to an unmarked Lewis Wood, who screwed his right-footed wide of the left-hand post from fifteen-yards as another chance went begging.
Young then fed left-back Borrowdale – who was sitting on the bench for Gillingham in League One earlier on in the year – who whipped in a cross which found its way through to Paul Vines, whose first time hooked shot was comfortably saved by Czanner.
But Greenwich Borough doubled their lead ten minutes before the break through Paul Vines.
Borrowdale, 29, who started his career at Crystal Palace, whipped in another cross from the left towards the near post where the unmarked striker planted his header past a stranded Czanner from eight-yards.
“I thought Borrowdale was absolutely outstanding today,” said Jenkins.
“After his first game for us Saturday there were question marks over him, his attitude and things like that, which was nonsense.
“He was different class tonight. It just shows you why he’s played League football at the highest level. He was absolutely spot on. He created two goals.
“Vines is off the mark. It’s brilliant the three forwards scored tonight, it’s fantastic.”
Colbran added: “That’s a bit disappointing, seeing someone get a free header in the box, but we’ve talked about that and we have to put that right and we need to learn from that.”
The home side squandered another couple of chances before Crowborough’s joint-mangers of Colbran and Sean Muggeridge could rally their battered troops during the half-time break.
Edwards cut inside and played in Lewis Wood, who stabbed the ball to Clark, who was denied by Czanner’s parry and Lewis Wood screwed another shot wide.
A poor defensive clearance from Daniel Tear went straight to Edwards, who clipped the ball into Lewis Wood, who drilled his right-footed shot past the near post from eight-yards.
Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.
“Just much of the same really,” said Jenkins. “Obviously touching on the chances missed. I said carry on the way you are, but it doesn’t seem to work like that but we came out second half bright as a button and we could have been three up within 30 seconds of the second half.”
Colbran added: “We changed the formation a little bit and we went more attacking because we had to get ourselves back into the game and I felt second half we done a lot, lot better.
“Our shape was a lot better and we created more chances as well.”
Tear made amends for his earlier mistake when he produced an excellent saving tackle inside his penalty area to thwart Paul Vines after he was released through on goal by Alexander in the 50th minute.
The second half wasn’t as good as the first half, but Greenwich Borough still wasted chances to score more goals.
Jamie Wood’s diagonal pass found Clark down the left and he released Alexander, who drilled his left-footed shot straight at Czanner, who made a comfortable save.
Alexander was once again freed down the left and he floated over a cross towards the far post, which was cracked on the volley by the onrushing Paul Vines, which crashed against the near post.
Jenkins said: “Yes, he was unlucky. He got in a good position around the back there. It was a good ball in from Gary Alexander and he was unlucky.”
But Alexander notched his first goal for Greenwich Borough on the hour, which ended the game as a contest.
Crowborough left-back Alex Rich gave Jamie Wood time and space to whip in a cross with his left foot and Alexander planted his header into the right-corner from six-yards.
Jenkins said: “Fantastic! Woody’s got that in his locker and Woody was outstanding today and Jack Clark was different class.
“Woody gets down there sometimes. He’s got a good left-foot and Gary just stands at the far post and buries the header.
“That’s us all over. We’ve got two players in the box who can score goals there and we’ve got a fox-in-the-box, Lewis Wood. We’ve got goals all over us.
“One day we’ll smash someone sixteen or seventeen nil or something!”
Colbran said: “It was a killer. When it’s 2-0 if we get the next goal then we’re always in with a chance to get back into the game but when you’ve let in another goal that early in the second half it kills you a little bit and 3-0 is hard to get back against a team with the players they’ve got.”
Jenkins also admitted the game was over with 30 minutes still on the clock.
“I think so,” said Jenkins. “Looking at it and the way we were playing if we did carry on similar to the first half the game was dead anyway. If they got one we were quite capable of scoring ourselves. It killed it as a contest and we could have gone on and got a few more.”
Crowborough Athletic substitute Michael Ademiyli offered his side some pace down the left flank and the Sussex side rallied.
But the rest of the game was a non-event, with Crowborough’s best chance of the game coming in the final ten minutes.
Rich whipped in a free-kick with his left foot, which has punched away by Holloway and Andy McMath whipped in a cross from the right and Ademiyli put his right-footed shot straight into Holloway’s gloves from eight-yards.
Colbran said: “Another time that would have gone in the corner of the net, wouldn’t it? But it was a good move.
“I’m proud of the lads because we carried on going right to the end.
“There’s going to be teams coming here who will get beaten a lot more than we’ve got beaten tonight. The money that they’re paying out. If they don’t win the league then it will be a miracle!
“I think coming here second game was tough. This is probably the hardest game of the season we’ll come across so we’ll bounce back, we always do. I’m sure we’ll be up there fighting at the end of the season.”
Jenkins added: “That was it really. That’s as much as they had really so that’s all credit to us defensively. We was absolutely sound. Young and (Joe) Vines were different class. We all know about them and Chris Edwards, how good was he at right-back? He was getting forward as much as he could.
“Overall, it was a great performance. Even Holloway getting a clean sheet, his first clean sheet was good for him.”
Rich delivered another free-kick into the Greenwich penalty area and substitute Paul Butler sent his looping header over the crossbar, but Crowborough Athletic were well beaten by a side favourites to go on and win the league title.
When asked about his side’s aspirations for the season ahead, Colbran said: “We always said we want to get into the top six, that’s what we’re aiming for and that’s what we’re still aiming for.
“Tonight doesn’t make any difference regarding that side so we’re still looking to get in the top six.”
With the biggest budget in the entire Southern Counties East Football League, Jenkins is under pressure to deliver the league title at the end of the season.
“Of course there is (pressure) and I know that and I put pressure on myself,” said Jenkins.
“I’ve been brought in to do a job for the club and the club have backed me and they’re backing me 100%.
“I love it here. What they’ve done to get us to where we are now, pre-season tours and everything that we’ve got, you couldn’t ask for a better club at the minute. It’s just fantastic. It’s everything that we’re asking for, we’re getting.
“I want to win the league for them and I want to take this club as high as I can. It’s pressure but I can deal with that. There’s pressures in life but I can deal with the football pressure.”
Greenwich Borough have been labelled as the “Manchester City of the Southern Counties East Football League” by rival supporters.
Jenkins agreed, saying: “Listen, we are at the end of the day. Everyone knows what we do and what we’re doing. We can’t hide the fact. People are out to beat us but I think we’ve got a squad together to do what we’ve been asked to do so I’m confident.”
One Ryman League chairman claims that Jenkins could face the sack at Christmas if his side are not ten points clear at the summit.
Jenkins said: “Every manager should fear the sack at any level. It’s one of those jobs. Old cliché, results and all that. If I’m not getting results something’s gone wrong! I could do my job to the best of my ability but if it ain’t working, it ain’t working but I’ll be here for the duration. I want to see it through.
“I’ve got great backing from the chairman and his brother in Denmark so you can’t ask for a better job. As you say, the pressure’s on.”
Crowborough Athletic, meanwhile, travel to Dorking Wanderers in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday.
Colbran said: “I’ve been to see them, they’re a strong side. They were strong last year and they’re strong this year.
“Talking to (my players’) after the game tonight in the changing room quickly about Saturday and I’m sure we’ll bounce back. Talking about stronger, I think we’re stronger and we’ll see on Saturday.”
Greenwich Borough: Craig Holloway, Chris Edwards, Gary Borrowdale, Aaron Day, Joe Vines, Danny Young, Jack Clark (Gary Stock 85), Gary Alexander, Paul Vines, Lewis Wood (Frankie Beale 73), Jamie Wood (Chris Saunders 69).
Subs: Lee Craig, Robert Curtis
Goals: Lewis Wood 27, Paul Vines 35, Gary Alexander 60
Crowborough Athletic: Michal Czanner, Tom Cameron, Alex Rich, Daniel Tear, Jonathan Trotter, Connor Charlton (Paul Butler 58), Callum Ridley, Andy McMath, Scott Treleaven, Jack Funnell (Michael Ademiyli 61), Ryan Waterman (Mark Roberts 72).
Subs: Ryan Hinkson, Callum Hampson
Referee: Mr De Bailey (Bromley)
Assistants: Mr Daniel Smith (Gillingham) & Mr Steve Roots (Tunbridge Wells)