Halls Athletic 3-0 Sporting Club Thamesmead Reserves - We gave everything that we had and everything we had wasn't enough, admits SCT assistant Darren Penfold

Friday 17th May 2019
Halls Athletic 3 – 0 Sporting Club Thamesmead
Location Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY
Kickoff 17/05/2019 19:30

Hospital Charity Junior Cup Final
Friday 17 May 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

SPORTING CLUB Thamesmead Reserves assistant manager Darren Penfold criticised his players’ fitness after suffering at the hands of Halls Athletic in the Hospital Charity Junior Cup Final.

Halls Athletic defeated Dulwich Village (3-0) and Stansfeld Reserves (4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw) to reach the Park View Road Final, while Craig Penfold’s side beat Sutton Athletic Reserves (4-1) and Fleetdown United Reserves (3-0).

Halls Athletic completed their campaign in sixth of 11 sides in the Andreas Carter Kent County League Division One West, collecting 30 points from 20 games, while Sporting Club Thamesmead finished in seventh (of 12 sides) in the Division Two West table with 25 points from their 21 league outings.

Dartford based Halls Athletic opened the scoring with a 23rd minute penalty, tucked away by Adam Whitnall.

Both sides were reduced to 10 men when referee Derek Peck showed straight red-cards to Halls Athletic centre-half Ollie Hyde and Sporting Club Thamesmead winger George Horne for an altercation.

A penalty was awarded but Halls Athletic goalkeeper Joe Hyde saved his 10th penalty of the season (facing 15 in total) to deny Jason Elliott.

Halls Athletic increased their lead with two second half goals. A diving header from centre-half Russell Allen was followed by an injury-time dinked penalty from substitute Matthew Skopila.

“Obviously really happy with the performance,” said Halls Athletic player-manager Billy Judd, 26.

“We had to get through the first 20 minutes. We were really nervy but once we settled down there was only one team out there playing football.

“But credit to Sporting Club Thamesmead, they gave us a really, really tough game.  I thought it would be maybe a little bit easier but they battled really hard but I thought our quality showed at the end.”

Halls Athletic last played on Saturday 27 April when they completed their league campaign with a 4-1 win in Beckenham against Club Langley, while Sporting Club Thamesmead Reserves finished with a 2-2 draw at Dulwich Village on Saturday 13 April.

“It’s difficult. We had to keep the boys ticking over training and stuff like that. We didn’t even have any friendlies and I thought our fitness paid off at the end,” said Judd.

Sporting Club Thamesmead Reserves are managed by Craig Penfold and Ben Williams, but Darren Penfold is their assistant and undertook post-match media duties.

“We got over-run. They were fitter. I think it showed at the end, a bit of fitness, a bit more organisation. We lost our legs,” he said.

“I didn’t really agree with the first penalty. I thought it was a bit harsh and that sort of set the tone in the game.  We got a penalty back, which we missed and I think that set it in stone the sort of night we were going to have, up against it and fitness beat us and organisation.

“We have to look at moving forward and that is getting fitter, being fitter, being stronger and being switched on for longer!”

Sporting Club Thamesmead created their first opening after just 57 seconds when Jamie Williams’ flicked pass let in Horne but his attempted flick over Joe Hyde was gathered by the goalkeeper.

Halls Athletic’s left-winger Lewis Tristram took all of their 12 corners on the night and captain Ollie Hyde looped his header over the crossbar from 12-yards just 55 seconds later.

Halls Athletic’s right-back Judd lost possession to Josh Weller inside his own half and the left-back fed Jason Elliott, who cut inside before lashing his right-footed drive high and wide from 22-yards.

Halls Athletic were a threat from set-pieces.  Left-back Robbie Foreman floated in a free-kick from the half-way line and Acre keeper Ryan Osmon came off his line and flapped at the cross but Lewis Tristram took a whack to the head after bravely looping his header over the crossbar.

“It’s something that we work on. We’ve worked on our set-pieces throughout the season and we’ve got a lot of variation on it, which is good for us as well. We looked dangerous and maybe we should’ve scored a couple more really, being honest,” admitted Judd.

Sporting Club Thamesmead created a good chance to take the lead with 17 minutes on the clock.

Rotund holding midfielder Ryan Leaver smashed a free-kick into the wall from 20-yards and the ball trickled across the face of the penalty area and fell to the wrong man as centre-half Dean Elliott swept his shot towards the bottom right-hand corner from 12-yards, forcing keeper Joe Hyde to move to his left to tip around the post for a corner.

“Joe Hyde has been unbelievable this season. The penalty save kept us in the game after going 1-0 up and the sending off.  We needed him and his experience showed. He’s been an absolutely fantastic player for us this year and he showed his quality there,” said Judd.

Penfold added: “A good save from the keeper. In the final third we were just not at the races. That’s the only thing I can say, not finishing our chances.”

Halls Athletic smashed the deadlock by taking the lead with 22 minutes and 25 seconds on the clock.

Lewis Tristram’s third corner was swung in from the right and Daniel Houckham’s hooked the ball back into a crowd of players and referee Derek Peck spotted that Deane Elliott used his hand to block the shot and pointed to the spot.

Whitnall stepped up and confidently despatched the right-footed penalty into the right-hand corner, sending keeper Osmon the other way.

“We did practice penalties in training on the Wednesday. His penalty taking has been fantastic since taking over duty, cool, calm as you like, so very happy with him,” said Judd.

Penfold added: “There were too many bodies. It was Deane Elliott who got penalised for handball.  That’s the one I don’t really agree with.  I thought he couldn’t get out of the way. It was whipped in and I didn’t feel he could get out of the way but the ref gave it.  It was a good finish from him but I think he set our night, how it was going to run the night.”

Both sides were reduced to 10 men in the 40th minute.

Centre-half Harry Morgan clipped a deep free-kick into the Halls Athletic penalty area and centre-half Ollie Hyde went to ground at the far post inside his six-yard box.

The captain allegedly stamped on Horne, who retaliated by allegedly throwing a punch at his opponent.

The referee took his time in making his decision and discussed the incident with both assistant referees Steven Martin before going over to Stan Tom and came to the right decision.

He showed red-cards to Horne (who was booked nine minutes earlier) and Ollie Hyde and awarded Sporting Club Thamesmead a penalty.

Jason Elliott stepped up and stroked his right-footed penalty straight down the middle, which Joe Hyde spilt and then gathered just to his right.

Judd said: “It’s a bit of a weird one! I had my back turned so I didn’t really see it. I could hear the slap, I heard the slap so there was definitely something going on.  I heard the slap and the referee obviously made the right decision I assume at the end.  I’m sure Ollie’s gutted because he’s missed out a little bit on the final but he’s been terrific throughout so I can’t have too many complaints and I think it’s fair for both sides.

“Joe seems to read penalties fantastic. I don’t know what he does or how he knows where they’re going but I can’t credit enough for him.

“I can’t talk more highly of him. He’s been fantastic and that’s exactly what we expect from him.  I think he’s probably one of the only goalkeepers that I play with where I expect a goalkeeper to save a penalty and he’s been fantastic.  I think that’s his tenth penalty that he’s saved, which is an unreal record!”

Penfold claimed: “I didn’t really see the altercation that happened.  My player said the fella stamped on him and he retaliated. I don’t really agree with any of it but I think no one really knew what was going on.

“George apologised as soon as we walked in. I don’t know what happened but what happened.  Happened. Especially at this level they’re just sticking up for themselves at the end of the day and the ref’s made the right decision and sent them both off.

“If he stamped on him or didn’t stamp on him we will never know but I feel the ref made the right decision with the actions taken.”

Reflecting on his side’s penalty, Penfold said: “Not a very good penalty! Again that was our chance to get back in the game. The keeper made a good save and we didn’t really do too much about it!

Both sides created a chance each inside stoppage time.  Lewis Tristram’s sixth corner of the night was met by a towering Allen from 10-yards, the ball bouncing into Osmon’s hands for a comfortable catch.

Ben Williams then released Jamie Williams down the right and he flashed his shot across the keeper and past the far post.

Penfold said: “At half-time we said to the boys we’re not at the game, we could do with a bit more energy. We would’ve liked to everyone come back in like they couldn’t do any more, which we feel they did and we were beaten by the better side.  I keep saying it, they were organised and fitter.”

Judd added: “Composure really. We needed to draw them out a little bit more because they were letting us have the ball in our own half. We wanted to draw them out and play a bit more football. We knew we would catch them on the counter when we were drawing them out each time. We knew they had to go for it. Once we settled down we looked much better.

“The first 15 minutes was really nervy, myself included and once we got that out of the way, we looked really good.”

Halls Athletic made a tactical change with Allen dropping from the right flank to centre-half alongside Houckham.

Halls Athletic created the first opening of the second half when Houckham hung a free-kick into the penalty area, which was punched by Osmon but Whitnall’s right-footed drive from 20-yards sailed high over the crossbar.

Sporting Club Thamesmead offered very little attacking threat during the entire game but Ben Williams tried to bend a low free-kick into the bottom near corner from wide on the left-hand side, some 35-yards from goal, which forced Joe Hyde to move swiftly to his right to push the ball around the post.

“I think their goalkeeper had a really good game and was switched on. I felt he had enough to do but I didn’t feel that we’ve done enough to make him work harder,” admitted Penfold.

Lewis Tristram cut inside and cut across Sam Doona and Leaver and from the edge of the penalty area he curled his shot just around the far post.

Foreman threw the ball into Skopila, who was given time and space to take a couple of touches before whipping in a deep cross towards the far post for Lewis Tristram to glance his header past the far post from eight-yards.

“We look very dangerous and Lewis will maybe be a little bit disappointed with himself but I’ll be more worried if we weren’t creating those chances,” added Judd.

Halls Athletic doubled their lead from another set-piece with the goal timed at 21 minutes and 30 seconds.

Lewis Tristram swung in their 11th corner of the night and was put on a plate for Allen at the near post to bury his diving header into the bottom right-hand corner from three-yards out.

Judd said: “Our set-pieces have been fantastic and he got a couple of free headers in there and that goal was fantastic. A diving header as well. The keeper had no chance and it was an important goal for us.”

Penfold added: “A very good header. Again from our point of view a bit disappointed in the run he got. No one got across him, no one was marking him but you can’t take nothing away from the header. He buried the header and he deserved the goal.”

The remainder of the game had a pre-season feel to it with a number of substitutions being made by each team that damaged the flow of the game.

Penfold said: “We lost our legs, our legs were gone. Absolutely gone. Something for us to move onto next season, a bit of fitness and just trying to stay switched on, a bit of organisation.”

Central midfielder Ben Williams swung in a free-kick from the right, which was palmed away by the Halls Athletic keeper but all substitute centre-half Anthony Collins could do is hook the ball back and into the keeper’s hands inside the final 19 minutes.

The Acre missed an injury-time chance when Collins’ corner from the right fell to striker Jamie Williams, who hooked his shot over the crossbar from eight-yards but the final whistle couldn’t come quickly enough to bring this poor game to a halt.

Halls Athletic sealed the silverware with their third goal, which was timed at four minutes and 6 seconds into stoppage time.

Lewis Tristram whipped in a low cross from the left and Allen was tripped inside the box at the far post by Douglas James.

Skopila dinked his right-footed penalty straight down the middle, sending Osmon to his right to cap off a fine night for the Dartford side.

Penfold said: “He’s pulled him down, definitely a penalty, I would say, from where I was standing and it was a very good finish. A little dink, sent the keeper and a little dink down the middle. It was a confident penalty.”

Judd said: “We were having a little bet in the dug-put because he’s missed all of his penalties in training and a few people were saying he’s going to dink it down the middle and I didn’t think he had the confidence but calm as you like and I don’t think anyone else out there wanted to take a penalty.

“Fantastic! We haven’t had the greatest of seasons, midtable in the league so we knew we needed to win something for it to be a little bit of success so it’s massive for the club. We need as much silverware as we can going into our new ground in about a years’ time.”

Penfold admitted his players need to start improving their fitness.  Two of their players tonight were carrying too much timber on them.

“I would sum up that we gave everything we had and everything we had wasn’t enough,” admitted Penfold.

“The season wasn’t a great season for us at all. It just wasn’t a good season if I’m honest. We weren’t at the races all season. We turned up. I blame a lot with fitness.  You need to be fit and it doesn’t matter what level you play, you need to be fit and stay switched on for 90 minutes and we haven’t been able to do that all season.  Fitness has told a big story for us, a big story, like it did tonight.”

When asked why his players are not fit, Penfold replied: “Personnel, not turning up for training. Probably not us not training enough. Just stay a little bit healthy, a little bit fitter would help a lot moving forward. Training has got to be paramount.

“Starting next season, training, friendlies, having everything there just being a little bit more strict and more focus.  That’s the best we can do as managers, myself and Craig Penfold and Ben Williams.

“It needs to be, what’s the word I’m looking for? Professional! Defiantly, definitely. It doesn’t matter what level you play, you need to be professional. You need to stay fit.  It doesn’t matter what league you’re in, today told a different story, fitness.

“Fitness wise, I feel that’s what won them the game. It wasn’t football. It was just fitness and just being organised. I didn’t feel they were a better footballing side than us, but fitness definitely told.

“I take out of tonight that we had a good spirit, a good heart. We tried. We tried to play in areas. I feel they just over-stretched us with fitness so what I take out tonight is we need to get fitter!”

Halls Athletic: Joe Hyde, Billy Judd (Eddie Walker 84), Robbie Foreman, Adam Whitnall (Matthew Skopila 62), Daniel Houckham, Ollie Hyde, Vincenzo Mazzone (Joe Tristram 84), David Stevens (Taylor-Jay Heward 87), Louis Glazebrook (Stephen Vanstone 73), Lewis Tristram.

Goals: Adam Whitnall 23 (penalty), Russell Allen 67, Matthew Skopila 90 (penalty)

Sent Off:  Ollie Hyde 40

Sporting Club Thamesmead Reserves: Ryan Osmon, Billy Skinner, Josh Weller (Sam Doona 82), Ryan Leaver (Franco Pozzuolo 68), Harry Morgan, Deane Elliott (Anthony Collins 54), Danny Stokley (Tom Stokley 68), Ben Williams (Josh Weller 84), Jamie Williams, Jason Elliott (Douglas James 76), George Horne.

Booked: George Horne 31, Jamie Williams 48, Harry Morgan 90

Sent Off:  George Horne 40

Attendance: 160
Referee: Mr Derek Peck (Bexleyheath)
Assistants: Mr Stan Tom (Greenhithe) & Mr Steven Martin (Orpington)
Fourth Official: Mr Darrell Francis (Kidbrooke, London SE3)