Herne Bay 2-0 Colliers Wood United - I don't fear our next Vase opponents, says confident Halsey

Saturday 11th December 2010
FA Carlsberg Vase Third Round
Saturday 12th December 2010
Stephen McCartney reports from Winch’s Field

HERNE BAY look forward to a potential clash against back-to-back winners Whitley Bay in the LAST 32 of The FA Carlsberg Vase after playing Colliers Wood United off the park.

A 2-0 win over the ninth-placed Combined Counties League side was not a true reflection on the game as Herne Bay dominated from start-to-finish and keeper Dan Eason had nothing to do.

Manager Simon Halsey told his side to remain patient and they were rewarded with second half goals from the impressive Michael Jenner and skipper Luke Harvey (who also twice hit the woodwork) to set up a mouth-watering Fourth Round clash against the Northern Leaguers on 22 January 2011 - if they beat AFC Liverpool next Saturday.

Today’s comfortable stroll in the park extended the Safety Net Kent League leaders unbeaten run to SEVENTEEN games - after losing their only two games in the first seven days of the season.

The club can now look forward to their first Fourth Round tie since the 1997-98 season when Tommy Sampson’s side were defeated 5-2 away to Taunton Town - the previous campaign they went one round further, before Sampson himself led Deal Town to Wembley glory with a famous 1-0 win over Chippenham Town in the last final underneath the iconic Twin Towers in 2000.

Halsey emerged from the happy home dressing room and told www.kentishfootball.co.uk: “I’ve just said to the lads, the club has not really done anything for 13 years and last week it’s been one year since I’ve took charge of the club and we’ve come runners-up in the league, we’ve won the Kent Premier League Cup and we’re top of the league.

“We’re in the mix and we’re in the last 32 of the Vase so all to happen in a year for myself and for my players and the club, it’s just a great achievement.

“I think a lot of managers have had three or four years to try and achieve what we have and we’re getting there and we’ve got to start setting ourselves little bars and we’ve got to meet them and not let our standards drop and I won’t let that happen.”

Herne Bay didn’t let the Wimbledon based side settle and dominated from the very first whistle and leader Harvey almost gave his side a perfect start after just 57 seconds.

His strike partner, Byron Walker, slipped the ball through to him and he cracked a low curling right-footed drive across keeper Daniel Burnett and the ball bounced agonisingly off the foot of the far post.

Burnett made his first fine save in the sixth minute when he reacted to Toby Ashmore’s fierce right-footed free-kick from 30-yards, which stung the keeper’s fingers as he pushed the ball up and away from his goal.

Herne Bay’s third chance arrived in the 18th minute when Ashmore played the ball forward from his position at the heart of Herne Bay’s defence and Harvey’s flick released Walker, but Burnett’s body blocked the flicked shot and a defender was on hand to boot the ball out.

Herne Bay’s slick football was pleasing on the eye and Darren Marsden carved open a stunned Colliers Wood defence to find Jenner but Burnett stood tall at his near post before blocking a low shot with his legs.

Another slick passing move, following Dan Lawrence’s short corner from the left, resulted in Marsden striking a right-footed drive from outside of the penalty area, which was tipped over by the busy Burnett.

Despite those chances home fans were left shaking their heads as to how the score remained goal-less at the break.

Colliers Wood did look threatening inside the opening five minutes of the second half, with 12-goal striker Marco Embalo ballooning an ambitious right-footed shot over from 30-yards inside the first 20 seconds, but the Wimbledon based side failed to trouble Eason.

Herne Bay were frustrated when Jenner released Harvey through on goal and after rounding the keeper the number nine slammed his shot into the side netting from a very tight angle.

But relief was evident all around the ground when the Kent side finally broke the deadlock in the 56th minute.

Central defender Steve Hanson powered a header straight down the middle of the pitch to release winger Dan Lawrence, who left the onrushing Burnett embarrassed as he comfortably won the loose ball and kept his composure as he cut inside before looking up and noticing the untracked Jenner, who slammed a low right-footed drive into the back of the net.

That should have opened the floodgates, but Burnett made amends for his blunder by thwarting Jenner after the keeper’s initial poor clearance was headed up field by David Crofts and a fine centre from Harvey down the left.

Colliers Wood striker Emmanuel Quashie - who along with Embalo - didn’t get any change out of Ashmore and Hanson all game - saw a header comfortably caught by Eason.

And Colliers Wood manager John Humphreys was heard shouting “worth a try that is” after his substitute Luke Brooks-Smith cracked a right-footed shot over from 30-yards.

The Herne Bay faithful in the main stand were clearly enjoying the game with “Easy” chants and “can we play you every week” - it was that comfortable!

Still only one goal ahead going into the final ten minutes, Halsey called Simon Brown, Nathan Eastwood and Stuart King off from the bench.

A move involving Michael Turner and Jenner released Harvey down the left and he curled a left-footed shot over Burnett’s head, and the ball caressed the Colliers Wood crossbar in the 86th minute.

Herne Bay thought they had scored their second just fifteen seconds into stoppage time when Harvey’s centre was tucked away by King - with his first touch of the ball - but his left-footed strike across the keeper, which nestled into the corner, was ruled out for offside.

But despair turned to joy just 32 seconds later when Lawrence passed to Harvey who applied the finish with a low drive past the goalkeeper to send Herne Bay through to the national stage of the competition.

Halsey admitted his side should have won by more goals.

He said: “Yes, without a doubt!  Luke’s one goes in, in the first 30 seconds and don’t come off the post and goes in, I think it would have been four or five nil, but they were resilient.

“We weren’t clinical enough in front of goal in the first 45 minutes.  We had God knows how many chances, we just needed a bit of quality in the final third, but we defended well.

“I said to them at half-time ‘don’t panic! Stay calm, try and do it and it will happen,’ and it did happen so I’m absolutely delighted.”

Halsey added: “I’m just pleased for the lads, absolutely pleased for them.  The way they just kept going, kept their shape, just kept pounding at them.

“Really two-nil, it should’ve been four or five nil but all the time it’s nil-nil, they’ve got a chance and they clung onto that to be fair.  I kept saying to the boys at half-time ‘it’s nil-nil, they’ve got a chance‘.  They only need that one that deflects of someone’s knee and it falls to them and they score and it’s one-nil and we’re chasing the game, but I thought we defended well right through the whole team.”

Reflecting on both of side’s goals, Halsey said: “Their goalie’s made a bit of a fluff at coming out trying to win the ball on the edge of his box with no hands and DL (Lawrence) done well, strong in the tackle and waited for Jenner to arrive on the edge of the box to stroke it home.”

Praising Harvey, he added: “He hit the post in the first half and the bar in the second and finished it off, absolute superb.  He’s had a bit of injuries this year but he’s come back, his our skipper, he’s our leader, so I’m glad he’s finished the job off.”

Halsey is contemplating with other club officials flying up to watch Whitley Bay’s twice postponed clash against AFC Liverpool next Saturday to prepare for the Fourth Round tie.

He said: “The game’s next Saturday so fortunately we haven’t got a game now because of Beckenham’s game (against Kings Lynn Town in the FA Carlsberg Vase Third Round) getting called off so I might be getting a plane up to Newcastle next Friday night  - if I’m allowed.

“I’ll be going to watch them and I don’t fear them.  That’s not being cocky, that’s being confident.  They’ve got to come down here and we’ll play them and see what happens.

“Whoever comes down here it will be one hell of a game.  We haven’t lost in seventeen games so we’re ready to play anyone!

With £4,200 in FA prize money from their FA Carlsberg Vase run now in the bank, chairman John Bathurst told www.kentishfootball.co.uk that he and his vice-chairman will miss the Fourth Round tie as they are both on separate holidays in the Maldives and Caribbean respectively. 

“You don’t normally expect to get this far but I’m sure the lads won’t let us down.  It’s just a shame I’m going to miss an opportunity to see a Vase winner down at Herne Bay,” said Mr Bathurst.

Reflecting on today’s game, the diminutive chairman said: “We should’ve been five or six up at half-time but I think Colliers Wood would’ve excepted that - they wouldn’t have liked it but we’re just not clinical enough in front of goal unfortunately.

“We play some lovely football and I think we showed them we are a good footballing side this year.

“But getting to the national stage has got to be fantastic, particularly for Herne Bay and me.  I’ve been chairman now for ten years and it’s the first time that I’ve had this experience.”

Looking forward to facing a team from the opposite end of the country, the chairman added: “You know you’re there now (the last 32).  Any team you get it’s going to be a tough game.”

Herne Bay: Dan Eason, David Crofts, Toby Ashmore, Tom Bryant, Steve Hanson, Michael Jenner, Dan Lawrence, Darren Marsden (Simon Brown 83) , Luke Harvey, Bryon Walker (Stuart King 89), Michael Turner (Nathan Eastwood 87).
Subs: Rhys Lawson, Jimmy Corbett

Goals: Michael Jenner 56, Luke Harvey 90

Booked:  Michael Jenner 90

Colliers Wood United: Daniel Burnett, Joseph Mead (Paul Grills 82), Daniel Hughes, Samuel Mead, Joseph Frimpong, Mark Longley (Luke Brooks-Smith 58), Nathan Mottley, Barry Thomas, Mario Embalo, Emmanuel Quashie, Phillip Frodsham.
Sub: Ryan Pepperrell

Booked: Nathan Mottley 24

Attendance: 213
Referee: Mr Ashvin Degnarain (Islington, London N5)
Assistants: Mr Paul Howard (Finsbury Park, London N4) & Mr Martyn Cannon (London NW9)