Holmesdale 1-3 Bridon Ropes - I just did what I could do really , says two-goal hero Bridon Ropes player-manager Mark Murison

Wednesday 09th September 2015
Holmesdale 1 – 3 Bridon Ropes
Location 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ
Kickoff 09/09/2015 19:45

The FA Vase First Qualifying Round Replay
Wednesday 9th September 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakley Road

BRIDON ROPES player-manager Mark Murison says his players have to bring in sponsorship money to support the Kent Invicta League club financially.


Bridon Ropes were moments away from knocking out Southern Counties East Football League side Holmesdale in Saturday’s First Qualifying Round tie in Charlton.

Nick Dunsdon created history by scoring the club’s first goal in the competition with 13 minutes of normal time remaining, before Michael McKenna came off the bench to roll in a last-gasp equaliser to set up tonight’s replay at Oakley Road in Bromley.

Marcus Cassius capped off an excellent performance up front for Holmesdale and his thunderbolt gave the home side the lead seven minutes into the second half tonight.

But when Bridon Ropes’ central defender Eamon Gaughan pulled his hamstring, on came Murison and within a couple of minutes he steered his shot into the bottom far corner to level.

Dunsdon stunned Holmesdale by beating Jack Yerlett, 17, who is interesting Vanarma National League South club Margate, before Murison steered in his second to make it Bridon Ropes’ greatest ever night in their 80-year history.

Eight followers of Bridon Ropes strolled on to the pitch at the final whistle to offer their congratulations to their heroic players, while Holmesdale manager John Wilfort and his assistant Ross Mitchell declined to comment on the club’s FA Vase exit at the first hurdle afterwards.

Murison, though, was keen to talk for 18 minutes and 12 seconds and was naturally delighted that his contribution created a fairy tail story, despite being without attacking pair Dean Gould (working in Bristol) and George Maddocks (hamstring).

“I had no intensions at the beginning of the game to use myself but I had to put myself on the bench because unfortunately our two strikers were unavailable tonight,” said Murison, 31, who confirmed he is not making a playing comeback.

“We went with a bit of a makeshift striker and Smithy (Adam Smith) did quality up there. He did really, really well.

“We felt we were lacking in holding up the ball. The first 20 minutes today we was woeful. It was a shocking first 20 minutes and we really had to sort it out so we changed a couple of things to get a better shape.

“We started coming into it the last 20 minutes (of the first half). We were back in the game and it was even Stevens then.

“A bit of a sucker punch going 1-0 down. To be fair to their striker he’s been a handful for two games  - that was an absolutely quality strike!

“I just did what I could do really! Typically just tried to hold the ball up, get in behind the last man and thankfully the boys put the ball on a plate for me and I managed to find the back of the net for two of them.

“We conceded two minutes to go against Holmesdale on Saturday, when I feel we probably should have had the game dead and buried. Tonight it was nice to have had that little bit of a gap, if you like.”

Holmesdale were clearly the better side for the opening 25 minutes as Bridon Ropes struggled to come to terms with Cassius’ pace and trickery up top.

Paul Springett played the ball to Rhys Martin out on the right wing and he played the ball inside to Bradon Hobbs, but his left-footed drive from 20-yards was caught by visiting keeper Anthony Gaughan.

Adam Smith, an emergency striker for Bridon Ropes, was offered a chance to steal the headlines inside the opening nine minutes.

Dunsdon swung in a free-kick from the left and Smith made space for himself at the near post, glancing his free header wide of the left-hand post from 12-yards.

Murison revealed that Smith was not playing in his natural position.

He said: “Smithy, to be fair to him, he’s not a striker. He played in that make-shift role really.

“In that first half he had that free header wide, which I thought was heading in the back of the net!

“He then hit the crossbar with a strike from outside the box and then he had another right foot (shot) that just went wide.

“He did brilliantly in trying to play that role but he’s not used to it. It was a bit of a glaring miss but it would’ve been nice to go in 1-0 early. Maybe if we’d had scored early it might’ve done us a discredit. Sometimes you can drop off and try to win the game too early. The fact we were able to come back and sucker punch them, I think that knocked the wind out of them really.”

Holmesdale, who were guilty of missing a high number of chances in Saturday’s game, hit the crossbar following their first corner of the game.

Hobbs swung in a corner from the right and holding midfielder Aaron Day, not renowned for his goalscoring, planted his header against the crossbar from sixteen-yards.

Murison said: “They were really troubling us to be fair. We was giving them the ball. It was a really frustrating 20 minutes but to be fair to Holmesdale they came out of the blocks on fire! They were pressing us really high, we couldn’t get the ball down across the back or middle. We were struggling a little bit to play.

“We were playing stupid football really. We were playing silly balls, playing blind passes, getting tackled in the final third and they were just driving and driving and I was waiting for their goal to go in!”

Day played the ball into Cassius’ feet, who took a touch before drilling his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 25-yards and Bridon were often seen with eight players inside their penalty box as they protected their goal as Holmesdale hit them with pace.

The Bridon Ropes manager said: “We had to change it. John (Woodcock) out left-back was playing a little bit too up the pitch, which was giving them an easy outlet so their number 9 (Cassius) is very quick, a very good player, was getting in behind forcing our centre backs out of position, which was creating lots of gaps in the middle.

“Nick (Dunsdon) was playing a bit more attacking to start with and he’s our main ball player really. We dropped him in to try to get him on the ball, dropped John back in line with our back four so we could cut out that run from the 9.

“They weren’t able to pass the ball in behind us easily so they had to play through balls through us and we were plugging the gaps so well they started to struggle to find it so we were able to counter so those two little tweaks really got us into the game.”

Anthony Gaughan, who was busier on Saturday, was alert when he advanced off his line to smother the ball at Cassius’ feet inside his penalty box after the lightening quick striker latched onto Springett’s ball from inside the centre circle.

However, despite Holmesdale’s dominance, Bridon Ropes created the better chances and they should have taken a 28th minute lead.

Right-back Finlay Chambers clipped the ball down the line to release lone striker Smith hurtling towards goal and his right-footed drive from 30-yards screamed agonisingly past the post.

This sparked a good spell for Bridon Ropes and Taylor Bowley fed Smith, who cut inside and curled his left-footed shot agonisingly against the crossbar from 25-yards.

Holmesdale were rattled and central defender Lee Coburn appealed that the ball had crossed the touch-line - but it didn’t - and Bowley collected the loose ball, ran forward, cut the ball inside to Smith, who from 22-yards sliced his shot wide.

Holmesdale were attractive to watch going forward, but lacked a clinical touch in front of goal.

Hobbs’ pace hit Bridon Ropes hard in the 40th minute and his progress was blocked inside the box but he cut the ball back to Cassius, who blasted his right-footed shot high and wide of the target from 20-yards.

Bridon Ropes’ left-back John Woodcock picked the ball up inside Holmesdale’s half and ran forward with the ball before hitting a speculative left-footed drive from 35-yards, which was comfortably caught by Yerlett.

When asked about his thoughts at the break, Murison replied: “It was a bit of a weird half-time team talk because the first 20 minutes would have had me infuriated and probably try and throw things around the changing room to sort it out but the last 20 minutes we grew into the game.

“The two tweaks we made really started to give us some shape because we didn’t seem to have any shape in the first 20 minute and we had to change it!”

Despite a shaky opening 25 minutes, Bridon Ropes grew into the game and they created an opening in the 51st minute.

Goalkeeper Anthony Gaughan threw the ball to Woodcock, who ran forward before clipping a through ball down the left channel for Smith to run into but he swept his angled drive past the far post.

But Holmesdale opened the scoring, through a quality finish from Cassius.

Cassius cut across the pitch from centre to the right-hand side to unleash a powerfully hit thunderbolt from 19-yards on the angle, which screamed over Anthony Gaughan’s left shoulder and smashed against the underside of the crossbar before dropping down and smacking the back of the net.

It was the diminutive striker’s fourth goal of the season and on tonight’s performance he is clearly capable of playing at a higher level of football – if he really wants it!

Murison said: “In theory we wanted to make sure we didn’t give away any silly goals and to be fair I didn’t think we did – it was a cracking finish!

“Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say great run, great finish! It was a fantastic strike.

“He’s been a threat for the 210 minutes that we’ve played Holmesdale. He’s been an absolute major threat. He’s an absolute quality player the boy.

“Matt (Dennis) done well. John (Woodcock) went up for the header and he knows he’s not the biggest in the world so he was beaten to that. Matty tracked him really well, got close to him but when you’ve got a player like that, who is so quick, getting the ball out of his feet, he’s going to strike one at some point. My God didn’t he strike it!

“It was a bit annoying as well because we had a bit of a head injury (to Kieran Fanner) just before that but they were attacking – so there’s no blame on the ref there.

“He would normally be in that position to try to cover it but he got up and played the game but he was out of position because of a head injury and it just forced us to concede a really good goal.”

Holmesdale made five changes to the side on Saturday and Junior James came off the bench and immediately went close, seeing his left-footed curler sail around the far post after cutting inside.

But the turning point of the tie arrived in the 64th minute when central defender Emaon Gaughan was forced off with a hamstring injury – and on came Murison to play his first game in a couple of years.

Murison explained his lucky tactical masterstroke.

“Eamon our centre back had to be taken off with a hammy. Kemal (Chakarto) had to be pushed back into centre back which meant Smithy had to go in the middle and it left no one up and I only had three subs today because of injuries and commitments and I was the only one who could sort of play in that position really so the decision was forced into my hands.”

Former Lordswood player Murison grabbed the headlines when he equalised in the 66th minute of the game.

Inevitably, Dunsdon had to be involved and he received the ball in space down the left hand side and he waited before slipping the ball in behind to Murison, who had ran the left channel.

Murison cut into the penalty area and wrapped his left-foot around the ball and the ball trickled across Yerlett and nestled inside the bottom far corner of the net from a tight angle, 10-yards from goal.

“I did used to play up top and I suppose I still remember how to play a little bit,” said Murison.

“I just played off the centre back. Nick got the ball in space and I just made sure I didn’t get into his space that he was driving into so I just played off the centre back.  He waited until the other centre back was forced out to try to close him down.

“He played me through perfectly and at first I thought my touch had taken me a little bit away. I’ll be honest my first touch wasn’t exactly fantastic but I managed to wrap my left foot around it just enough to sneak it in at the far post.

“I thought I missed so when I was going away because I couldn’t see the line of the shot. I thought I just dragged it wide but I heard the committee start cheering in the stand before the ball hit the net so I did realise I think it’s going in and it trickled in.

“It’s a lovely feeling to get it to 1-1, a good feeling to score again. I ain’t played for a couple of years. You never lose the thrill of scoring. The fitness is not there, two years of not playing football, I struggled to get through the rest of the game!”

Springett cracked a right-footed, dipping curler from 35-yards, which forced Anthony Gaughan to pluck the ball out of the air as the game entered the final 20 minutes.

Bridon Ropes took the game by the scruff of the neck, clearly inspired by Murison’s presence on the pitch.

Quiet winger Gibson Donson centred low from the right towards the far post for Dunsdon to flick a pass into Bowley, who hit a first time right-footed drive flashing past the left-hand post.

But Bridon Ropes took the lead in the 74th minute through a fine finish from Dunsdon.

Kemal Chakarto – who was sent off in the 90th minute for a second yellow card on Saturday so his tired team-mates had to play extra-time without him – produced a sublime ball in behind Holmesdale’s back line to put Dunsdon through on goal and he placed his shot past Yerlett from 12-yards.

Murison said: “A great finish from Nick, he’s a quality player. As I said on Saturday, the committee have worked really hard to get him and so have I actually. Every time I’ve seen him I’ve tried to enticing him down.  The fact that we’ve managed to get him down is massive because he’s a really top drawer player and he is going to draw the best out of the boys that are around him.”

Bridon Ropes completed their special night with a third goal with 12 minutes left.

Bowley’s pass was latched onto by Murison, who shrugged off two Holmesdale defenders inside the box and steered his left-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner.

“I don’t want to knock myself down too much but I don’t know if I fully had control of the ball at one point,” admitted Murison.

“I managed to get it past the first player and the keeper started closing it down so did their centre back and I was going to shoot but I just felt I didn’t have the ball under control at that stage to have a really good shot.

“Luckily they both slid in, which enabled me to just push the ball past them and then it was an open net after that.

“I’d say fortunate I suppose. I did the hard work, I didn’t quite have the ball under control. I just needed to get it out of my feet and that touch opened up the goal to just slot it in.”

Murison could hardly run for the rest of the game but he saw first hand his team-mates behind him slam the door shut on Holmesdale’s attacking threat.

Holmesdale’s last chance arrived at the death when Hobbs floated in a cross from the right-hand corner of the box towards the far post but Cassius’ downward header bounced into Anthony Gaughan’s hands.

Reflecting on the club’s greatest night, Murison said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. The lads in (the dressing room) are absolutely buzzing.

“ I think they was absolutely gutted after Saturday conceding two minutes to go but it really drove them on to really want to put on a performance.

“To actually win, the committee are absolutely ecstatic to get into that second qualifying round. We’ve got Erith Town. I haven’t seen them play for a little whole but I think they’re in the top six (of the Southern Counties East Football League).

“I think they’re a good outfit. It will be a tough game and we’ve just got to plug the gaps and try to do what we did today really and if we create the chances that we’ve created in the last few games we’ll have a chance to score against Erith.”

Bridon Ropes have scooped £600 in prize money, with a further £800 up for grabs if they can cause another shock win at Erith Town in the next round.

“They (my players ) have to try to get in sponsorship to the club so we don’t really ask for regular subs if you like but the players do have to contribute to the club in other ways, sponsorships and try and get extra money into the club that way so yes in theory they do have to contribute. I wouldn’t say pay to play but I’d say contribute to the club’s cause.

“We’re hoping to get into a position that don’t have to happen in the future.

“I wonder if I’d get a bonus? I might ask the committee if I get a little £100 bonus or something?

“It’s great for the club. Some clubs sniff at that (£600 prize money) but for the club like this, with the commitments we’ve had to get in from players and sponsors that’s massive, absolutely huge.

“We’re going to try our very best to give it a go against Erith and try and get the next prize money, which I believe is £800 and we’ll try to get that, but if not £600 is massive and will go a long way.”

Murison ruled out the possibility of making a comeback, adding: “It’s not a comeback, I’ve not intension of playing the season out. My whole commitment to the club is to manage them and the downside is at the moment we’ve only got two players who can play up front and I’m the third striker and unfortunately I had to be used today. I suppose fortunately I was able to help the team get over the line.

“I think over the 210 minutes we’ve played Holmesdale over the last five days I think we’ve thoroughly deserved it.  I think Holmesdale are a great team, got a great bunch of lads and they play their football really, really well but on chances we created in the two games I think we deserved it.”

Holmesdale: Jack Yerlett, Sean Mason, Lanre Adebayo, Aaron Day (Jay Garrick 75), Jack Saunders (Akin Ajose 46), Lee Coburn, Rhys Martin, Paul Springett, Marcus Cassius, Bradon Hobbs, Adriano Lawson (Junior James 64).
Subs: Jamie Fernandes, James Teodorescu

Goal: Marcus Cassius 52

Booked: Jack Saunders 42

Bridon Ropes: Anthony Gaughan, Finlay Chambers, John Woodcock, Matt Dennis, Eamon Gaughan (Mark Murison 64), Kieran Fanner, Nick Dunsdon, Kemal Chakarto, Adam Smith, Taylor Bowley, Gibson Donson.
Subs: Lewis Summersby, Ibrahim Abdul Al-Kamara

Goals: Mark Murison 66, 78, Nick Dunsdon 74

Booked: John Woodcock 89

Attendance: 56
Referee: Mr Zach Jacquart (Sutton, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Ollie Smith (Folkestone) & Mr Ben Bowles (Rochester)