Walking out at Wembley is probably a dream that you must be very fortunate to achieve but for us as a club it’s vitally important to remain in the cup competitions for as long as possible, says Holmesdale joint-manager Andy Constable

Friday 20th October 2023

HOLMESDALE joint-manager Andy Constable says he is expecting a very close game against their Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division rivals Corinthian in The FA Vase First Round tomorrow.

The Dalers go into the fixture sitting in thirteenth-place in the table, having picked up three wins and three draws from their 11 games.

Michael Golding’s men arrive at Oakley Road sitting in third-place in the table, having banked seven wins and three draws from their 12 games.

“The Vase is a great competition for all clubs at Step Five and Six, with a fantastic prize that we can all dream of, walking out at Wembley,” said Constable, who runs the team alongside Tony Beckingham.

“That is probably a dream that you must be very fortunate to achieve but for us as a club it’s vitally important to remain in the cup competitions for as long as possible, especially one that can generate additional revenue.

“The only downside is that we face a fellow league rival in Corinthian.  Ideally, you would always like to play teams from different leagues to break the norm from the week-to-week league fixtures but that is obviously out of our control.

“We have already played away to Corinthian earlier in the season in the league and came away with a 2-1 defeat in a game that again, if we had taken our chances in the first half, we could have got at least a draw.

“I think it will be a very close game and whoever is more clinical in front of goal will progress to the next round – but I do think it will be a very tight affair.

“I fully expect our players to work as hard as they did at Punjab and ty and get us in the next round with a home win.

“I’m sure the supporters that attended the game will be in for an exciting afternoon’s entertainment.”

Bromley-based Holmesdale went down to a 2-0 home defeat to Erith Town but bounced back by coming away from Punjab United with a point in a 1-1 draw in their last outing on 10 October.

“Erith Town deservedly came away from Oakley Road with three points after comfortably beating us 2-0,” recalled Constable.

“In truth, if it wasn’t for Liam Northwood in goal the score could have been a lot worse!

“Tony (Beckingham) and I agreed for the first time this season that we felt we could have got a heavy beating, so fair play to Woody (Adam Woodward) and his team on the way they played, as we really didn’t do enough in the final third to lay a glove on them – so we can’t have any complaints on the outcome of that game.

“We were fortunate to have another league game on the Tuesday at Punjab to try and put that previous result behind us.

“This is one of the toughest fixtures you can get in this league, so we knew we had to put in a much-improved performance to come away with anything.

“Pleasingly, the boys delivered and despite a first half going up the hill, we managed to get to half-time at 0-0. We felt we could apply some real pressure on them in the second half.

“We encouraged the boys to be more direct as the playing surface at Punjab isn’t ideal for getting the ball down and playing and a direct ball from Sam Bayford early in the second half created our goal.  After some great hold up play and then a sublime flick from Callum Keeble into the oncoming path of Sam, a quick drop of the shoulder and Sam cooly finished to left of the keeper. Probably the best goal we have scored to date and a reminder of the quality that we do possess in the squad.

“We were in control of the game for the next 20 minutes but again failed to be clinical in front of goal, a second goal would have certainly killed the game off but it never came.

“What did come was an onslaught from Punjab who went to four up top to try and get something from the game. A free-kick into our box struck the hand of one of our defenders and the resulting penalty narrowly escaping the fingertips of Liam Northwood in goal.

“We defended exceptionally well with Liam making some outstanding saves and really installing some confidence in the defence. We held on for a valuable draw, which was thoroughly deserved.

“Four points from four very hard games away at Glebe, home to Fisher and Erith Town then away to Punjab is a decent return for us so it’s important to focus on the positives of that little run.

“One big plus from these two games were the performances of Liam Northwood, who had come in to help us out from Cray Wanderers. After enjoying the two games he played I’m pleased to say Liam has agreed to stay for the rest of season and will make a massive difference to the squad. So welcome on-board Liam.

“The season to date has been frustrating as we have been on the end of some tight defeats but competed in every game which is a positive, the squad will continue to evolve and improve throughout the season and let’s see where we can end up.”

Meanwhile, former Holmesdale manager Lee Roots, who departed Oakley Road in the summer to spend eight games in joint-charge with Kevin Rayner at AFC Croydon Athletic before their departure on Wednesday 13 September, was appointed the manager of Bridon Ropes on Monday 16 October.

The Charlton-based side are in the bottom four in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with seven points (two wins and a draw) from their opening nine games.

Holmesdale  v  Corinthian
The Isuzu FA Vase First Round
Saturday 21 October 2023
Kick Off 3:00pm
at 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HG