Kent Football United 0-3 Glebe - That's back to business for us, says Glebe boss Simon Copley

Saturday 19th December 2015
Kent Football United 0 – 3 Glebe
Location Glentworth Sports Club, Lowfield Street, Dartford, Kent DA1 1JB
Kickoff 19/12/2015 14:00

Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Saturday 19th December 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Lowfield Street

GLEBE manager Simon Copley says he feels blessed to be among good characters with his side sitting at the top of the tree at Christmas.

The Chislehurst based club remain two points clear of Bearsted on 42 points from 18 games with this professional performance against their struggling Dartford based hosts.

Kent Football United, who gave seven starters their debuts, held out until the 50th minute when Ryan Golding broke the stalemate following an uninspiring first half.

Man-of-the-match James Alderman added a second as the home side suffered from tiredness, before Golding added his 16th goal of the season, which leaves Kent Football United in the bottom four on 19 points from as many games.

“My thoughts are that’s back to normal for us, no disrespect to the opposition, that was us,” said Copley following his side’s 13th league win of the season.

“We worked harder, we deserved that. It could’ve been a couple more.  I think they had one creditable effort that scared us when we missed an open goal at the other end but I’m pleased with that.  That’s sort of back to business for us.”

There was not one nasty tackle or booking during the game and Copley was pleased with the manner his side bounced back following last weekend’s disgraceful scenes against AC London at Foxbury Avenue.

“One hundred percent professional, that’s what (my players’) are, they’ve got a professional  mind-set,” said Copley, who declined to speak about last week’s events.

“I haven’t got any idiots, I haven’t got any primadonna’s. I’ve got boys that are honest, I’ve got boys that are decent human beings. I’ve got boys that put a shift in for each other and that was shown today as we’ve shown in previous games.”

Kent Football United were under charge of joint-managers Ennio Gonnella and Billy Walton for the first time and the pair took charge of their first training session out on the pitch this morning.

When asked how his first game in joint-charge went, Gonnella replied: “Sore, sore, very sore but then again we’re playing top of the league.

“They’ve got seven months I would say in front of us in terms of fitness and togetherness. They’re a very well drilled side.

“Tired legs towards the end – and three sloppy goals – it was always going to happen.

“I wasn’t expecting a four or five nil drubbing today. Some of the boys who started today have been unattached from clubs for about seven or eight months. I would say their fitness is going to be a problem but it will take time.”

The home side were still going through some moves out on the pitch when Glebe’s players started to arrive 90 minutes before kick-off.

Gonnella explained: “They didn’t train on Thursday night because they couldn’t make the arrangements so what I did we got them here at quarter-past-eleven. We ran though the tactics, we done a bit of a pattern of play on the pitch, nothing too strenuous.

“We went inside, Bill (Walton) and I bought them breakfast ok so they sat down as a team and sort of tried to bond.  We had breakfast together, went inside so we tried to do it as professional as possible but that’s what you saw out there.”

Glebe were without suspended striker Gary Lockyer, while they lost Thomas Fitzgerald during the warm-up with a heel injury.

Kent Football United created the first opening inside 12 minutes when right-back Jimi Ruby played the ball into Ashley Douglas’s feet and the central midfielder hit a speculative shot from inside the centre circle which dipped into the hands of kneeling Glebe keeper Alfie George.

But a smart save from Bradley McNamara denied Golding an opener just 53 seconds later.

Jamie Williams and Alderman linked up in the final third and Golding brought the ball down under control with his head before stroking his shot towards the bottom corner, which was smothered on the line by the keeper McNamara.

“Very good save. It’s the first time I’ve seen Bradley play. I’m still getting to know certain players. He pulled off a very good save.  I thought he had a good game all round to be honest with you. None of his goals were his fault,” said Gonnella, who has previously managed Erith Town and Eltham Palace.

Copley said: “It was put through, it came at an angle and as he’s waiting for the keeper to set himself – Ryan’s got a habit of putting the ball through the keeper’s legs – it’s kind of bobbled between his legs but I’m also watching the ball kind of rock before it’s come down flat. 

“We all say he should’ve finished that but it’s hard to plant a moving ball at times but yes it should’ve been 1-0 to us.”

The game continued to be a uninspiring midfield battle as both teams failed to get the ball out wide.

Gonnella said: “I think both sides tried to play on that pitch as well. It’s so soft, it’s so wet. We tried to play a style of football, you know, I think you’ve mentioned before a carpet style for Bill. He likes to get it down, so do I but we’ve got to appreciate the grounds in this league -apart from Glebe’s I would say - is not going to allow you to do so.”

Copley said: “We don’t really play with width in midfield, we play with full-backs, they get on the ball and drive them areas so we actually play quite a narrow midfield,” explained Copley, who sets his side up playing a 4-1-3-2 formation.

“We’ve got footballers that can play it and I think they played quite a narrow midfield. Their wide players got on and it left it a little bit more congested in the middle of the pitch.

“I think we had the foothold in the game despite not really creating as much as we’d like. 

“We didn’t really look under threat. We were winning most of the tackles and stuff.  It was scrappy but I felt quite confident once that unfolded we’d have the upper hand, which we did.”

Kent Football United gave away 13 free-kicks during the first half and Glebe created a couple of openings with their two central defenders off-target.

Daniel Palfrey floated in a free-kick some 35-yards from goal and Jack Hooper ghosted in unmarked to send his diving header past the near post after 18 minutes.

Palfrey then floated in another free-kick towards the far post and this time it was Hooper’s defensive partner, Carson Dennis, who sliced his right-footed volley wide.

Copley said: “I’ve got players who can deliver decent set-pieces. We won virtually all of them but we didn’t capitalise on that and that’s the frustrating thing for me.

“Two centre halves – they’re oafs and you can publish that if you like – I’m joking! They’re both big strong boys and they’re both good in the air and they both came through and you want those sort of chances to fall to maybe strikers who are used to taking them but I can’t knock their effort and desire to get into the box.

“They both had one each and they cancelled each other out, we’ve missed the target!”

Kent Football United committed their tenth foul in the 31st minute but Glebe didn’t have the quality in the first half to score.

Connor Charlton played the ball inside to Alderman, who swept a first time right-footed shot past the left-hand post from 30-yards, before Kent Football United went close towards the end of the half when Jordan Johnson, one of three central midfielders, swept his right-footed shot sailing just over the crossbar from 35-yards.

Gonnella said: “He tried the spectacular. Some of them go in, some of them don’t. The keeper was falling actually. I thought it was going in. I was ready to cheer but it just went over the bar!”

Copley added: “That particular effort came from because my centre half played the ball back into my goalkeeper and we said be careful of that because the pitch is slightly wavy, put the ball either side of the goalie.  He played it into him and he’s pulled it straight to their centre midfielder. I was quite relieved it went over because we didn’t deserve to be undone by a silly mistake.”

The crowd of 49 hoped for more entertainment during the second half.

When asked his thoughts at the break, Gonnella said: “To be honest, do the same as possible. Bill mentioned to them they haven’t created that many chances apart from the one-on-one.  We had a chance.

“We expected more form them to be honest with you. They’re top of the league, we expected a bit more but the total transformation when fitness runs out so we said to them from kick-off behave, be patient, stay concentrated, tired legs are going to come but think there were 31 seconds between our chance to level and their chance to score (their second goal).”

“I said to them we’re not doing too much wrong, relax a bit more on the ball,” added the Glebe manager.

“We’ve got two players, Ryan Golding and Colin Richmond, I thought Ryan wasn’t making as many runs as he normally does in the first half, he was quite a stray at times and Colin was just doing enough with the ball but I know he can do better.

“I spoke to those two and said you two are too good to give me what you’re giving me, you need to give me a bit more and you saw the performance in the second half with two goals from Ryan and Colin chasing down balls, winning headers, being more tenacious and those two raising their games.

“We got a foothold in the game.  You raise it 10-15%, it sounds clichéd but it’s true and things will happen. We’ll always score goals, a clean sheet, we’ll score goals and we did.”

Kent Football United kicked off the second half and set the tone for some sloppy play straight from the first whistle.

The home side kicked the ball out into touch – inside their own half – straight from the off and Gonnella said: “The lad that played right-back, Jimi Ruby, bless him, he’s a central midfielder so our two full-backs were out of position. I had to ask because I can’t get so many players in a week. They’ve never played together so I think it was cross communication between the two boys.”

Glebe seized control and broke the stalemate with 04:17 on the second half clock.

Clark played the ball forward from right-back into Alderman, who slipped the ball over to Golding, who cut inside and stroked his right-footed shot past the flat-footed McNamara to score from 15-yards.

Copley said: “I’ve seen Ryan cut in a few times and keeper’s have made nice little saves or he’s gone too close to the goalkeeper but he’s cut in and the ball set up for him nicely and he’s given the keeper the eyes, he’s gone one way and he’s reversed it and that’s what Ryan can do.

“The boy scores goals and I’m glad it fell to him when it did and I’m glad he composed himself on a bit of a heavy pitch and he’s done well there.”

Gonnella said: “Sloppy goal for me. The defender got sold a little too easy but again I think it was more concentration.

“I’ve got to say I won’t take too much away from Rob Carter and Callum Naessens, the two centre backs, because I thought they performed really, really well at the back.”

Kent Football United called George into making a comfortable save at his near post after 63 minutes.

Colin Richmond gave the ball away to Johnson inside Glebe’s half and he released striker Jamie O’Connell down the right, but the angle was too tight and his deflected shot was easily dealt with by George.

Charlton played Golding in behind the Kent Football United defence but his cut back was cut out by McNamara, comfortably diving low to his right to make the comfortable save.

Kent Football United’s quiet right-winger Kieron Burrell scuffed his speculative 35-yard effort which rolled into George’s hands.

Alderman lit up the game with dazzling skill in the 69th minute when he collected the ball some 35-yards from goal, danced his way through the back four to work himself inside the penalty area but he placed his right-footed shot just past the foot of the right-hand post when he had the keeper to beat.

“I’ve seen him do that a couple of times dance through,” said Copley.

“I said to him when he came off ‘don’t that do your head in?’ and he said he went with his left foot

“But he’s not meant to miss! He’s a terrific creative player for someone so small and fairly light footed. He’s a very good player and he can bring that to games.  Not many players will come here on that pitch and dance around players and he’s done that. He’s nice to watch.”

Gonnella added: “They didn’t score from any of the good ones did they? They scored from all of our mistakes! That’s football. On another day he would’ve scored. He was a very talented player. He played very well today.”

But Kent Football United missed a great chance on a plate to equalise with 24:03 on the clock.

Johnson ‘s sublime diagonal pass released Cassius down the right and he was in acres of space to whip in a low cross towards the far post where an unmarked Dominic Weston seemed destined to score.

The substitute wasted the chance and scuffed his right-footed shot straight at George from eight-yards out.

“On another day Dominic Weston would’ve put that chance away, so it’s a weird game out there, weird,” said Gonnella.

“What do I say? Probably the best chance and it would’ve changed the game completely.

“For me 31 seconds changed the game. That was when the game was lost.

“Look, I think he tried to play it into the ground. The way it was soft, it just got underneath his foot as opposed to striking through it he tried to put his foot over the top of the ball and it just got stuck into the ground.

“He’s a proven goalscorer in the years he’s been playing football, whether it’s been for Dulwich Hamlet, or whoever it is, but I’ll let him get away with that one because it’s his first game. Second game there might be a bit more stronger talks.”

Copley said: “He scuffed it! What was quite funny, not funny or them, but funny for us was as he was warming up one of their players had missed taking a shot with his wrong foot – when it fell to him I thought he used his wrong foot so it kind of bite him on the backside a little bit but that’s the luck you ride.

“If they take that we should still be three up, 3-1 up, 4-1 up, so the luck was on our side with that.”

It took Glebe only 31 seconds to go up the other end and double their lead.

George clearance wasn’t dealt with by the home side’s defence and Golding cut inside from the left and threaded the ball in behind to Alderman, who slotted his shot into the bottom right-hand corner.

Copley said: “That made up for the little dancing bit from before. He’s done all the hard work and missed and he did the easy bit and scored, so I’m just delighted for him because like you say he has put a good shift in today and that’s just reward for his hard work.”

Gonnella admitted: “Game over! It was game over!

“From a neutrals point of view the game was very, very boring. Both sides didn’t try to play, there was nothing amazing considering the players on show. I just thought it was a very tired and very boring game.  I expected a little bit more but we can blame the pitch, we can blame the players, we can do anything you want. Two-nil was game over.”

Kent Football United’s central defender Callum Naessens held his side together at the back and he almost scored from a stunning drive.

The former Sittingbourne defender unleashed a right-footed drive from 35-yards, which was dipping into the roof of the net, forcing George to use his right hand to palm the ball over the bar.

Gonnella said: “The weight of the ball and how he struck it, I thought he would just comfortably catch it, he didn’t, he tapped it up which unfortunately it came too late to realise because we never tested the keeper. He may not be strong as we thought he was. I think a decent keeper would’ve caught that!”

Copley turned round to his goalkeeper coach Peter Dale and asked him: “Did you think he should’ve caught that?

“Peter being a goalkeeper coach said ‘no’ – they stick together them two, which is fair enough but I’m not being sarcastic I’m just asking.

“He tipped it over, a bit of an optimistic effort.  I expect the goalkeeper to save that so not a danger.”

Glebe wrapped up the victory by scoring their third goal in the final 11 minutes.

Clark advanced into the final third and whipped in a low cross into the corridor of uncertainly and Golding turned and steered his shot into the bottom left-hand corner from eight-yards.

“Again, that’s what Ryan does. He finishes all sorts of different goals,” said Copley.

“Ryan puts it away and it’s 3-0 and it’s kind of goodnight but it’s one of them, I don’t take liberties with the opposition. I try to make sure we keep a clean sheet and we’re disciplined at the back and we were that, so all good.”

Gonnella blamed tiredness for the goal.

He said: “Easy stuff again. It’s just tired legs. Callum couldn’t do it all by himself. You’ve got a central midfielder playing right-back, you’ve got a centre back playing left-back (Craig Dwyer), he couldn’t do it by himself.

“The three in midfield (Johnson, Douglas and Antonio Gonnella) ran their hearts out in the first half. They put so much energy into it. They started dying out in the 70th minute, which is where the (last two) goals came from, so it’s just tired legs.”

Glebe substitute Danny Gannon went close to scoring upon his return from injury within the final four minutes.

Golding’s industry down the left set up the chance for Gannon, who cut inside his marker to hit a drive just over the crossbar from 22-yards.

Copley said: “It was nice watching Danny Gannon come on and go around their player only to put it over the bar. He’s been out with a long-term injury so he gave us 14 minutes today in a different position so it was nice to see him.”

Cassius went close too at the other end, cutting in from the left into the penalty area and curling his left-footed shot around the top of the far post.

“I thought he ran his heart out today, I thought he was our only danger. The final ball end product could’ve been a little bit more quality but he worked really, really hard today,” said Gonnella.

Gonnella wants his side to start climbing the table in the New Year.

“Same old story or me, I like the teams down the bottom but there’s still 19 games left. We’ll take it slowly, it’s going to be a progress,” he said.

“We’re not going to win the league. We’ll try to finish midtable. I think that’s a realistic sort of achievement. Asking to be in the top four (Kent Football United are 17 points adrift of fourth-placed Gravesham Borough tonight) is a big ask. We’ve started on a loss, we’ve got to re-coup.”

Glebe have 20 league games left of the season and are the team to beat in this season’s title race, although Bearsted, Sutton Athletic, Gravesham Borough, Sheppey United and Lydd Town will not give up without a fight.

Copley said: “It’s going very well.  I’ve got a really good squad. I’m lucky. I’ve got good players, I’ve got good characters and they deserve to be top of the table. In fact if I’m honest they should be further away than where they are but I’m a blessed manager because I’ve got a good bunch of lads with me.”

Kent Football United: Bradley McNamara, Jimi Ruby, Craig Dwyer, Jordan Johnson, Rob Carter, Callum Naessens, Antonio Gonnella (Amari Booth 57), Ashley Douglas, Jamie O’Connell (Dominic Weston 67), Marcus Cassius, Kieron Burrell (Gerry Gonnella 77).
Subs: Remone McRea, Luke Medlen

Glebe: Alfie George, Jordan Clarke, Daniel Palfrey, Jack Hooper, Carson Dennis, James Day, Connor Charlton, James Alderman (Danny Gannon 76), Ryan Golding, Colin Richmond (Jaie Nuttall 79), Jamie Williams.
Subs: Ian Varley, Peter Dale

Goals: Ryan Golding 50, 79, James Alderman 70

Attendance: 49
Referee: Mr Mark Jenkins (Welling)
Assistants: Mr Daren Rudd (Dartford) & Mr John Baigan (East Dulwich, London SE15)