K Sports 0-2 Deal Town - K Sports are a big, physical side and they're not going to make it easy, says Deal Town coach Steve King

Monday 07th September 2020
K Sports 0 – 2 Deal Town
Location Cobdown Sports & Social Club, Station Road, Ditton, Aylesford, Kent ME20 6AU
Kickoff 07/09/2020 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Monday 7 September 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Cobdown

DEAL TOWN coach Steve King says a combative K Sports didn’t make it easy for his side after collecting their first league victory of the new campaign.

This was both side’s third outing of the 2020-21 campaign.  K Sports lost 2-0 at home to Steyning Town in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie last Tuesday, before springing a shock 4-0 win at Gary Alexander’s Glebe at the weekend but it was a case of after the Lord Mayors shot for Paul Atkins’ side as they couldn’t repeat their exploits here tonight.

Derek Hares’ Deal Town, meanwhile, came away from Knaphill with a 4-0 victory in The FA Cup and lost 2-0 to Beckenham Town on the opening day of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division season.

Deal Town came away from Aylesford with a comfortable 2-0 victory, courtesy of Troy Howard’s free-kick and Billy Munday’s second-half header.

However, a crowd of 119 endured watching a poor game of football where both sides kept the ball in the air for a large majority of the night, failing to utilise the artificial surface at Cobdown.

“Really pleased. I thought we were excellent tonight,” said King.

“I don’t think we really looked under much pressure during the game. We had plenty of chances. I thought we could’ve been more than one up at half-time.

“I thought second half we managed it really well, especially after losing Kane Smith at half-time.  I thought we defended really well second half and it was a good professional performance and I think we deserved it really.”

Paperboys goalkeeper Steven Lawrence was called into making a comfortable catch in his midriff area after 132 seconds.

Deal Town’s left-sided midfielder Jack Paxman drilled a right-footed free-kick from 30-yards straight at the keeper.

“A good delivery, it’s one of those to be honest. We’ve just got to get across but he’s almost hit it too well. The keeper’s done well, Steve Lawrence is a good keeper isn’t he? He’s done well and held it well there,” said King.

Deal Town centre-half Kane Smith, who was forced off just before the interval due to suffering a gash to the head and was taken to hospital after the match, headed away a long ball and K Sports’ captain Adam Hooper cracked his right-footed volley screaming wide of the goal from a central position some 25-yards from goal just 19 seconds later.

A deep corner from Deal Town’s left-back Jack Penny was met at the far post by Smith, who watched his header loop over the crossbar and the centre-half was a threat in the air at set-pieces.

“I think we had about 14 corners against Beckenham on Saturday and didn’t score any, so we said tonight we want to do better and he got on the end of a couple,” said King, who shares his name with the Dartford manager.

“He’s just got a gash to the head, a clash of heads and we’re just going to take him to hospital now and get it stitched up and we’ll see how he is for Saturday.”

Paxman launched eight long throws into the K Sports penalty area during the game and Howard slid to poke his shot towards the bottom corner, only for the ball to take a deflection as it trickled behind for the visitors’ second of six corners.

Penny swung the ball in and once again Smith planted a free-header across goal and just past the far post.

Deal Town deservedly took the lead with 18 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock.

Combative fouling on the edge of the Paperboys penalty area felled striker Ben Cardwell just on the edge of the D and 18-year-old left-winger Howard drilled his right-footed free-kick around the five-man wall and into the right-hand corner leaving keeper Lawrence well beaten to score from 23-yards.

King said: “A great strike! The boy loves football and he’s the first at training and he’s the last to leave. He hits hundreds of free-kicks a week. He’s an eighteen-year-old and to step up to pop it in, we needed it at that point. It was a great goal, fair play to him, very good.”

K Sports created their first opening with 21 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock, inevitably from a set-piece.

Visiting keeper James Tonkin ensured he wasn’t going to be beaten at his near post, grabbing hold of the ball to prevent Hooper from scoring from within the right channel.

Tonkin swiftly hit K Sports on the counter-attack by launching the ball upfield- the ball sailing over the head of left-wing-back Bradley Large to put Howard in on goal but he lacked composure to take the touches he need and drove a first-time angled drive, which was easily gathered by Lawrence.

King said: “I think we’ve defended really well.  I thought we defended really well on Saturday, we just made two really poor mistakes against Beckenham. They didn’t open us up or create too many chances.

“We kept a clean-sheet at Knaphill last week and I thought we defended really well tonight.  Obviously, they’ve got some decent players and people can score goals out of nothing but I didn’t really feel we were under sustained pressure at any point. As a defensive unit and James Tonkin in goal, I thought we were excellent.”

The Paperboys kept the ball on the deck just past the half-hour mark but Smith made the block inside his own box, proving you can play a bit of attractive football on a 3G pitch if you actually keep the ball moving on it.

Large advanced inside the Deal half and played the ball into Hooper in a central position and he swept the ball out to Flavius Petrisor – a combative midfielder given his diminutive size – and he played the ball inside to Hooper who smashed his shot towards goal but Smith was there to make the block.

“Let’s be honest, they’ve gone and won 4-0 at Glebe on Saturday so they’ve kept a clean sheet against probably one of the best forward lines (Charlie MacDonald, Frankie Sawyer and Jamie Philpot) in the league with what Glebe have signed,” said King.

“K Sports are a big, physical side and they’re not going to make it easy. To be fair to them, they’ve worked their socks off tonight and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We were under no illusions about how tough it was going to be  We probably created eight, nine or 10 chances over the game and that’s got to be enough to win one.”

Penny’s in-swinging corner from the right was met by a downward header from a aerially dominant Smith but the ball bounced and didn’t cross the line and the home side managed to clear their lines.

“I didn’t think we needed half-time,” admitted King.

“I said to the boys, if it was a 90 minute straight through game, I thought we would win the game. All we were worried about was them having a reaction and us starting slowly but I thought we started the second half well and once we got the second goal we was in control really.”

K Sports created the first chance of the second half inside the opening 13 minutes following a long throw from holding midfielder Daniel McLaughlin but Tom Rumble poked the trickling shot past the foot of the right-hand post from inside the six-yard box.

K Sports’ big target man Michael-Frazier Osunkoya, who didn’t finish the match and hobbled off injured, immediately after being booked by referee Marcin Indyk leaving the home side with 10 men for the final four minutes with 10 men having used up their three substitutions, tried to find the bottom near corner on the hour.

Naturally, it came from a hanging free-kick from Joe Lewis, who swept the ball into the Deal box and Osunkoya drilled his left-footed half-volley past the foot of the near post from the edge of the box.

“They’re a big, big side. They’ve gone on and won 4-0 at the weekend so they’re going to be brimming with confidence 48 hours later,” said King.

“They’re a big, physical side so you’ve got to go and deal with it.  The pleasing thing for me is we didn’t give any free headers away when the ball did drop in our box. We defended it well and overall we knew we were going to deal with some set-pieces here and I thought we did it well.”

Deal Town sealed the comfortably victory by scoring their second goal of the night with 17 minutes and 15 seconds on the clock.

McLaughlin header clear Paxman’s seventh long throw and the ball came back to him and Paxman took a touch before delivering a deep cross towards the far post.

Cardwell flicked the ball in behind the Paperboys defence to put Alfie Foster in and he hung over a cross towards the far post that a winger would have been proud off and an unmarked Munday jumped and guided his header into the right-hand corner from three-yards.

“Fantastic! We’ve been on at Bill since the start of pre-season, which our pre-season started in June when we were out of lockdown,” said King.

“He’s done a lot of work about getting in the box, getting in those areas, so we’re delighted with that one.

“It was a great cross from Alf, a centre-half on his weaker foot but he’s stood it up.  We needed that second goal because at 1-0 it’s never secure so I thought it was a great time to score and we were delighted with that.”

Deal Town’s right-back Liam Hark whipped in a deep cross which Cardwell glanced his header past the post, before K Sports kept delivering set-pieces into the Deal Town box in search of pulling a goal back.

With 20 minutes remaining, Lewis swung in their third of four corners and picked out McLaughlin who rose to plant his header over.

The home side sacrificed one centre-half (Connor Cheek) and went three at the back (Hooper dropped back into centre of defence alongside Lewis and Montgomery) and put on a second big target man in Samuel Itauma up top but Deal’s defenders dealt with the aerial bombardment.

“I think it’s a tight pitch here so any set-pieces you get in the oppositions half is going to be a threat because our pitch isn’t the biggest at home but it’s even tighter here so you know you’re going to have to defend set-pieces,” explained King.

“That’s why we threw Connor Coyne on because he’s somebody who can defend set-pieces for us because at that point the only way we could see them get back in it was through a set-piece but I thought we defended them well.”

Deal substitute winger Brad Baker hit a shot on the turn from the corner of the Paperboys penalty area, the ball flashing across the keeper and past the far post.

Two diminutive K Sports substitutes (Luke Martin and Lewis Foreman) came on and got a yellow card each.

Martin swept the ball out to right-wing-back Harvey Killick, who cut inside and cracked a left-footed drive from 20-yards, which was heading towards the motorway rather than the top corner of the goal.

Deal Town created the final chance inside the final nine minutes when Hark cut the ball back to Alexander, who whipped in a deep cross and the diminutive Paxman, who was left unmarked inside the box, jumped up to head the ball across goal, which was easily gathered by Lawrence.

“He’s good in the air, Pax, everyone knows he’s a decent player,” said King.

“He’s a tenacious boy, done very well for Ramsgate and Margate the last couple of years and he loves playing here but he’s really versatile for us. 

“He played the first two games at right-back and played out wide left today but he’s always a threat in the air. I think people underestimate him because of his height but he’s decent.”

A poor performance from K Sports in an attacking sense and they need to learn to keep the ball on their 3G carpet and play football. The stand was practically empty by the final whistle, a sign that people do not enjoy watching this brand of direct football.

Their combative style of play will mean away sides will not enjoy their 90 minutes of football here. They just couldn’t replicate their shock 4-0 win at Glebe here today, although Atkins did make four changes as Jack Bray, Austin Edwards, Travis Jackson and Michael Phillips didn’t play in this game.

Deal Town, meanwhile, host Isthmian League South East Division side Sittingbourne in The FA Cup Preliminary Round on Saturday with two away wins in the bag and aiming to ensure Darren Blackburn’s long-awaited first game in charge of the Brickies’ ends in defeat.

K Sports missed out on reaching the summit and have to settle for third-place with three points from two games in the table at this early stage, while Deal Town sit in tenth-place with a 50% record from their first two outings.

King said: “We wanted to come here tonight and made sure we got three points on the board because we’ve got Sheppey at home next in the league (Tuesday 15 September) and you don’t want to be zero points from three games having played alright, so it’s a massive three points going into The FA Cup on Saturday.”

K Sports: Steven Lawrence, Harvey Killick, Bradley Large, Connor Cheek (Samuel Iyauma 75), Tom Montgomery, Joe Lewis, Flavius Petrisor (Luke Martin 60), Daniel McLaughlin, Michael-Frazier Osunkoya, Adam Hooper, Tom Rumble (Lewis Foreman 66).
Sub: Michael Phillips

Booked: Flavius Petrisor 23, Daniel McLaughlin 48, Luke Martin 68, Michael-Frazier Osunkoya 85, Lewis Foreman 89

Deal Town: James Tonkin, Liam Hark, Jack Penny, Billy Munday, Alfie Foster, Kane Smith (Harry Alexander 45), Jack Paxman, Ben Chapman, Ben Cardwell (Connor Coyne 83), Luke Eldridge, Troy Howard (Brad Baker 72).
Sub: Toby Greenfield

Goals: Troy Howard 19, Billy Munday 63

Attendance: 119
Referee: Mr Marcin Indyk
Assistants: Mr Bsave Gurung & Mr Simon Jackson