Lewisham Borough 0-3 Kent Football United - We know going forward we can destroy most teams, says Kent Football United assistant Dominic Weston

Monday 08th January 2018
Lewisham Borough 0 – 3 Kent Football United
Location Ladywell Arena, Silvermere Road, Catford, London SE6 4QX
Kickoff 08/01/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Monday 8 January 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Ladywell Arena

KENT FOOTBALL UNITED assistant manager Dominic Weston says his free-scoring forward line can destroy most teams after comfortably beating a spirited Lewisham Borough side.

The Dartford-based outfit extended their unbeaten run to five games and remain in sixth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 36 points in the bag from their 23 league outings and are the division’s leading goalscorers on 69 goals.

Lewisham Borough remain rooted in the bottom three with 14 points from 21 games having lost their last four and have now leaked 17 goals in their last four outings and on this sorry performance at the back you can see why.

Lewisham Borough played a high line and their 18-year-old keeper Morgan Wilkins-Oliver spent the majority of the game outside of his penalty area sweeping up behind Nana Sarpong and joint-player-manager Sean Jarvie, who put in a poor defensive display.

The away side were caught offside on 14 occasions, with Marcus Cassius guilty of being caught in the trap five times.  Lewisham Borough were caught offside seven times.

“That’s one thing the two boys up front, we need to work on in training about timing their runs but if you keep doing it, you keep doing it, eventually one will come for you and it did and it put us 1-0 up,” said Weston.

Tunde Aderonmu opened the scoring inside the opening nine minutes but Lewisham Borough didn’t capitulate like they usually do.

Cassius slotted in his fifth goal of the season just after the hour-mark, before his strike partner Aderonmu headed in from close range at the death to score his 21st goal of the season (his first six coming for league rivals FC Elmstead).

“Great performance from the boys, what we did today.  We did something a bit different. We are a football playing team and we had to mix it up due to the conditions and the boys took the instructions on and they did really well,” said Weston, who was in charge due to manager Ennio Gonnella’s work commitments.

“Well I’m afraid for us it’s a bit déjà vu for us because it’s a continual feature of what’s happening,” said Lewisham Borough assistant manager Terry Russell, following his side’s 15th league defeat of the season.

“I think we competed fairly well. We set ourselves up to try to make a game of it but we continue making the same mistakes again.  All their goals were fairly similar, we kept on getting hit on the break, individual mistakes, so for all of their goals we had a chance to clear and failed!

“From our point of view, we gave them three goals.  They think they’ve worked hard for them but we basically gave them their goals.  We could’ve cleared all of them but didn’t and this is a continued feature that seems to be repeating so we’re working hard to try to cut it out.”

The game was played on a terrible pitch at the Ladywell Arena.  The ball bounced around like a hand grenade and the pitch looked like it hasn’t been looked after by the venue’s owners.

“It’s very difficult but having said that other sides come here and they have to play on it so I can’t use that as an excuse,” admitted Russell, knowing that six sides have come away from this venue with three points.

“It would be nice if we had a firmer and flatter pitch but this is what we’ve got.”

Weston said: “It wasn’t great! I told the boys to play the percentages for me and they listened. They done well, they got the win and for me a big bonus, we got a clean sheet!”

Kent Football United opened the scoring with the first chance of the game, taken with eight minutes and 15 seconds on the clock.

Nicholas Gonsalves was inside his own half when he swept a long ball over the top of the home side’s high back-line.  Goalkeeper Wilkins-Oliver was already outside his penalty area when the ball was played and was too slow and allowed Aderonmu to nick the ball off his toes, stride into the penalty area and walk the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from the goal-line.

Weston said: “It was an unusual goal for us but Tunde kept going. If you don’t keep going, you don’t get the rewards at the end of the day and he done that well and he put us 1-0 up!”

“We’ve been trying to get the goalkeeper outside of his area to be a bit of a sweeper keeper to try to clear us up but I’m sure it will work in the end,” explained Russell.

“At the moment he’s a young goalkeeper, he’s just come into the first team and it’s a big trial for a young lad to come into a side.  For a goalkeeper of that age to come in but for a side that’s struggling, it makes it doubly difficult so I feel sorry for the keeper.

“I feel we should be able to clear from there.  We need to stop these balls from being played through. Sometimes the back four are perhaps too wide, we need to tighten up and be more positionally aware to stop the through balls. If they go over the top there’s not a lot we can do about that, if we’re high.”

Reflecting further on his high line, Russell said: That’s been our tactic for the last few weeks because we were playing a lot deeper but we were getting out manoeuvred in midfield because there’ a big gap.  One problem, you’re overrun in midfield and push forward and create a new problem by being hit on the break.”

Kent Football United’s central defender Geofrey Okonkwo played the ball out wide to left-winger Chris Hubbard, who cut into the box and drilled his shot just past the top of the near post.  It should have been a goal-kick but referee Rob Columb awarded a corner instead.

The away side should have doubled their lead halfway through the first half, another example of woeful defending from a struggling home team.

Antonio Gonnella’s dummy was collected by Aderonmu, who ran from the half-way line, eased his way past two defenders, strode forward, skipped past the keeper and from a tight angle blazed his left-footed drive over an open goal from 15-yards.

Weston said: “I think that was due to the pitch to be fair. I’ve had a word with him about that. We had a little giggle but you can’t knock him, he’s been brilliant for us. He’s our top goalscorer and hopefully he can keep going.”

Russell added: “Again, it looks like a glaring miss and you’d probably expect him to do better from there but it’s a problem we made for ourselves. He’s picked the ball up from what I remember, he’s gone around two, probably three players, no tackle was made.”

A quickly taken free-kick from holding midfielder Marlon Patterson saw him release Cassius down the left and he cut into the box and his right-footed drive was initially spilt by the Lewisham keeper, who gathered the loose ball at the second attempt.

Gonnella clipped the ball into Aderonmu in the middle, he laid the ball off on the outside to Cassius, who hooked his right-footed volley straight at Wilkins-Oliver on the half-hour mark.

The keeper launched the kick forward and 14-goal striker Jay Jones, otherwise kept quiet, played in his strike partner Sebastion Marolly, who drilled his shot across the keeper and past the far post from 15-yards, when he only had the keeper to beat.

Russell said: “Again, we create very few chances, probably two, three maybe today, so it’s always going to be difficult for us if we’re not scoring enough goals (32 in the league this season), and half of those chances need to be taken. At least work the keeper. If the keeper saves it perhaps you’ve got a bit more of an excuse but putting it wide is quite not good enough!”

Weston admitted: “I think due to the conditions you have to pick your luck and that time we picked our luck and that time it didn’t go in.”

This sparked a good spell of possession from Lewisham Borough but left-back Jeremie Lacaze’s free-kick from 35-yards was saved comfortably before he looped his header wide after meeting Jarvie’s free-kick inside the box but their chances were limited on the night.

Kent Football United went close to wrapping up the game with the last kick of the first half.

Tom Skelton threw the ball to Aderonmu down the right-channel and he played the ball back to the right-back to float in a cross.  Gonnella laid the ball off for Gonsalves to drill his right-footed shot past the foot of the left-hand post from 20-yards.

“We’ve been telling Nick to get in to the box a bit more because he’s a goalscoring midfielder. He’s got a few (nine) this season but for me he can get a lot more. He’s a good player, he’s got good technique and he should be getting a few more goals to be fair,” added Weston.

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

“So from my point of view I thought that we done reasonably well until half-time,” said Russell.

“We competed, we’d committed them to the goal, which from our point of view was a mistake.  The other shot that went over the bar and we dragged one wide so from my point of view we were in the game and on a different day maybe it could’ve been even, so we said no more mistakes, let’s be strong, be decisive and keep ourselves in the game.”

Weston added: “The first half was brilliant! We’ve done what we’re not usually doing and that’s competing, working hard. We had to play football because we’re a passing team but today due to the conditions we had to do something different and the boys listened to instructions and they were brilliant!”

Visiting keeper Harry Hepworth was called into making his first save of the game after only 29 seconds.

Marolly has a long throw for a small frame and he launched the ball in from the left and the ball fell to joint-player-manager Tim Moffatt at the far post and after turning his man his shot on the turn from six-yards forced Hepworth to dive low to his left to push the ball around the post.

Russell said: “So again, this time, saved by the keeper but again from that distance we need to be more clinical!  This is the problem.  I guess one day things will turn and we’ll have four or five chances and they’ll all go in but at the moment it seems like no matter what we do, the goals aren’t coming.”

Weston said: “He’s been brilliant for us to be fair. He’s come in and he’s saved us at crucial times and he’s done that today. He’s pulled off that save, kept us in the game at 1-0 up and I can’t talk any higher of the kid, he’s been brilliant!”

Kent Football United immediately went up the other end and missed another glaring chance.

Gonnella controlled the ball with his chest before flicking his pass to put Cassius through on goal but he sliced his right-footed shot past the far post from 20-yards with only the keeper to beat.

When asked if he was concerned with the number of times that the away side got in behind his back four, Russell replied: “We spoke about it.  Other teams have cottoned on to how we’re playing high and have adapted to how they’re playing against us so we need to have another re-think I guess and see where we go from here.”

Weston added: “We’ve just had a giggle about that. I was telling him he can get a hat-trick every week. Sometimes just be a bit more composed in front of goal but he’s missed one and scored straight after.

Kent Football United made it 2-0 with 15 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Aderonmu outmuscled his man in the middle before playing in a sublime through ball to put Cassius in on goal and he slotted his right-footed shot from 15-yards across the keeper, the ball kissing the foot of the near post before nestling into the back of the net.

Weston said: “We had a chat on Saturday to both of them (Aderonmu and Cassius) and I said to them both score three each this weekend and to be fair ones got four and ones got three so I can’t be more happier.”

Russell added: “These are all repeats of each other aren’t they?  It’s a simple type ball, a simple break.  This time a better finish. Again, when you’re in our position it’s going to hit the post and go in. If it had been us, it would’ve hit the post and come out.”

Patterson produced a fine pass with the outside of his foot to release Aderonmu down the right wing and he crossed low into the box for Cassius to turn his man before sweeping his right-footed shot across the keeper again and past the foot of the far post from 10-yards.

Weston said: “Marcus has just got to relax, keep getting these chances and eventually more will go in for him. He’s scored four in two games and hopefully he can score a few more.”

Russell added: “Probably at this stage it was difficult for the guys to keep going.  They’re working hard, we’re trying to push forward and get a goal ourselves and I think we probably over-played a little but and over-committed by that stage.”

Patterson swept a ball out to Hubbard on the left and he cut inside before crossing into the middle for Gonsalves to flick his shot with the outside of his right-boot, only to watch the ball flash past the far post.

Weston said: “I’m happy he’s getting in to the box. He’s getting on the end of stuff and if he keeps doing that then you know what happens from there, he will eventually start scoring them, so for me I’m just happy he’s getting in there.”

Lewisham Borough created a chance to pull a goal back in the final 12 minutes.

Patterson gave the ball away in midfield, which gave Jones a chance to run towards the penalty area before playing the ball inside to an unmarked Joshua Caulcrick and the substitute striker took a touch and curled his left-footed shot around the far post.

Striker Caulcrick showed impressive glimpses when he came on with 30 minutes left.

Russell revealed: “The club has got a whole bunch of youngsters and he’s another guy whose only 17 and they’re making their way into the first team.  Archie Todd came on in the end he’s only 16 or 17 so we’re trying to bring in new blood, bring in the youngster and try to develop those as we go along.”

Lewisham Borough’s back four couldn’t live with Aderonmu and Cassius’ pace tonight and Aderonmu played in Gonsalves who rolled his shot across the advancing keeper only to see it trickle just past the foot of the far post.

Aderonmu capped off his man-of-the-match display by scoring the third goal, 74 seconds into stoppage time.

Wilkins-Oliver sprinted out of his penalty area and failed to clear his lines and the ball fell nicely for Tom Pratt.  The substitute striker cut across the keeper and headed off towards the right-hand side before keeping composed to float over a deep cross over the keeper’s head for Aderonmu to guide his free-header into the near corner from two-yards.

Weston said: “That’s perfect for me! It’s a great goal, it’s a great goal! A great cross by Tom and a great header from Tunde and do you know what that’s capped off a great night for us. 

“We played to the game plan and we got our rewards at the end of it so happy for the players and happy with a clean sheet and onwards and upwards for us.”

Russell added: “Again, the same scenario and once the goalkeeper doesn’t get the ball he’s made a big problem for himself. They were quite ruthless, they carried on going forward by the time the cross came in, although he got back into his goal, he wasn’t in the correct position so he was really making his way back so the outcome was another goal.”

K Sports are top of the pile on 53 points from 21 games, followed by Punjab United (49 points) and Kent Football United are in sixth on 36 points.

“We’ll always score goals. We’re good going forward,” said Weston, who was then asked about being in charge tonight with the manager stuck at work.

“It was different especially against an old club. I’m just getting used to it because I’ve been playing for so long but it was enjoyable. It’s enjoyable if you win and it’s enioyable when the boys do what you ask of them and it’s enjoyable if you keep a clean sheet.

“I want the same on Saturday (at home to fifth-placed Snodland Town).  We take on the instructions, we do our jobs and we’ve got the quality to beat anyone, we’ve literally got the quality to beat anyone. If we’re on it and we listen to instructions we can beat anyone.

“We know going forward we can destroy most teams, that’s why today I’m most pleased with the clean sheet because if we keep clean sheets and we’re scoring goals then we’ll win games so I’m really, really happy with tonight.

“We’ve just got to keep winning games. If we keep winning games we’ll put the pressure on and other teams around us can start thinking about us and that’s all we’ve got to do, win games.”

With no relegation from this division, it’s time that The FA introduce relegation to bring in fresh blood from outside Kent to freshen things up and the bottom two clubs each season suffer relegation and rebuild in the Kent County League.

Lewisham Borough (14 points from 20 games), Gravesham Borough (13 points from 22) and Crockenhill (9 points) are struggling this season.

“We just need to keep working hard and bring in the youngsters and wait for things to turn,” said Russell, who has been waiting for a very long time for Lewisham Borough to turn the corner.

“It’s just a matter of keep going and pick up enough points to make sure we’re not in any problems at the end of the season.

“It’s very difficult.  Everybody can see from the league the position the club are in. There’s a lot of money in local football for a lot of clubs but not for us so it’s very difficult to get people to come along and be committed and that’s why we feel that we can bring the youth through and I think not a lot is going to change from that point of view and so we’ll keep persevering with the youngsters and try to develop a basis of a stronger squad for next year.”

Lewisham Borough: Morgan Wilkins-Oliver, Tim Daley, Jeremie Lacaze, Jerome Richards, Nana Sarpong, Sean Jarvie, George Marsden (Aymen Dahbouh 70), Tim Moffatt, Jay Jones, Sebastion Marolly (Archie Todd 88), William Mayendesa (Joshua Caulcrick 60).
Subs: Ellis Burke, Giovonni Morgan

Booked: Nana Sarpong 52, Sean Jarvie 54

Kent Football United: Harry Hepworth, Tom Skelton, Reece Barret, Marlon Patterson, Ahmed Dean, Geofrey Okonkwo, Chris Hubbard (Ahmadshah Ezat 86), Antonio Gonnella (Tom Pratt 69), Tunde Aderonmu, Marcus Cassius (Mark Allen 69), Nicholas Gonsalves.

Goals: Tunde Aderonmu 9, 90, Marcus Cassius 61

Booked: Tunde Aderonmu 77

Attendance: 61
Referee: Mr Rob Columb (Rochester)
Assistants: Mr John Baigan (East Dulwich, London SE15) & Mr Lanray Alapafujah (Peckham, London SE15)

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