Meridian VP 0-1 Seven Acre & Sidcup - We need to improve big time, says Lee Hill

Saturday 20th September 2014
Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Saturday 20th September 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Charlton Park Lane

SEVEN ACRE & Sidcup manager Lee Hill admits his side must improve after they grabbed a last-gasp winner to beat local rivals Meridian VP.


Striker Jamie Williams bagged his sixth goal of the season to win the game with 48:20 on the clock at the end of the second half.

“I think Meridian had a lot more chances than us,” admitted Hill after his side’s fifth league win in seven league games puts them in fifth-place in the Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League table with 15 points from seven games.

“I thought they were unfortunate but I did say before the game to the lads keep going for 90 minutes, not our usual 60-70 minutes and give up, don’t perform how we want them to do.

“I’m happy with a 90th minute winner. I’m not totally happy with the performance but I’ll settle for that all day!”

Richard Dimmock, 36, Meridian VP’s manager, came off the bench at 0-0 for an injury time cameo spell up front.

“We were very unlucky. I thought the team worked hard for 80 minutes. Just the last ten minutes, a few tired legs and they just got a lucky goal at the end.

“A game of missed chances. It’s the same week in, week out with us!”

Just why Meridian decided to hire a burly security guard to cast his eye on a crowd of only 24 people at the vastly-improved Charlton based ground at Charlton Park Lane beggers belief for a Kent Invicta League fixture between two clubs with no history of crowd trouble.

Seven Acre & Sidcup almost drew first blood with only 58 seconds on the clock.

Central defender Anthony Fenech clipped a long ball forward and a right-footed volley from 12-yards by winger Bradley Marshall sailed across goalkeeper John Bourke and clipped the top of the far post.

Hill said: “It’s a great strike, he’s saying he meant it and we believe him!

“It’s his first start for us in seven games really. He’s come in and done a job for us. He tired towards the end, that’s why we took him off but he’s one of our squad players so we’re delighted that he’s stayed with us.  He done alright.”

Anthony Collins and Jamie Williams then linked up well together but Josh Patrick’s finish didn’t meet requirements, sweeping his left-footed shot wide of the far post from 25-yards.

But Meridian VP should have scored with their first opportunity with only four minutes and nine seconds gone.

Goalkeeper John Bourke caught Ben Williams’ free-kick before punting a big kick straight down the middle of the pitch, which released Danny Gannon through on goal and his right-footed dink bounced past the advancing Charlie Martin and bounced agonisingly past the foot of the far post.

Dimmock said: “Great kick from our goalkeeper. Danny Gannon’s brought it down, great touch and the keeper just came out a little bit too quick, shut the space down. He was just a little over the top and put it wide.  So unlucky. If that goes in the game could have been different.”

Hill added: “Every time we have a corner teams seem to hit us on the break at the other end! We lose the ball and Danny Gannon, who used to play for us last season, I thought he was bang on to score and I’m glad to see it go past the post.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup called Bourke into making a save when Martin’s free-kick came out to Jamie Williams out on the left and he exchanged a one-two with Collins before hitting a right-footed angled drive from 22-yards, which was gathered by the Meridian keeper.

The home side squandered a decent chance when right-back Cedric Itona played a diagonal pass to winger Victor Okisor, who cut the ball onto his right foot before whipping in a cross which was met by the unmarked Dominic Elmes, who glanced his header wide of the far post from 12-yards.

But a fine double save from Meridian’s keeper denied Seven Acre & Sidcup from opening the scoring after 20 minutes.

Patrick cut in from the left and Collins’ right-footed drive was parried away by Bourke, who recovered well to fling himself to his right to push Patrick’s sweeping shot around his post – after a lucky ricochet inside the penalty area went the away side’s way.

Dimmock said: “John’s been absolutely brilliant in goal since he’s taken over from young Conor (Vincent).  He’s experienced, his talking, he’s just been brilliant for us.”

Hill said: “I thought we was in there, one save with his legs and the other one, another good save.  I thought if we got the early one it might have made us more confident upon the ball and settled down a little but it never happened, but two good chances went astray.”

And Seven Acre & Sidcup called Bourke into action within a minute.

Ben Williams’ corner from the left was cleared away and the ball was picked up by right-back George Horne, who clipped the ball back into the penalty area where Bradley Marshall’s reverse pass played in Jamie Williams, and his right-footed drive was blocked by the body of the advancing keeper.

Meridian were the better side as the game edged past the half-way mark.

Gary Phillimore swung in a corner from the right which was headed away by Tom Stokley and the ball dropped down to Okisor, who teed up Elmes, who struck his right-footed hooked volley over the bar.

The home side should have scored following their second corner of the game in the 27th minute.

Daniel Jeffery swung in a left-footed delivery from the right which sailed over towards the far post where striker Gannon ghosted in to plant his header just past the post from six-yards.

“I feel sorry for Danny Gannon,” said Dimmock.

“Once he gets that goal I think he’ll start scoring a lot more but it’s just one of those games. It’s just a game of missed chances!”

But Martin made a brilliant save to keep his side in the game seconds later.

Right-winger Richard Whyte glided past Fenech as he reached the by-line before he cut the ball across goal for Okisor to sweep a first time right-footed volley, which bounced off the diving keeper’s body, looped up and caressed the top of the crossbar on its way over for a corner.

Dimmock said: “It was a good little move. Richard got in behind the full back, cut the ball back. Victor’s come across, he’s actually hit it into the ground. As it came back up the keeper’s made a great save, tipped it onto the bar. That was another chance gone begging!”

Hill said: “Charlie has come back to us this season and every game he’s played he hasn’t let us down.

“He weren’t there last week, away with commitments but he’s made some good saves today and kept us in the game in that particular time.”

Meridian continued their dominance and another Jeffery corner should have been headed home by Gannon again, once again planting his header just past the near post from similar distance as before.

Seven Acre & Sidcup were lively on the break and Marshall did well to get the ball out from underneath his feet on the right flank to whip in a cross, which skimmed off Itona’s head inside the penalty area and Collins regained possession before sweeping a low shot towards goal, which was saved low down by Bourke.

Phillimore swept a free-kick to Whyte, who hit a speculative cross from the right, which sailed over Martin’s head and dipped onto the top of the crossbar.

The home side finished the first half with another chance through route-one football.

Bourke pumped a big clearance with his right foot straight down the middle of the pitch, which was flicked on by Elmes to release Okisor, who cut inside and stroked a right-footed angled drive which was scooped behind for a corner by Martin at his near post.

Both managers were asked their thoughts as en entertaining first half, somehow, finished goal-less.

Dimmock said: “I just said the work-rate wasn’t good enough first half!  I thought the work-rate off the ball just wasn’t good enough so I’ve told them to buck their ideas up, start working for each other, work-rate’s got to be a lot more.”

Hill added: “Well, I weren’t very happy with them.  We tried to set up slightly different because we’ve conceded a hell of a lot of goals (15) this year.

“We’re trying to get the players to play a system but we keep pushing forward and leaving ourselves wide open.  As you’ve seen in the first five minutes when we’ve had a corner and they nearly scored at the other end.

“Words were said by myself and the captain (Ben Williams).  The players have got to start listening to us!”

Seven Acre & Sidcup started the second half well and created their first opening inside the opening three minutes.

Patrick swept a crossfield pass out to Jamie Williams, whose right-footed angled drive was gathered by Bourke.

Jamie Williams then played a reverse pass to release Collins through on goal, but Bourke came rushing off his line to make another fine block.

Meridian were to be denied the lead when the woodwork saved Seven Acre & Sidcup again in the 49th minute.

Phillimore swung in a corner from the left towards the near post where Elmes glancing header was helped onto the crossbar by an alert Martin.

Dimmock said: “Yes, I don’t think their keeper knew much about it. Dom’s flicked it on, it’s hit the keeper in the face, hit the post and come back out.  Another chance gone begging!”

Hill added: “Another great save! He don’t always get the credit he deserves but he’s kept us in it. In the end we went on and win it, but he’s done a great save.

Jamie Williams played the ball up to Patrick, who swept the ball out to Collins, who had time and space to whip in a low cross and Ben Williams steered his shot into Bourke’s gloves.

Meridian should have broken the stalemate when Gannon sprinted forward on the break before playing the ball out side to Whyte, who scuffed his shot towards goal and Martin made a comfortable low save to his right.

A frustrated Dimmock said: “Another chance. We’re just not taking our chances!

“I just think a lot of our games this season, we’re not having a lot of luck.  I think eventually our luck will change.”

Hill added: “Richard’s one of our ex-players last year. He’s got tremendous pace and generally he’ll bury a chance like that but gratefully he never for us. He generally buries them but he never on this occasion.”

A kick from Martin wasn’t cleared away by Ricky Tompkins and this let in Ben Williams but the Seven Acre & Sidcup skipper sent his right-footed half-volley into Bourke’s hands for a comfortable save.

Fenech played a sublime defence splitting pass out of the away side’s defence, which cut open both Jeffery and Tompkins to release George Horne through on goal but the right-back, who played a more advanced role second half, drove his shot into the side netting.

Seven Acre & Sidcup should have scored with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Ben Williams, Collins, Patrick and Steve Wicks linked up well down the left and Collins played the ball inside to Williams, who was given time and space to curl his right-footed shot agonisingly around the far post.

Hill said: “He just curled it in. He’s got that in him and you’re always hoping once chance he buries it. He had a couple of chances today and fortunately for us the one that mattered in the 90th minute has won us the game.”

Gannon released Okisor down the left who reached the by-line before cutting the ball back for Neal to screw his shot wide of the far post, although he was under pressure from hard-working substitute Ricky Hepburn who tracked his run and slid in to put off the striker.

Dimmock explained why he brought himself on at 0-0 as the game was inside injury time.

“I just thought, with the chances going begging, I thought if I got one I might stick it away!”

But Dimmock didn’t get his wish as Jamie Williams snatched the points for Seven Acre & Sidcup right at the death.

Wicks was given time and space to float over a cross into Meridian’s penalty area, which was cleared away and Tony Hill swept the ball out to the right-hand side of the penalty area to Jamie Williams, who took a touch before stroking a right-footed drive across goal and former Deal Town defender Tompkins helped the ball cross the line in his desperate attempt to clear the ball off the line.

Hill said: “He’s been away for two weeks with tonsillitis.  He makes a different. We lack a goalscorer so I’m delighted with him really.

“I said to the boys 1-0’s going to win it either side but the longer it went on it didn’t look like no-one was going to score and then it would have been 0-0 but it could have been four all really.

“I’ll settle for that kind of win in the 90th minute, not playing well at the moment but it’s a big three points

“Meridian beat Eltham Palace 3-0 last week, Eltham Palace beat us. Teams are beating each other, apart from the top two teams.”

Hill was pleased that his side have bounced back after losing two games on the spin.

He said: “It’s vitally important because we played really well against Pagham in The FA Vase, a Step five team and last week against Sheppey, give them credit, they played really well and just turned us over really.

“It’s hugely important just for the confidence really.  You don’t become a bad side overnight but the last two performances and parts of today it’s not pleasing but it’s a great result for us. It keeps us up there.

“We need to improve big time in certain areas of the pitch and we’ve just got to keep with it and hopefully we’ll improve.”

Dimmock added: “Ball’s come, deflected off our left-back, spinning in the air and it’s come down. I think our centre half went to put his leg in to try to get a touch on it.

“He’s turned, I think he’s shanked the shot and it’s just gone across the face of the goal. I think it was going in anyway but our defenders tried to clear it and it’s gone in the back of the net. Game over!

“I thought we deserved something from the game. I would have been happy with a draw, a clean sheet, but that’s football! You can always get done by a sucker punch. Football’s all about 94-95 minutes!”

Meridian VP slip down a place into the bottom four with seven points from eight games, after going down to their fifth league defeat of the season today.

“Frustrating. We’ve been unlucky really. There’s been games where I feel that we could have won, like today,” said Dimmock.

“It’s been a frustrating start but now the team’s getting settled. I’ve now got the back four solid, they’re not conceding too many goals. Hopefully we’ll go from there.

“I’ve signed Ricky Tompkins from Deal. He’s made us solid at the back with Danny Twin.  I’ve brought Cedric (Itona) back into the side to solid things up with his experience.

“It’s been frustrating with the results but I’ve brought a good bunch of boys in who I believe in and I think we’re just missing two or three experienced players. I’ll bring those three experienced players in and I’ll have a solid squad.”

Meridian VP: John Bourke, Cedric Itona, Daniel Jeffery, Gary Phillimore, Daniel Twin, Ricky Tompkins, Richard Whyte (Richard Dimmock 90), Dominic Elmes, Danny Gannon, Joe Neal (Camen Bhandal 74), Victor Okisor (Aaron Johnson 82).
Subs: David Summers, George Coshall

Seven Acre & Sidcup: Charlie Martin, George Horne, Steve Wicks, Tony Hill, Anthony Fenech, Tom Stokley, Bradley Marshall (Ricky Hepburn 71), Ben Williams, Jamie Williams, Josh Patrick, Anthony Collins.
Subs: Tom Marle, Tony Ecuyer, Fraser Moir

Goal: Jamie Williams 90

Booked:  Anthony Fenech 61, Jamie Williams 64

Attendance: 24
Referee: Mr Tim Burman (Greenhithe)
Assistants: Mr Andrew Simmonds (Grays, Essex) & Mr Alan Escudier (Belvedere)