Metrogas 0-2 Stansfeld - If we get releated we'll do whatever we can to get back up, vows Metrogas manager Mark Warner

Tuesday 30th April 2019
Metrogas 0 – 2 Stansfeld
Location Metrogas Sports Ground, Marathon Playing Fields, Forty Foot Way, Avery Hill Road, New Eltham, London SE9 2EX
Kickoff 30/04/2019 18:45

Andreas Carter Kent County League Premier Division
Tuesday 30 April 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Forty Foot Way

STANSFELD manager Richard Longuet says it will mean everything to escape relegation from the Andreas Carter Kent County League Premier Division in their final three games of the season.

Stansfeld won the basement battle over Metrogas, courtesy of two goals in 158 seconds during the first half, courtesy of left-sided midfielder Charlie Richmond and centre-half Lennie Wise.

Bottom-of-the-table Stansfeld ended a run of seven games without a win and now have 16 points from 27 games, closing the gap on their tenants to just one point and the Gas have only one game remaining. 

Third-from-bottom side Bexley are looking over their shoulder on 19 points with home games coming up against Kings Hill (4 May) and Farnborough Old Boys Guild seven days later.

“Over the moon actually, over the moon because we’ve got three games now and it’s all in our own hands,” said Longuet, after winning their fourth league game of the season.

“We’ve been close, even the games we’ve been getting beat, we’ve been losing by the odd goal. We got smashed a little bit by Otford (losing 4-1 in our last game) but we’ve been giving good performances and it’s been not bad today.”

Metrogas manager Mark Warner said: “Tough game tonight. It’s not a great position to be in, a bottom of the league clash against Stansfeld.  It’s always a good challenge when the two teams come together at Metrogas but I thought we pretty much competed very well tonight. 

“First half, we let in a couple of goals in that’s cost us the game but second half I thought we competed really well.”

Stansfeld’s team sheet comprised of a 14-man squad and 12 of them have all featured in the first team this season, which clearly annoyed Metrogas’ manager.

He said: “I think you’ll find once we look at the team sheets they’ll be a few more than four (that’s played in Stansfeld’s first team).

“I’ve contacted my chairman, who’s in America at the moment and he’s not happy at all. In actual fact it was pretty terrible with what they did!

“They’ve been bottom of the league all season, playing a lot of younger players where players have left. It’s not a great position to be in considering when you’re working really hard to stay in the Kent County League and Stansfeld players’ come in last minute.

“I asked one of the Kent County League committee members can we change the fixture? They said ‘no’, it’s been allocated.  Unfortunately for us because of the allocation we have to play the game pretty much as the SCEFL finished last Saturday, it was odds on that they were going to pretty much play most of their first team today, which is what happened.”

Longuet said: “Billy Shinners helped us out, obviously he’s a fantastic player, Joe Minter.  Well, obviously we’re allowed three players aren’t we, so just to bring the experience in because we want to stay in the Premiership!

“We’ve had to play a lot of kids as well, we’ve had to play a lot of our under 18s, so it’s always going to be hard in this league.

“Stansfeld is a Premiership club, always been in this league ever since I used to play in it and that was a long time ago now. We’ve always been in this league and I dread for us to go down, I really would!”

Metrogas started the game on the front foot and big target man, former Lewisham Borough man Damarli Morrison was a constant threat running down the left channel.

Centre-half Zachary Beeden launched a long throw from the right which was met at the near post by striker Jason Johns’ header, which he steered over the top of the near post from three-yards out after only 173 seconds.

Matthew Parker then swept a free-kick in behind or Tom Warner, but his right-footed shot from 10-yards was comfortably gathered by George Lush in goal.

Metrogas’ right-back Ross Jay clipped a long ball up to Johns, who held the ball up before teeing up Joe Plant, but he scuffed a poor shot and the ball bounced into Lush’s hands.

Warner said: “I thought we did really well in the first half considering.  I think we had enough chances to maybe get one, maybe two goals and I think that shows you the difference between the SCEFL and Kent County.”

Longuet added: “Yes, they started well. It was just a case of seeing what they were going to do, making sure we didn’t give anything too cheaply away really.”

Lush launched a big kick upfield and the ball sailed over Beeden’s head and let in Richmond but his shot was held at the near post by Mark Worsfold.

Stansfeld grabbed the lead, against the run of play, with 19 minutes and 48 seconds on the clock.

Wideman Freddy Hamlin split open Beeden and Jay to put Richmond through on goal and his initial shot was parried by Worsfold, diving low to his left and the unmarked Richmond calmly tapped the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from 10-yards.

“He done really well, ever so well, so I’m glad the net rippled to be honest,” said Longuet.

Warner added: “They were lucky, their forward got through, had a shot on goal, the goalkeeper saved it and their guy was there to tap it in.  It was just unfortunate, he was in the right place at the right time to put it on the net.”

Stansfeld doubled their lead with 22 minutes and 26 seconds on the clock when the Metrogas defence suffered a gas leak and vacated the building.

Central midfielder Joe Minter floated in a right-footed free-kick from the left and the Metrogas gas defenders switched off and an unmarked Wise buried his downward header across Worsfold to score from six-yards out at the far post.

Longuet said: “That’s typical Lennie. A centre-half, we’ve been missing him, he’s been injured and he works a lot as well and we’ve missed him dreadfully to be honest!”

Warner added: “It was a good goal and second half I think we missed our opportunities to at least equalise or get at least one goal.

“They are a big side, the SCEFL team and you have to deal with that and we haven’t got the man power at the back or if we’re not defending that particularly well and someone is free there to tuck the ball away, which is what they did to go 2-0 up.”

Stansfeld almost grabbed a third when Mark McKenna’s diagonal pass was controlled by Richmond before cutting in and dragging his right-footed shot past the foot of the near post from 16-yards.

Metrogas centre-half Parker went direct by launching a long ball out from the back which was chased by Morrison, but he ran into a tight angle and cut onto his right-foot and slid his low shot towards the bottom far corner, which was gobbled up by Lush, getting down low to his left.

Another long ball out of defence, this time from Anton Gursoy split open Tom Smith and Wise to put Johnson through but his attempt on goal was gathered by Lush.

Stansfeld missed a couple of glorious chances to increase their lead in the 38th minute.

Minter’s cross from the left sailed over to the far post towards an unmarked Billy Shinners and the striker rose and planted his header across the face of goal.  Richmond showed desire to retrieve the ball close to the by-line and put the chance on a plate for Hamlin, who placed his right-footed shot past the foot of the left-hand post.

Longuet said: “Again, that just sums our season up really to be honest really because that’s what’s been happening. We haven’t been scoring enough goals and we’ve been very loose at the back.”

Both teams stayed out for their shortened half-time break and both managers were asked their thoughts.

Warner said: “I think it was just a case of try to keep the retention of the ball.  It was a case of what do we try to do? Do we launch the ball in and carry on doing that? Every time their big centre-half was going to try to win the ball so we had to try to get the ball down, keep the ball and rotate, which I think we actually did, so from that perspective, second-half, 0-0. I thought our boys did themselves proud.”

“Just keep playing and doing as we’ve been doing really,” added the Stansfeld manager.

“We’ve got good spirit to our team, in our club, always had good spirit, even if we’re at he bottom, we’ve always had good spirit. It’s the Stansfeld way. I know all about that. I knew they wouldn’t let us down.” 

Stansfeld created the first opening of the second half just 70 seconds in when left-back Joe Smith charged forward and struck a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which was held by Worsfold.

Metrogas missed a glorious chance in the 53rd minute when one of three players were left unmarked at the far post.

Plant cut inside Stansfeld right-back Tom Smith and whipped in a great cross from the left towards the far post but Gursoy’s free-header from within the six-yard box looped over the crossbar.

Warner said: “Anton is 16-years-old, a little bit of inexperience. He’s a good lad, working with us this year. He was a product of Lewisham Borough. They didn’t want him at the beginning of the season so he’s come down to us and he’s still learning his trade.

“We have got a young side and we’re trying to rebuild from the end of last season because we lost pretty much the whole side but rebuilding is a really difficult process especially in the Kent County Premier. It’s a tough league.”

Stansfeld made the first substitution with George White coming on and nearly scoring with his first touch.

Tom Smith launched a long throw in from the right, Shinners flicked the ball on at the near post and White nodded the ball straight at the Metrogas keeper inside the six-yard box at the far post.

Just after the halfway point, Beeden pushed Shinners in the back and Stansfeld were awarded a free-kick 28-yards from goal.

Minter whipped his right-footed free-kick over the wall and Worsfold made a decent save, diving to his right to palm the ball away.

Longuet added: “Joe’s pretty hot on the free-kicks. He’s scored a few goals so he’s our man really on free-kicks.”

Referees in both divisions of the Southern Counties East Football League will be sending players in to 10 minute sin-bins next season and three players were issued yellow cards and sin-binned by referee Derek Peck tonight.

The first to go was Stansfeld left-back Joe Smith, who fouled Plant and told the referee “you’re having the laugh mate,” and out came a yellow card from and a spell on the sidelines.

Joe Smith failed to re-appear as he was substituted in the 84th minute.

The next to go was Minter, just 30 seconds later and he took the decision badly, ranting and mainly swearing while standing up in the technical area.

The third player to go was Metrogas’ Parker, but he was binned in the 89th minute and failed to reappear, as he contested an offside decision against Stansfeld’s Hamlin at assistant referee Hamish Louie.

Both managers agreed that sin-bins are a good idea.

Warner said: “It was a bit fiery, which is probably to be expected. I said to the referee at the end of the game. I’m glad they stuck by the rules of the new sin-bin law. It has to be enforced and the referee did exactly what he had to do tonight and enforced the sin-bin.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s a bad thing based on the fact it is there to protect the referee. My personal opinion, I think it’s a great idea. I’ve seen too much of referees being attacked, verbally abused and some ways it has to stop and the only way to do it is to try to combat that. 

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalise on that tonight with two sin-bins for Stansfeld but that’s football.”

Longuet added: “I know we had a dodgy 10 minutes where there was a sin-bin and I told them about the sin-bins but you know how these blokes are these days.

“I think it’s a good idea, I really do. I think it’s good for the referees and assistants.  You have to hammer home to the players ‘don’t talk to the referee’s’.  The management can have a word and shout a little bit if we want. We can do that sort of thing.

“I don’t want the players’ talking to the referee or the assistants no matter how frustrated they may be.  That’s what I keep saying to them all the time.”

Metrogas created two great chances to score, one against nine men, the second when Stansfeld had 11 men back on the pitch.

Morrison twice released Johns through on goal but on both occasions he lost his nerve and both of his shots flashed past the right-hand post when he only had keeper Lush to beat.

Metrogas, meanwhile, complete their campaign with a trip to sixth-placed side New Romney on Saturday.

“It’s been a bit of a car crash this season but Metrogas have been here a long time and we’ll solider on.  Even if we do get relegated, we’ll do whatever we can to get back up again,” vowed Warner.

“New Romney is another tough fixture. They’re another big, strong side. It’s not going to be easy at all. It’s a long way to go, last game of the season to try to pick up some points.

“If Stansfeld fielded their normal side and we won tonight that would’ve put pressure on Bexley and Stansfeld but now we have to go to New Romney and try to pick up something from the game. What’s that going to be? I don’t know but we’ll do our best.”

Stansfeld are here against bottom-five side Farnborough Old Boys Guild on Saturday, before they travel to Tudor Sports (Monday 6 May) and host Kings Hill on Saturday 9 May.

Longuet said: “Maybe it was our day today?  We’ve got three games, it’s all in our own hands and we’ve got Farnborough on Saturday, we had a 1-1 result with them so we’ve got to beat them. We’ve got Tudor on the Monday. We’re just looking for six points between Saturday and Tuesday and then hopefully that might be enough that keeps us up.

“I think it’s two (that are relegated). Looking at it, we’re in trouble. We’re hoping to get out of it. Metrogas are in trouble, Bexley and Crockenhill have played all their games so they can be dragged into it.

“It will mean everything to me, absolutely everything (to stay up).  I want to see exactly what I had today really, a lot of commitment and we’ll drink a few good beers if we win and stay up.”

Metrogas: Mark Worsfold, Ross Jay (Treasure Obi 67), Tom Kember, Tom Warner, Matthew Parker, Zachary Beeden, Simon Rowe (Keith Gakaka 65), Anton Gursoy, Damarli Morrison, Jason Johns, Joe Plant.

Booked: Matthew Parker 89 (sin-binned)

Stansfeld: George Lush, Tom Smith, Joe Smith (Dan Crawford 84), Mark McKenna, Lennie Wise, George Martin, Freddy Hamlin, Joe Minter, Billy Shinners, Jay Oborne (Joe Stowell 60), Charlie Richmond (George White 55).

Goals: Charlie Richmond 20, Lennie Wise 23

Booked: Joe Smith 73 (sin-binned), Joe Minter 74 (sin-binned)

Attendance: 37
Referee: Mr Derek Peck (Bexleyheath)
Assistants: Mr Ethan Gillespie (Swanley) & Mr Hamish Louie (Gravesend)