Mixed fortunes for our Conference pair on opening day (Daish & Pennock Interviews)

Sunday 13th August 2006

Gravesend & Northfleet were sunk by Aldershot Town in a five-goal thriller in their opening Nationwide Conference game of the season yesterday.

Both sides were reduced to ten men in an exhilarating clash at the Recreation Ground.

The dismissals came on the hour when former Brentford man Rick Newman, making his Shots debut, clashed with Peter Hawkins and both were shown red cards.
Fleet sailed into a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Mark DeBolla first half wonder strike, and another former Charlton Athletic player, Charlie MacDonald netted a second half penalty.
But the determination of Terry Brown’s side earned the points, with a double strike from debutant John Grant and substitute Ryan Scott’s last minute winner.
But Gravesend & Northfleet boss Liam Daish is taking the positives out from the defeat.
He told the Non-League Paper: “It was a great start for us, but we have come away with nothing.
“We got two good goals, and you would think we were going to be allright.
“I wasn’t happy with us defensively.  We didn’t defend as a unit.
“We’ve got to re-group and go again.  I thought we looked pretty strong in midfield and the side will get better.
“It’s early days, so we’ve got to put the memory of this defeat to bed.”
Tamworth are the visitors to Stonebridge Road on Tuesday night – a perfect opportunity for the Fleet to bounce back.

They were defeated by Weymouth by three goals to one at the Lamb, with Matt Williams netting a late consolation.
But Welling United got their Nationwide Conference South campaign off to a winning start, courtesy of striker Andrew Sam coming off the bench to head home an 81st minute winner over Weston-super-Mare at Park View Road.

Wings boss Adrian Pennock told www.kentishfootball.co.uk today that he was delighted to get the three points, but admitted his side must work on things in training.

“It wasn’t a classic,” he said.  “They made it hard for us but I would have taken a 1-0 win before the game.

“I thought it was pleasing to start the season with three points.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter how we play to get three points.

“There’s a lot to work on in training and I think overall it’s three points – I’m more than happy.”

Pennock admitted his side were suffering from opening day nerves, adding: “I wasn’t pleased with the first half performance, we looked edgy and nervous but saying that they did make it hard for us and pleased we scored and the three points is vital.”
The Wings lost just two league games at Park View Road last season, and with the backing of the club’s faithful, Pennock wants to make it a “fortress” again this term.
“I don’t want many teams to come here and enjoy their football,” he said.  “We only lost here twice last year and I want to make it a fortress.
“The fans were superb, getting behind the lads. Even though it wasn’t a great spectacle the fans kept us and I’m sure their pleased (that we won) too."
The Wings boss feels their trip to Lewes on Wednesday night has come at the right time of the season.
Lewes started their campaign with a draw at new boys Salisbury City  and were thankful to former Margate striker Jean-Michel Sigere’s 74th minute goal, which cancelled out Matt Tubbs’ penalty twelve minutes earlier.
But Pennock has the option of giving star striker Danny Kedwell his first taste of league action this season, following his one-match ban.
“It’s a very tough game, they will be there at the end of the season but it’s a good time to play them,” he said.
“It’s a difficult place to go to, but we’ll go there and give it our best.  No-body expects us to get the points so there’s no pressure on us.”
Pennock, meanwhile, feels he’s got the right blend of experience and youth at the club.
“The new signings have done well,” he said.  “We’ve got a lot of young new players and I think we’ve got a young squad this year.
“My job is to bring these players on and push them as far as I can take them.
“It’s good for the club and I believe they could do well for us this year but the young players have to learn quickly.”
Meanwhile, the first round draw of the Kent Senior Cup has been made.
Gravesend & Northfleet who were beaten by Bromley (who receive a bye into the last eight) in last season’s final travel to Tonbridge Angels, and Welling United welcome Dartford.
Kent League side VCD Athletic welcome Ryman Premier League side Margate to their revamped Oakwood ground in Crayford.
Here is the full first round draw:
Maidstone United  v  Sittingbourne
Folkestone Invicta  v  Ashford Town
Cray Wanderers  v  Ramsgate
Welling United  v  Dartford
Tonbridge Angels  v  Gravesend & Northfleet
Chatham Town  v  Dover Athletic
VCD Athletic  v  Margate