Phoenix Sports 0-2 Lordswood - It was a good performance but now my mind is on Saturday and Glebe and whether we can keep that level of performance up, says Lordswood boss Darren Anslow

Monday 29th July 2019
Phoenix Sports 0 – 2 Lordswood
Location Mayplace Ground, Mayplace Road East, Barnehurst, Kent DA7 6JT
Kickoff 29/07/2019 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Monday 29 July 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Mayplace Road East

LORDSWOOD manager Darren Anslow says he faces a selection headache ahead of their home clash against Glebe on the opening day of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division season.

Anslow, who is a lecturer within the Academy set-up at National League club Bromley, has enticed many of the younger players at Hayes Lane to Lordswood and it had a feel of an Academy game against a Phoenix Sports side that disappointed.

Former Croydon striker Daniel Pepple, 18, took advantage of Luke Medley missing the game through work commitments as he scored both of Lordswood’s goals against their ninth-placed finishers in the Isthmian League South East Division.

“It’s tough because it’s only pre-season. It was a good performance but probably now my mind is on Saturday and Glebe and whether we can keep that level of performance up,” said Anslow.

“Listen, the situation we’re in at Lordswood financially, we’ve got to have some youngsters, we’ve got to try to have a mix of experience kind of through the middle because Luke Medley, Jai McKinlay and Felix Ogeah wasn’t here tonight and they are three experienced players, so it’s kind of experience with energy dotted around it.

“I’m lucky, I work at Bromley and I’ve got that connection and we get first dibs on whoever we want.

“Danny Mills (Bromley’s under 23 manager) was there tonight and he’s helped me in terms of players and filling in gaps and it’s a really good partnership.”

Phoenix Sports manager Paul Bryon said: “I think the first 15-20 minutes we were ok. We were fairly comfortable and I think they had a couple of chances after that.

“I’m not sure what time it was when they had their tails up, they changed the way they played after 15 minutes and started pressing us and we weren’t bright enough to work out what they were doing and they had a good press and it hurt us a little bit and we started panicking and it didn’t go very well for the rest of the first half.

“Saying that, we created four or five good chances but we didn’t really test the keeper.”

Phoenix Sports started the game on the front foot as Anslow revealed his side have been slow starters during their pre-season campaign.

Kehinde Aileru played the ball out to striker Jeff Duah-Kessie, who played a cross-field pass over to Joshua Jackson, who took a couple of touches to bring the ball under control before lashing his third touch over the crossbar from 16-yards after only 98 seconds.

“I know Josh really well, he was with me at Chatham. He scored a lot of goals for me at Chatham and he is someone I’ve always got time for,” said Anslow.

“I know he’s just coming back from injury but he’s a good player. Nine times out of 10 he’ll probably hit the target.

“I think if I talk about the whole of pre-season, if I’m honest, we’ve probably been slow starters for 10 minutes. It takes us 10 minutes to find our feet but once we do, we’ve been doing alright.”

Pacey winger Aileru sped past a couple of Lordswood defenders to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back and putting it on a plate for striker Lauris Chin, who lashed his first time shot over the crossbar from 12-yards.

“Lauris Chin has been putting them away and Josh is quite reliable in shooting and Jeff put one over the bar as well,” said Bryon, who revealed he does not get paid to manage the Phoenix Sports.

“In the pre-season friendlies we’ve had, we’ve been very confident on the ball. We’ve had a lot of the ball and we felt it was going to be another one where we just pop it about and do well and they upped a gear and we didn’t!

“I don’t think as a team we defended well and we played it like a pre-season friendly and they played it like a cup final and they deserved the win.”

Lordswood started to enjoy a good spell and a brilliant save from Phoenix Sports keeper Steven Phillips denied the away side a 16th minute lead.

Right-back Juliano Marko played the ball into Pepple, who played a first time flicked pass to tee up Klaudio Krasniqi – the Bromley prospect certainly had an impressive night – and his right-footed drive towards the bottom left-hand corner from 18-yards forced Phillips to get swiftly down low to his right to use a strong right hand to push the ball behind for a corner.

“Every time I see him he makes three or four good saves,” Anslow said.

“I thought Klaudio was excellent. He’s a very good player, still only 18, frightening! He’s an exceptional talent. He’s got to stay grounded. He’s skipper of the side with some experienced players around him but they don’t let him get away with anything.”

Bryon added: “I think Steve made two or three good saves tonight, especially in the first half.

“Their pace was hurting us, their pressing was hurting us  You could see we were getting frustrated that we didn’t take the early chances. I said to them at the end when you get frustrated you can’t stop playing like individuals when you’ve got to keep to the game plan and we didn’t do that and they slightly changed how they were playing and we didn’t adapt.”

Jamie Taylor, who has played for First Division sides Holmesdale and Sporting Club Thamesmead already in pre-season, swung in the resulting corner and Rob Gillman – the grandad of this young side at the age of 35 – rose to plant his header over the Lordswood crossbar.

Lordswood left-winger Tyler Anderson-Parr – formerly of First Division side Bridon Ropes and has left Welling Town in pre-season after Louis Dean’s sacking – was a threat to the Phoenix Sports defence and he put Chin through on goal and Phillips made another good save, rushing off his line to scoop the ball behind for a corner.

Lordswood should have been reduced to 10 men halfway through the first half when last-man Gillman blatantly pulled down Chin as he wriggled past the centre-half straight down the middle of the pitch. 

Referee Gerry Heron decided to leave his cards in his pocket and Aileru smacked his right-footed free-kick straight into Rilwan Aninbaba’s midriff for a comfortable catch.

“Red card? Yep, 100% We know that,” admitted Anslow.

“The free-kick was saved. I think sometimes with the way we play, we can be our own worst enemy, over playing in the wrong areas.

“I’m not making excuses, the grass has been long everywhere we’ve played in pre-season and we’ve got players who like to run with the ball and a couple of times it gets caught underneath the feet and he probably would’ve gone but the refs left him in the side.”

Bryon added: “In a game you’d get sent-off! He’s pulled him back and they’re down to 10 men and the game’s a different story. We probably score, we’re 1-0 up against 10 men.

“He’s hit the target, he’s not normally the free-kick taker but I’m not too worried about it. We’ll have a practice on the training ground and he probably won’t be the one that will be taking them.

“In a way I’m glad the game changed because it gave me an opportunity to speak to them afterwards about certain situations in the game. Had we been comfortable throughout the 90 minutes we probably wouldn’t have got that.”

Dominant Lordswood went close to taking a deserved lead in the 28th minute when Anderson-Parr sped past Ryan Andrews and Danny Young and cut the ball back for Pepple, who hooked his left-footed shot on the turn just past the foot of the near post, from a great position to score.

“Tyler’s done really well since he’s come in. We’re a little bit lucky to get Tyler, he was going to Welling Town, obviously the manager went,” said Anslow.

“Marlon Patterson has played for me before at Chatham.  Patto had a conversation with me and we spoke about what we’re looking for and it’s kind of worked for everybody, so it’s good.”

Holding midfielder Marlon Patterson intercepted a pass and released Anderson-Parr, who played a deflected through ball for Pepple, but his left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area sailed just over the crossbar.

“I thought we were knocking it about and looked very comfortable in possession. We looked dangerous, I thought, every time we got into the final third,” said Anslow.

Lordswood’s spell of dominance was rewarded when they took the lead with 38 minutes and 17 seconds on the clock.

Anderson-Parr produced a moment of magic down the left with a great touch to leave his marker dazed before bursting forward and putting Pepple through on goal and he stroked the ball past the advancing keeper into the top near corner from 12-yards.

Anslow now faces a headache whether to select Pepple or Medley for Saturday’s opening game.

“Fair play to young Daniel, Meds is away tonight. Funnily enough Meds didn’t play against Bromley’s under 23s in a friendly and Daniel scored twice there and Meds hasn’t turned up again tonight and Daniel’s scored twice! See where I’m going?  I’m getting a bit of a headache for a couple of positions.”

Anslow added: “I thought it was a great finish as well. He took it really well. Listen, Daniel can score goals but Daniel can be his worst own enemy.  Once he understands what we require of him, Daniel’s going to be a good player.  He might be 18, but he scored some goals for Croydon last year, albeit at the bottom end of the table, so he’s got experience of playing against senior players.

“We spoke about Daniel’s performance and he knows he does a couple of things he does that I don’t like that he needs to get out of his game but he’s giving me a headache.”

Bryon said: “I think they had a spell in about 15 minutes where they had two or three very good chances and they were getting behind us and we were sitting off them a little bit.

“We we’re backing off them and they had a little bit of pace up there and we got frightened of that but we’ve worked on how we deal with real quick players and we’ve just didn’t adapt to it and they got their tails up.

“Yet again, their desire to get on the ball and their movement, we weren’t putting tackles in and it’s something that’s been missing.

“In a way this game was really good for us because we’ve had it relatively easy but the results haven’t been brilliant and we haven’t come up against someone where we needed to win.  I don’t know if we won one 50-50 tonight? They did open us up at the end of the first half, there’s no two ways about it!

Gillman threw his body in the way of Duah-Kessie’s goal-bound drive and Aninbaba plucked Ashley Probets’ resulting corner out of the air before launching a big kick to release Anderson-Parr on the break.  He sped down the left and cut inside before centring for Taylor, who was caught in two minds whether to thread the ball through to Pepple, or to roll a weak shot into Phillips’ hands for a comfortably collection from the edge of the Phoenix penalty area.

Phoenix Sports almost grabbed a goal on the stroke of half-time when centre-half Danny Young pinged a diagonal ball out of defence, Jackson played the ball into Duah-Kessie, who cut along the edge of the penalty area and his low drive fell at Bryon’s feet, the midfielder taking a touch before whipping his right-footed shot just over the centre of the goal from a yard inside the box.

Bryon admitted: “By that time we’ve slipped into ‘it’s all about me mode’ and we played individually and there was probably a pass on there and it’s a certain goal.  This is something that we’ve got to work on, the mental side of the game, just keeping your head and doing the right things.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Bryon said:  “I just went through various things in the game and decision making and how we were going to affect them but we started going long, which is what we haven’t done in any game so far and I think that was panic!”

Anslow added: “I said to the boys in there, we never get too excited. We know it’s pre-season but what I was pleased with was the performance of the boys.

“We talked through a couple of things in terms of shape and making sure we carried on how we finished the half than how we started it, which was the front foot.

“Listen, I’ve got a group of boys there that listen and hang off every work that we say and all the time you’ve got players that will do that, you’re going to be alright!”

Lordswood killed the game off by scoring their second goal of the night with seven minutes and 32 seconds gone.

They broke up a Phoenix Sports attack and Bryon failed to cut out Brefo’s headed clearance, which resulting in Shaike Kamara releasing Pepple with a ball on his outside and the Lordswood striker drove his angled drive into the bottom near corner.

“Another good finish and another good spell of football there where we looked alright, especially in the final third tonight,” said Anslow.

“We spoke about the last few friendlies and the chat before the game today was how good we are in the final third because we’ve been good everywhere else until we got into the final third and we haven’t done that great and today was the polar opposite of that I thought.

“Every time we got into their half we looked like we could cause them problems and with the little bit of pace we had, we dropped them a little bit further back, which allowed players like Klaudio to pick the ball up and thread passes through.”

Bryon added: “I think what happened there we had a corner or something and they broke. When people break against you, you’ve got to delay it rather than try to nick the ball. If you try to win the ball and you don’t win it then they’re in so just delay and delay and get our shape.

“Juma Mahmoud tried to win the ball, lost the 50-50 and then we’re three-v-two and they just opened us up with their pace and it’s a deserved goal.”

Both teams kept making substitutions which stopped the game flowing but Phoenix Sports struggled to find a way back into the game and this was a poor performance from the hosts.

Lordswood were awarded a free-kick in a good position halfway through the second half after Young ended Chin’s run by a foul.

Patterson hit a left-footed dipping free-kick from 25-yards, which was comfortably caught by the Phoenix Sports stopper.

“To be fair to Patto, at least he hit the target! The last three have ended up in the car park somewhere,” revealed Anslow.

“Listen, Patto is an experienced player. What Patto, Rob Gillman and Luke Medley bring to this team is an ability to work with the youngsters, the ability to talk to the youngsters and talk them through the game at important points.

“If I am a youngster in this team they’ve got four or five role models, who are helping them develop their game.

“We know where we are and what we are and there will be good times and bad times but the senior players, at this moment in time, are standing up and doing what we require of them.”

Lordswood’s Callum Edwards outmuscled Lee Bird in the middle of the park before sweeping a long diagonal pass which ended up falling to right-back Marko, who cut inside and was denied by Phillips at the near post.

Bryon said: “Second half we limited their chances. We knew they were going to tire, which they did and I think we created some good opportunities but by that time we weren’t playing as a unit up top and we took the wrong options, delivering poor crosses and we were driving in on our own rather than laying people in.  It was a good learning curve.”

Phoenix Sports took until the final five minutes to create a chance on target.

Duah-Kessie sprung into life and raced down the left before slipping Aileru through on goal but his angled drive brought a comfortable low save from substitute keeper Kristupus Burba, another player plucked out from Bromley’s Academy.

“By that time we made changes and I think some of the lads that came on did well. We looked like we wanted it and they were tiring and I thought the last 20 minutes of the game was ours but without really threatening but getting in some good situations,” said Bryon.

Anslow said: “I think if I’m honest, the chances they had were more so gifted by us than they were created but listen it’s still early days for them, they’ve still got 19 days before (they play at home to Ashford United on the opening day of their season).”

Lordswood’s Bromley Academy contingent will have to mix it against some tough experienced players in their league this season and will have to man up and realise that this is real football where results are important.

Anslow said: “They come from Academy football, they feel like they have to keep the ball on the pitch all the time and I’m saying I don’t care if it ends up in the car park or off the pitch because they can’t score. Sometimes we’re a little bit guilty of that trying to over play and keep holding onto it.

“They know that (it’s about results and performances in men’s football) and they’re learning but I’ll be honest with you, I’ve worked with some good players and some good groups and I haven’t really had a bad group but this group are up there in terms of listening, learning and natural ability.

“If these boys develop how I think they will, they’re going to be some good players’ coming out of this group, some very good players’.”

Phoenix Sports host Isthmian League Premier Division side Cray Wanderers here on Thursday night, before Greenwich Borough (Tuesday 6 August) and Barking (Friday 9 August) both visit to complete their pre-season campaign.

Phoenix Sports must improve by the time they welcome Tommy Warrilow’s Ashford United side here on Saturday 17 August.

“I said to the players before the game that Lordswood will be fit and ready because they’ve got five days before they’re playing and we’ve got 19 days and they’re ahead of us,” added the Phoenix boss.

“We’ve played a few teams from their league and they’re all ahead of us and you can tell fitness wise and we’ve got a massive test on Thursday against Cray Wanderers and we should be getting there now.

“We’ve got a big, big squad and not many have had 90 minutes yet it is what it is, it’s pre-season and you learn from it.  I’m not worried about it in that sense, it’s learning curves and as long as we get the message across, I’m ok with it.”

Phoenix Sports: Steven Phillips (Matt Brown 77), Ryan Andrews (George Whitelock 69), Lewis Clark (Andrew Dythe 64), Zak Bryon (Oliver Andrews 66), Danny Young, Ashley Probets (Connor McGrady 64), Joshua Jackson (Lee Bird 55), Juma Mahmoud, Jeff Duah-Kessie, Lauris Chin (Ryan Solan 64), Kehinde Aileru.

Lordswood: Rilwan Aninbaba (Kristupus Burba 57), Juliano Marko, Michael Kuku (Motiejus Burba 63), Marlon Patterson, Alexander Brefo, Rob Gillman, Tyler Anderson-Parr (Sheriff Babatunde 63), Jamie Taylor (Harry Towner 60), Daniel Pepple, Klaudio Krasniqi, Shaike Kamara (Callum Edwards 63).

Goals: Daniel Pepple 39, 53

Attendance: 57
Referee: Mr Gerry Heron (West Wickham)
Assistants: Mr Matthew Sell (Rochester) & Mr Dean Johnson (Maidstone)