Sporting Club Thamesmead 2-0 Eltham Palace - I just felt tonight we wanted it a litlte bit more than them, says Danny Joy

Friday 26th August 2016
Sporting Club Thamesmead 2 – 0 Eltham Palace
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 26/08/2016 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Friday 26th August 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

SPORTING CLUB THAMESMEAD joint-manager Danny Joy says the atmosphere around the club feels better after claiming their first win of the season.

The artist formerly known as Seven Acre & Sidcup got their season up and running with a flattering 2-0 win over Eltham Palace.

Playing a direct style of football, the hosts broke the stalemate with 20 minutes remaining through Dan Parish’s near-post finish, before striker Josh Patrick slotted in his 40th goal for the club since the start of August 2015 at the death.

A crowd of 116 came through the turnstiles at Bayliss Avenue on this sultry Friday night to watch an uninspiring stalemate.

“I think over the 90 minutes we thoroughly deserved the points,” said Joy in the post-match press conference afterwards.

“There weren’t a lot between the two teams. Probably at the end of the season there won’t be a lot between us in the league.  I just felt tonight we wanted it a little bit more than them.

“We changed our shape twice during the game due to an injury to our centre forward (Alfie Harris) but the boys took on board what we wanted to do.

“It’s been difficult for me and Ross (Baker) coming into a new club. We’ve had a lot of changeover of players but all the boys have bought into what we’re trying to do.  We feel on the night, although our goalkeeper’s made a couple of good saves, we probably could’ve been clearer.

“We’ve been playing well without getting the results (in our previous two games) but tonight it’s all come together.  We’ve created numerous chances, taken a couple and the atmosphere around the club is so much different when you get three points.”

Eltham Palace have now lost three, drawn two and won one of their six league games of the new season.

Manger Lloyd Bradley said: “Very disappointed. It certainly wasn’t a 2-0 game and right to the end it could’ve gone either way. We were pushing on a little bit too much, their goal looked a little bit offside but I couldn’t see from where I was standing. The linesman was well up with play so we have to go with that. The scoreline absolutely flattered them, it certainly wasn’t a 2-0 game. There wasn’t much in it either way.”

The home side came under attack over their direct style of football tonight.

Bradley said: “The style that they play, Sporting Club Thamesmead, they knock it long all day long and chase it and you’re always defending.  When you get a bit of possession as soon as you lose it you’re defending straight away.  I think we did that very well tonight.”

Eltham Palace created the first chance of the game inside the opening eight minutes.

Left-back Corey Knight – the only survivor from last season – threw the ball up for Sam Ryan to knock the ball down and Aaron Firth sliced his first time drive high and wide from 15-yards.

Sporting Club Thamesmead played too many direct balls which bypassed their midfield, but they should have taken an eleventh minute lead.

A big kick from their goalkeeper Max Saville was flicked on by Alfie Harris (who was later forced off through a slight groin strain) and Parish latched onto the ball but sliced his shot wide.

When asked why he played a long-ball game tonight, Joy replied: “We do use Alfie’s strengths in the air. He’s played at a good level. We feel lucky to have people like Josh Patrick and Danny Parish at the club. We don’t plan to go route one constantly but having him in the side is a big bonus for us.

“We are missing a couple of players, we are missing a couple of football players so we try not to put square pegs in round holes. We try to play to what their strengths are. We had three workers in the middle of the park tonight, on another day we might have two footballers in there, when the game’s played on the floor a lot more. We have to play to our strengths.”

George Horne swung in the home side’s second corner of the game, which was punched away by Eltham Palace keeper James Bradley, the ball landed on to Parish’s left-foot to hook his shot straight at the visiting keeper, who swore at his team-mates all night long.

Eltham Palace’s right-back Harry Fox threw the ball to an unmarked Micky Smith, but he was given time and space to slice his left-footed drive harmlessly wide from 35-yards.

But Eltham Palace were to be denied the opening goal in the 29th minute, courtesy of a fine save from Saville.

Firth whipped the ball in low from the right and Smith’s drive was blocked and the ball came back out to Smith, who bent a low shot towards the bottom right-hand corner, only to be denied by the left hand of diving keeper Saville, who pushed the ball around the post.

Joy said: “Good save! Max came with us from Erith 147 last season and Bexlians and he’s got better and better.  He’s only a young boy, he’s good in the changing room, his distribution is very good and on the night made two or three good saves that might’ve turned the game the other way so we was very pleased with him tonight.”

Bradley added: “Tremendous save really. He might’ve seen it late as well because he bent it around a couple of players there and that was a great save!

“It was an important time really as well because we were on top at that period. If we’d have gone 1-0 up that would’ve given us a bit of confidence. They lost a striker after that. It was a key time in the game so a real crucial save for them.”

Horne threaded the ball into Patrick’s feet, whose left-footed shot on the turn from 25-yards was comfortably saved by Bradley.

Tony Ecuyer’s hooked pass from the middle of the park was played out to Parish down the left channel and his low centre was met by Harris’ flicked shot, which flashed across the face of goal and just past the foot of the far post from 10-yards.

Ryan rolled the ball out to Firth on the right, who cut inside to curl his left-footed shot around the far post from the corner of the Acre penalty area.

Eltham Palace were to be denied the opening goal in the 39th minute.

Smith floated in a free-kick from the right and Frankie Beale’s pass found Peter Tarrant, whose left-footed curler struck the crossbar.  Seconds later, Fox put the ball back into the home side’s penalty area and Casey Killilea’s free-header was superbly clawed towards safety by Saville, diving to his right.

Bradley said: “Again, another little passage of play, we could’ve got something out of it! We just didn’t get the rub (of the green) tonight in those situations really. We hit the bar, the shot gets blocked and we get another chance, it’s saved. It certainly looked like one of those nights!”

Joy added: “We felt that their chances came from our mistakes really from the boys switching off but two of the back four tonight (Ryan Townrow and Iwan Lewis) were making their debuts tonight and we feel they got better as a four as the game went on.”

Both were asked their thoughts at the break.

Joy said: “We asked them to start the game fast and with a high tempo and they’ve done that. We asked them play direct into Alfie and use our strengths and we done that as well. We felt we maybe should’ve been in front at half-time. We’ve just told them to keep going and keep the work-rate up and keep working hard for each other.”

Bradley added: “I was happy at that point because we were creating chances, possibly a matter of time we could nick a goal there.

“We sort of weathered the storm from the long ball and it looked like we might step forward then and going into half-time I was relatively pleased.  We just had to make a few adjustments at half-time, to come out and hopefully come away with a win - but it didn’t work out that way!

“We was pretty happy really, there was a level of confidence in there. We felt we done fairly well. We tried to sort out the problems with the back four, obviously once they lost their taller player up front it became a different game. It was more about pace and knocking it over the top rather than winning headers and stuff like that.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead went direct again as they created their first chance of the second half after only 80 seconds.

Ecuyer cut inside and fed Parish, whose cross was headed across goal by Parish and substitute Sadiq Badaru’s left-footed shot from 20-yards was saved by Bradley, low to his right.

“We put Sid on when Alfie came off to give us a big option with his speed going forward,” said Joy.

“Maybe on another night he would’ve taken the chance but it’s his first game of the season so we’re just pleased to give him some minutes.”

And at the other end, Firth, down the left channel, cut the ball back to Smith, whose first time drive deflected past the foot of the near post.

The game was desperately crying out for a goal as both sides provided little quality during the early stages of the second half.

The Acre woke up the crowd with a sweeping move in the 61st minute

Horne pushed the ball into Patrick, who laid the ball off to Hill, who flashed a low cross in from the right and Badaru failed to get the required touch at the far post to break the stalemate.

“It’s another chance that we created,” added Joy.

“Both our full-backs’ distribution wise and delivery are more than capable of joining in with the play. A few good balls in from Tony, as well as Ryan turning lots of balls around the corner.  The full-backs gave us lots going forward as well as defending.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead then struck the woodwork as Eltham Palace started to tire, with this being their sixth game of the season already.

Hill whipped in a quality deep cross from the right for Patrick to steer his free header crashing against the crossbar from eight-yards out.

“To be honest with you, it was an unbelievable ball and it was an unbelievable header,” said Joy.

“I think if Josh was two inches bigger, it goes in and he was just leaning back and I just don’t think he could get over it!”

Bradley said: “They were getting around the back of us quite well then. It did look like we was tiring as a group then. This is our sixth game in about 20 days or something like that and collectively it caught up with us at that point. The back four were sitting a bit deep when we should’ve been pushing out.

“Their full-back pushed on a little bit, hard the confidence to push on whereas in the first half the full-backs were really much pinned back and anything they was doing was generally long ball.”

A poor clearance from Acre keeper Saville went straight to Ryan, who chipped the ball towards goal from 35-yards, but Saville got back on his line to catch the ball before sailing into the back of the net.

“Unfortunate. Nice idea, nice and bright. He saw him off his line but the keeper made good ground and it was a comfy save in the end,” said Bradley.

“I was pleased that Sam had the nerve to try that. He executed the shot really well, so you couldn’t ask no more.  The keeper on the night was having a bit of an outstanding game anyway. I never expected him to get beat by that. It would’ve been a nice goal, had it gone in!”

Sporting Club Thamesmead then missed a sitter.

Saville launched a big kick straight down the middle, the ball was flicked on by Ecuyer’s bullet header which put Patrick through on goal but the striker lashed his left-footed shot over the bar from 10-yards.

“I think I’ve got to sell my house in the morning because I put my mortgage on him scoring,” said Joy.

“We feel that he’s one of the top five or six players in the division in his position. He gives us so much going forward. We ain’t going to knock him for missing a chance, as long as he gets in the right positions. The goals are going to come, as they did in the end!”

Bradley added: “Jamie came out really quickly so he didn’t give him a lot to aim at but he rushed his shot so hopefully we put him under a bit of pressure.

“The back four was looking for offside on a few occasions. Rather than tracking their man or generally stepping up, they were in a halfway house, not doing one thing or the other thing. 

“That was a little disappointing because at times he was up there on his own and we had enough players to cover that.”

But Sporting Club Thamesmead broke the deadlock with the goal timed at 24:06 on the second half watch.

Hill threw the ball short to Iwan Lewis, who fed the ball down the line for Hill, who cut inside Tarrant to cut the ball back across the face of the goal for Parish to nip in and sweep his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from three-yards.

“The near post run was causing them problems all night because Parish played slightly deeper in the second half,” said Joy.

“We found that his runs weren’t as easier to pick up because he was coming from a little bit deeper. Their midfield didn’t know whether to mark him and he manged to get in between them and it was a neat finish but that’s what we expect from him, he’s a top player, a top finisher.

“I’m feeling massively relieved at the time, not relieved at the time left on the watch because sometimes you tend to drop a little bit too deep when you score but we did for five minutes and we rallied and we got our shape again and we pressed on.”

Bradley added: “Disapoiinting defending again, really a lazy tackle, really should’ve got a block tackle in to prevent the cross.

“It was lazy to leave the leg in there. Paul Tarrant has held his hands up in the changing room and said ‘yes, that wasn’t right!’

“If you don’t stop the cross, it’s very difficult and we didn’t learn the lesson because we had two earlier, the one that hit the bar and the one that finished across the face of the goal so that’s something we needed to deal with but we didn’t deal with it.”

Eltham Palace sub striker Ryan Hassan drew a foul from Saville, who came out of the corner of the box.  Smith floated in the resulting corner towards the far post and Killilea came up from the back to steer his header agonisingly wide of the near post from close range.

“It looked like he took his eye of the ball,” admitted Bradley.

“I think he was running into the post and it looked at the post because he gripped the post.”

Eltham Palace were then denied a point with seven minutes remaining when Saville, 25, pulled off the Save of the Season so far.

Killilea clipped a long ball out of defence to put Ryan through on goal. His first shot was saved by Saville, who swiftly made a smart low save, but the keeper jumped straight back up and dived low to his right to deny Ryan scoring from the rebound.

“Unbelievable goalkeeping,” hailed Joy, who added: “If it was in the Premier League they’d show it over and over again!

“We still thought it was going to go back to all-square but that’s what he’s there for, he’s done it time and time again.

“We can’t go too mad on him because his head won’t get out of the dressing room. He was at Erith 147 with us, a good, young goalkeeper. He kept us in the game. If they had scored so late in the game we felt we might be hanging on for a point but we felt that would’ve been slightly harsh after the performance.”

Bradley said: “He went through, shot, a great save to his left, parried it and got up and parried the second one.  The first save was decent, the second one was even better because he’s got to react. 

“It was a great save, that was the game then because the momentum would’ve probably ended up between them.”

Horne played another long ball over the top of the Eltham Palace defence to put Patrick through on goal and after skipping past Perry Holland and with George Martin ahead of him, the Acre striker flashed his shot past the far post from 22-yards.

Sporting Club Thamesmead scored a flattering second goal with the clock showing 47:50.

Right-back Hill hit yet another long ball over the top to put Patrick through on goal.  He skipped past the advancing Bradley, who was outside the left-hand corner of his penalty area, kept his composure to slot his left-footed shot into the back of an empty net.

“I thought it was a bit fortunate to get away with not being a foul on the keeper but that’s what he’s there for. He made the challenge, he was brave to make the challenge, both of them was and luckily it bounced our way today,” admitted Joy.

“They were pushing forward to score. We don’t take nothing away from them, it wasn’t a world-class goal. We hit them on the break and it killed the game for us and it made us enjoy our last couple of minutes knowing we’ve got three points on the board.”

Bradley added: “I’m glad he scored and James’ didn’t bring him down really because at that point, you’d possibly get sent off there outside the box and the conversation we were just talking about was madness.  I’d rather have the 2-0 and have games available for games in the future rather than keep the score respectable.

“The only thing when we wake up tomorrow and see the scoreline and it’s 2-0 – anybody in the league looks at that and think that’s comfy.  I think it could’ve gone either way. A draw would’ve been a fair result on the night.”

Bradley has told his players to improve on their fitness levels.

He said: “We’ve had a frank exchange of words in there with the players and we need to be fitter and our fitness levels weren’t quite good enough at the moment,.

“We need some key players to come back to freshen us up a little bit more and give us a little bit more sleep within the group.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead: Max Saville, Tony Hill, Ryan Townrow (Joe Wadman 86), Leon McLeod, Ricky Hardie, Iwan Lewis, Josh Patrick, George Horne, Alfie Harris (Sadiq Badaru 45), Dan Parish, Tony Ecuyer.
Subs: Simon Vanderhook, Tony Green, Dan Edwards

Goals: Dan Parish 70, Josh Patrick 90

Booked: Max Saville 79

Eltham Palace: James Bradley, Harry Fox (Perry Holland 86), Corey Knight, Harry Gamble, Casey Killilea, George Martin, Frankie Beale (Billy Jolley 72), Nicky Smith, Aaron Firth (Ryan Hassan 73), Sam Ryan, Peter Tarrant.
Sub: Ben Holland

Attendance:  116
Referee: Mr Billy Woods (Bexleyheath)
Assistants: Mr Ross Mortimer (Sidcup) & Mr Vince Kennedy (Welling)

Coverage Sponsored by: