Sporting Club Thamesmead 2-3 Meridian VP - We've got to stick to our principles and hopefully turn it around, says Danny Joy

Monday 12th September 2016
Sporting Club Thamesmead 2 – 3 Meridian VP
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 12/09/2016 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Monday 12th September 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

SPORTING CLUB Thamesmead joint-manager Danny Joy says the pressure is starting to increase after a poor start to life at the club.


The artist formerly known as Seven Acre & Sidcup remain second-from-bottom in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table on three points from five games after losing 3-2 to Meridian VP on a sultry night at Bayliss Avenue.

Meridian climbed up three places to 12th place in the table on 9 points from as many games courtesy of a hat-trick from striker Grant Lye, 19, who was making his first start for the Charlton-based club, having come on during their 8-2 defeat at Shoreham in The Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round at the weekend.

Sporting Club Thamesmead found themselves 2-0 down inside 24 minutes, but winger Sadiq Badaru pulled on back through a deflected drive, before shaky central defender Iwan Lewis levelled things up on the stroke of half-time.

Lye, who has been snapped up from Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Premier Division side Erith 147 Sports, scored his hat-trick with a 54th minute penalty.

“Not the best,” was Joy’s summing up during the post-match press conference.

“We created numerous chances, which we have done in a lot of games we’ve played really, but again defensive mistakes have cost us.

“We seem to be creating 8-10 chances to score one and other teams seem to be creating three chances and scoring one or two every week. 

“We keep trying to take the positives from the chances we create but it’s getting to the stage now the boys are running out of excuses.”

For Meridian VP’s manager Richard Dimmock, he was delighted with the reaction from their Shoreham shocker.

“Very good reaction from Saturday, what I wanted from the boys,” said Dimmock.

“I said to the boys before the game, just forget about Saturday. It’s out of the window. It’s a new game and just said go out there be confident, be solid, be hard to beat.

“First 20 minutes we worked very well as a side. Everyone was working for each other. I said to the boys before the game we’ve just got to get back as a team and start working for each other and that’s what I got from them tonight.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead were to be denied the opening goal after only 24 seconds, as their habit of missing decent chances is proving costly.

Josh Patrick’s throw-in from the right was cleared out to George Horne, who hit a first time rasping drive from 22-yards that was saved by Ben Ashton.

Joy said: “We did start well. We asked the boys to start with high tempo because whether we like it or not, we’re down the bottom of the league and we need to fight and we need to play like we’re fighting for each other and after the first five minutes we thought we were doing what we asked them to do but we seem to be playing in spells at the minute a bit too much.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead were to be denied on the counter-attack when man-of-the-match James Brown, 33, made the first of two goal-line clearances.

Patrick put Horne through on goal and Ashton advanced and blocked the shot with his leg and Brown sliced the ball behind for a corner.

“It was a good save but from our point of view it was a poor miss,” admitted Joy.

“We’ve got Josh Patrick, Alfie Harris, we’ve got Dan Parish, but it’s not the case of putting the burden on their shoulders too much. It’s down to everyone, everyone has got to take responsibility and everyone has got to take their chances when they come.”

Dimmock added: “Ben’s massively improved this season. I had two keeper’s last year, Lee Kidman and Ben and I couldn’t make my mind who was the better one of the two but I think Lee Kidman being at the club last year has improved Ben massively and it showed tonight. He’s come on leaps and bounds this season and he’s been superb and he’s continued that tonight.”

The home side won the corner count emphatically 10-0 and their second flag-kick saw Gary Phillimore clip the ball in from the right towards the near post where an unmarked Lewis flicked the ball over his shoulder which landed on the top of the roof of the net.

But Sporting Club Thamesmead goalkeeper Max Saville gifted Meridian the lead with 14:54 on the clock.

Saville threw the ball straight to Lye, who controlled the ball with his chest and cracked a right-footed half-volley towards the top left-hand corner from 25-yards.  Saville palmed the ball up in the air, it bounced and spun into the top left-hand corner.

Dimmock said: “Once again, Like I said to the boys, soon the ball goes dead let’s get into our shape early. We did that. The goalkeeper didn’t realise where Grant was, Grant’s picked the ball up, chested it down and an absolutely great strike. I would’ve been proud of that. The keeper wasn’t going to keep hold of that! It was a very good start for the lad.”

Joy admitted it was “a moment of madness!”

“It’s un-defendable really. We tell him to play, if he’s going to play short play it to the full-backs, we never give him advice to play straight. Just a moment of madness, which is probably the worst game we’ve seen him play for us. He’s been excellent so we’re not going to kill him over one poor performance. Tonight wasn’t his best.”

Hesitant defending from Lewis almost let in Lye again but after a poor clearance from Saville, the Acre keeper pounced on the ball on the very edge of his penalty area.

Sporting Club Thamesmead were left frustrated again when Phillimore put in a cross from the left, Patrick headed the ball across the face of goal and Ricky Hardie’s header was headed off the line by Meridian left-back Michael Shipp.

Clinical Meridian doubled their lead with 23:21 on the clock, following a slick move down the right.

Dominic Elmes and Chris McGinty linked up well down the right at the start of the move and Chris Johnson threaded the ball through to Lye, who drilled a right-footed angled drive into the bottom near corner from 16-yards.

Dimmock said: “Once again that’s what we’re capable of! We don’t do it consistently enough. When we play football, we can open up teams like we did for the second goal. It was a great move and a great finish at the end from Grant.”

Joy added: “It was a good move. I’m not going to say anything against it but we felt the defending at the near post wasn’t tight enough.  The same as a few times tonight really from our two centre halves (Hardy and Lewis), who have given their two centre forwards far too much space. It was a nice finish but the near post run, as far as we’re concerned, is something that’s basic and should be cut out!”

But Sporting Club Thamesmead accepted a lifeline with Badaru scoring just 92 seconds later.

Dimmock pointed to his right-back Jack Upson for defending poorly as Badaru floated in a cross-come-shot from the left-hand corner of the box, which deflected off Brown and sailed over Ashton’s head into the top far corner of the Meridian net.

Joy said: “We felt we deserved a goal at least, just through the chances we were creating.

“The boys did go a little bit flat after the second goal but they rallied and I definitely thought they deserved at least one and to go in level at half-time really.”

Dimmock added: “Once again, our full-back (Upson) dived in when he shouldn’t. He should’ve just stood up and put it out of play and he puts the ball out of play they get a throw-on, but instead he’s tried to control it, miss-controlled it and the guys got in a little bit of a lucky deflection and it’s gone in from one of our individual mistakes.”

Lewis’ future in the heart of the home side’s back four looks to be uncertain as he put in a poor performance tonight and fouled Johnson inside the D, but Scott Mulholland sliced his shot over the bar after Johnson drove his free-kick into the wall.

Sporting Club Thamesmead pressed towards the end of the first half.

Patrick sped past Chris Weber down the right and cut the ball into the box, which came out to Gilberto Pelayo Nguema, who drilled a low shot past the left-hand post from 17-yards.

Phillimore floated in his eighth corner of the first half, which sailed over Ashton but Hardy planted his towering header over the bar.

“Again, this is what we’re saying about taking your chances,” added Joy.

“We can’t keep relying on one or two to keep scoring all of our goals! When you get chances like that, whether it’s a defender or a midfielder, we’ve got to take them. We’ve got to be more clinical!”

Dimmock added: “I think once they got the first goal they got a bit of belief.  They went on a 10-15 minute spell where they could’ve gone two-all and probably gone in 3-2 with the chances they had, but we defended really well tonight and that’s what you get when you defend well.”

But Sporting Club Thamesmead went into the interval on level terms courtesy of Lewis making amends 29 seconds into time added on.

Central midfielder Phillimore put a ball back into the box from the right, Horne ghosted in to hook the ball across the face of goal and the ball hit Lewis and bounced into the back of the net.

Joy said: “It was one of many balls that got flashed across the box and we finally decided to get onto one.

“The ball in behind their left-back seemed to be troubling him when he was trying to turn but we never done it enough, which is what we said to them at half-time. You need to play the way they don’t want to play. We were trying to play everything in front of them. We just lacked a little bit of desire in the first half, just to get that ball over the line and get us in front, which I thought we deserved on the chances we created.”

Dimmock simply added: “Sloppy defending! We didn’t get out quick enough and we got caught not pushing quick enough and he’s in at the far stick.”

Both managers were asked how they were thinking at the interval.

“Mixed, we were proud of them for getting back into it,” said Joy.

“We’ve shown a lot of courage but we were very, very disappointed again at the lax defending. The boys, for whatever reason, didn’t seem to want to take responsibility tonight and just seemed to keep passing the buck. 

“It was mixed, it was very mixed.  We asked them to come out at half-time and start again at a high tempo and take it to them – we never really!”

Dimmock added: “I said don’t be hard done by. First 25-30 minutes we worked hard as a team. After they got their first goal I said we’ve stopped doing what we were doing well, getting the ball in behind them and hurting them.  I said first 10-15 minutes get out and get the balls in behind them and do what we’ve done first 25 minutes.”

Patrick met Horne’s cross from the right with an acrobatic hooked volley, which flew over his shoulder and high over Meridian’s crossbar inside the opening six minutes of the second half.

But Sporting Club Thamesmead missed a glorious chance to draw level shortly afterwards – a chance that should have been buried!

Daniel Parish played the ball into Patrick on the edge of the box, who swept the ball to put Badaru through on goal but his right-footed shot was blocked by the advancing Ashton, sticking out a hand low to his left to make a vital save.

“You’ve said it, he’s got to score, he’s got to score,” agonised Joy.

“The keeper’s made some good saves but we shouldn’t have allowed him to make them really but it’s the same every week. We can’t expect to win games when we’re missing six to eight good chances every week!”

Dimmock added: “Another great save! He’s been superb all night. I think he made a few good saves in the second half actually, kept us in it!”

Meridian sealed the victory as early as the 54th minute through Lye’s dream full-debut hat-trick.

Elmes played a sublime through ball that put Lye through on goal and he was pulled down from behind by Hardy and referee Tom Chivilo pointed to the spot.

Lye sent Saville the wrong way, his right-footed penalty nestling into the bottom right-hand corner to cap off an impressive night.

“Ricky was very square, he got done by a straight ball a couple of times tonight, which was quite concerning,” admitted Joy.

“Grant done him for pace, which is no shame in that, he’s a good centre forward. He's quick but we felt Ricky should’ve cut the ball out at source rather than let it bounce to get in behind him.”

“As we came out second half we started very quick, very lively and a ball over the top and Grant’s pace, because he’s got electrifying pace, we got in behind once again and their centre half brought him down and a great penalty, even though I didn’t see it!

“I look away when there’s penalties, all the time, don’t know, never done it as a player.

“I was talking to Chris Johnson and he said do I want to have a look at the guy and I said is he worth looking at and he said he’s got raw talent so I signed him when I got back off holiday last Thursday, I went and met him, signed him and I brought him on at Shoreham on Saturday.

“He’s came on for the last 20 minutes on Saturday and caused their back four problems so tonight he deserved his chance to start - and he delivers!

Brown showed more desire to keep the lead intact with another goal-line clearance.

Badaru played the ball out to Ryan Townrow, whose low pass was dummied by Patrick and set-up Parish, whose right-footed drive beat the keeper low to his right but Brown put his body on the line to ensure the ball bounced off him and was grabbed by his alert goalkeeper.

Dimmock heaped praise on Brown for his performance at the heart of Meridian’s defence.

He said: “I brought him in three games into the season. Last season I’ve been lacking a bit of experience in the side so I brought in Gary Cook (who sat in front of the back four at the base of the diamond), James Brown and Chris Johnson to give us that bit of experience this season.

“James Brown has been absolutely superb since I signed him and I’ve made him skipper of the club now.”

Horne cracked a right-footed drive towards the Meridian goal from 35-yards, which dipped just over the crossbar.

Meridian were to be denied a two-goal lead by a fine save from Saville, whose poor kick got him in trouble outside his penalty area.

Lye was put through on goal but his shot was blocked by Saville’s leg, the keeper then made a second save to deny McGinty following up.

Meridian were awarded a free-kick from the right-hand corner, which was put in to the  box by Upson and Elmes and Gary Cook went for the ball at the far post but neither could steer the header on target, only just missing the near post.

Sporting Club Thamesmead threw on target-man Alfie Harris for the last 22 minutes and he couldn’t get his head on to Saville’s long clearance, the ball was cleared out to Tony Hill, who cracked a volley across goal and past the far post from 25-yards.

Townrow delivered a deep cross into the Meridian box which was controlled by Patrick, who then cracked a left-footed drive, which was palmed over the crossbar by Ashton’s outstretched hand.

“The keeper’s pulled off a few good saves, that was one of them,” said Joy.

“No fault to Josh, he was excellent again for us tonight. I can’t speak highly enough of him. We just need another six or seven to give us what he does.”

Harris played the ball out to Badaru, who cut the ball back to Hill, who whipped in a cross from the right but Parish’s near post header went wide.

Hill then floated in a free-kick from the right which Harris rose to loop his free header over the crossbar from 10-yards as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

But with Brown excellently marshalling Merdian’s defence it was the away side that were to be denied by a smart double save from Saville in the last ten minutes.

Elmes played Lye in behind the two central defenders and his shot was saved by Saville, who then made a final block low to his right to deny McGinty scoring with a first time drive from 25-yards.

“He made a good double save but if I remember rightly it was his mistake that let him in, in the first place,” said Joy.

“Again, it’s frustrating for someone we hold in high regard, maybe it’s an off night and we can move on but we have to get back to the drawing board with a number of the players after tonight.”

Dimmock added: “He’s just been superb and towards the last 10 minutes the whole team was showing the tiredness from Saturday but we battled through as a squad. It was a good team performance tonight and we battled and ground out a good three points.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead goalkeeper Saville put the ball in the mixer, Meridian keeper Ashton dropped the ball but Patrick hit his shot on the turn into the side netting from a tight angle.

Joy said: “Alfie Harris came on, he was struggling with a groin injury, which he picked up against Eltham Palace. We chucked him on more out of desperation. He really shouldn’t have played. He weren’t 100% but he done a job but at that time we were chasing the game and trying to get back into it.”

Reflecting on their position in the table – only pointless Lewisham Borough are below them in the table, Joy knows results must improve starting with Crockenhill’s visit on Saturday.

“The league table don’t lie, we can’t keep saying we’re creating chances because it's not just about one part of the game,” said Joy.

“Defensively, we’re not strong enough, we’re not switched on enough. We don’t co-ordinate well enough. It’s a new team. We need to work on things.  Going forward we’ve got no issues. We do miss some chances but it will come. We’ve got good quality in the side but defensively we’re scratching our heads tonight.”

This was Joy and Ross Baker’s fifth defeat in six games in joint-charge.

“It’s not ideal. We came in and we’ve tried to run the club how we used to play. We try to do things professionally and I’m sure there’s a few people around the club that are questioning bringing us in,” said Joy, who deploys a direct style of football.

“But we’ve got to stuck to doing what we feel is right. As far as we’re concerned we’re not under any immediate pressure. We’ve got the backing of the chairman but that’s all based on results.

“If we lose Saturday, yes, I’m sure there will be some serious questions asked, although it’s not all negative.  We do keep creating and on another night we might’ve won tonight with the chances we created.

“But unless you take those chances you’re always going to be under pressure. We hope the club gives us our backing. We’ve only been here a couple of months, we’re trying to implement the things we believe in so we’ve got to stick to our principles and hopefully turn it around.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead: Max Saville, Tony Hill, Ryan Townrow, Gary Phillimore, Ricky Hardie, Iwan Lewis, George Horne (Anthony Carlos Lynton-Tye 68), Gilberto Pelayo Nguema (Nicky Hegarty 79), Josh Patrick, Daniel Parish (Alfie Harris 68), Sadiq Badaru.
Subs: Joe Wadman, Simon Vanderhook

Goals: Sadiq Badaru 25, Iwan Lewis 45

Booked: George Horne 56, Sadiq Badaru 81

Meridian VP: Ben Ashton, Jack Upson, Michael Shipp, Gary Cook (Paul Bradbury 72), James Brown, Chris Weber, Dominic Elmes, Scott Mulholland (Tom Mayfield 61), Grant Lye, Chris McGinty, Chris Johnson (Jack Dimmock 61).
Subs: Andy Russell, Lamarl Hubbard

Goals: Grant Lye 15, 24, 54 (penalty)

Booked: Jack Upson 44, Gary Cook 51

Attendance: 74
Referee: Mr Tom Chivilo (Ramsgate)
Assistants: Mr Vince Kennedy (Welling) & Mr David Hooper (Bromley)

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