Sevenoaks Town 6-1 Lordswood - We were bad and we've given it to them, admits Lordswood boss Richard Styles

Saturday 11th August 2018
Sevenoaks Town 6 – 1 Lordswood
Location Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5BX
Kickoff 11/08/2018 15:00

The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
Saturday 11 August 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins says a run in The FA Cup can bring the local community together after thrashing Lordswood at the first hurdle.

The Oaks host Horsham here at Greatness Park next Saturday for their Bostik (Isthmian) League South East Division debut, while Lordswood arrived sitting second in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table after beating Croydon (2-1) and Sheppey United (1-0) during the first week of the new season.

Lordswood started the game on the front foot but they were blown away by a clinical Sevenoaks side, who took the lead through Billy Bennett’s swept finish.

Their lead, however, lasted only 95 seconds, as Lordswood drew level through midfielder George Blake, who scored with a cracking drive from 20-yards.

But things started to go downhill for Lordswood as Sevenoaks scored three times in the space of 12 minutes with Kenny Pogue burying home a header before Frankie Sawyer scored the first two of his three-goals.

Pogue wrapped up the 6-1 win with a close-range finish inside the final four minutes and will host the winner of tomorrow’s Extra Preliminary Round tie between Little Common or Bedfont Sports in a couple of weeks’ time.

“Really pleased with that.  We’ve had a very, very good pre-season but it means nothing, everyone knows that,” said Collins, who has banked his club £2,250 in prize money by winning.

“You come here today and you think ‘wow, they’ve had a great start and have put a good little side there’ and you think ‘are we going to be prepared, are we ready, they’ve had two games and we haven’t.’

“I thought the first 10 minutes we looked a bit cagey and I thought we knuckled down and eventually the quality shone through.

“We want to watch them (against Sheppey) and we done our homework and we never took them lightly.  We’ve known what they’ve done this year and they’re going to challenge and they’ve put a good side together.  They’ve got some new people coming back into the club, which is fantastic for them and I knew we had to be professional today.

“It was just are we going to be up to the races? Are we going to be up to racing pace? That was the bit that worried me because at times we’ve shown some real quality in pre-season but we know it means nothing.  This is always the blood, guts and thunder. Are we going to come out and deliver or aren’t we and I thought we delivered!”

“It’s pretty obvious what my thoughts are,” added Lordswood manager Richard Styles.

“I’m not happy with the way we lost, not happy with a lot of things that happened in the game. I’d like to forget about it as soon as possible to be brutally honest with you!

“The first 25 minutes, half-an-hour, I’m happy with.  I thought we were on top.  I felt they scored their first against-the-run-of-play.  We got back quick, we got back early to make it 1-1 and then we had a spell of about 10-15 minutes that we were on top and it was alright.

“They scored and then it went from there really. We lost our heads for the next couple and we came in at half-time 4-1 and the game’s over.  It was always going to be an uphill battle that second half and we just fell by the wayside.”

With two league games under their belt, Lordswood started the game on the front foot and bossed the middle of the park.

But Sevenoaks Town created the first opening inside the opening eight minutes.

Mikey Dalton’s cross from the left (after his initial corner had been cleared back to him), was met by Jack Miles at the far post but all the centre half could do was steer his header past the near post from a right angle.

Lordswood created a better opening in the 15th minute when Michael Freiter swept the ball over to striker Ricky Gundry, but his shot from 22-yards took a deflection of Miles, which took the sting out of the shot and Ben Bridle-Card made a comfortable save.

“We were creating chances, we looked bright, we looked a threat for that whole spell. It was what happened after then that let us down,” bemoaned Styles.

Collins said: “I like Ricky, he’s a good player. He works hard, very hard for the cause and he’s always going to cause you problems because he’s got good movement and he pulls people around but I thought we coped with it quite well most of the time.”

Collins added: “We paid them the respect to know that was going to happen. When we watched them the other night we came back with two reports that we had done.  We know how they’d start but sometimes it’s a different animal playing on this pitch. It takes a bit of getting used to and we’re used to it.”

But with Lordswood banging on the door, they were hit on a counter-attack as Sevenoaks Town grabbed the lead against the run of play, with 16 minutes and 38 seconds on the clock.

Sevenoaks cleared their lines and released Sawyer down the right wing, he skipped past Blake and swept a low cross towards Bennett, who had the desire to get into the box at the near post to flick his shot across the advancing keeper and nestling nicely into the bottom far corner.

Collins said: “Good goal, a really good goal. We knew where we could punish them. We knew the quality we’ve got in certain areas and that goal summed it up perfectly.

“We knew where we could get in. We slid the ball down the sides and we’ve put a cross in and fair play to Bill, he’s made the leg work and got in the box and got on the end of it.”

Styles said: “They hit us on the break a couple of times on the counter, unfortunately we couldn’t deal with it.  We didn’t react even after the second or the third time it happened. We still didn’t clue up and eradicate it.”

But Lordswood showed character and swiftly bounced back, by equalising just 95 seconds later.

Right-wing-back Jason Horlick found space down the line, played the ball into Jordan Wells’ feet at the near post on the by-line and he rolled the ball back for Blake to crack a sublime first time drive into the top left-hand corner from 20-yards.

Syles said: “Great goal, a good worked goal.  It’s just one of the positives to take out of today.  I think we were well in it, we were comfortable, I was happy and we were in it and I felt we can win the game, I fully believed that.  Obviously, how wrong I was!”

Collins added: “It was a great finish, a really good finish from the lad.  I think we should’ve dealt with it. We should’ve cleared our lines and we never and the bit that I was probably a little bit moany about to the midfielders became the problem and that was it. We were too far of and we never went to attack the ball quickly enough but the guy has despatched it well. Ben’s got no chance, it’s a great goal!”

Sevenoaks Town were clinical in front of goal as they took the lead with their next attempt, timed at 30 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock.

Blake was caught in possession inside the Sevenoaks half and the home side broke through Bennett, who played the ball out to right-wing-back Sam Crabb, who released Dalton down the right, who skipped past left-wing-back Carl Harrold, before playing the ball to Bennett down the right channel.  In the end, Dalton whipped in a great cross from the right which was buried by Pogue’s header from eight-yards.

Collins said: “Again, we know we’ve got mobility in midfield and we know if we pressed at the right time and the right areas we’d retain possession quickly and if we can retain possession and then put the ball wide, we’d get balls in the box.  We’ll cause problems, especially with our forward line.”

Styles offered an eight word reply, adding: “They hit us on the break and capitalised.”

Sevenoaks Town raced into a 3-1 lead with exactly 33 minutes on the clock.

Bennett released Crabb on the right and he swept his cross into the Lordswood penalty area to pick-out Pogue and his shot flashed across keeper Tony Coxall and poacher Sawyer tapped the ball over the line to prevent his team-mate scoring.

“You’re going to be disappointed if you’re Ken because you know it’s going in but listen I’ve played there and for me I’m putting it over the line,” explained Collins.

“The reason I would do it, if you’ve got someone on your shoulder and you don’t and they clear it your team-mates are going to look at you and say ‘why didn’t you put it in?’

“Ken’s a big boy and he’s dealt with it and it’s sorted. It’s just disappointing that Ken didn’t go and get his hat-trick today because he deserved it today because he worked his socks off and so did Frankie.  Even though he deserved it in the end and Zac Attwood came on for Frankie and worked his socks off coming back from injury.”

Styles added: “He may or may not have been offside.  Again, we were hit on the break, like I’ve said, already I’m repeating myself!

“We haven’t been like that. Today was one of the games we have and it’s a strange feeling because we’re not normally like that but we’ve been caught and we haven’t sussed it out and we haven’t done what we can to eradicate it!”

Frieter hung over a cross from the right which was met by Jordan Wells’ towering header, which deflected off Miles and was tipped over the crossbar by agile Sevenoaks’ keeper Bridle-Card.

“They’re going to cause you problems, they’re organised, they’ve got quality in there,” said Collins.

“Freiter is a good player, Jordan Wells works his socks off. I just felt we dealt with it at the right times in certain periods of the game when you stamp your authority.  I thought we did that and it makes you look like the team in the league above.  It bothered me before the game are we going to turn up and have that quality or are we not and I thought everything we managed to make it show.”

Sevenoaks Town killed the game off as a contest by scoring their fourth-goal with 42 minutes and 8 seconds on the clock.

Crabb released Bennett, who was tripped by Coxall and the referee Paul Agboola pointed to the spot (as did his brother Peter, who was running the line and flagging).

Sawyer stepped up and sent Coxall the wrong way by stroking his right-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner.

Collins said: “Bill’s made a great run but it’s the build-up play leading up to it.   We’ve made four or five intricate passes then Bill’s gone and effected the game by making the run beyond the three and then we’ve played the ball in and he’s drawn the keeper. The keeper’s cleaned him out or whether he’s got a touch on him is another matter but the ref’s given it and cool as you like, Frankie’s put it away but at 4-1 you probably put it away, there’s no pressure on you!”

Styles said: “He’s brought it, Billy Bennett, he’s used his experience there, he’s brought it.  My keeper has gone down, he hasn’t brought him down.  The keeper’s on his way down, Bennett’s sussed it and he’s leaned over and gone over and the referee at this level is always going to give it.  That’s what you’re up against, but he’s used his experience there.”

Lordswood’s Freiter smashed a free-kick into the wall and screwed the second bite of the cherry over the top of the far post from 22-yards.

“It was game over effectively and we know that but it was about pride and I thought we’d get one back, we’d get two back and we’re back in it but obviously it didn’t happen that way,” said Styles.

Collins added: “At half-time we picked apart the midfield situation. We wasn’t happy with that, even though we were 4-1 up and we’re looking at next Saturday then really. 

“I said to the boys, no disrespect to them, I can’t see them coming out and getting five goals so we dealt with that and it came to fruition.”

Any feint hopes of Lordswood mounting an unlikely comeback died when Sevenoaks Town raced into a 5-1 lead just four minutes and 48 seconds into the half.

It came from another devasting counter-attack as Pogue raced down the left wing, held the ball up to wait for support.  He played left-wing-back Greg Benbow on the overlap, who whopped in a great cross for an unmarked Sawyer to jump up to steer his awkward header across the keeper into the top far corner to score his hat-trick.

Collins said: “We had a moan about things (at half-time), a couple of crosses we weren’t happy with and for Frankie getting across the near post, which is my advocate to all forwards, for one of them to get across the near post and what a great header, it was great!

“That’s why Greg Benbow was player-of-the-year last year because the guy doesn’t stop, he’s up and down and up and down. Once he adds that bit of quality to his game, takes his time and put the right cross in the box, it’s very hard to defend against him because in the 80th minute he’s still running at you and if you’re a full-back that’s the last thing you need!”

Styles said: “He shouldn’t be winning headers his size! He shouldn’t be winning headers! I’m not happy with that at all.”

When asked how he was feeling at the time, Styles admitted he just wanted to go home.

“Take me home! I want the final whistle!  I’ve had enough and I just wanted to go! We’re 5-1 down, we haven’t clued up, we haven’t wised up to what we’ve seen.  I just wanted it to be over really.”

Collins had the luxury of bringing on Zac Attwood and the former Crowborough Athletic striker almost scored with his first touch – poking Benbow’s low cross past the foot of the near post after nipping in front of Peter Huggens at the near post.

Lordswood keeper Coxall pulled off a great diving save on the hour-mark.

Dalton swung in a free-kick from the left wing and Tom Ripley came up from the back and rose to glance his header towards the far corner but the former Dartford keeper dived to his left and got a strong hand to the ball to flick it onto the post.

“That’s a great save, that is.  We were right behind it and that’s in and he’s got down and not only got a hand to it but got a strong hand on to it and onto the post,” said Collins.

“It was a great little move actually, a great little set-piece and Rips gets his head on it and normally they go and nestle in the bottom corner and fair play to the lad in goal, he’s made a great save there.”

Styles said: “He’s a good, talented young keeper.  None of the goals were really his fault today apart from the penalty obviously. He’s been done with a bit of experience but apart from that, he’s had a good game.”

Styles brought on former K Sports striker Caine Smith - who scored 34 goals for the promoted First Division club last season - and he ran the left channel and saw his left-footed angled drive take a deflection as the ball trickled across the keeper and past the far post.

“We’re trying to do it the right way with Caine and bring him up to the level and try to play him as and when and feel him in generally rather than relying on him too much,” explained Styles.

“He’s come on and put himself about.  It was very difficult for him coming on when he did, it’s not an easy situation to come on so he was up against it.”

Collins added: “I thought Ben had a quiet day apart from the thunderbolt, he’s not really had to make many saves.

“The thing is with a goalkeeper, once you’re in that type of game and it’s going like that you have to stay focused and there were a couple of times the ball is played back to you and you’ve got to deal with it but he’s remained switched on and that’s a positive. I thought he was excellent today, Ben.”

Sevenoaks Town sprung into life in the final five minutes as good link-up playing involving Bennett and Crabb down the right carved open a chance for Pogue, whose shot on the turn from 20-yards deflected off a pressing Joe Kane and sailed past the far post.

Harrold had a poor game and he gifted Sevenoaks Town their sixth goal, timed at 40 minutes and 45 seconds.

Harrold gifted possession to Bennett some 30-yards from his goal and Bennett dribbled his way to the by-line before crossing low towards the near post for Pogue to nip in to poke the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.

Collins said: “Again, the areas that we’ve targeted, we got in. He’s delivered the ball and Ken’s got across the near post and got himself another goal.

“It’s a shame because he had a chance after that and came off the bar. He could’ve had a hat-trick and that would’ve been fitting for him.  I thought he deserved it today.”

Styles said: “There were a few times today when we’ve given the ball away and they’ve hit us and they’ve capitalised on it and that’s what you’re up against it really, especially at this level. They’re a league above and they should be.  You give away silly balls here and there you’re always going to get capitalised against and that’s exactly what’s happened.”

Lordswood created one chance at the end when Harrold played the ball down the line to frustrated striker Gundry and Smith hooked the ball bouncing into Bridle-Card’s hands for a comfortable save.

Sevenoaks Town almost made it seven when Benbow reached the by-line again and hung over a cross but Pogue planted his diving header against the crossbar.

Styles insists his side must bounce back when they host Cray Valley at Martyn Grove next Saturday in the League.

“We know we’re never going to win The FA Cup, we know that, it was just a case of getting as far as we could,” said Styles, whose club bank £750 in prize money for losing today.

“But we were always up against it, even with the draw.  I felt we could’ve done better than what we done.  I felt we could’ve competed better and had a better scoreline but it is what it is. It’s over now.

“What we have to do is just collectively hold our heads high and we’ll go back to work on Tuesday together and then we’re into the game on Saturday, where we’re unbeaten and we’re in a good place, so nothing’s changed for sure. 

“There’s a lot of things we need to work on and the boys need to learn certain things but nothing’s changed in terms of how I feel with my group of players or how I rate my group of players.  It’s just unfortunate they didn’t show it today but nothing’s changed.

“We were bad, we were bad and I haven’t been able to say that many times thankfully from my boys but we’ve gifted it to them really. We were beaten by the better side, we were but we could’ve competed better and made a better game of it than what it was.

“We go and crack on and look to win the Cray Valley game simple as that.  All focus is on that now. I’ve forgotten about the game that’s just been and we move forward and work towards Cray Valley and look to get all three points.”

Collins guided Sevenoaks Town to a Second Qualifying Round Replay in 2016, losing to Chesham United, who needed a last-gasp Barry Hayles leveller to save their bacon.

“It’s great, you look at the revenue but for us it’s always a red herring because it’s your first game so to actually come in and play The FA Cup in your first game is quite difficult but if you win it and you get a good run like we did a couple of years ago, it’s fantastic.

“It brings the community together so a bit of luck on the draw, we’ve got another home game, if you can get three or four rounds of it, you can generate interest and then the community look at it like when we had Lewes here and we had a good crowd and then Chesham. We took them to the 90th minute and Barry Hayles came back and bit me on the backside.

“We remember it then all off a sudden The FA Cup runs deliver clubs to a different level and that’s been proven loads of times.”

Sevenoaks Town: Ben Bridle-Card, Sam Crabb, Greg Benbow, Rob Saunders, Tom Ripley (Jake McIntyre 70), Jack Miles, Mikey Dalton, Danny Cumber (Ryan Fowler 64), Kenny Pogue, Frankie Sawyer (Zac Attwood 55, Billy Bennett.
Subs: Andres Felipe Losada Toban, Luke Coleman, Osman Proni

Goals: Billy Bennett 17, Kenny Pogue 31, 86, Frankie Sawyer 34, 43 (penalty), 50

Booked: Mikey Dalton 89

Lordswood: Tony Coxall, Jason Hollick, Carl Harrold, Peter Huggens (Freeman Rogers 71), Joe Kane, Joe Matthews (Adam Hooper 56), George Blake, James Huggins, Jordan Wells (Caine Smith 65), Ricky Gundry, Michael Freiter.
Subs: Tom Wooldridge, Frankie Griffin, Brad Webb, Tom Carter

Goal: George Blake 19

Booked: James Huggins 80, George Blake 90

Attendance: 131
Referee: Mr Paul Agboola (Walworth, London SE17)
Assistants: Mr Peter Agboola (Walworth, London SE17) & Mr Leonardo Niro (Lee Green, London SE12)