Seven Acre & Sidcup 1-1 Sevenoaks Town (4-2 on penalties) - Everybody on that field have done the club proud, says assistant manager Steve Arnold

Monday 17th August 2015
Seven Acre & Sidcup 1 – 1 Sevenoaks Town
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 19/08/2015 19:45

(after extra time – Seven Acre & Sidcup win 4-2 on penalties)
The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay (Sponsored by Emirates)
Wednesday 19th August 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

SEVEN ACRE & SIDCUP assistant manager Steve Arnold says winning their first FA Cup tie makes it a massive day for the club.


The only Kent Invicta League representatives deservedly booked a home tie against Ryman League Division One South side Sittingbourne in the Preliminary Round on 29 August after pulling off a FA Cup shock by beating Sevenoaks Town 4-2 on penalties.

Anthony Fenech, who scored the club’s first FA Cup goal by giving Lee Hill’s side the lead at Greatness Park on Saturday, before Adrian Stone grabbed an undeserved equaliser at the death to force tonight’s replay, scored from the penalty spot during the first half tonight, cancelling out recalled striker Austin Gacheru’s opener for Sevenoaks Town.

Sevenoaks Town struck the woodwork twice, Seven Acre & Sidcup once, but neither side could find the breakthrough in 120 minutes of football at Bayliss Avenue.

Gacheru stepped up to take the first of eight penalties, blazing his penalty into the car park and Gary Stock crashed his penalty against the crossbar.

Tony Ecuyer stepped up to smash home the winning penalty to make it Seven Acre & Sidcup’s greatest ever night in their 115 year history.

“It’s a massive day for the club,” said Arnold afterwards.

“The club’s coming on in all areas. First time in The FA Cup on Saturday was a massive day for us. We set the boys out right on Saturday, breakfast here before we went down. We had a team meeting here before we went down to Sevenoaks.

“From the reports everyone knows what happened in the last minute of the game on Saturday, that was taken out of our hands and we’ve brought them back here tonight.

“Again, it was a massive effort from the boys tonight. Everybody out on that field have done the club proud and have certainly done Lee (Hill) proud.

“I think we’ve got Sittingbourne next. Again it’s another Cup journey for us on a Saturday, home here again as well. It’s a massive day for the club.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup deserved to go through over the two games.

“I think that’s fair comment,” said Arnold. “That’s what I think.  Micky Collins, in his comments to us, we played his team to our strengths. We gave them respect that they deserved. They’re a decent side. We set our sides out correctly and again, funny old game football, it went to the last. It went to penalties. We were quite happy.”

Sevenoaks Town will rue so many missed chances, as they suffered their fourth exit at this first hurdle in as many years.

Manager Micky Collins said: “Disappointing, really disappointing! We had enough chances to win the game comfortably, didn’t take them and it’s come down to a lottery at the end and sums us up because we can’t score penalties either!”

He also admitted his opponents deserved to go through, adding, “Yes, I think so. On endeavour on Saturday, I thought they deserved to go through clean. I said that before. We didn’t deserve to get a goal Saturday but we did.

“I thought we put in a much better performance tonight. I thought at times we’ve done really well but they’ve shown guts in there to go into extra time and they were really tired their boys, I could see, but we haven’t put them to the sword.

“The goalie’s made a great save there near the end. We huffed and puffed. We’ve hit the bar a couple of times, they’ve hit the bar. It’s one of those games but with the quality players that we’ve got up front, we should be taking our chances!”

Left-back Alfie Kitt was released on the overlap and he reached the by-line before whipping in a cross towards the near post where Gacheru hooked his volley over the bar from four-yards after only 48 seconds.

Sevenoaks Town created an opening when right-back Josh Gilbert played the ball up to Stone, who played a reverse pass to Gacheru just outside the corner of the box but the former Chatham Town and Carshalton Athletic striker dragged his shot harmlessly past the far post.

Sevenoaks Town should have opened the scoring after 16 minutes.

Left-winger Damian Ramsamy cut across from left to middle before playing the ball out to Stock, who swept the ball out to right-winger Martin Debrah.  He whipped in a decent cross towards into the penalty area where Ramsamy’s free-header from 16-yards was comfortably saved by Colin Barnes to his right.

Ramsamy, Stock and Gacheru linked up and Debrah was given licence to speed past Anthony Collins down the right before whipping in a deep cross towards the far post which bounced off Stone’s shoulder and looped past the near post from six-yards.

Seven Acre & Sidcup rode the storm and went close to opening the scoring themselves.

Striker Josh Patrick – so impressive in the first game – cut in from the left before curling a fierce shot just past the top of the near post from 20-yards.

But Sevenoaks Town broke the deadlock with 20 minutes and 51 seconds on the clock through Gacheru’s first goal of the season.

Midfielder Stock played the ball out to Kitts, who was given time and space to float in a deep cross into the penalty area which Stone cushioned his header down and Gacheru caressed his right-footed volley past Barnes from eight-yards.

Collins said: “Good finish! Well-worked move. It’s what we’ve been working on pre-season and it’s come off and you look for us to go and secure the game and that hasn’t happened.”

When asked about his thoughts on the goal, Arnold replied: “A long time ago, I think that was yesterday!

“Again, we say every time, you look at goals and think what could have you done better?

“We spoke to them at half-time. We weren’t happy with the way we were defending at set-pieces and corners. We weren’t first to the ball, we let them get the run of us on more than one occasion and to be fair at times we rode our luck.

“They had a few decent chances, really could’ve taken them. I’m sure Micky Collins was expecting them to take them as well!

“I think at that stage, ok, they were one up, but we weren’t doing too much wrong! I always believe if things are going well regardless of you going a goal down, you just keep doing the right things.

“We just said to the boys, just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup showed character to not let that disappointment of going a goal behind trouble them.

Right-back Ade Akande cut into the penalty area from the right and cut the ball back to Fenech, his low shot deflecting just past the foot of the right-hand post.

Sevenoaks’ corner specialist, Stock, chipped in a corner from the right towards the far post but Gacheru sent his towering header sailing wide from 16-yards.

And just before the half-an-hour mark Gilbert whipped in a cross from the right and the ball skimmed off Gacheru’s head, looping on top of the roof of the net.

Good play from Patrick saw him feed the ball into Fenech, who cut in past two defenders and his driven shot deflected off Tom Ripley and over for a corner.

George Horne swung in the resulting corner from the left and Fenench’s acrobatic overhead kick at the far post looped over the crossbar, only for referee Kennedy Kikulwe to somehow point to the penalty spot.

Fenech stepped up and steered his left-footed penalty nestling into the bottom left-hand corner – beating Richard Stroud who had guessed the right way – to bring the home side level after 35 minutes.

Both were asked their thoughts on the decision.

Collins said: “I don’t know what the ref’s seen for the penalty! I’ve got to be honest he’s actual performance tonight, in my opinion, was farcical at times.

“He said he pulled him over. Our man’s nowhere near him. He’s fallen backwards to hit an overhead kick and he said we pulled him over – he’s seen something.”

Arnold said: “What do I do? Plead the Wenger thing? I didn’t see it!

“I think the ref, I think everyone will agree, had some strange decisions tonight. Whether that was one of them, I’m not sure, so I’m not really going to comment too much on that – I didn’t see it!”

And on the strike itself, Arnold added: “He’s good at what he does! Fenech can hit a ball whether it’s a pen from 12-yards or whether his in open play. He scored the other week from the halfway line. The boy can hit a ball well!”

Stroud pulled off a fine diving save to his left to push Fenech’s low left-footed free-kick around the post from 25-yards.

Arnold said: “It’s normally a battle between him and Tony Hill, who gets on the free-kicks! They can both hit a decent ball so we’re more than happy with him taking it.”

But Sevenoaks Town went agonisingly close to regaining the lead in the 41st minute.

Stock swung in a right-footed free-kick from the left towards the near post and Kitts’ back header from 15-yards clipped the crossbar.

Collins said: “I’ll be honest, I don’t remember a lot of them. The game’s a bit of a blur now but all I know is we’ve had a lot of chances and they’ve had a couple, don’t get me wrong.

“Sometimes it’s not even the chances you’re not taking! It’s actually in the final third. We’re making the wrong decisions and we’re shooting when we should pass and we’re passing when we should shoot.”

Stock then drove in his third corner from the right but an unmarked Stone planted his header wide from 12-yards.

Sevenoaks Town produced a sweeping one-touch move just before half-time when Ramsamy and Stone combined to release Gacheru through on goal.

With the keeper advancing off his line, Gacheru dinked his shot past the keeper and rolled towards the bottom far corner, but Ricky Hardie showed enough desire to get back to clear the ball off the line.

Anrold said: “They’ve had a few chances. They hit the post a couple of times as well.

“But again, all you can do is roll your sleeves up and not let them have an amount of time and just keep playing.”

Collins said: “Yes, we played ourselves in and he’s put it past the keeper and he hasn’t put enough on it and the kid’s come back and cleared it – another good chance!”

The second half, meanwhile, started just like the first, tight, with neither team wanting to give anything away.

The crowd of 124 had to wait until the eleventh minute for the first chance and it came the home side’s way.

Horne cut the ball back to Ecuyer, who swept his first time drive sailing over the crossbar from 20-yards.

Seven Acre & Sidcup were to be denied by the crossbar with 58 minutes on the clock.

Anthony Collins whipped in the first of many quality deliveries with his left-foot from the right and Magnus Orelaja ghosted in at the far post to plant his thumping header against the crossbar from eight-yards.

Arnold said: “If he had hit it, shall we say, not as well, it would’ve probably dropped under the bar! The fact that he’s come through and he made a great contact with the ball, to be fair, people say he hit it too well and I think that was one of those occasions.”

With less than fourteen minutes of normal time remaining, Stock’s corner from the right was cleared out to Stone on the edge of the box and his driven shot deflected off Kitts on the deck and Barnes was on hand to gather.

Rain started to lash down in Thamesmead as the game entered the final ten minutes of normal time.

Horne, now playing in the middle of the park, clipped the ball up to Fenech, who knocked the ball down for Patrick but an alert Stroud rushed off his line to grab hold of the ball before the talented former Welling United striker could pounce.

Horne played another ball forward, but Stroud came rushing out of his penalty area only to slice his clearance straight to Ecuyer, who took a touch before sending his right-footed chip over the bar from 30-yards.

Arnold said: “We were creating chances and we was unlucky not to take a couple of our opportunities. We was always a danger to them.”

Coming towards the end of normal time, the game was end-to-end and substitute Chan Quan was impressive down the left for Sevenoaks.

He went close to grabbing the victory with the last chance of normal time, curling his right-footed shot around the far post from 20-yards.

Arnold was delighted with the levels of fitness shown by his Trojan warriors.

He said: “One bonus for us is actually the fitness levels of the boys. We’ve gone for the full 90 and virtually the 30 minutes of extra-time with the same players on the pitch and all the boys have kept going so that’s testament to their fitness levels, the effort that they’ve put in.

“We kept basically the same 11 out there. We changed one as we went through.”

Reflecting on the second half, Collins said: “I don’t really remember that much about it to be honest, it’s been such a long night. I can’t remember how many chances we had or how many chances they had. It was a bit even Stevens really.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup created the first chance of extra time in the 98th minute

Billy Higgins played the ball into Anthony Collins and the left-back played Patrick in behind the Sevenoaks defence but he lashed his left-footed half-volley over the bar from 15-yards.

Arnold said: “Josh is one of those who plays with his heart on his sleeve. He gives you 110 every game. He’s one of those players who will run through a brick wall for you. He’s quality, got plenty of talent and we’re pleased to have him amongst us.”

Referee Mr Kikulwe blew his whistle twice to signal the end of the first period of extra-time – with only 8 minutes and 22 seconds on the clock – before realising his mistake and restarting the game with a drop ball 44 seconds later.

Collins said: “In extra-time he stopped the first half of extra time after eight minutes because he thought we’d played 15 – that tells you the calibre of the refereeing tonight!

“But I’m not making any excuses, it’s not the referee’s fault that we’re out of The FA Cup!”

Sevenoaks Town created a number of chances to win the game against a tired looking Seven Acre & Sidcup side that put in plenty of effort over the two games.

Ramsamy played the ball inside to Quan, who took a couple of touches before drilling his right-footed shot straight at Barnes, who parried the ball to his right and gobbled the ball up before Stone could pounce on the loose ball.

Sevenoaks Town pushed central defender John Lord further forward as the game went on and he floated in a deep cross towards the far post where Stone hooked his shot against the angle of near post and crossbar from a tight angle.

Collins said: “Another good delivery in and we’ve been telling them that’s what we want to be doing! We wanted to do that Saturday and we didn’t.  We put some great balls in. Yes, he probably feels he should’ve scored and again the woodwork’s saved them.”

Quan cut into the Acre penalty area after only 70 seconds of the second period, only for Hardie to come across to make a fine block.

Higgins also made a block to prevent Stock coming in from the left and scoring after he received the pass from Quan’s hook.

A cross from substitute Frank Griffin was cleared out to Ramsamy and his shot was blocked too and Quan’s drive sailed agonisingly past the far post.

Sevenoaks Town were denied a winner with less than four minutes remaining.

Stone drilled a low right-footed shot towards the bottom corner but Barnes made a brilliant save, getting down low and quick to his right to palm the 20-yarder around the post.

Arnold said: “Again, keeper’s don’t do a lot the whole game. They do one thing that keeps you in the game.  Colin’s a good goalkeeper and again it goes to the penalties and we’re more than happy having him.”

Collins added: “The levels some of these boys have played at, they should have a little bit more guile about them and they haven’t shown that tonight.

“You can’t blame the defence. In my opinion over the two games they’ve been pretty solid but you always run the risk if you’re not taking your chances at one end, you’re not scoring at the other and we’ve played four games this year and have scored four goals – it’s not good enough!”

Seven Acre & Sidcup also created a late chance following a big kick by keeper Barnes.

Sam Bailey, who had come off the bench in the 114th minute to replace Patrick, wriggled his way along the by-line but was denied by Stroud sticking out his left leg at his near post.

So onto penalties….

Sevenoaks Town striker Gacheru blazed his right-footed penalty high over the bar and into the car park.

Arnold said: “That’s probably the best start we could have had! The first one doesn’t go in, that takes the pressure of us straight away and then to be fair to the boys, we took four great penalties!”

Fenech – the player of the two games – sent Stroud the wrong way with his left-footed penalty, which nestled into the bottom right-hand corner.

Stone – Sevenoaks’ saviour on Saturday – lashed his right-footed penalty into the top right-hand corner, as Barnes danced the other way.

Horne’s right-footed penalty found the bottom right-hand corner to give Seven Acre & Sidcup a 2-1 lead.

Stock’s right-footed penalty flew over Barnes’ right-shoulder but crashed back down off the crossbar leaving Sevenoaks Town facing an early exit.

Higgins gave Seven Acre & Sidcup a 3-1 lead, finding the left-corner with his right-footed spot-kick.

Ramsamy’s right-footed penalty found the bottom right-hand corner, but the writing was on the wall for Sevenoaks Town.

Arnold said: “From that point we had two opportunities to score. Thankfully we didn’t need it. Credit to all the boys for stepping up in the first place. To take the penalties but every one of them (our players) took great penalties so we’re happy with that!”

But Seven Acre & Sidcup players and fans could start celebrating when Ecuyer walked up slowly towards the penalty spot to gather his thoughts before smashing his right-footed penalty just left of centre to send his club through.

Reflecting on Gacheru and Stock’s efforts, Collins said: “Disappointing! I’ve just said to the boys, for me with the way the pitch is, I think it’s nice and wet you tend to want to slide your penalties along the floor and the boys haven’t.  But you can’t moan at penalty takers. They’ve stepped up, they haven’t been asked to do it, they’ve stepped up and they’ve shown character and guts to do it.

“That’s it! It’s a lottery at the end of the day. Our keeper may save three but we haven’t and we’ve missed a couple and that’s it, game over.”

Arnold is delighted with the historic win, which also sees Seven Acre & Sidcup bank £1,500 in prize money.

He said: “There you go! What a way to go into it. That’s what it’s all about. It’s a good step for the club to get into The FA Cup.”

Looking ahead to hosting Sittingbourne in the next round, Arnold said: “All we can do is set ourselves right. Yes, we have to know a little bit about them but at the end of the day it all depends what we do as well. We’ll set ourselves out right. We’ll get the boys out right. We’ll work on a few things, cross the white line and see what happens.

“It’s a great competition! Although we’ve come in right at the first knockings sort of thing, come May you’re watching it on tele and you say we was involved in that at some point along the line. Plus it goes down in the history books now that Seven Acre & Sidcup have won the game and won their first game.”

Reflecting on another early exit, Collins said: “The whole night’s frustrating. Fortunately I got more of a performance out of my boys tonight, which is what I asked. I expected a reaction.

“I’m disappointed to go out. I’m disappointed for the club. It would have been nice to have a home tie against Sittingbourne but I’m pleased for Seven Acre & Sidcup. They’ve played really well over the two games and I really, really wish them the best of luck.

“Financially you lose fifteen hundred quid, which at any level of football is not to be sniffed at, but for me as a manager I want to pit your wits against a Ryman club, that’s the bit, irrespective of whether you get beaten in the next round or not. It was to go and have that home tie and see where we are in comparison.

“Luckily for Seven Acre & Sidcup they’ve got that opportunity now, which is the magic of The FA Cup, but that’s two years on the bounce that we’ve gone out in the first hurdle, which is massively disappointing.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup: Colin Barnes, Ade Akande, Anthony Collins, Billy Higgins, Ricky Hardie, Tony Hill, George Horne, Magnus Orelaja, Anthony Fenech, Josh Patrick (Sam Bailey 114), Tony Ecuyer.
Subs: Billy Skinner, Michael Samoi, Brad Marshall, Brad Fowler, Tony Oyugi, Basit Ajala

Goal: Anthony Fenech 35 (penalty)

Booked: George Horne 43

Sevenoaks Town: Richard Stroud, Josh Gilbert (Frank Griffin 81), Alfie Kitt, Steve Camacho, John Lord, Tom Ripley, Damian Ramsamy, Gary Stock, Adrian Stone, Austin Gacheru, Martin Debrah (Chan Quan 71).
Subs: Michael Fahm, Jack Miles, Alim Sesay

Goal: Austin Gacheru 21

Booked: Martin Debrah 44, Adrian Stone 102

Attendance: 124
Referee: Mr Kennedy Kikulwe (East Ham, London E6)
Assistants: Mr Ben Bowles (Rochester) & Mr Jak Hill (Folkestone)