Sevenoaks Town 3-4 Redhill - You can’t be 3-0 up at any level of football, especially at home and then throw that away and that’s what we’ve done, we’ve thrown it away but credit to Redhill, says embarrassed Sevenoaks Town boss Micky Collins

Wednesday 08th September 2021
Sevenoaks Town 3 – 4 Redhill
Location Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5BX
Kickoff 08/09/2021 19:30

The Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round Replay
Wednesday 8 September 2021
Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins says it is possible that he will have to lose a few players after suffering an embarrassing FA Cup exit at home to Redhill after throwing away a three-goal lead.

The Oaks were in a commanding situation after central midfielder Bradley Schafer and strikers Louis Collins and Jason Thompson all scored to give the Isthmian League South East Division hosts a three-goal cushion after just 36 minutes.

However, Harrison Williams’ men turned the game on its head with a great comeback and sealed a trip to Phoenix Sports in the Second Qualifying Round on Saturday 18 September by scoring four times in the last 33 minutes.

Striker Aidan Brown scrambled the ball in following a corner – Redhill won the corner count by 12-2 – before Sam King notched two goals in the space of seven minutes before Brown tucked home an injury-time winner to leave Collins shell-shocked.

“First half, excellent.  I thought we were really good, worth our lead, really good and then second half, just shambolic, absolutely embarrassing,” said Collins.

“Listen, let's take no credit away from Redhill because they played a great second half there and they deserve it on that second-half performance, they deserved to go through.

“We can be negative about us lot and say we never turned up but listen, they had to get back in that game and they showed great character so fair play to them and good luck to them in the next round.

“You’re 3-0 up at half-time and you’re in control of the game. You’ve passed the ball well, you’ve kept the ball, you’ve dominated the game and you’ve taken your chances and then we’ve come out second half and I thought first 5-10 minutes of the second half I thought we’ve done the same, we were actually in control of the game.

“Then you made a bad decision, which gives them a bit of impetus and they’ve worked a move, they’ve crossed it and Ben’s (Bridle-Card) made a bad decision. He’s gone to catch it and there’s never a catch there. He has to punch it so the balls dropped and they’re back in it.

“They’ve got their tails up, now we’ve got to grab hold of the game and control it and we haven’t, we haven’t.”

Reflecting on his side’s capitulation, conceding three goals inside the final 13 minutes, Collins said: “It’s embarrassing! We’re wide open. We haven’t defended, we’ve allowed it. We knew on Saturday they’re quick on the break and they will cause you problems because they’ve got pace and we’ve not dealt with it.

“We have to take full responsibility for it, as a group, as players but that is an embarrassment, not just for themselves but for me and for our football club because that tie at 3-0 up should be sorted and you should not even concede really.  You should actually go on and control the game and we haven’t.”

Sevenoaks Town came away from Kiln Brow with a 1-1 draw at the weekend and Collins was without central defensive partners Dean Gunner and Joe Tennett who were both serving one-match suspensions tonight.

Sevenoaks Town are in 12th place in the Isthmian League South East Division table with four points from three games and this was their sixth FA Cup tie of the season after needing two attempts to beat lower league opposition in Cobham and Erith Town.

Redhill have extended their unbeaten run to seven games after this great victory and play one level lower than Sevenoaks Town.  They are presently in the top eight in the Combined Counties League Premier Division South table having collected two league wins and two draws from their five league outings.

The last time that the Surrey club reached the Second Qualifying Round was back in 2014 when they stunned Tonbridge Angels with a 2-1 win before losing 1-0 to Greenwich Borough in the following round.

Sevenoaks took just 70 seconds to create their first opening when Tommy Cooney’s long throw was cleared and Kyle De Silva recycled the ball back into the box and Thompson’s flick at the far post was gobbled up by keeper Jack Minchin at his near post.

Redhill’s main threat was pace out wide and left-winger Nathan Hogan cut inside and his right-footed angled drive was destined to find the bottom far corner, but Ben Bridle-Card got down low to his left and used a strong left hand to push the ball tricking past the foot of the post and behind for a corner with just 104 seconds on the clock.

“He (Hogan) was a threat, a threat all night and that shows you what they’re about and that’s what they were like on Saturday.  You know they’ve always got that armoury where they’re quick on the break. Eventually, that’s what’s won them the tie,” added Collins.

Cooney’s throw was played forward with a first-time pass from Louis Collins and he played the ball inside to Thompson, who played the ball out wide to Stefan Wright, who shifted the ball past Redhill left-back Nathaniel Kenlock to whip in a low cross towards the far post and Collins couldn’t steer the ball in from close range after Minchin got his fingertips to the cross.

Redhill worked the ball out to Hogan again in the 11th minute and his left-footed angled drive stung the fingers of Bridle-Card at his near post as the opening exchanges were open.

King cracked a right-footed drive from 35-yards from a central position which the Sevenoaks keeper got his fingertips to as the ball screamed just past the right-hand post.

Sevenoaks Town’s best-attacking play came through a direct approach with defensive splitting balls in behind to use Louis Collins’ pace.

Thompson threaded the ball through to Collins with a ball on the deck to put the striker through on goal but his weak shot was comfortably saved by Minchin at the halfway point of the first half.

Collins added: “I thought the whole first half we just controlled the game. We kept the ball, we passed it well. We put balls into areas when we needed to.  Jason Thompson had a good battle with their two centre-halves and we hit them a little bit with Louis’ pace.”

Hogan hit a right-footed drive towards the far post from 25-yards, which deflected behind for Redhill’s fifth corner of the night, which was swung in from the right where a stretching Joe Dyett failed to apply the finish at the back post.

Sevenoaks Town started to up their tempo and they took the lead in the 27th minute.

Thomson’s hooked pass released Louis Collins down the right and he cut into the box and unselfishly cut the ball back to Schafer just inside the penalty area in a central position.

Schafer controlled the ball with his right-foot before unleashing a left-footed drive in off the foot of the right-hand post before nestling into the back of the net to open his goalscoring account for the season.

“Good finish, good finish,” said Collins.

“But again, good build-up play. You’re not banging the ball 40 yards, you’ve actually built that up. You’ve actually passed the ball there into an area where it’s opened up an opportunity and that’s what we said, we wanted to build, especially on our own pitch.  We moved the ball and moved them around, which we did and first half it worked perfectly.”

Sevenoaks Town doubled their lead just six minutes later.

Centre-half Danny Divine hit a first-time long ball out of defence over to De Silva down the left and he played the ball inside to Louis Collins, who picked the ball up outside the box and raced into the box and with his sixth touch of the ball drilled it across the keeper and into the far corner of the net to score his fifth goal of the season.

The 20-year-old striker will certainly be picked up by a higher league club if he continues to impress, having played for Dover Athletic in the National League last season.

Collins added: “Good finish, good finish from Louis. He’s had to pick it up from deep and he’s run at them and he’s moved them around and then picked his spot and then slotted it and at 2-0 you think how many are we going on and get really?”

Clinical Sevenoaks Town romped into a three-goal lead just 131 seconds later.

De Silva was just inside the Redhill half and his low through ball split open Redhill left-back Kenlock to put Louis Collins through on goal, leaving centre-half Tom Drinkwater for dead, and he put the ball across the face of goal for Thompson to bundle over the line at the back post from close range.

Collins said: “Again, good football played and kept the ball for quite a while and passed it quickly and got into the final third where we’re dangerous and it was a good cross again from Louis and another tap in.

“You then have got to build on that, you’ve actually got to go and take the game them – and we haven’t.”

Redhill just couldn’t live with Sevenoaks Town’s high tempo and it should have been four-nil in the 40th minute when Cooney delivered a deep cross from the left and Stefan Wright got in front of his man to smash his volley just past the foot of the far post.

However, Micky Collins substituted Wright just a minute before the interval as the midfielder – playing wide right of a diamond - was walking a disciplinary tightrope having been booked earlier for a harsh handball and was spoken to by referee Peter Conn after committing another foul and was clearly frustrated.

Collins said: “I know this referee and I’ve known him for a long, long time and he’s very, very card happy and he’s always been like it and what he does he doesn’t manage the game considerably well so what he does he uses his cards continually. Some of the bookings he’s given there was just incredible and so bad.

“With Stef on a yellow card early we had to deal with that and that’s probably hurt us a little bit because we missed Stef’s energy in there at times but you can’t run the risk of having a fussy referee that could just give him a second yellow so sometimes you’ve got to protect your players.”

There was still time for Redhill to create a couple of goalscoring chances before half-time when central midfielder Joe Jarrett pinged the ball out to winger Noe Vendreslls Parcerisa whose cross-shot from the right-wing had Bridle-Card in trouble, diving to his right only to be relieved when the ball sailed wide.

Dyett came up from the back and planted his free-header at the far post wide of the target after Hogan delivered a great corner in from the right.

At half-time, Collins warned his players, “Don’t lose the game, that’s it. It’s up to you now. You’ve put yourselves in a good position but this game ain’t won, no way because they’re a dangerous threat and they’re a good side so you actually going to have to cope with this and deal with it – unfortunately, we haven’t.”

Sevenoaks Town created an opening just 54 seconds into the second half when Cooney floated in a free-kick and centre-half Maxim Cabune’s header from the edge of the box was comfortably saved by Minchin.

Storm clouds hovered above Greatness Park during the second half and Redhill went close to pulling a goal back in the eighth minute when Parcerisa whipped in a cross from the right and Bridle-Card smothered Arlie Talboys poked shot towards goal from inside the six-yard box.

Poor goalkeeping from Bridle-Card lifted Redhill’s spirits when they pulled a goal back in the 57th minute following their 12th and final corner of the night.

Hogan’s set-piece deliveries were on the money all night and Dyett’s first attempt was blocked at the far post and striker Brown scrambled the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from close range.

Collins said: “We’ve not dealt with it and that’s the thing. Ben will be disappointed because it’s that position when you’re under pressure you can’t try to catch it, it’s just got to be punched out and then you re-group and then you deal with it.

“Redhill’s deliveries from set-pieces were really good all night so we were aware of that presence but that’s the thing at the moment, at 3-0 we were in control and then at 3-1 straight away you’re thinking ‘well, hold on a minute!”.

However, it should have been a different outcome in the 62nd minute.

Substitute Ryan Fowler was inside his own half and his defensive splitting through ball released Louis Collins in behind Kenlock and Drinkwater and he skipped past the keeper before clipping the outside of the near post when faced with an open goal.

“You’ve got to look at that as well. It’s not just the defensive thing, we’ve had chances second half.  JT (Thompson) rolled one, has it gone over the line? We don’t know from where we are.

“We’ve just got to bury the tie and we haven’t done it and at three-nil I said to them at half-time ‘listen, only you can throw this away, if you actually allow them to gain pressure and get at us and cause us problems.’ They will get their tails up and then it’s very hard to turn the tap back on.”

Redhill also missed a glorious chance just before the half-way mark as they worked out that Sevenoaks right-back Charlie Holmes was their weak link as he couldn’t deal with someone running at him with pace.

Kenlock and Hogan linked up well down the left and Kenlock cut into the box and put it on a plate for an unmarked Brown, who side-footed his first time shot across the keeper and just past the foot of the far post from 12-yards, after Cabune opened the gate.

Another pacey run in behind from Louis Colins terrorised the Redhill defence before Thompson’s back-heal trickled towards the bottom far corner before being cleared off the line.

However, the rain started to lash down during the final 15 minutes and this was the spell when Sevenoaks Town capitulated in depressing fashion.

Redhill showed great character to pull a second goal back with 13 minutes remaining when Brown played the ball out to Hogan on the left and he put it on a plate for King, who easily nipped in front of Cabune to poke the ball Bridle-Card.

Collins admitted: “Again, we’re wide open, absolutely wide open. There’s no discipline there at all and we’ve just got caught on the break again but we’ve got to deal with that. We’ve got to be more compact and you can’t be gung-ho too often and that’s probably what happened. We tried too hard to go and get a fourth goal.”

Collins and his management team (Jason Bourne, Terry Groom and Julian Leigh) were discussing some tactical changes as Redhill were now dominating and Sevenoaks were on the ropes.

Redhill deservedly equalised with six minutes remaining when substitute Danyalla Iqbal played a sublime through ball that split open the two centre-halves to put King through on goal and he kept his composure to slot past Bridle-Card in a one-v-one situation.

Let’s just say that Tennant and Gunner are likely to be back when Hastings United visit here on Saturday.

“Listen, you can look at all different bits and of course that’s going to be a problem (missing those two), but you’re 3-0 up.  You’re 3-0 up with different centre-halves and a different right-back (Holmes) but you can’t look at excuses.

“The boys that are there are good enough to play in those positions and get that result from 3-0 up – and they haven’t.”

Kenlock’s ball over the top put Iqbal through on goal but his shot was saved by Bridle-Card but Redhill’s remarkable comeback was complete with two minutes and 48 seconds into injury time.

Sevenoaks had a free-kick inside Redhill’s half and Cooney’s delivery was headed away and Parcerisa broke away before feeding Hogan who released Brown through on goal.  Fowler made a last-ditch tackle on the edge of the box but striker Brown regained possession of the ball before placing his left-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner to spark wild scenes of celebration from Redhill’s players and fans.

Collins said: “At three-all we’ve got a free-kick and we’re in control of the ball. All we’ve got to do is slide the ball down the line and let Louis take the ball, control the game and you see it through to extra-time and then you rebuild and then you come out and have another go because you’ve thrown away your lead and then you have to stay in the game and we haven’t.

“It’s another poor decision. We’ve delivered another ball into the box and they’ve headed it out, which can happen and they broke and the minute they’ve broken you know the inevitable and it’s a good finish. They’ve come away and scored the winner, which they deserved.

“We had the ball, we are in control of the ball with our free-kick. It’s what we do with it. Another poor decision from an experienced player (Cooney) and listen you can’t legislate for that.

“As an experienced player sometimes you’ve got to take your medicine. We were 3-0 up, now we’re three-all, let’s just keep the ball just for the moment. We’ve got a couple of minutes to play and see it out and take the extra-time and then we’ll deal with it how we shot – naivety.”

Sevenoaks Town will bank £3,319 from this season’s FA Cup campaign, while Redhill have collected £4,819 from their exploits, which has seen them beat CB Hounslow United and Deal Town (at the second attempt) and now Sevenoaks.

“You want to be in the next round so it affects it financially but also it’s nice to have a good Cup run. It gets fans in. It has a big knock-on effect (losing),” said Collins.

“To play that well first half and get knocked out in the manner that we did, it’s not acceptable, it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough for the club for all the effort that they put in.  That’s a really, really poor 45 minutes of football from us from the whole club and that’s disappointing.

“You can put your finger on it because we’ve just, in my opinion, capitulated and you can’t do that at any level of football. To concede four goals at home in the second half, it’s just not good enough!

“We have to bounce back. We owe the fans one and the players owe them one and we need to bounce back in the next three games (Hastings, Phoenix Sports away and Ramsgate at home), we’ve got to get some points on the board.”

After tonight, there will be many players in the firing line when it comes to the manager possibly letting players go.

“Some of the players in there know, they know they’ve got to step up and that’s a big ask. If it means we have to clear the desks a little bit and we have to shuffle things around and get some new players, then that’s what we have to do. That’s my job and I’m used to doing it,” revealed Collins.

“I find it really disappointing for the club tonight for everyone that’s involved, it would’ve been a lovely tie to go to Phoenix and they’re good friends of mine and it would’ve been a great tie and then you’ve got the opportunity to try to progress again. 

“You’ve got to give Redhill credit and say they deserved it on the second-half performance. They were the better team, simple as.

“Will I make changes? Possibly. We’ll look at it. You’ve got to look at some of those players and think moving forward are they going to be good enough to stay with us and sometimes that might be the case that we have to lose a few. It won’t be financially driven. It will just be my decision actually. I don’t think some of those players are going to be ready for us to push on another league challenge with.

“At the end of the day, you can’t be 3-0 up at any level of football, especially at home and then throw that away and that’s what we’ve done, we’ve thrown it away but credit to Redhill.”

Sevenoaks Town: Ben Bridle-Card, Charlie Holmes, Tommy Cooney, Ben Davisson, Maxim Cabune, Danny Divine, Kyle De Silva, Bradley Schafer, Louis Collins, Jason Thompson, Stefan Wright (Ryan Fowler 44).
Subs: Hayden Skerry, Lamin Bah, Reece Deakin, Max Walsh, Michael Peate, James Town

Goals: Bradley Schafer 27, Louis Collins 33, Jason Thompson 36

Booked: Stefan Wright 15, Ben Bridle-Card 67, Kyle De Silva 79, Charlie Holmes 81

Redhill: Jack Minchin, Jaden Edwards, Nathaniel Kenlock, Arlie Talboys (Alfie Huckle 76), Tom Drinkwater, Joe Dyett, Nathan Hogan, Joe Jarrett (Danyaal Iqbal 70), Aidan Brown (Nathan Upton 90), Sam King, Noe Vendrells Parcerisa.
Subs: Harry Smith, Josh Phillips, Callum MacLeod

Goals: Aidan Brown 57, 90, Sam King 77, 84

Booked: Joe Dyett 7, Noe Vendrells Parcerisa 18, Tom Drinkwater 90

Attendance: 183
Referee: Mr Peter Conn
Assistants: Mr Simon Cutler & Mr Billy Woods