Soccer Shorts: Orpington begin search for a home of their own

Friday 16th September 2016

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BRIDON ROPES manager Mark Murison says the pressure is all on Glebe at Foxbury Avenue tomorrow.

The Charlton-based outfit are in ninth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table on 11 points from six games, while Adam Woodward has guided Chislehurst based Glebe to the top of the table with 19 points from their opening eight league games.

“Looking forward to getting back to league action after the Vase last weekend. We have been on a good run and want this to continue and stay in touch with the teams at the top,” said Murison.

“Glebe will be a tough team to beat and have had a decent start.  We had good games against them last season but they are all change this season with new management and some new players, so we’re looking forward to the new challenge.

“The pressure is all on them as they are in a completely different situation than us. They have a decent budget and they are able to get players in to strengthen when required, which we do not have, so all the pressure is on them as they should win the league.

“We are missing all of our midfield for tomorrow due to injury so we’re not going into tomorrow at full strength, but we have a talented squad so we can hope and we are more than capable of winning the game and we will be going there to do just that.”

Reflecting on his side’s start to the season, Murison added: “A decent start but should have been better.  We had a bad first few games with players missing and it took some time for it to click.

“We are now unbeaten in five and apart from the last minute equaliser from Forest Hill with what was the weirdest penalty decision I have ever come across, we have been strong and starting to climb the table.”

ERITH & BELVEDERE manager John Wilfort says he is looking to strengthen his struggling squad – admitting being third-from-bottom in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier is not good enough!

The Deres have picked up five points from seven games and Wilfort takes his side to fifth-placed Sheppey United looking to pull off a surprise win at Holm Park.

“I’m not happy with the position we are in and don’t think we have been playing that bad, we just haven’t had the rub of the green at the moment - but stats don’t lie,” said Wilfort.

“But as a group we need to keep things moving and keep learning and progressing as a team, but it doesn’t get any header than an away to trip to Sheppey United.

“They have won three, drawn one and lost one in their last five games so they’re doing ok and have been hitting some consistency.  They have not been scoring loads but still winning so they’re in the pack.

“I’m expecting a very tough game Saturday as Ernie Batten will have them very organised and hard to beat.”

Erith & Belvedere have extended their winless run to six games and Wilfort demands a reaction.

He said: “I am hoping I get a big reaction from my players after the last run of poor results. They know we have not been where we want to be so let’s what we can do.

“I have a strong squad going into the game and I’m hoping for a good weekend. It’s been really tough on and off the pitch for the last month or so but I’m always positive and my players have been the same so we keep going. We need some points on the table as we are a couple of games ahead so three would be nice.

“On the player front I have gone after a few so will know after the weekend.  Unless you have a strong budget you are battling against other teams trying to get the same players but again that’s part of the job but let’s get Saturday out of the way first and hopefully we have that rub of the green we have not had yet.”

FC ELMSTEAD manager Fabio Rossi says he has some injury problems going to Lydd Town tomorrow.

The Bromley-based outfit travel to Lydd Town sitting in the top eight in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table, having won three, drawn three and lost one game this season.

With Lydd Town boss Liam Smith looking to make The Lindsey Field a fortress, Rossi knows his side is in for a tough game.

“We are looking forward to the game, as always Lydd will be a tough place to visit,” he said.

“We have a few injury worries to concern us and our bench will be made up of our under 21s.

“We go down in a confident mood with only one defeat so far this season, but Lydd have only lost twice themselves, so it should be a good battle.

“Lydd’s ground has vastly improved over the last four years and is a decent place to visit.

“We need to try and get something out of the game to put us in good shape for the visit of Uckfield in The FA Vase next weekend.

“It’s been a tough start but all the lads seem to be enjoying it. We are still looking to try and improve on last years’ mid-table finish.”

Banstead Athletic declined Holmedale’s request to play their Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round next Friday night, so Holmesdale’s tie will take place next Saturday, while Rossi is keen to play their FA Vase tie next Friday to bring in the crowds to Oakley Road.  No date has been confirmed just yet.

FISHER boss Gary Abbott has threatened the wield the axe on players that fail to turn up to training sessions and midweek games.

The club are now playing at St Paul’s Stadium in Rotherhithe, which is around the corner from Fisher Athletic’s former home at the Surrey Docks Stadium on Salter Road.

Abbott has taken charge of eight league games this season but the club are in the bottom five in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table having collected one win and three draws.

Fisher are an entertaining team to watch, however, scoring 12 goals but have leaked 18.

Fisher host second-from-bottom side Tunbridge Wells tomorrow and Abbott said: “Thoughts on the game are simple – we must get three points!

“We are playing teams off the park and scoring goals, but it’s defensively that’s worrying me! We do well for 50 minutes then we stop playing our game, which is playing good attacking football, or if we let a goal in first then we start dropping off and panicking instead of keep sticking to the plan, which is don’t stop trying to play football.

“I don’t know much about Tunbridge Wells apart from they are below us in the league and yet to pick up three points, so let’s hope we can get a win and start a run, but it’s not that simple.

“Everyone beats everyone in this league so we have got to want it more than them.

“Also, I’ve not kept the same side twice purely because everyone is not always available for training or games.  I’m not going to pick players that can’t make training or midweek games, but when Saturday comes around everyone’s available – that’s not happening anymore!

“I want to get a settled side and be consistent.”

GREENWICH BOROUGH player-manager Gary Alexander says the near return of summer-signing, striker Charlie MacDonald, 35, will be a boost.

The former Boreham Wood striker has got through some minutes in a recent under 21 outing and is close to making his debut for the club.

Greenwich Borough were surprisingly knocked out of The FA Cup by Walton Casuals two weeks ago, so they will travel to struggling Godalming Town in the league tomorrow.

The Eltham-based club travel to bottom-of-the-table side Godalming Town sitting in ninth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table, having won three, drawn one and lost two of their league games.

Greenwich Borough are seven points adrift of unbeaten league leaders Tooting & Mitcham United.

“With it being FA Cup weekend and many teams involved in that, it’s a chance for us to put another three points on the board, but we’ll take nothing for granted as anyone can beat anyone in this league,” said Alexander.

“With Godalming looking for their first win of the season they’ll be hungry to get that on home soil.

“With our injury list now shortening, we are getting players back to make us a much stronger looking squad.

“Charlie MacDonald came through 60 minutes in our under 21s game, Nathan Paul got 90 minutes on Monday and they’re two players that would make any team stronger so I’m only too pleased to have them back in our squad as we look to climb the table.”

HOLLANDS & BLAIR manager Bryan Greenfield says he is searching for consistency going into tomorrow’s Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Preliminary Round tie against Snodland Town at Darland Avenue.

Blair are sitting in fourth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division and are unbeaten in eight games but have drawn five of them.

Snodland Town are a newly-promoted side and arrive in Gillingham in fourth-place in SCEFL First Division.

“Snodland have had a good start to their league season and will be difficult opposition,” said Greenfield.

“With it also being a cup tie, anything can happen, so we know what to expect tomorrow and we will have to be at our best to come through the tie.

“We’ve had an inconsistent start to the season with one good performance leading into an average performance the game after, so we are looking to find some consistency going forward.”

Hollands & Blair claimed the Medway bragging rights with a 4-0 home win over Lordswood and Greenfield wants the same tomorrow.

“The boys played well on Wednesday night so I’ll be looking for them to carry that confidence into tomorrow’s game and the coming weeks.”

K SPORTS’ manager Kris Browning says he has mixed feelings over his side’s start to the Southern Counties East Football League First Division season.

The artist formerly known as APM Contrast are sitting in 11th place in the table and they travel to third-placed side Holmesdale in the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy Preliminary Round tomorrow.

“We look to take on Holmesdale tomorrow in the cup for our sixth away game on the trot,” said Browning.

“We know they will have a good outfit and have had a good start to the season.

“Our start hasn’t been the best, we have struggled in the final third and haven’t finished teams off, but compared to our start last season it is better and the squad has also improved and we are still looking to improve.

“A lot of teams have improved again this year which can only be good for the league and I would say that there are a fair few teams with a good chance of promotion.”

The club are playing all of their games away from home while their ground is being re-developed.

Browning added: “We hope our ground is completed by November and we can’t wait to get playing at Cobdown, but before that we still have eight more away games to deal with!”

KENT FOOTBALL UNITED have explained why their home game against Eltham Palace has been switched to Glebe’s Foxbury Avenue ground in Chislehurst on Sunday (13:30).

A club statement said: “The contractors cut corners on our pitch so we’ve got them back laying 260 tonnes of topdressing to cover the stone they left. It’s devastating for the club but it’s been a better season on the field thus far.”

LEWISHAM BOROUGH chairman Ray Simpson insists he is the right man for the manager’s job – despite losing all of their nine league games this season.

The club are rooted to the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table after leaking 24 goals this season and they travel to fifth-placed Orpington tomorrow.

“We are enjoying our time in the Southern Counties East Football League,” said Simpson.

“This may sound strange but the squad are and are now realising and learning what it takes to succeed at this level.

“Yes, they have lost nine straight matches and have not yet secured a point, which probably breaks all records.

“A staggering amount of work is taking place to get things right on the pitch.  In spite of all the critics, snipers and envy, the spirit is incredibly good and many players still want to help and come – I just have to make sure it is the right kind of player.

“Many over the years have left the club in an awful state particularly on the pitch and myself and the club directors have always had to pick up the pieces.

“We will get things right because we are loyal, committed and determined and many out there continue to support us and it is them I listen to.

“Look at the work we have carried out with our facilities. People come to our ground and say ‘wow and well done!” and there is more work to be done in that area.”

Orpington are now managed by Lewisham Borough’s former under 21 manager Marc Bentz.

Simpson said: “He is doing a great job. I was sorry to see Marc leave but you cannot stand in the way of ambition and we still keep in touch and talk regularly.

“Several of my former personnel are at Orpington so we expect, with the excellent additions they have made to their squad, to have a tough test.”

It is the kind of game that Lewisham Borough will need to kick-start their campaign and to pick up their first points of the season.

“I am not one for making excuses but injuries, holidays, weddings, work, babysitting, car problems, illness, etc, etc, ever have played a big part,” said Simpson.

“We are looking forward to tomorrow’s match with eager anticipation.

“There is also an urgent club meeting tonight to assess and analyse where we are and what to do. Everyone at the club will be in attendance.

“I have had many requests for the managerial job of the first team, which is flattering – however if I decide to make a change it must be the right person or people who are the right fit for the club and they have to bring more to the table than players and coaching alone.  Until then, I will continue to manage the first team with my coaching staff.”

Mr Simpson did say that CV’s are welcome to be emailed to him:

LORDSWOOD manager Richard Styles says his side are going through a four-game blip and he is keen to get things back on track.

The Medway side have leaked 17 goals in their last four games and welcome Beckenham Town to Martyn Grove tomorrow looking to end that miserable run of form.

Beckenham Town are unpredictable. Jason Huntley’s side put in a scintillating performance in The Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round last weekend during their 4-1 win at Dorking (who play one level lower), but were thrashed 5-0 at home to Cray Valley on Wednesday night.

Styles, who has seen his side slip down to ninth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table on 10 points from 9 games, said: “We have an early season six-pointer on Saturday against Beckenham, where we are looking to get back on track after the past four results.

“The boys want to win as much as I do and bring in a result on Saturday.  Beckenham will be a tough game and will be looking to have a go at us and get something from the game, which we will have to deal with and battle against making sure we are better.

“The season so far is a bit of a roller-coaster as we started the season possibly too well against everyone’s predictions, but we have since then had a lot of injuries, changes in personnel with players coming in and out and needing time to gel, once again.

“We’ve had a small blip in the past four games, but I still have no doubts on the ability of my players and their ability to get us back on track to the high standard that we have set ourselves since pre-season.

“It was never going to be a “quick fix” coming into management for my first job as manager at a club with a completely new set-up, staff and playing squad, so it will take time, but we all share the same belief that we will get it right.

“I look around the changing room after each game and the level of players I have at my disposal is scary, but they need time to all gel with each other into the system we are asking them to play in.

“It’s still early days, I was always taught the league table does not come into play until January 1st and where you are on that day dictates what you need to do for the rest of the season, whether that’s a title challenge, top six, top half or a relegation battle and I still have faith we can achieve this season.

“Nothing has changed from my attitude and belief in the squad and team and we all know what we have to do starting from Saturday.”

LYDD TOWN manager Liam Smith says there is a good buzz around the club at the moment and he wants to make their Lindsey Field ground a fortress.

The club are sitting in tenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table, having won three, drawn two and lost two of their league games this season.

Tomorrow they welcome Fabio Rossi’s FC Elmstead, a side that are two places higher and have collected three wins, three draws and have only lost one in the league this season.

“My thoughts on tomorrow are firstly of excitement, there’s a good buzz about the place at the moment,” said Smith.

“Like every team, we respect FC Elmstead, but I have made it clear this season to the boys we want to start making Lindsey Field a fortress again, so we’re looking for a positive result.

“Elmstead are a good side, hard to break down in recent years. I know I like Fabio a lot down there and he’s doing an excellent job.  Like us, he works with no playing budget, which is never easy.

“This season so far has been steady but only steady.  I feel we will always score goals with the players we have in our changing room, but we have made some silly errors at crucial times to cost us points.

“We went to Rusthall last week outplayed them for 70 minutes so shows what we’re about.”

Smith added that he thinks the division, which was known for five seasons as the Kent Invicta League, is improving and getting stronger each season.

“This league gets better every year. I don’t think there’s much difference between the two Southern Counties East Football League’s except silly amounts of money really.”

ORPINGTON manager Marc Bentz has revealed the club are looking to build their own ground to maintain their Southern Counties East Football League First Division status.

On the pitch, Bentz faces his old side Lewisham Borough tomorrow, sitting in the top five, while Lewisham Borough are rooted to the foot of the table having lost all nine of their league games.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” said Bentz, ahead of the Green Court Road clash.

“Lewisham was the first club I started my coaching career at, so looking forward to seeing Ray Simpson and Richard Leach, also a few friends of mine who I played with before hanging up the boots play for the club, so it will be nice to see some familiar faces.

“It’s a very important game for us, having lost our first game of the season last week. We need a big response from the team to get back to winning ways to get our season back on track as we have only taken four points from the last three games and slipped a couple of places.

“I have a lot of respect for Ray and for Lewisham Borough, what with them being my first and local club. I like to see them do well, but not at the expense of us tomorrow.

“I visited their ground recently for the opening of their new stand and was impressed with how far the club has come over the last couple of years and I’m sure the results will start to improve for them,

“Our season so far has gone pretty well. The players feel they could have done better in a few of our games and should be a bit better off than where we are at present.

“I still think we have more to show. I’ve been working since Christmas to get the right players in place at the club, along with the right coaching team.

“We have come a long way from last season. I have promoted four reserves who have been outstanding, kept on seven key players from last season, who have formed the core of my team and have signed the same again in new players who have been fantastic additions to the team.

“We have a small but experienced management team and they have been a big asset and a big part of our success and I know they will help to keep us improving and I feel the strong squad we have had has come from getting all these people in place and by having a strong pre-season.”

Orpington, along with league rivals Crockenhill and Kent Football United, were very lucky to maintain their current league position as their grounds do not have floodlights – while their league rivals have either secured groundshare deals or improved their own facilities.

Bentz, meanwhile, has revealed Orpington are making plans to find their own ground to stay at their current level.

“The club endeavours to have a first team playing at the highest possible level at this stage the plan is to keep the club in the SCEFL or progress further.  Obviously the present venue at Green Court Road, Crockenhill does not have this capability.

“The club is pursuing a few different options with a long-term plan that it would like to build its own venue from scratch.”

Any parties interested in aiding the club to achieve this aspiration should contact the club chairman Steve Hall on

RAMSGATE joint-manager Danny Ward admits it’s been a disappointing week for the club.

The Rams have slipped down to tenth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table after losing 2-0 at home to Walton Casuals last weekend and they were dumped out of The Alan Turvey Trophy Sponsored by Robert Dyas after losing 2-1 at Sittingbourne in midweek.

“It’s been a disappointing week for everyone at Ramsgate Football Club,” said Ward.

“We have been hit very hard with a couple of suspensions but even harder with quite a few injuries to senior players.

“What this does is bring opportunities to some of our younger players who are being given a chance to stake a claim in the first team set-up.”

Ward revealed he is short on numbers for tomorrow’s trip to unbeaten league leaders Tooting & Mitcham United.

“Tomorrow will be no different, with a very difficult match away to the unbeaten leaders Tooting & Mitcham. Out of our five recognised centre halves and three midfielders we have one available!

“We will still go there and try to win the match so it will be quite interesting especially with the small squad we have.

“What it does mean that Aaron Millbank, who is coming back from a long-term injury, Macauley Murray, who has been away travelling for a year and Tom Chapman, who has also been away travelling and played his first 45 minutes on Tuesday, will get more game time on their road back to full fitness.”

SITTINGBOURNE boss Nick Davis has strengthened his squad with the arrival of former Hollands & Blair and Lordswood striker Jordan Gallagher.

Sittingbourne are enjoying a better start to their Ryman League Division One South campaign and go into tomorrow’s home game against Horsham in 12th place, going down to their first defeat of the season last weekend, a 4-1 defeat at Whyteleafe.

But the Brickies bounced back with a 2-1 home win over Ramsgate in The Alan Turvey Trophy Sponsored by Robert Dyas on Tuesday night.

“Like any game in the league this year it’s going to be tough,” said Davis.

“Horsham have had an indifferent start to the season and so we are expecting a tough game.  They have a lot of pace going forward and look to exploit that by all accounts coupled with some experienced players at our level.

“It was a shame to lose our unbeaten start to the league last Saturday, but it was just one of those days.

“I never get too disappointed with it as with a young side we are going to have the odd day like this.

“We have been a little bit braver this year and at 2-0 down we threw bodies forward to try and salvage something and got picked off on the counter.

“We have lost once in the league in 10 going back since April and with us playing a couple of the more fancied sides we have had a decent start.

“We bounced back brilliantly on Tuesday and our attacking play warranted more than the two goals we scored against a very good Ramsgate side.

“We have recently brought in Jordan Gallagher, who has hit the ground running with two goals in two games so far and could have had more.  His mould of a footballer fits in well to how we want to play and I’m sure there is plenty more to come. 

Gallagher scored Sittingbourne’s second goal against Ramsgate in midweek and Davis hopes his goaslcoring run will continue for his new side.

He said: “That’s 11 goals now including his time at Lordswood. What’s been most pleasing for me is that for the majority of the games so far we have looked frightening going forward.

“Steven Ita will return to the squad from a two-week injury, who was our main man last year and so I have some serious decisions to make and  three or four unfortunately won’t make the bench.”

TONBRIDGE ANGELS manager Steve McKimm says he’s expecting a tough FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie against their league rivals Wingate & Finchley.

McKimm’s men go into the game sitting in second-place in the Ryman Premier League table, having won six and drawn one of their seven league games, while Wingate & Finchley sit in the bottom six on seven points from seven games.

Tonbridge Angels thrashed Hellenic League side Ascot United 7-0 in a replay in the last round, although they were a kick from being knocked out in the first game, keeper Anthony Di-Bernardo saving a last-gasp penalty to claim a 2-2 draw in a game that they dominated at Ascot Racecourse.

McKimm said: “It’s The FA Cup, winner takes all.  There’s good prize money available and a chance to progress in the competition.  It’s going to be a tough game but I’ve got a fully fit squad to choose from. We’re all looking forward to the game.”

TUNBRIDGE WELLS manager Jason Bourne says he wants his side to kick-on now after thrashing Steyning Town 4-1 in The FA Vase last weekend.

The Wells are second-from-bottom in the Southern Counties East Football League table having collected two points from their opening six games.

Bourne takes his side to St Paul’s Stadium for the first time to play a Fisher side that are three places higher.

“Exciting times for Fisher this season as they settle at their new ground and as a club it’s always good for the players and supporters,” said Bourne, on the eve of their trip to Rotherhithe.

“It’s that time of the year where everyone has now done their settling down with a few tweaks and personnel and will start to find their rhythm to see how they will fair this campaign.

“We are no different to most clubs and have had a few leave the club in recent weeks for various reasons but on the other side of that we have been able to take advantage of similar situations and have recruited two of the outstanding players from last season, Paul Butler and Josh Biddlecombe from Crowborough.

“They are local lads and have a lot to offer and they’ve settled straight and I believe this has strengthened us.

“The FA Vase game last weekend saw lots of positive signs that we are kicking on again, but in the unpredictable SCEFL Premier this season you have to turn up week in week our or you’ll get beat.”

Last updated: 20:40  – 16/09/2016