Sporting Club Thamesmead 1-5 Ascot United - I know we were underdogs but I feel we could've given ourselves more of a better dispaly of ourselves and we didn't, says annoyed SCT manager Jason Long

Friday 11th October 2019
Sporting Club Thamesmead 1 – 5 Ascot United
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 11/10/2019 19:45

The Buildbase FA Vase First Round
Friday 11 October 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

SPORTING CLUB Thamesmead manager Jason Long admits an impressive Ascot United side gave his team a lesson at a rain lashed Bayliss Avenue.

Jamie Tompkins’ side comfortably sealed their passage into the Second Round of The Buildbase FA Vase by thrashing Sporting Club Thamesmead 5-1 and on this performance are expected to go a long way in the competition, having twice previously reached the Quarter-Finals in 2013 and 2015.

Ascot United opened the floodgates with Harry Laffin curling a free-kick into the top corner before doubling their lead following a whipped in corner from Jonny Denton, which was flicked in at the far post by striker Ian Davies.

Laffin scored his second on the half-hour as Ascot United went into the break with a commanding three-goal lead.

Ben Hodges rifled home a fourth goal before Laffin completed his hat-trick to take his goalscoring tally for the season to 11 goals.

A poor Sporting Club Thamesmead performance saw them score a consolation through striker Dan Edwards, scoring his fifth goal of the season.

Sporting Club Thamesmead defeated Sutton Athletic (3-2) and Billingshurst (3-1) to reach this stage of the competition, while Ascot United have beaten Fleet Town (3-1 after a 3-3 draw) and Frimley Green (3-0).

“Well done to Ascot first of all. I think it shows how good they are as a team and how they’re doing in the league above as well,” said Long.

“I think it was a little bit of a learning lesson tonight on how to do things properly, just clearing our lines, being stronger across the park, pressing together in little units together as players and being more physical for set-pieces, which I said to the boys you have to be able to deal with that and we didn’t really.

“I’m still a little bit lost for words to be fair.  I’m just a bit annoyed really with the boys with how they reacted. I know we were underdogs but I feel we just could’ve given ourselves more of a better display ourselves and we didn’t.”

Long believes Ascot United will enjoy a lengthy run in The FA Vase this season.

“I think they will.  I do think they’re very organised, I think they manage games very well and they took their chances well. They’re strong and physical, got a good team togetherness and I think they’ll do well.  It’s a tough one, it’s another lesson learnt.”

The Acre went into this game in twelfth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, having collected 10 points from nine games, while Ascot United are sitting proudly at the top of the Combined Counites League Premier Division with 22 points from their nine league outings and lost 3-0 at home on Tuesday night, which was their only league defeat and it was their first game on their newly-laid 3G pitch.

Ascot United should have opened the scoring after only 51 seconds when centre-half Chris Ellis launched a long throw towards the far post.

Neither Sporting Club Thamesmead centre-halves Rolex Buiti nor Devante Roberts commanded their area and nine-goal right-winger Usman Lalustani smacked his right-footed volley over the crossbar from four-yards out.

Ascot United deservedly opened the scoring with eight minutes and 38 seconds on the clock.

Acre holding midfielder Alfie Evans committed a needless foul and paid the ultimate price as Laffin curled a sublime left-footed free-kick into the top left-hand corner from 35-yards, leaving goalkeeper Aaron Cathew well-beaten.

Long said: “Great free-kick!  Alfie shouldn’t be diving in on the edge of the box.  I’ve said manage situations in your own third, don’t give any free-kicks in bad areas.  I said they’re good at set-pieces and they cause problems and that’s what happens.”

It should have been two in the 17th minute when Laffin played a ball over the top of left-back Dan Walshe to put Lalustani through on goal but he lashed his right-footed drive over the top of the near post from the edge of the box.

Ascot United were cutting open a woeful Sporting Club Thamesmead back four at ease and they missed another chance within 168 seconds.

Hodges played in Lalustani but Cathew rushed off his line to palm the ball up and watched it loop over the crossbar.

“They had a player dropping off and a striker had a little bit of joy in behind, which you have just organise, talk to the boys in front of you making sure they’re screening players and picking up players and stopping them getting on the ball and causing trouble and we didn’t really do that,” admitted Long.

Sporting Club Thamesmead almost grabbed an equaliser in the 21st minute when Chris Hubbard charged forward with the ball and a lucky ricochet fell into Edwards’ path and as he cracked a shot towards the roof of the net, forcing visiting keeper Sam Gray to raise an arm to palm the ball over the crossbar.

“You take that and it makes the game a little bit different but that’s a little bit of a story of us at times really. We have some chances and don’t really take them,” said Long.

Ascot United doubled their lead in the 24th minute, with some doubt as to go got the final touch.

Ascot United blocked off goalkeeper Cathew within a crowded goal-mouth so the diminutive keeper couldn’t come out to deal with the delivery.

Denton whipped in a quality ball in from the right and all it needed was a touch.  Davies may or may not have got the touch, flicking the ball in off a man on the line as the ball crept inside the bottom left-hand corner.

“I don’t know, I think it went straight in.  I don’t know if it went straight in or not,” said Long, whose side have a problem with dealing with set-pieces.

“We have to deal with set-pieces! We have to pick up and be organised, be more ruthless and will to defend your lines, over my dead body, stop conceding goals!”

Ascot United’s central defenders allowed the ball bounce inside their goal-mouth after Sporting Club Thamesmead’s left-back Walshe put in a tricky cross from the left but centre-half and Rolex Buiti hooked his shot past the foot of the right-hand post from six-yards.

It proved to be a crucial miss as Ascot United killed the game off in the 29th minute.

Holding midfielder Elliot Carey found himself down the right touchline in midfield and he slipped the ball through to put Laffin through on goal. 

Centre-half Roberts and goalkeeper Cathew both fell to the ground and Laffin seemingly walked the ball into the bottom far corner from close range, after Walshe failed to cut out the supply.

“That’s just come because we didn’t press them high up the pitch and they’ve come down the right-hand side and we’ve got split apart and it’s just a little bit disappointing,” added Long.

“You try to hold a little bit of hope, a little bit of belief and the next goal, if we can get it, then we’re back in the game. Well, it gives you a bit of a chance but it’s tough.”

Luck was certainly against Sporting Club Thamesmead in the 33rd minute when it appeared that Ellis fouled Edwards a yard inside the Ascot United penalty area but referee Peter Dingle awarded a free-kick instead.

Hubbard curled his free-kick around the four man wall from 18 and a half yards and the ball clipped the inside of the far post and agonisingly sailed across the goal and whistled past the opposite post and behind for a goal-kick.

“You’d like to think when it hits the inside of the post it’s going in but not tonight. It was a great strike though from him, a great strike from the lad,” acknowledged Long.

“If it goes in, it changes the situation and puts them under a bit of pressure and gives us a chance to maybe have a go – but not tonight!”

The first half ended with Laffin whipping his right-footed free-kick just over the crossbar from 35-yards.

Sporting Club Thamesmead switched to three at the back as Long hauled off a poor Roberts at the interval and replaced him with Bode Olajide, who was in the centre of Walshe (left) and Buiti (right).

At half-time, Long gave his troops a rallying cry and demanded more effort from them because that was certainly lacking tonight.

“You’ve got to be stronger. We felt we had to change our shape a little bit to get at them.  We just said how important the next goal is. If we can get it just keep going and have a battle with them.  We felt they wanted it more than us and we needed to put a bit more effort in and that’s what we didn’t do.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead created an opening in the 13th minute when Edwards skipped past his marker before dragging his right-footed shot harmlessly wide of the target from 35-yards.

Lalustani easily cut inside Acre right-wing-back Jordan Gadd and stroked his shot, which bounced once and was comfortably gathered at his near post by Cathew.

Olajide sliced his attempted clearance from inside his own penalty area straight at Davies, who teed up Hodges, who drove his first time shot straight into Cathew’s midriff from 20-yards in the 62nd minute.

Ascot United scored their fifth goal with 21 minutes and 24 seconds on the clock, leaving Acre centre-half Buiti on the floor.

Hodges started the move inside the Acre half and played the ball over to the impressive Lalustani on the left. He easily cut past Buiti, who slipped over, and this gave the winger time to put in a low cross which was controlled by Hodges before he rifled his right-footed shot into the top left-hand corner beyond the diving keeper to score from 12-yards.

“That was one of their better goals to be fair.  The way they moved the ball and got past, they showed their quality so that was a good goal from them so fair play,” said Long.

Sporting Club Thamesmead players stood like statues when Ascot United completed their scoring with a fifth goal with 70 minutes on the clock.

Evans pushed substitute striker Jon Bennett down the left and Denton whipped in a deep free-kick, which was flicked back across goal from within a crowded area and no one tracked Hodges’ run and he stopped to head past Cathew from inside the six-yard box.

“That’s probably where we’re at, at the minute to be fair,” admitted Long, who needs a couple of dominant centre-halves going on tonight’s showing.

“That’s why I think it was a little bit boys against men and maybe some experienced heads who know how to get through games and you’re not going to score and winning defenders, which is maybe a dying art, I don’t know but hopefully we can find someone who wants to put their body on the line and organise people around them to stop those mistakes happening.

Lalustani teed up Bennett, who unleashed a left-footed drive straight into Cathew’s midriff from 22-yards, before Sporting Club Thamesmead notched a consolation goal, which was timed at 32 minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

It was a good move from the home side as substitute winger Aaron McCallum played the ball in from the right into the centre to Hubbard, who slipped in an unmarked Edwards, who curled his left-footed shot into the top far corner of the net from the edge of the box.

“That’s what we have got when we do things like that and we do things quickly and move the ball well.  We give ourselves chances, so we know what we’ve got. We know what we’re capable of doing but it’s just trying to get them to click and do it more often and maybe it’s taking a little bit longer than what we expect.”

Inside the final eight minutes, Lalustani played the ball in from the left, the home side’s defence failed to clear their lines and Laffin hooked his volley past the right-hand post.

A well-beaten Sporting Club Thamesmead side created one last opening when Edwards broke straight down the heart of the pitch but his right-footed drive from 25-yards deflected behind for a corner.

Sporting Club Thamesmead are back in action on Monday night when Erith Town visit Bayliss Avenue in the Challenge Cup First Round (19:45).

“I thought we were showing little bit of signs of improvement but maybe it’s back to the drawing board and have a little look at things and see if we can improve on it but we go again,” said Long.

“We haven’t got a league game until November. It’s a bit of a shame.  Hopefully the boys learn from this and can appreciate how good they are and if they want to play at a higher level that’s what they have to try to strive to be like.

“We’ve said to the boys go and relax, go and rest up over the weekend and we’ll go again Monday.

“There’s a few new lads who we saw play tonight and it will only help taking it into Monday’s game against Erith Town and the squad builds and gets stronger and start moving up the league a little bit.”

Joe Ford made a welcome return to Bayliss Avenue to watch tonight’s game, as he continues to win his fight after contracting sepsis in March.

“Absolutely superb! It’s great to run up there and give him a little kiss and a cuddle. If we can keep fighting as much as he’s fighting then we’ve got a chance. It’s always a pleasure seeing him, he’s a good friend, a very good friend. I’m glad that he’s up there and watching us and out of that hospital bed cracking on. If he can do it we can all do it.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead: Aaron Cathew, Reion McFarlane (Luc Harpon 46), Dan Walshe, Alfie Evans, Rolex Buiti, Devante Roberts (Bode Olajide 46), Jordan Gadd, Michael Olatunji, Dan Edwards, Chris Hubbard, Max Walsh (Aaron McCallum 50).
Subs: David Jesus, Harvey Browne, Mohamed Allie

Goal: Dan Edwards 77

Booked: Chris Hubbard 41, Michael Olatunji 80

Ascot United: Sam Gray, Ethan Burden, James Haworth, Elliot Carey, Louis Bouwers, Chris Ellis (Febienne Etienne 74), Jonny Denton (Rory Merrick 77), Ben Hodges, Ian Davies (Jon Bennett 69), Harry Laffin, Usman Lalustani.
Subs: George Lock, Sam Hayes, James Smith

Goals: Harry Laffin 9, 29, 70, Ian Davies 24, Ben Hodges 67

Booked: Elliot Carey 66

Attendance: 105
Referee: Mr Peter Dingle (Haywards Heath, West Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Brian Wheatley (West Wickham) & Mr Woo Lee Shin (Wimbledon, London SW19)