Stowmarket Town 3-0 Glebe - We're all hurting but the whole team have done me proud today, says Glebe boss Gary Alexander

Saturday 11th January 2020
Stowmarket Town 3 – 0 Glebe
Location Greens Meadow, Bury Road, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 1JQ
Kickoff 11/01/2020 15:00

The Buildbase FA Vase Fourth Round
Saturday 11 January 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Greens Meadow

GLEBE manager Gary Alexander says his players are hurting after exiting The Buildbase FA Vase after losing to a clinical Stowmarket Town side in Suffolk today.


Rick Andrews’ men are unbeaten at the top of the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division table with 55 points from their 21 league games and 13 points clear of second placed Wroxham.

Stowmarket Town went into this Last 32 clash on a 22 match unbeaten run and having lost just one game (in the FA Cup) in their 28 outings and were listed as bookmakers’ favourites to go all the way and celebrate winning The FA Vase at Wembley Stadium in May.

Glebe went into the game sitting in the top seven in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 30 points from 18 games and beat Canterbury City 4-0 in their last outing seven days ago.

Stowmarket Town took 17 minutes to open the scoring through midfielder Luke Read’s top far corner finish following a set-piece.

However, Glebe played the second half on the front foot and missed several clear cut glorious chances and ultimately paid the price.

Just 24 seconds after Glebe striker Vance Bola missed a sitter, Stowmarket Town went immediately up the other end of the pitch and killed the game off through striker’s Matt Blake’s eleventh goal of the season, with 20 minutes remaining.

Striker Christy Finch came off the bench to notch his 12th goal of the season to seal the deal, despite Glebe playing on the front foot and creating more of the chances.

“I’m proud of the boys, they gave their all,” said Alexander.

“For anyone who was here, there were chances in the first half for both teams, they took their one from a set-piece. We didn’t take our gilt-edged chances and then second half we came out and we pinned them in for long, long periods and we couldn’t get the goal and then they went route one and we haven’t dealt with it and they’ve scored against-the-run-of-play.”

It was a missed opportunity for Chislehurst-based Glebe to progress into the National stages of the competition.

“You’ve just took the words out of my mouth! I’ve just said it in there, we’ve just missed a trick because we came here, look, full credit to them, they beat us 3-0 but it’s not a 3-0 game and it’s disappointing because I think we’ve missed a trick there today. 

“Stowmarket know they’ve been in a game and they know they’ve got away with one there because they’ve had good chances but we’ve had good chances as well and some of the chances we had at 1-0 down, they’re not chances, they’re goals and we didn’t take them and then we get punished by them through a little bit of quality finishing.”

Stowmarket Town attracted a crowd of 510 for both club’s biggest game of the season and the home club reached the Last 16 for the first time in their history with this flattering three-goal victory.

The game started in an end-to-end manner with Stowmarket Town hitting the channels, which probably explained the sticky pitch that had too much sand on it.

Glebe goalkeeper Pat Ohman started in a nervous fashion and centre-half Denzel Williams was the Chislehurst-based side’s weakest link with left-back Matt Parsons often making overlapping runs to reach the by-line to put in crosses at the other end.

Stowmarket Town were catching out the Glebe defence by putting balls in behind and the first chance of the game came in this manner in the 10th minute.

Right-back Ollie Brown played the ball into Read, who slipped a lovely ball on the deck to put 25-goal towering striker Josh Mayhew through on goal but Ohman came off his line and flicked the ball behind for a corner when Mayhew only had him to beat.

“Pat’s made a mistake but like we spoke about it at half-time, their chances came from individual error, errors that we probably don’t have to make by a little bit of game understanding, maybe put the ball in an area,” said Alexander.

“We saw the pitch, it wasn’t the greatest of pitches, it wasn’t there to be played on so it became a difficult game for us.  Obviously, we’ve got players in there who are capable of receiving the ball but it was a bit of a bog and we probably tried to overplay at times, we gave them chances.”

Stowmarket Town opened the scoring with 16 minutes and 2 seconds on the clock, following a set-piece.

Central midfielder Dean Bowditch, 33, who has played in the Championship for Ipswich Town, Burnley and Milton Keynes, whipped in a free-kick of quality from the right aiming for six of his team-mates. The ball came out to Read, whose first bite of the cherry was blocked but his second attempt was rifled right-footed into the top far corner of the net from 15-yards.

“We’ll maybe watch it back if we get the video but it’s in the middle of the goal and we should be dealing with that and should be the other side defending that.  At some point we’ve had a chance to clear it and failed to clear it and it dropped and they’ve scored,” said Alexander.

Stowmarket were awarded a free-kick by referee Aaron Farmer from 35-yards out and his drilled attempt was comfortably gathered by Ohman in his midriff.

Glebe weathered the storm and enjoyed a good spell of being on the front at the halfway point of the half.

Striker Jamie Philpot, who often dropped deep to get away from Stowmarket’s two big centre-halves Tom Bullard and Joe Jefford, played the ball out to Parsons in space and he easily cut inside Brown and was tackled inside the box by Jefford.  Vance Bola picked up the loose ball inside the box and teed up winger Toby Ajala, who stung Bradbrook’s fingers with a right-footed drive from inside the D.

“We played some good stuff, we mixed it and we’ve had plenty of chances today and we’ve had chances where they should be goals, added Alexander.

Parsons pinged a ball over the top to put Bola through on goal and after wriggling his way past two defenders, the ball got stuck on the sticky pitch and he had to dig the ball out from under his feet and tried to stroke his shot into the bottom right-hand corner, only for Bradbrook to dive low to his left to flick the ball behind for a corner.

“I think their keeper’s probably had more saves to make today more than our keeper. He’s made a good save. He’s made a string of good saves and you’ll come to them in a minute, obviously,” said Alexander.

Stowmarket Town missed a good chance to increase their lead on the half-hour mark when Glebe switched off defensively.

Bowditch played the ball into Read, who slipped a low pass through for Blake, who beat the offside flag and was denied by an alert Ohman, who rushed off his line and narrowed the angle and made a vital block at his near post by spreading himself.

Glebe missed a glorious headed chance from their 19-goal talisman Philpot in the 32nd minute – which should have been taken.

Parsons hit the home side on a counter-attack and he fed Bola, who played Parsons in space down the left before he delivered an inch-perfect out-swinging cross towards an unmarked Philpot at the far post but his diving header flashed agonisingly past the foot of the near post from 10-yards out.

“Listen, it’s a goal, isn’t it, it’s a goal! We were just standing there waiting for him to head it in.  I don’t know what he’s done to miss,” admitted Alexander.

“He’s in the right place so without being too hard, he knows, he’s hurting and hopefully he can bounce back from that. He’s been great for us. He scores goals but he should have a lot more goals than he actually has.”

Andrews certainly done his homework on Glebe as holding midfielder Jack Ainsley had a great game by keeping Stacy Long (who played in the number 10 role behind Philpot and Vance) in his pocket.

Ohman was called into action inside the final 10 minutes of the half.

Captain Brown whipped in a deep cross from the right, the ball came out to Mayhew, who tried to bend his right-footed shot around the diving keeper into the bottom far corner, only for Ohman to scramble along his line and push the ball around the post before it crept in.

Stowmarket Town produced a slick move on the deck with Read and Bowditch linking up well in midfield before the ball was rolled out to left-back Seb Dunbar, who took a touch before whipping in a cross towards the near post with his left-boot.  Blake got in front of his man and powered his towering header over the crossbar from six-yards.

A poor goal-kick from the Glebe goalkeeper gifted the home side another chance when Read’s pass released Blake in behind again but Ohman made amends when he rushed off his line to made the save.

“That came from a poor goal-kick, that kick went straight to them and broke. We’ve shaped up, Pat hit a shank of a goal-kick and the kid just put it back in and gave them an opportunity but Pat made up for his error,” added Glebe’s manager.

“It’s just disappointing because you said we’ve made mistakes and they’ve got chances from our mistakes. Team’s don’t do that against us. We have to create chances and when we do, we create good chances.”

Glebe were given a lifeline when Stowmarket Town missed a glorious chance with 43 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Yet more sloppy defensive play from the Foxes, involving Williams and (holding midfielder) Siao Blackwood, saw the ball picked up by Dominic Docherty, who played Blake in behind the defence but he rolled his left-footed shot across the keeper and saw it trickle just past the foot of the far post from 12-yards.

When asked what he told his troops during the interval, Alexander said: “Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re getting on top and there will be chances in the second half.  We believe in our fitness out there. 

“Look, second half we came out and we pinned them in, we pinned them in.  Anybody who tells me anything different we will have an argument!”

Blake held his head in his hands when he missed another chance for Stowmarket with three minutes and 18 seconds into the second half.

Both sides won five corners apiece and this was to be the home side’s final flag-kick, swung in from the left by Bowditch, deep towards the far post for Blake to glance his header across goal, which was easily gathered by Ohman, stepping to his left.

Glebe missed a similar chance at the other end shortly afterwards.

The quiet Long swung in a great delivery from the left and Williams glanced his near-post header across goal and watched it drop just past the far post from eight-yards out.

“He wanted a better connection on that. Look, he’s got on the end of it. He owes us a goal Denzel. I’m sure he’ll pop up and score a few until the end of the season. He’s an absolute rock for us, he’s been outstanding but that’s a half-chance that one,” added Alexander.

Ajala started driving Glebe forward and Glebe were inches away from equalising, which would have been deserved at this point.

Ajala drove forward some 30-yards down the left before playing the ball into Philpot, who cut inside and curled his right-footed shot agonisingly around the far post from 30-yards.

Ajala was guilty of giving away a stupid free-kick in a dangerous position, fouling Bowditch, who took a knock before whipping his resulting right-footed free-kick over the crossbar from 20-yards, aiming for the top left-hand corner.

Bradbrook produced a brilliant one-handed save to frustrate Glebe in the 11th minute of the half.

Substitute right-back Daniel McCarthy, who was introduced in the 41st minute after Aaron Fray pulled his hamstring, released Ajala, who cut in to the box from the right and aimed for the bottom far corner from a tight-angle from eight-yards, only for Bradbrook to get down swiftly to his right and use a strong right-hand to push the ball towards safety.

“I thought Toby upped his game today, he upped his intensity and he bossed that second half and he showed what a quality player he is. The keeper’s made another save,” added Alexander, who at this stage of the 10 minute interview was now sounding like a broken record as yet another chance went begging.

“They’re a good side but their goalkeeper has had to work harder today than he’s had to work in any other game. He’s steadied them today. They’ve won 3-0, was he MOM (man of the match) today? Probably!”

On Fray’s injury, Alexander revealed: “Fray’s tweaked his hamstring, his left hamstring so having to make a sub early in the first half was not ideal but Danny came in and he’s been on the bench for a little while and he’s done himself proud.”

Bradbrook started to take his time retrieving balls from behind his goal with at least 30 minutes of the game remaining.

Mayhew found himself down the right touch-line before spreading the play by floating a deep cross over to the left channel and Dunbar slipped over and McCarthy was too slow to press him and clear his lines.  Dunbar managed to keep hold of the ball before drilling his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 12-yards, attempting to hit the top left-hand corner.

Glebe missed a glorious chance to deservedly equalise with 24 minutes and 25 seconds on the clock, only for Stowmarket Town to grab a second goal just 24 seconds later.

These fine margins are the difference between winning and losing and Bola had to take it.

Philpot cut the ball back to Jordan Johnson, who whipped in a great cross from within the right-channel to put it on a plate for Bola, unmarked at the far post on the corner of the six-yard box. His header sailed into Bradbrook’s hands at the near post, the keeper comfortably catching the ball.

Bradbrook immediately launched the ball up field and more poor defending from Glebe’s captain Williams let in Blake, who clinically hooked his shot across Ohman and watched the ball nestle into the bottom far corner from the right-hand side of the box.

Alexander said: “It’s the difference in terms of quality isn’t it?  We’ve had a glorious opportunity straight at the goalkeeper. One long ball, not dealt with, a bit of indecision and they put the ball in the back of the net and it’s probably game over at that time.

“We’ve just spoken in there. The boys are disappointed, we’ve had chances to score. I’ve said it a lot and a lot of times this season, we’ve come off pitches and might’ve won two or three nil but as much as we can be happy with that at times we should come off pitches having won six or seven but we don’t take our glorious chances.”

It was never going to be Glebe’s day in front of goal, especially when they struck the underside of the crossbar inside the final 15 minutes.

Johnson played the ball up to Ajala, who played the ball out to substitute left-winger Jessie Darko, who cut the ball onto his right-foot before curling a dipping shot towards the top far corner from 30-yards, only for the outstanding Bradbrook to tip the ball onto the bar, stretching and back peddling high to his left.

“Listen, I’ve had a good reaction off Jessie. He hasn’t been starting in recent weeks, we’ve pulled him out and we’ve had a chat and every time I’ve brought him on over recent weeks we’ve had a reaction from him,” revealed Alexander.

“He showed a tremendous bit of skill there, cut in.  Look, I don’t even know if the keeper got a hand to that? I think he might’ve touched that but it hit the underside of the bar and then again, reactions should be better there, there should be a tap-in for someone but we haven’t reacted and it’s another chance missed.”

Despite being two-goals down and heading out of the competition, Glebe showed tremendous character to keep playing on the front foot and knocking on the door.

Bullard pulled back Philpot 10-yards from his penalty area and Ajala whipped in the resulting free-kick towards the far corner, only for Bradbrook to dive to his left to palm the ball towards safety.

“Toby’s got that in his locker. He’s scored free-kicks but you keep saying the keeper’s made this save and made that save and he’s MOM and we’ve come away with a 3-0 defeat, that doesn’t often happen,” added Alexander.

Stowmarket Town went route one with a chance inside the final four minutes when Ainsley released substitute Robbie Sweeney down the left channel and he hung over a cross towards the far post towards an unmarked Mayhew, whose downward header was tipped away by Ohman, diving to his left.

“I think Pat should save that. I don’t think there was any power on it. He’s made that save but he should save that so a routine save for Pat there but the game was over by then,” admitted Glebe’s gaffer.

Ohman was beaten for a third time when Stowmarket Town scored a flattering third goal with 42 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock.

Left-back Dunbar clipped the ball up to Mayhew, who chested the ball down on the edge of the Glebe penalty area.  The ball bounced down for Sweeney and space opened up in front of him before he played the ball on his outside to an unmarked Finch, who clinically placed his left-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 12-yards.

“Again, a little bit of composure and he’s slotted it in. If we maybe had better composure in front of goal we could’ve been standing here victorious but obviously we’re not,” said Alexander.

“We’re all hurting but listen I’ve got a good group in there, they will all bounce back. They’ve all responded on numerous occasions this year and it’s all about how we bounce back over the coming weeks now.”

Ajala’s ball over the top released Philpot in behind Dunbar but his hooked shot was blocked by Bradbrook’s left leg at his near post.

The ever-present goalkeeper has now kept 20 clean sheets in 29 games and has only conceded 11 goals in all competitions this season and should be playing at a higher level on his outstanding performance today.

Darko cut a short corner back to Parsons, who took a touch before cutting into the penalty area before flashing a left-footed shot past the foot of the near post as Glebe wasted another opening and paid the price as Stowmarket Town were more clinical when it mattered.

Stowmarket Town have beaten Colney Heath (1-0) and Stansted (4-0) in The FA Vase this season, banking £3,900 in prize money while Glebe have banked £3,475 after previously beating Peacehaven & Telscombe (5-3), Fisher (2-1) and Newhaven (1-0).

Alexander said: “I couldn’t be prouder of those boys today. They gave their all, not one of them didn’t put 100% effort in.  The whole team have done me proud today in terms of work-ethic. We just lacked that little bit of quality in front of goal and didn’t take chances.”

Seventh-placed Glebe are 17 points adrift of leaders Beckenham Town but do have three games in hand on Jason Huntley’s side.

Attention now turns to Tuesday night’s Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Third Round tie against Rusthall at Foxbury Avenue, before the local derby at Beckenham Town on Saturday in the Kent Senior Trophy Quarter-Finals.

Rusthall are in second-place in the First Division table, a point behind leaders Kennington, but with a game in hand.

Alexander said: “Listen, The FA Vase has been great up until this point but now it’s disappointment because we’ve missed a trick but we wish Stowmarket all the very best moving forward. We can’t worry about the Vase now, we’re out and we’ve got two Cup ties coming up this week against two good teams and 20 league games to go to play in and we’ve got some big league games coming up, so we have to take a lot out of our energy today from that game and moving forward if we can produce performances like that we’re going to win more games than we’re going to lose.

“Rusthall will be a tough game. They played Beckenham in one of the rounds and I know a few Beckenham players and they said what a good side they are so we have to make sure we’re on it. We can’t just be turning up and thinking ‘they’re a league below, it’s a gimmie.’

“We have to be on it like we were today in long periods and make sure we turn up and we get that result against Rusthall on Tuesday and we’ll worry about Beckenham after Tuesday.”

Stowmarket Town: James Bradbrook, Ollie Brown, Seb Dunbar, Jack Ainsley, Tom Bullard, Joe Jefford, Luke Read, Dean Bowditch (Robbie Sweeney 73), Matt Blake (Christy Finch 77), Josh Mayhew, Dominic Docherty (Curtley Williams 81).
Subs: Anton Clarke, Dave Cowley, Leon Ottley-Gooch, Danny Potter

Goals: Luke Read 17, Matt Blake 70, Christy Finch 88

Booked: Luke Read 64

Glebe: Pat Ohman, Aaron Fray (Daniel McCarthy 41), Matt Parsons, Siao Blackwood, Chris Parr, Denzel Williams, Jordan Johnson, Stacy Long (Jessie Darko 64), Jamie Philpot, Vance Bola, Toby Ajala.
Subs: Abdisamad Mohamed, Danny Fitzsimons, Mackenzie Foley

Attendance: 510
Referee: Mr Aaron Farmer
Assistants: Mr John Hyde & Mr George Lowe