Thamesmead Town 1-2 Brentwood Town - . The good thing is there’s eight or nine players that have committed to next season, reveals Thamesmead Town boss Tommy Warrilow

Saturday 22nd April 2017
Thamesmead Town 1 – 2 Brentwood Town
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 22/04/2017 15:00

Ryman League Division One North
Saturday 22nd April 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

THAMESMEAD TOWN boss Tommy Warrilow says his players’ treated their last game of the season like a testimonial.


The Mead put in a flat second half performance as they suffered a disappointing defeat to Brentwood Town in their last game at Bayliss Avenue, which has been their home since 1988, before the club move eight and a half miles to Dartford to hire Princes Park Stadium from next season.

Thamesmead Town started on the front foot and striker Alex Teniola should have buried a hat-trick of free headers inside the opening 15 minutes, before Craig Shipman’s side grabbed the lead through striker Leon Gordon.

Thamesmead Town midfielder, Archie Johnson, 18, notched his first goal for the club in only his seventh game to equalise, before their desire levels dropped off during a poor second half and Brentwood sealed a deserved win through left-winger Lamar Reynolds’ 25th goal of the season.

Warrilow’s men completed their 46-match campaign in a disappointing seventeenth-place in the Ryman League Division One North table with 54 points on the board, finishing three points clear of the relegation zone, which saw Ware, Wroxham and Great Wakering Rovers lose their Isthmian League status.

“It sort of sums our season up,” admitted Warrilow after his side’s 24th league defeat.

“I thought the first half we’ve done well. We started well, had a few chances, they had a few chances.

“We changed it up to play some lads to have a look at for next season that have been on the fringes but I was disappointed with the second half.

“I said to them at half-time, it’s a testimonial atmosphere.

“I was very pleased with Max Ovenden in goal. I thought he was outstanding for us and there were some positives in there.  Laurent Mendy has had a good season but overall it was too lethargic for me, even though it’s the end of the season, you’ve got to play every game and treat it the same.”

Warrilow ensured safety was secured on Easter Monday with a 2-0 win at local rivals Phoenix Sports, which killed off Steve O’Boyle’s side’s play-off chances and Warrilow made five changes for this game.

They should have opened the scoring after only 98 seconds when Laurent Mendy, one of three centre halves, received the ball from right wing-back Harvey Brand, to drive in a cross and Teniola nipped in to plant his header across goal and past the far post from close range.

Left wing-back Jay Porter reached the by-line to whip in a precise cross and Teniola rose above Brendan Cavalier to plant his header straight at visiting keeper Anthony Page from six-yards.

Brand swung in the home side’s first corner of the game, which flapping keeper Page failed to pluck out of the air and dimulative striker Beckha-Kah Dembele planted his free header over the bar at the far post from four-yards.

It was to become a frustrating start to the game for Teniola as he got in front of his man to meet Johnson’s free-kick to glance his header straight at Page.

“Unfortunately, they were straight at the keeper though so he could’ve had a hat-trick really,” added Warrilow.

Brentwood Town weathered the storm and they went close to grabbing the lead following their second corner.

Dimulative holding midfielder Matt Hall scooped the man-of-the-match award, winning his midfield battles for the 80 minutes that he was out on the pitch.

“I thought Hall caused more problems second half.  I thought we didn’t win the game in the middle of the park,” admitted Warrilow.

“But again, if you look at the three lads in there (second half), Tom O’Connor, Archie Johnson and Bode Anidugbe, they’re all very young lads so it will be a good learning curve for them.”

Hall swung in a corner and winger Andy Freeman found a pocket of space seven yards from goal to plant his free header just over the crossbar.

Brentwood Town weathered the storm and grabbed the lead with 19 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock.

Thamesmead central midfielder Ollie Bankole failed to impress during the 45 minutes that he was on the pitch and he gave the ball away to pressing Shad Ngandu, who fed the ball into Freeman’s feet.  Ngandu then slipped the ball through on the outside to Gordon, who was given time and space to stroke his right-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 12-yards.

“They scored against the run of play, even their bench shouted that out,” revealed Warrilow.

“He’s finished it well but it was us giving it away again in the wrong areas and it’s not for the first time. 

“We had a corner and we took it short and they nearly scored again.  They’re young lads out there and I’m trying to explain that there are the fine margins.  In the system we have (three central defenders, two wing-backs, three central midfielders and two up front) it’s very attack minded so if you give the ball away cheaply you are going to be vulnerable to counter attacks. Perhaps them being a young age they are learning the hard way.  I don’t mind because it’s not cost us a lot today apart from the result but performance wise and getting to know some of the young lads was a plus for me.”

Brand floated in a free-kick from the left and a despairing Dembele glanced his free header wide from a tight angle at the far post.

A frustrated Teniola then hit a right-footed shot on the turn from 30-yards, which was comfortably held by Page.

Brentwood Town were to be denied a second goal in the 24th minute.

Impressive winger Reynolds ran at the Mead defence before playing the ball on the outside to Freeman, who from the same blade of grass as Gordon’s finish, stroked his first time left-footed angled drive, which was blocked by Max Ovenden’s legs.

Warrilow said: “Max has done brilliant today, a massive plus and I’m pleased for him because he's a good lad. He’ll be pushing next year for that number one shirt. Something that we got out of it today is that if we put him in, he’s not going to let us down.  In fact, he’s kept us in the game in vital moments.”

Brentwood Town were now in control of the game but Thamesmead missed another chance to score in the 33rd minute.

Dembele’s step-overs confused Brentwood’s right-back James Pugsley, the Dartford man getting over a deep cross which was smacked over the bar by an unmarked Brand from 15-yards.

“That’s good because he’s got in the right area, so it’s a plus,” said Warrilow.

“To be honest we’ll be here all night because we created quite a few chances first half. That’s the good thing but that’s the story of our season.  Last week against Phoenix we got a 2-0 win but it could’ve been six or seven. The game before that (a 1-0 defeat at home to Waltham Abbey) we created nothing but we have created chances (during the first half today) but we’ve not taken them.  If we start taking them, we’re not going to be a million miles away.”

Thamesmead Town finally made the breakthrough with 35 minutes and 1 second on the clock.

Lewis Knight played the ball out of defence and found Brand inside the Brentwood half. He played the ball inside to Johnson, who skipped past Hall and drove a left-footed shot towards goal from 25-yards.  Page dived to his left and got his left hand to the shot but failed to prevent the ball nestling into the bottom right-hand corner.

“He’s got wrong footed, the keeper.  We were saying to the boys to have shots and that’s what happens when you have shots, so I’m pleased for Archie, he deserved his goal,” said Warrilow.

“We’ve got the nucleus of a good, young side here. The good thing is there’s eight or nine players that have committed to next season, which for me is what it's all about. Now we’ve got a start whereas this season we turned up and I think there was three players’ coming back and there was an exodus of players when we first came here so we sort of fed players in as and when during the season but this summer we’ll have a pre-season under their belt and it bodes well for next season.”

Thamesmead wasted a corner when Brand’s corner was miss controlled by Bankole and Brentwood attacked on the counter.  Reynolds hooked the ball and Ngandu played a one-two with Freeman and his shot was blocked by Ovenden as he advanced off his line.

Thamesmead missed yet another headed chance on the stroke of half-time.

Johnson floated in a free-kick and Brand met the ball with a glancing header from 12-yards, which sailed across goal and past the far post.

Bankole deserved to be subbed at half-time and centre half Leon Smith also made way as Ellis Green and Tom O’Connor came on after the break.

Warrilow said: “I think we had to make it happen and make it our game and stamp our authority on it. 

“We changed it with Ollie coming off and putting Ellis Green in there and we went with an attacking system but second half we just never come to terms with it so we tried to change it a few times but it didn’t happen but I don’t think it’s a game to kick on with because it was flat.

“It was what I call an old reserve team game, which a lot of lads won’t know where you’re in an empty stadium and hear all the lads barking on the pitch but I’ve got a young team and I think it shows in that but we’ve got to grow up next year.”

With this being Thamesmead Town’s last game at Bayliss Avenue, their fans expected more from their side during a poor second half performance from the men in green.

Brentwood Town took only 240 seconds to score what turned out to be the winner.

Gordon’s replacement, Harrison Georgiou, fed Ngandu, who rolled the ball out to Reynolds, who cut onto his left foot before placing his angled drive across Ovenden into the bottom far corner from 14-yards.

“It came from our mistake. We should be tighter on him. He shouldn’t be shown inside. I’m not going to dig Max out but I’ll give him the benefit of a good finish, but he’s a good player Lamar.”

Teniola latched onto a long ball but lashed his left-footed shot into the car park from the edge of the Brentwood box.

But Thamesmead Town missed a glorious chance to grab an equaliser in the 56th minute, through both of their half-time changes.

Green threaded the ball through to O’Connor but his right-footed angled drive was blocked by Page’s legs and the ball bounced behind for a corner.

Warrilow said: “Tom could’ve got in a few more times today. I was disappointed. I spoke to him at half-time about doing those runs. We’ve got to relax a bit more in front of goal but that will come with experience.”

The longer the game went on, the flatter Thamesmead’s performance and their desire levels dropped.

Warrilow added: “It just flittered out, it just fizzed out and that’s why I had the hump today with it really because we were losing.”

Hall slid in to tackle O’Connor inside the centre circle and Georgiou played a sublime pass to release Reynolds through on goal. His heels were kicked by last defender Knight but his right-footed drive was beaten away by Ovenden.

“Max has kept us in it again with a couple of saves,” added Warrilow.

Brand’s free-kick from the centre circle was cleared out to Mendy, who was given time and space to float in a cross from the right by-line but once again Teniola produced a poor finish with another free-header, this one drifting across goal and wide.

Ovenden made a comfortable low save to deny Georgiou scoring from an angled drive, after Hall played a short corner in from the left and Reynolds also got involved.

Page made a comfortable save from Green’s deflected free-kick from 35-yards as the game entered the final five minutes.

Thamesmead substitute left-winger Michael Ademiluyi showed glimpses of promise when he sprinted past Brentwood’s substitute right-back Andy Greenslade and his first low cross from inside the box was blocked by Ryan O’Rawe at the near post.  His second centre was cut back to Johnson, his left-footed drive from 18-yards was held by Page.

“Michael’s come in and we got in some good areas but I was hoping we could’ve got a draw just to kill it but it just went flat in the end,” admitted Warrilow.

“I was surprised you was at the game to be honest because it’s not really a game, no one had nothing to play for.  It didn’t surprise me the performances from both sides to be honest.”

Ngandu drilled a right-footed free-kick towards goal from 25-yards, which was held by Ovenden above his head and the last player to kick a football at Bayliss Avenue in a Thamesmead game was visiting keeper Page when he launched a goal-kick forward before referee Zak Ellis called time on 29-years’ of Thamesmead Town football at Bayliss Avenue.

Reflecting on their final league position, Warrilow said: “It’s a tight league. We shouldn’t have gone into the game on Monday eight wins off from a play-off spot. We should’ve been out of sight but it shows how inconsistent this league is.

“We’ve got to accept what it is, it’s not good enough but we’ve had six goalies this year. We’ve had big suspensions and we’ve not really had the strength-in-depth to cope with it. We’ve unearthed a few good gems but hopefully next year we’re looking to push on. It gives us every hope next year that we can do a lot better.”

When asked about his squad for next season, Warrilow declined to reveal who will be staying for the new season in Dartford.

“I’ve spoken to about eight or nine that are staying.  I don’t want to (reveal names) yet because I want to get a few on a contract. I rate them that highly and I’d like a pre-season with them and I’d like to manage them so they don’t have everyone in their ear every week telling them they’re good and this club and that club wants you.

“I’d like to think that I’m a straight batter and tell people as it is. I’ve got some lads here who can do really well if they learn from their mistakes and get their body language right and they can push on and they might not be playing for Thamesmead next year because they push on and do the right things but if they don’t we’ll benefit because we’ll have them all year and I think we’ll do very well next year.”

Reflecting on the game, central midfielder Johnson said: “It’s a disappointing loss really to end the season with, losing three points at home is something that you really don’t want to do. We’ll come back next year much stronger.

“I was happy to see it go in,” he said of his equalising goal.

“Getting my first goal for the club on the last day of the season was a brilliant feeling to get back to one-all.  I thought we could advance and go on from there.  We did start the game well, we did start on top. I thought me getting that one, I was happy to get my first goal and I thought we’d go on and take the win.”

But Johnson admitted the second half performance was below par.

“Before the game Tommy was basically iterating because it’s the last day of the season ‘it doesn’t mean you have to drop anything. You’re not going to come have fun, you still have to put in the work-rate and you keep going for the whole 90 if you’re on the pitch for so long and give 100% effort. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying or going, you always give 100%’.

Johnson added: “We did seem to lack intensity at one point and we got punished for it.  I mean both teams could’ve scored plenty of goals today. We had chances in the first half and they had chances as well.  Our counter attacks lacked a bit of prowess about them.  We were able to win the ball and break out bit it seemed to be our last pass that was letting us down.

“Looking at the players and looking at the staff, seventeenth, we should’ve be finishing there, we definitely should be finishing higher up in the league.”

Johnson was asked what he will now do during the close season – but he will need to find himself a summer job.

“In the summer I try to keep myself busy with odd little jobs but I keep myself fit. I go for a run mostly every day and I go to the gym when I can and make sure I’m fit and ready and keep myself fit ready to be back for pre-season.

“What do I do for a living? I do, this is probably my main living.”

Thamesmead Town: Max Ovenden, Harvey Brand (Michael Ademiluyi 67), Jay Porter, Laurent Mendy, Lewis Knight, Leon Smith (Ellis Green 46), Bode Anidugbe, Ollie Bankole (Tom O’Connor 46), Alex Teniola, Becka-Kah Dembele, Archie Johnson.
Subs: Ike Feehi, Ollie Bowles

Goal: Archie Johnson 36

Booked: Ollie Bankole 28, Lewis Knight 77, Bode Anidugbe 90

Brentwood Town: Anthony Page, James Pugsley (Andy Greenslade 84), Luke Foster, Matt Hall (Billy Rees 80), Ryan O’Rawe, Brendan Cavalier, Andy Freeman, Shad Ngandu, Leon Gordon (Harrison Georgiou 41), Sam Owusu, Lamar Reynolds.
Subs: Kieron English, James Alborough

Goals: Leon Gordon 20, Lamar Reynolds 25

Booked: Matt Hall 14, Shad Ngandu 59, Brendan Cavalier 90

Attendance: 100
Referee: Mr Zak Ellis (Wimbledon, London SW19)
Assistants: Mr Craig Kissi (Clapham, London SW4) & Mr John Nazari (Battersea, London SW11)

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