Thamesmead Town 0-5 Dartford - It's a brand new team and it will only get better, says Thamesmead Town boss Tommy Warrilow

Saturday 16th July 2016
Thamesmead Town 0 – 5 Dartford
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 16/07/2016 12:00

Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 16th July 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

DARTFORD boss Tony Burman says he’s still searching for an experienced striker despite his side scoring five goals in a comfortable stroll in the sun.

The Darts ensured Tommy Warrilow’s first game in charge of Ryman League Division One North side Thamesmead Town ended in disappointment at Bayliss Avenue, which kicked off at noon due to a wedding taking place at the venue.

Dartford striker Ben Francis, 18, helped himself to a hat-trick before Ellis Brown added a fourth before former Crystal Palace and Reading Academy midfielder Amadu Waritay came off the bench to complete the scoring.

Burman said: “It ended up being a very hot day after playing at 12 o’clock as well.  I’m pleased with the guys, it was a good work-out and we worked on one or two things in training with our shape and that was the main thing and we felt that we got that right.”

Warrilow added: “Obviously disappointed with the result but we half expected a really hard test today. I said to the boys we’re well out of our comfort zone in pre-season.  I’m not going to throw things at you, they talk about fitness and all that but we’ve got Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night so it’s going to be harder than that (today).  You could see by the two squads we were going to be up against it with the substitutes and what we had.

“It’s a brand new team and it will only get better. There were some positives but obviously disappointed with the third and fourth goal went in. It sort of dropped its tempo. It’s one of them, it’s a pre-season game that we knew we’d have a very tough opposition.”

Dartford right-back Keaton Wood was seeing plenty of the ball during the early stages and he got in behind former Dart Jay Porter to whip in a cross towards the near post which was headed behind for a corner by Mead right-back Michael Aziaya inside the opening six minutes.

Dartford opened the floodgates inside the opening 14 minutes, courtesy of one big ball over the heart of Thamesmead’s two central defenders Joe Vines and Steve Springett.

Wood played the ball inside to Ronnie Vint, the Dartford central defender launched a big punt which was chased by Francis, who outjumped keeper Maros Valko on the edge of the box, the ball rolled towards goal and the teenager slotted the ball into the empty goal from three-yards out.

Burman said: “Ben will frighten people with his pace. Although it is a ball straight down the middle, he’s ended up getting on the end of something and made a goal out of nothing.”

Valko came in for Andy Walker, who suffered a knock to his left foot during Thursday night’s training session and on today’s display between the sticks it would be clear that Walker will come straight back in when he recovers.

“We lost Walks on Thursday night, he got a challenge on the foot. This is what this is for. We’ve looked at the lad in goal. He’s had 90 minutes today. We’ll see how Walks is for Tuesday, hopefully he goes back in.  We’ll have Giannoulis Fakinos, Richard Butler and Nathan Simpson back so there’s four players that will come back into the starting 11 but it gives those (other) boys an opportunity.”

Reflecting on the goal, Warrilow said: “That’s an easy goal isn’t it?  It’s just one boot down the middle. I’ve got to look at the keeper’s starting position. It wasn’t a foul. It’s a perfectly good finish so that was disappointing because as much as we knew they’d keep the ball there wasn’t much of a threat but once they got the goal and the second goal it opened up a little bit more.”

Francis sprayed the ball out wide to left-winger Albert Jarrett, and the former Dulwich Hamlet winger whipped in a superb cross, which was glanced by Andy Pugh, but a nervous looking Valko made a low save.

Pugh hurt his left-ankle after a challenge from Warren Whiteley in the 24th minute and the Dartford striker carried on until half-time.

Burman added: “He’s took a knock on the ankle but he’s fine, he’s absolutely fine.”

Dartford should have doubled their lead from the resulting free-kick.  Jarrett delivered an inch-perfect delivery from the left, deep towards the far post but Francis directed his free-header sailing over the crossbar from six-yards.

An even better chance came Dartford’s way, following another quality delivery from Jarrett’s primed left-foot.

Pugh was fouled again some 30-yards from goal and Jarrett took one step to float a deep free-kick towards the far post and skipper Elliot Bradbrook sent his free header across goal and past the far post from three-yards when he should have scored.

“We put some good deliveries in. Albert puts good deliveries in to the box and we got on the end of it.  We’ve done nothing on our attacking play or anything like that. I’m happy we got on the end of things,” said Burman.

“Elliot’s made a run and got on the end of it but the finishing, it didn’t go in but at this stage it isn’t a problem.”

Dartford went into the half-time break with a comfortable 2-0 lead, following Francis’ header two minutes and 54 seconds into stoppage time.

Bradbrook played the ball out wide to Jarrett, who whipped in yet another great cross, this time from the right and Francis made space for himself at the near post to plant his header into the top right-hand corner from eight-yards.

“It was a good finish that time,” said Burman.

“Albert put some good deliveries into the box and we’re looking for that to happen, we’ve missed a couple but Ben put his one in.”

Burman is hopeful to sign 31-year-old Jarrett, a former Sierra Leone international who played for Gillingham during the 2008-09 season.

“He’s coming in and working with us and I just wanted to have a good look at him,” said Burman.

“I spoke to him back in May and he’s been out in America and he’s come in and we want to see if he likes us and we like him. He’s an experienced guy, he’s played over 200 League games and he’s fit as they come and I feel he could be a good addition to the squad.”

Warrilow added: “They had two free headers before that so they’re just basics, a free header. That’s what I mean, it’s basics. They had warnings before, they had two free headers before that so from our point of view it’s an easy goal to stop.  We all know how left-footed Albert is.”

Thamesmead Town failed to register a shot on target during a slow-paced first half, while Warrilow made a couple of changes at the break, as did Dartford.

Dartford had a trio of early chances inside the opening six minutes of the second half.

Substitute Becka-Kah Dembele floated a free-kick in from the left which Valko caught and it appeared that he back-stepped over the goal-line but assistant referee Darren Blunden kept his flag down.

Man-of-the-match Francis played in Ellis Brown but Valko smothered the ball at the feet of the pacy right winger.

Alex Brown then went close with a right-footed dipping drive which sailed just over from 25-yards, the former Maidstone United central midfielder bringing a ripple of applause from the visiting fans in the crowd of 98.

Jarrett stole the ball off Whiteley inside the Thamesmead half and ran with the ball to reach the penalty area and tried to slot the ball into the bottom far corner. Keeper Valko stuck out his left leg to make the block and Porter made a brilliant last-ditch tackle to prevent Ellis Brown a chance to latch onto the rebound.

However, just 13 seconds later – in the 57th minute - Dartford had scored their third goal as Alex Brown played in Francis, who chipped the ball over Valko and into the back of the net when he only had the keeper to beat.

Burman revealed that Francis could be starting their Vanarama National League South campaign at home to Wealdstone in three weeks’ time.

“That’s Ben’s strength. He’s a young lad whose had trails with pro clubs. He’s come here, he’s on a contract with us. He’s put himself up the pecking order for the start of the season.”

Warrilow added: “I don’t want to go all through five goals. They’ve got all five! Could we follow that in?”

Dartford scored their fourth-goal in the 62nd minute.

Francis started the move and played the ball to Ellis Brown, who passed the ball back to the Dartford number nine, while Brown ran into the penalty area.  Francis’ sprayed the ball across the penalty area to pick out an unmarked Ellis Brown, who drove his shot into the centre of the goal, which was helped in by Porter on the line.

Burman revealed he is keen to add the winger to his squad.

He said: “Ellis has got on the end of it. It was another decent ball first but Ellis’ got a lot of pace. That’s another thing that I’ve been looking at, he’s on trial here at this moment in time. He’s done ever so well and pace is one thing, end product is another.  I just feel I wanted to bring some pace into the squad and that’s why we’ll have a look at him.”

Warrilow added: “I said to them (after the game out on the pitch), you can’t beat yourself up and drop your heads. I was more disappointed with the organisation and talking. I’ve got an experienced side there and for me I expected more today.

“When I was Tonbridge manager we lost 10-0 to Brentford in pre-season and got promoted that year. It happens. You’ve got to remember we’re playing a National League South side with strength in depth. When they brought on Lee Noble and Ryan Hayes and we’ve got two kids Phillipe Blaettler and Frazer Walker going on and young Ainsley Everett so it’s a learning curve for them but we had some good performances out there as well.”

Ellis Brown played the ball into substitute Dembele, who stroked a shot wide from 22-yards.

Thamesmead Town took 68 minutes to create a chance but Joe Vines produced a central defender’s finish.

Whiteley swung in a corner from the right and the ball came out to Joe Vines, who hooked his left-footed volley high over the crossbar and into the car park.

Ryan Hayes swung in a corner from the right which was deep and met by former Ebbsfleet United defender Tom Bonner, who rose to power his header towards the far post, which was cleared off the line by Porter.

Ellis Brown flashed a low cross in from the right through a crowd of players and Waritay retrieved the ball, cut into the penalty area and cracked a beautiful right-footed dipping drive over Valko’s head into the roof of the net from 16-yards.

“Amadu’s been with Reading and Crystal Palace Academy and he’s got some really quality touches and he’s taken his opportunity and hit a shot and it’s gone in,” added Burman.

Warrilow added: “Not being funny, they deserved the five goal victory, at least. They got into some good areas and if they were a bit more clinical, it could’ve been more from their point of view.”

Dartford substitute striker Wale Ayoola was denied by Valko, who palmed the ball onto his own crossbar before the ball was cleared towards safety.

Dartford played the final seven minutes with ten-men after left-back Tom Wynter was withdrawn and Thamesmead created their only two shots on target during this period.

Burman said: “The referee didn’t let other players to come back on so it was an opportunity to see what it was like going down to 10 men.  We used all the subs anyway so he just came off because he was feeling a bit tight.”

It took Thamesmead Town 85 minutes to register their first shot on target and just like the red busses two came along at once.

Scott Kinch, who had replaced Steve Springett who had rolled his ankle in the first half, sat in front of the back four or back three and cracked a right-footed angled drive from 30-yards, which was beaten behind for a corner by Dartford substitute keeper Tony Coxall.

Coxall, who was playing for the Academy last season, then made an even better save.

Ainsley Everett released fellow sub Frazer Walker down the right and he whipped in a cross towards the edge of the bar for striker Paul Vines to have his first sniff at goal, but his shot looped off the keeper’s legs and dropped over the crossbar.

Warrilow said: “I thought he could’ve scored. It was the real first time we got down and delivered. First half we put a few crosses in from deep but there was no-one in the box.

“We’ve had five sessions beck. It’s the first time we’ve been on the pitch. We went through the shape a little bit on Thursday for the first time.

Whiteley’s fifth and final corner of the game was glanced past the post by Kinch, before Hayes had the last shot of the game, hitting a speculative 35-yard shot bouncing wide of the Mead goal.

Burman gave a couple of Academy prospects game time, central defender Temitope Eweka and goalkeeper Coxall.

The Dartford manager said: “Temi is a centre half, he’s only 16. He’s gone and played at the back it’s a nice time to put him into the environment of the first team squad and Tony Coxall has been in and around training with us. We’ve got a few other Academy boys who weren’t here today.  It’s nice that I can get them involved in these games and let them train in and amongst the first team.

“Tony pulled off a great save really, that will do him the world of good.”

Dartford host a testimonial match for winger Hayes on Sunday when Ebbsfleet United visit Princes Park.

Burman said: “He’s been with me since I’ve come back here as manager. He’s been outstanding! Everyone’s got thoughts and Ryan has his faults but at the same time the quality and the memories he’s given the club over the 11 years will live for a long, long time and will outweigh all those things as far as I’m concerned. He’s been well worth the money what I paid for him from Slade Green – which was nothing!”

Millwall – who won 2-1 at Bromley today – visit Dartford on Tuesday night and Burman said: “Against Millwall we’re not going to touch the ball that many times I should think. We have to try to keep it and it’s for our organisation and our shape so sometimes that’s a good thing.

“Pre-season is getting ready for day one. Hopefully I’m looking to have additions into the squad. I do need another forward. I’m looking for an experienced forward and it hasn’t quite come off for us but we’ve tried. I’m one or two players short in that squad but hopefully by the time we come to the start of the season they might be involved with us.”

Thamesmead Town continue their tough pre-season campaign with visits from more Vanarama National League South sides in Ebbsfleet United (Tuesday) and Welling United on Thursday.

Warrilow said: “We’re going to learn the hard way and find it frustrating but it will be good character. We could have quite easy pre-season friendlies but we’ve gone for a very difficult one with Ebbsfleet and Welling around the corner.

“We still need probably four players and unfortunately we’re a club that the players’ I’m speaking to are still on trial at clubs like Dartford and higher clubs and we’ve got to be patient – but it gives these boys an opportunity.  It’s what pre-season is all about, they’re going to get some game time.  If they go and impress, great, but if the boys become available that we’re waiting on, then it will strengthen the side.”

Thamesmead Town: Maros Valko, Michael Aziaya (Frazer Walker 46), Jay Porter, Bode Anidugbe, Joe Vines (Phillipe Blattler 82), Steve Springett (Scott Kinch 39), Ellis Green, Luke Coleman (Ainsley Everett 46), Paul Vines, Adrian Stone (Reece Warrilow 63), Warren Whiteley.
Sub: Santiago Ochoa

Dartford: Deren Ibrahim (Tony Coxall 83), Keaton Wood (Tom Gardiner 46), Tom Wynter, Ronnie Vint (Temitope Eweka 62), Tom Bonner, Alex Brown (Lee Noble 67), Ellis Brown, Elliot Bradbrook (Amadu Waritay 52), Ben Francis (Ryan Hayes 67), Andy Pugh (Becka-Kah Dembele 46), Albert Jarrett (Wale Ayoola 57).

Goals: Ben Francis 14, 45, 57, Ellis Brown 62, Amadu Waritay 75

Attendance: 98
Referee: Mr Alexis Stacchini (Orpington)
Assistants: Mr James Beadle (Meopham) & Mr Darren Blunden (Dartford)