Thamesmead Town 1-2 Cray Wanderers - If we're going to be in the play-offs you can't defend like that, says furious Thamesmead Town boss Terry Spillane

Monday 12th October 2015
Thamesmead Town 1 – 2 Cray Wanderers
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 12/10/2015 19:45

Ryman League Division One North
Monday 12th October 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

THAMESMEAD TOWN manager Terry Spillane says his players must start defending better if they are to maintain their play-off charge.

Cray Wanderers moved nine points clear at the top of the Ryman League Division One North table on 35 points from 15 games after winning this hard-fought tussle at Bayliss Avenue.

The Wands have played three games more than second-placed AFC Hornchurch, while Thamesmead Town remain in fourth-place on 26 points from 13 league outings following their third league defeat of the season.

Watched by Thamesmead’s largest crowd of the season, the 183 fans were put through an uninspiring first half which saw Cray Wanderers score from their first of two goals from set-pieces when central defender Lewis Tozer scored against one of his former clubs.

Thamesmead Town equalised through a brilliant first-time drilled finish from contracted striker Tyrus Gordon-Young, scoring his seventh goal of the season.

But Cray Wanderers sealed their 11th win of the season only 158 seconds later when Ben Payne came up from the heart of defence to score from another corner with a well-placed shot.

Spillane felt his side’s poor defending was to be their downfall on derby night.

He said: “Obviously not ideal. I thought we could get a win tonight. We changed it about a little bit. The disappointing thing for me, once again, we’re both evenly matched teams but two defensive errors, howlers from us tonight has cost us the game.

“They play a certain way whether they’re at home or away so there was no surprises there. Obviously we’ve tried to combat that.  Unfortunately for us in open play we’ve done reasonably well. Two set-pieces, a couple of boys let us down tonight.”

“I thought we played really well, we played really, really well, I thought,” added table-topping Cray Wanderers boss Tony Russell afterwards.

“We should’ve won by more.  I thought again the (Thamesmead) goalkeeper pulled off worldies first and second half and kept them in it.

“I don’t remember, baring their goal, them having a shot on target. I don’t remember Bluey making any saves. I thought we were pretty comfortable.

“I thought they huffed and puffed. I thought we controlled the ball. Any time we looked in any danger was from our set-pieces when they broke, they’ve got a lot of pace in their side. Generally, I thought we was in control.”

With both teams sitting in the top four and both teams knowing plenty about each other, the first half was pretty dull.

Thamesmead Town created their only chance of the half after only 177 seconds when Gordon-Young’s right-footed drive from 30-yards was tipped around the post by Nick Blue, diving low to his left.

Spillane said: “You wouldn’t expect to beat Nick Blue from there would you unless it’s something special. Decent save, good strike.

“The first half was a little bit cat and mouse, very few chances, which you’d expect, well I expected it because we’re two good teams.  Unfortunately it was two set-pieces that were our undoing.”

Russell added: “To be fair, tell a lie, that was literally from the kick-off weren’t it?  Yes, Yes, he’s had a pop shot. I think if that goes in you’ll be disappointed, a goalkeeper of Bluey’s class. Tyrus is a confident boy, he’ll shoot from anywhere.”

Thamesmead Town’s right-back Michael Aziaya advanced down the right to whip in a cross towards the far post but Richard Butler’s looping header from 15-yards was comfortably caught by the visiting keeper.

Cray Wanderers created their first opening after 15 minutes.

Osifuwa Adetayo played a quickly taken free-kick to feed Michael Frieter down the right who played the ball inside to Onome Sodje, but his shot deflected off Farai Hallam and flashed just past the foot of the near post.

Russell actually admitted that he enjoyed watching the first half of little quality.

“For me, someone who likes our shape, I quite enjoyed the first half because when you play against the top sides generally the reason why they’re top is because they’re organised. Their shape’s good. Terry has been in the game long enough and he understands how the game works. He had a well-drilled side, we’ve got a well-drilled side.

“It’s like a game of chess and I quite like that. That’s why we score a lot of late goals because what we tried to do is we pull people about and make them work and then second half when they get tired they suddenly start not going with runners, that’s the idea anyway.

“I enjoyed it because it’s a good spectacle for people who enjoy that sort of thing. If you want blood and thunder, chances and sliding tackles, no, it wasn’t very good. If you’re someone who likes tactics, I quite enjoyed it.”

But Spillane was pointing the finger of blame to his left-back Jay Porter after Cray Wanderers broke the stalemate with their opening goal with 34 minutes and 58 seconds on the clock.

Grant Basey and James Duckworth played a couple of one-twos following a short corner from the right before Duckworth played in a low centre towards the near post. 

Spillane felt Porter should have cleared his lines at the near post but allowed Tozer to turn to bend his left-footed shot across the goalkeeper - from the corner of the six-yard box  - the ball nestling  inside the bottom far corner of the net.

The Mead boss said: “It’s just been whipped into the near post and we haven’t dealt with it!  It’s come to one of our players (Jay Porter) and instead of putting his foot through it, concentrating and watching the ball, I don’t know what he’s doing, he’s just swung his leg at it and they’ve ended up scoring.

“He’s disappointed as we are. He’s had a decent game tonight Jay but he’s let himself and us down there.  That’s bread and butter defending that and it’s not acceptable and we’re going to have to sort that out.”

Russell revealed: “We did work on them but to be fair that wasn’t one we worked on.

“I think it’s reversed back to Duckers, I thought he miss-hit it to be fair to Tozer, he’s reacted like a forward, he’s got in front of his defender and bent it in with his left foot. It’s a great finish.”

Porter looked to make amends as he charged forward down the left and whipped in a low centre towards the near post, which was spilt by Blue but Gordon-Young just couldn’t get his big toe to the ball to poke it over the line.

Thamesmead Town’s central midfielder Ibrahim Kargbo cracked a right-footed effort from 35-yards, which screamed past the right-hand post.

The crowd hoped for a much better second half and that’s exactly what they got!

Spillane said: “It was cat and mouse.  Maybe the pressure of the game maybe got to the boys a little bit, I don’t know.

“It didn’t look like there was going to be a runaway winner, put it that way. It was going to be a tight game, we knew that. It just didn’t go our way tonight.

“I was furious about the goal. We can’t keep doing that and I said it to them again after.

“If we’re going to be in the play-offs you can’t defend like that! That’s not the first time it’s happened and it’s something that we’re going to iron out so they’re disappointed as well. The players are disappointed with themselves as well but disappointment don’t get you three points.”

Russell added: “I’ve just said in terms of an away fixture, it’s good, we’ve limited them to very little. 

“We’ve had a lot of the ball, we controlled the game, controlled the tempo of the game. I was really pleased. We got our goal so now they’ve got to come at us. It’s an easier proposition.  When they came to ours and it’s 0-0, they could still sit in but now they had to come at us (being the home team).  When you come at us we’ll pick you off.  I think it’s a good thing, they show us that respect. They’ll generally sit in and we had to pick them to get a bonus goal.

“I said to the boys I thought our shape was good, the work-rate was good. I thought we could just sit in and just let them come onto us.”

Sodje, who is on a one-month loan from Ryman Premier League side Billericay Town, missed a sitter for Cray Wanderers after only 227 seconds.

Duckworth raced down the left to reach the by-line before he cut the ball back along the goal-line towards Sodje at the far post but somehow failed to put the ball into the empty net from very close range, missing the ball completely as it rolled out of play.

Russell said: “The funny thing is I was talking to (Billericay Town manager) Craig Edwards, he phoned me on Saturday because Onome’s come on loan and he said how ‘did he do?’

“He’s on a month’s loan from Billericay because we’ve got so many injuries.

“So I said to Craig ‘he’s done really well,’ He’s worked hard and I said he strikes me as someone Craig on his day to get a hat-trick and be the best player on the pitch but he also strikes me as someone who can miss an open goal from a yard out!

“If Craig reads this he’ll be cracking up – and he’s managed to miss an open goal from a yard out!

“I had no idea how he missed that! It’s over the goalkeeper, it’s looping on him. I don’t know whether he thought about chesting it or volleying it. I have no idea how he missed that! That’s up there with the worst misses I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame. The thing is as well if that goes 2-0, I fancy us to start picking them off.”

Thamesmead Town went close after 55 minutes when Gordon-Young fed the ball into Kargbo, who was given time and space to flash his right-footed drive past the left-hand post from 30-yards.

Basey pinged an inch-perfect 50-yard diagonal ball from left-back and the ball was trapped expertly by Sean Roberts down the right channel, the former Mead central midfielder cut into the penalty area from the right flank and flicked his shot into the side netting off Hallam’s left-knee.

Thamesmead Town keeper Andy Walker made the first of his two brilliant saves to thwart Sodje in the 64th minute.

Frieter, who is on loan from League One side Gillingham, ran forward and played the ball into Sodje’s feet, who took a touch and stroked his left-footed shot towards the corner but Walker used his legs to make a smart block.

Russell said: “I think I said it the last time we spoke (after Cray Wanderers won the home game 1-0 through James Duckworth’s last-gasp winner), nothing I can say about Walks that hasn’t already been said. He’s a class goalkeeper and over the two games he was probably man-of-the-match in the first game and he was probably man-of-the-match again today.

“They weren’t just saves, they were top drawer saves. That one and there was one from Daws where he just clawed it from nowhere, I was celebrating.”  

Spillane added: “Brilliant save – he’s been doing that all season Walks. He’s one of the best goalkeeper’s at this level. We see that week in, week out.”

But Thamesmead Town hit Cray Wanderers on the counter-attack with a sweeping move and world-class finish from talisman Gordon-Young with 20 minutes and 31 seconds on the clock.

The Mead broke down the left with striker Theo Fairweather-Johnson, who played the ball inside to substitute Aaron Jeffery in the middle and he played the ball out to Gordon-Young, unmarked on his right.  The striker drilled his powerfully struck right-footed first time drive from 18-yards, across keeper Blue to find the bottom far corner of the net.

Spillane said: “Great strike! It was goal of the game, weren’t it?

“It’s a nice bit of football, nice build-up. We hit them on the break and Tyrus does that week in week out in training and in games every now and then.

“I felt we was well on top at that moment and I really did think we was going to go on and win the game.”

Speaking about his tailsman’s seventh goal of the season, Spillane added: “That’s what we signed him for! We’ve put him on a contract here.  We know what we’re going to get, we know we’re going to get goals and if you’re going to win things, you need a goalscorer.”

Russell added: “I felt the only time when we really looked in danger was from our set-plays and I thought we could’ve organised it better.

“I sort of had a go at Bluey a little bit because that’s his job. I try to give players responsibility.

“All of a sudden we’re leaving four-v-three, why would we suddenly do that? We’re not doing that all game.

“They’re not looking like coming through us, they’re not going to pass it around us, they were just pumping balls in the box but I’ve got two good centre halves, I’m not worried about that.

“They broke and they broke quickly. I’ve said to the boys in there, the build-up to it, I can moan all sorts but take your hat off to the finish! What an absolutely great finish that is by the way. 

“Sometimes I can moan about a goal, I think this one I can tip my hat to him and say great finish!”

Cray Wanderers went up the other end to score what turned out to be the winner from another corner.

Basey swung in their sixth corner (from the right) and Lea Dawson knocked the ball down for Payne to place his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 8-yards out.

Russell said: “I think it was what we deserved if I’m honest.  I try not to talk to you biased, if someone’s been the better side then I’ll say it.  I think in the last game (against Thamesmead) I thought a draw was probably a fair result and I said that.

“Today, the away win was the only just result I think. I think we’ve done enough to win this game.

“It’s disappointing for me that it’s taken two centre halves to get the goals. It’s a slight concern, us going forward. I’m not going to lie. We’re hoping Bremns (Leigh Bremner) is going to be back for Saturday. Andre (McCollin) I don’t know about but we do need to get bodies back because we’ve gone from the top scorers in the whole of the country to be even struggling to score.

“We can’t keep doing it because eventually there’s good enough sides in this league to make us pay.”

Spillane felt Hallam and Walker had chances to clear their lines.

“Another set-piece, really disapoointed again. We know all about Daws and he’s decent in the air. He’s out-jumped Farai, he’s outmuscled Farai, knocked the ball across. I think Walks has got to do a lot better than what he did. He got a fist to it and punched it straight to their player, who’s finished it off again well.

“We’ve shot ourselves in the foot. We’ve had two decent chances to get it away. Farai hasn’t been strong enough and Walks, although he’s made a brilliant save earlier, he’s got to hold his hands up there because he’s better than that and he knows that!

“I’m not interested where they get their goals from,” Spillane added when asked about Cray’s two central defenders scored their goals,” I’m just looking at from our point of view they’ve both bad goals and it’s something I have got to review and stop!”

Thamesmead Town squandered a decent chance to equalise just 63 seconds later but Butler steered his poor header wide of the near post after Porter whipped in a cross from inside the final third.

Walker produced a quality save to deny Cray Wanderers a third goal to kill the game off with ten minutes left.

Duckworth floated in a corner from the left and Dawson was destined to score with his downward header from six-yards, but Walker got down swiftly at his feet and low to his right to make a brilliant block.

Spillane added: “Again, you expect that from Walker.  They were hitting us on the break. We were going for it. We went three up front and those things happen when you’re chasing the game when you’re against quality sides like Cray. They are going to open you up every now and then. In saying that, I still think we put enough pressure on them to get the equaliser.”

Visiting keeper Blue dived low to his right beside his right-hand post to prevent Kargbo’s dipping right-footed free-kick from 35-yards from finding the bottom left-hand corner, but Thamesmead Town squandered a great chance to level things up.

Substitute Bode Anidugbe reached the by-line and cut the ball back to Jeffery and he will only know why he blazed his right-footed shot over the crossbar from eight-yards, holding his head in his hands in shame as his 85th minute miss proved costly for his team.

Spillane said: “Aaron has missed an absolute sitter from about five yards and they’re the sort of things over the next few days I will be thinking off because they’re big moments in big games and we haven’t come up with the goods at either end of the pitch, defensively we weren’t good enough and when you get chances like that, you’ve got to score.”

Russell pulled a joke when he revealed: “What it is, is Razor’s (assistant manager Ray Powell) his boss. He works with Razor at the moment so he probably thought if he scores that Razor would sack him, maybe.

“It’s a poor miss because he’s a good finisher as well. He’s scored a lot of goals from midfield.

“It’s poor for us, we switched off as well. I think Basey made a poor decision.

“That’s what I mean about the fine margins here in a game we shouldn’t really be in and all off a sudden the game gets stretched, they’re committing bodies forward and all off a sudden it’s carnage! We shouldn’t be hanging on in there, we should’ve been comfortably two or three-nil up and if we’ve got to do anything this year, we’ve got to learn that!”

The game finished with both Duckworth and Michael Aziaya both failing to hit the target for each side at the death, as Cray Wanderers claimed the local bragging rights for another year.

Thamesmead Town: Andy Walker, Michael Aziaya, Jay Porter, Lewis Dark, Jack Barry, Farai Hallam, Richard Butler (Bode Anidugbe 82), Ibrahim Kargbo, Tyrus Gordon-Young, Theo Fairweather-Johnson (Ainsley Everett 89), Michael Uwezu.
Subs: Baff Addae, Marc Gorbell

Goal: Tyrus Gordon-Young 66

Booked: Ibrahim Kargbo 43, Michael Aziaya 67

Cray Wanderers: Nick Blue, Osifuwa Adetayo, Grant Basey, Lewis Tozer, Ben Payne, Lea Dawson, Sean Roberts, Dean Carpenter, Michael Frieter, James Duckworth, Onome Sodje (Ray Powell 89).
Subs: Aayan Tajbaksh, Ola Rabiu, Jack Lodge, Karl Dent

Goals: Lewis Tozer 35, Ben Payne 68

Booked: Lewis Tozer 24, Lea Dawson 43, Osifuwa Adetayo 56

Attendance: 183
Referee: Mr Stephen Bates (St Albans, Hertfordshire)
Assistants: Mr Andrew Loe (St Albans, Hertfordshire) & Mr Calum Chittenden (St Albans, Hertfordshire)