Thamesmead Town 2-2 Maldon & Tiptree - We think 85 points gets you in the play-offs and that's our focus and our target, says Thamesmead assistant Tony Faulkner
Thamesmead Town 2 – 2 Maldon & Tiptree
|Location||Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ|
THAMESMEAD TOWN 2-2 MALDON & TIPTREE
Ryman League Division One North
Monday 15th February 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue
THAMESMEAD TOWN assistant manager Tony Faulkner says he is not giving up grabbing a play-off berth at the end of the season.
The Mead climbed up a place into tenth in the Ryman League Division One North table on 55 points from 33 games, nine points adrift of fifth-placed Cray Wanderers.
Thamesmead Town started the game on the front foot and Lee Prescott stroked a free-kick into the top far corner of the net.
Maldon & Tiptree, who arrived at Bayliss Avenue one place below on 50 points from 33 games, levelled through a cracking volley from right-back Billy Roast, his second goal in two games.
Thamesmead Town looked to be heading for the victory when Jack Barry came up from the back to poke home from a close range corner, before the central defender picked up Thamesmead’s NINTH red-card of the season for a professional foul.
The Jammers scored from the resulting penalty when left-footed Darren McQueen scored his fourteenth-goal of the campaign.
“Well we played well. We played against a good side who like to pass the ball and we did the same thing,” said Faulkner afterwards.
“We probably had three really good chances in the first half to have gone in two or three goals up and so we’re disappointed that we didn’t take our chances.
“I think for the third week in a row now we’ve had to finish with only ten men, which actually changed the game because when you play against a team that can pass the ball well, going down to ten men is not ideal but the boys battled well, we banked up with two fours.”
A crowd of 98 braved the cold conditions and witnessed an entertaining game between two midtable outfits.
Thamesmead Town squandered a really good chance to open the scoring after two and a half minutes.
Paul Vines’ flicked the ball to Theo Fairweather-Johnson, who released fourteen-goal striker Tyrus Gordon-Young, who sliced his shot over the bar from fourteen-yards when he only had the keeper to beat.
“Tyrus came back into the side after being outside for a few weeks,” said Faulkner.
“Tyrus ain’t the best finisher in the world and you saw that but he causes defenders problems.
“Yes it was a chance, he really should’ve scored and actually ten minutes later he should’ve scored again probably. On another night he would’ve had two goals.”
Man-of-the-match Ben Wyatt, the Maldon & Tiptree left-back, kept former Phoenix Sports winger Harrison Carnegie quiet.
Wyatt produced a 60-yard run with the ball before releasing McQueen down the left and his low centre was hacked clear by Marc Gorbell.
But Maldon & Tiptree were to be denied a goal through central midfielder Kieran Monlouis, the former Charlton Athletic youngster, who unleashed a right-footed drive from 30-yards, which was tipped over by Andy Walker’s right-hand.
Faulkner added: “It was a comfortable tip over. He wasn’t really stretched but it was a save he had to make.”
Joe Francis swung in the resulting corner from the right towards the far post but Adam Mills’ downward header was easily gathered by Walker.
Right-back Farai Hallam – who has been sent-off twice in the last two games – clipped the ball upfield. Keeper Shaun Phillips advanced to the corner of his penalty area but failed to gather and Gordon-Young swept his shot past the near post from a tight angle.
Phillips did better though when he denied Thamesmead Town the opening goal.
Phillips came rushing out and collected a booking for his challenge on Gordon-Young, who nodded the ball past the advancing keeper before being clattered.
Max Mitchell stroked his right-footed free-kick over the wall and Phillips got down low to his right to hold on to the ball.
But Phillips was nowhere near Thamesmead’s opener with 24:30 on the clock.
Prescott was pushed over by Jammers’ central midfielder Rhys Henry just a couple of yards outside the box.
Prescott punished him by stroking his right-footed 25-yard free-kick over the wall and into the top far corner to give the home side a deserved lead.
“Him and Max seem to share the free-kicks and Max had the one before that and Lee took that and he gave the goalkeeper no chance,” said Faulkner.
“It was a well struck shot and it went exactly where he wanted it to go, which is always nice.
“The one before was from Max Mitchell, whose a really good free-kick taker but he didn’t put enough power on it and the goalkeeper made a regular save.”
Fairweather-Johnson crossed the ball into the Jammers’ box, the ball was headed across goal by Vines and Gordon-Young flicked the ball up before hooking the ball into Phillips hands with an overhead kick.
Maldon & Tiptree got a shot on target seconds later when Wyatt played the ball up to striker Mills, who played the ball inside for Henry to drill a low right-footed drive from 25-yards, which was saved low down by Walker.
Thamesmead left-back Jay Porter stroked a left-footed free-kick from 27-yards, which Phillips saved low to his left.
Roast fed Francis down the right and the winger cut inside but his shot screamed across Walker and harmlessly past the far post.
But Phillips pulled off an outstanding save to prevent Thamesmead Town doubling their lead in the 34th minute.
Hallam played the ball to Fairweather-Johnson down the right, who played the ball inside to Gordon-Young and his low centre came out to Porter, who drilled a stunning first-time left-footed drive from 22-yards, which was heading for the roof of the net, but Phillips dived high to his left to palm the ball over the bar.
Faulkner admitted: “I think if that goes in we probably win the game but it didn’t but credit to the goalkeeper, it was a great save.
“It was good play from us as well with five or six passes. It eventually got cut back to Jay, who hit a rasper!”
The home side created another chance from the fourth of their nine corners (Maldon & Tiptree won eight corners themselves).
Mitchell swung the ball in from the right and Gordon-Young rose with a team-mate to head the ball straight at Phillips from 12-yards.
Porter was well-positioned on the near post to head Monlouis’ inswinging corner from the left off the line before Maldon & Tiptree grabbed an equaliser with 42:09 on the clock.
McQueen got in behind Hallam down the left and the winger reached the by-line before chipping his cross into the Mead box.
Roast was left in acres of space a couple of yards inside the box and the right-back produced a striker’s finish, cracking a beautiful left-footed volley into the top left-hand corner.
Faulkner said: “You can’t fault the finish, the finish was great!
“But for us we’ve got to stop the cross coming in and if we don’t stop it we have to deal with the cross and we didn’t.
“If the full-back scores you wonder what your midfield are doing and from that side of the pitch but again it was a great (strike).”
Faulkner admitted he was expecting more from Carneige, who was kept in Wyatt’s pocket all night.
“I was saying to Terry (Spillane) during the game, the difference is Harrison got down the right seven or eight times and had good opportunities to put crosses in and they just wasn’t as good as the one they score from.
“It was just that bit of quality that we missed and we probably could’ve won the game if we had that better quality.”
Thamesmead’s defence went to sleep as Maldon & Tiptree nearly went into the break with an undeserved lead.
Curtis Haynes-Brown’s last contribution to the game was to hit a long ball straight through the heart of the Mead defence to put Mills through on goal but his chip was caught by Walker high above his head.
“We said at half-time for 40 minutes of that game up until they scored they wasn’t in the game and we could’ve been out of it,” was Faulkner’s honest reflection of the first half.
“Within five minutes it could’ve been one-all and then 2-1. We were fortunate. The two lads (Barry and Gorbell) switched off and we spoke about that at half-time and they didn’t in the second half, which was good.”
When asked what was said during Terry Spillane’s half-time team-talk against one of his former clubs, Faulkner said: “Well, we was encouraging them at half-time because we felt that when we passed the ball and we moved it as well as we did we caused them a lot of trouble, so we asked them to do the same thing and they did – until the sending off, which then completely changes the game.”
The second half wasn’t as exciting as the first with Carneige having his only chance of the game inside 41 seconds, his left-footed angled drive deflecting past the far post for another corner.
Maldon & Tiptree made a tactical change at the break by bringing on right-winger Tarryn Auarkhia, which saw Mills drop from striker to right-back and Roast slotted in at right-centre half.
Walker cleared the ball out to Auarkhia, who cut in from the wing into the middle and his left-footed shot from 16-yards drew a comfortable save from the Thamesmead keeper after 51 minutes.
Francis swung in the visitors’ fifth corner of the game from the right and the ball was cleared out to Mills, who sliced his shot wide from 30-yards.
Gordon-Young’s shot on the turn deflected into Phillips’ hands, before his cushioned header set up Vines, whose shot on the turn was also saved by the visiting keeper.
Hallam released Gordon-Young down the right and his 35-yard run reached the hardworking forward just inside the penalty area and his angled drive flashed just past the far post, referee Rick Bloy awarding a corner.
Mitchell swung in the corner from the left which Phillips failed to cut out at his near post and Barry stabbed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from two-yards to give Thamesmead Town the lead with 13:39 on the second half clock.
“That’s three in three games for Jack now,” added Faulkner.
“He’s dangerous at corners. We felt that their goalkeeper never came off his line the whole game so we won’t take credit for it, but we felt if the ball was played between the six-yard box and the goal-line there was a chance and that’s exactly where the ball went and the goalkeeper stayed on his line and Jack tapped it in.”
But Barry turned hero to villain within the space of four minutes as he was sent-off for a professional foul in the 63rd minute.
Monlouis released otherwise quiet striker Sam Newson through on goal and he drew a foul from behind from Barry.
The referee didn’t blow his whistle but pointed to the spot and showed Barry the red-card.
McQueen showed that left-footers can take penalties by steering the ball past the diving Walker, who had dived to his right but couldn’t stop the shot.
Faulkner said: “Was it four minutes? I thought it was longer than that!
“Well, knowing Jack as we do he’s been up there, the top two or three players this season.
“He said he toed the ball and got the ball so you would think he did. Yes, hero to villain in four minutes.”
When asked about Thamesmead’s disciplinary record this season, Faulkner said: “The last three (red-cards) have been really unfortunate. They’ve not been for violent conduct. It’s not as though we’ve got a bad reputation for that.
“All three was because they were the last men. It’s frustrating because in all three of those games we could’ve won if we had 11 on the pitch.”
It was backs against the wall for the rest of the game as the orange kit of Maldon & Tiptree started to dominate the game for the first time.
“We banked up two four’s and left Tyrus up on his own. I felt sorry for Vinsey because he was playing really well when we brought him off but we needed extra legs in midfield.
“I thought Max Mitchell was great tonight and he just blew up and he needed to come off. We freshened it up and we said before the game we had a really strong bench tonight and it proved because we brought players on and it made no difference so that was really good.”
But Thamesmead squandered an excellent chance to clinch the victory when Mitchell swung in the corner, the ball was headed down by Gorbell and was flicked on by Vines but somehow Fairweather-Johnson headed over from close range.
The Mead hit their visitors on the break as substitute midfielder Richard Butler played the ball inside to Fairweather-Johnson, who teed up Mitchell, who ignored Prescott in space on the right to hit his right-footed dipping drive just over the bar from 25-yards.
Maldon & Tiptree played the final ten minutes searching for the equaliser their play against ten-men deserved at the time.
Henry was given time and space to float in a cross into the Mead box but Newson glanced his header straight at Walker.
Henry then played the ball out to winger McQueen, who played the ball inside to Monlouis, whose right-footed drive from 20-yards only just cleared the crossbar.
McQueen played the ball into the penalty area where Newson (with his back to goal) cut the ball back to substitute Nnamdi Nwachaky, who placed his shot just the wrong side of the far post from inside the box.
But an outstanding save from Walker denied Maldon & Tiptree the winner at the death.
Nwachaky broke free down the right and he played the ball across to Newson, who cracked a right-footed shot on the turn and Walker dived high to his left and used his right-hand to palm the ball over the bar.
Walker made a second save, diving to his left again, to deny Auarkhia from the corner of the penalty area.
Faulkner said: “I thought the first one was very good, high above his head, which he tips round. The second one we see Andy save them all the time, but the first one was a great save.”
Thamesmead Town have it all to do in their last 13 league games of the season if they are to achieve their targets of reaching the play-off lottery.
“We’ve had a target for the last two months now to get two points a game and we were well on target for that but the last two games have sort of halted us a bit,” said Faulkner, after the side lost 1-0 at Wroxham at the weekend.
“But if we win our next three we’re on back on track again. We think 85 points gets you in the play-offs and that’s our focus and our target.
“We know what we need to do and we know how many points (we need).
“If you look over the last sixteen (league) games we’ve lost five. We’ve had too many draws (seven in 33 league games) because we’ve conceded a couple of late goals but we’re in reasonable form as you saw tonight. Whilst we had 11-v-11, I thought we was the better team.”
Fourth-placed Cheshunt visit Bayliss Avenue on Saturday and Faulkner insists that game is a must-win.
“I was the manager at Cheshunt two and a half years ago so it means it’s a game I’d like to win but it’s another game. If we’re truly going to get into the play-offs it’s a game we have to win on Saturday.
“The thing that really pegged us back, we had a really bad November – but we’ve bounced back since November and we’ve been really good.”
When asked about facing his former club, Faulkner said: “You look at it in one respect that it’s just another game but because you know some of the players that play for them that I bought to the club, I’ve got a good relationship with the club there because I never left on bad terms.
“You want to win don’t you because you want to prove that you’re at a club now that’s better.
“Me and Terry are really happy here. As you see tonight it’s a really good atmosphere on a Monday night over here. We get a decent crowd in that little stand, they make a decent bit of noise but when you play your old team you want to win.”
Thamesmead Town: Andy Walker, Farai Hallam, Jay Porter, Max Mitchell (Tommy Spillane 85), Jack Barry, Marc Gorbell, Lee Prescott, Paul Vines, Tyrus Gordon-Young, Theo Fairweather-Johnson, Harrison Carnegie.
Subs: Derek Duncan, Matt Tomms, Ben Glasgow
Goals: Lee Prescott 25, Jack Barry 59
Sent Off: Jack Barry 63
Maldon & Tiptree: Shaun Phillips, Billy Roast, Ben Wyatt, Kieran Monlouis, Curtis Haynes-Brown (Tarryn Auarkhia 46), Gavin Greenfield, Joe Francis (Nnamdi Nwachaky 78), Rhys Henry, Sam Newson, Andy Mills, Darren McQueen.
Subs: Cemal Ramadan, David Levey
Goals: Billy Roast 43, Darren McQueen 64 (penalty)
Booked: Shaun Phillips 20
Referee: Mr Rick Bloy (Ipswich, Suffolk)
Assistants: Mr Kevin Nicholson (Hornchurch, Essex) & Mr Peter Wilson (Chelmsford, Essex)