Thamesmead Town 1-2 Faversham Town - I thought we didn't compete, we were just out there on a jolly-up, says Thamesmead Town assistant Alex O'Brien

Sunday 19th August 2018
Thamesmead Town 1 – 2 Faversham Town
Location Princes Park Stadium, Grassbanks, Darenth Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 1RT
Kickoff 19/08/2018 14:00

Bostik South East Division
Sunday 19 August 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Princes Park Stadium

FAVERSHAM TOWN manager Ray Turner says he was pleased with the reaction of his players after coming from behind to beat Thamesmead Town.

A crowd of 127 were at Princes Park Stadium in Dartford to watch two sides pump the ball in the air and provide a game of little quality or excitement.

Thamesmead Town took an early lead through talented midfielder Bode Anidugbe and went on to create and miss several good chances in the game, while direct Faversham Town grabbed the victory as physically strong targetman Harry Goodger equalised before Danny Walder scored direct from a free-kick to seal the victory in the 29th minute.

“Delighted with the result,” said Turner.  ”I think it probably wasn’t quite as fluid in the second half, it was more like a battle but what I was pleased about after a shocking start – I thought we were really poor for the first 15 minutes – I think we turned our fortunes around with a good display for the last 20-25 minutes of that first half.

“I thought we always looked a threat. We didn’t always play the right ball up to the forward, you can see we’ve got a lot of physical strength and a threat up there with the three lads.

“But four points on the board (from two games) and through to the next round of the Kent Senior Cup represents a reasonable start.”

Thamesmead Town assistant manager Alex O’Brien rued his side’s missed chances during a poor game of football.

“I thought we started the game well. We took the game to them, we created a lot of chances that other teams probably put those chances away – we didn’t,” he said.

“We got our goal and Faversham, rightly so, they’re a big, strong side and their work-ethic is always high and they got back into the game.  Once they scored they went and got another one.  I need to have another look at it because it seemed to go through our wall and through our goalkeeper and for us that was a real kick in the teeth and we never recovered from that!  We huffed and puffed and we still tried to create. It killed us and we never really, really got going and that’s the most frustrating thing for us and we didn’t give ourselves a chance to get back into the game.”

Thamesmead Town took the lead with only 186 seconds on the clock.

Carl Rook, who slotted in the centre of defence beside Joe Penny because Leon Smith was suffering from illness, delivered a poor free-kick from midfield, which wasn’t dealt with by Faversham’s left-back Renford Tenyue.

Mead right-back Harvey Brand cut the ball back from the right-hand side for Anidugbe to place his right-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner from 15-yards.

O’Brien revealed:  “Fair play to Rookie, he got a call late last night because we knew Leon was ill and he’s come in and he’s done alright. He does what he does, he uses his arms really well and gets in the way of people and defended really well.   With 25 minutes to go he was looking over and his hamstrings were tight but we’ve used our subs and running out of players unfortunately.”

O’Brien heaped plenty of praise on Anidugbe, the driving force in Thamesmead’s midfield during their good spell.

“That’s what Bode’s all about. Five minutes later it was exactly the same and he could’ve had another one but Bode is a player that we rate.  What he done there, it’s expected. He’s a player that shouldn’t be at this level but you can only be at the level that you are and we keep telling him that.

“He needs to be nine out of 10 week-in-week-out so I’m hoping today, on a poor day, let’s try to get our Bode back and I thought his work-rate was good today and back to the ways he should be but there’s a lot more to come from that boy.”

Turner admitted: “It’s quite poor all round really. It wasn’t a great execution of a free-kick and our clearance was really poor (by Renford Tenyue).  I can report he made up for that with the great run and cross for the equaliser.

“It was a really slow and sluggish start.  You know with Thamesmead, it’s going to be a physical game.  They’re going to be good getting onto bits and pieces and drop downs.

“It was a really bad start.  I thought we were quite poor in that early stage because they were getting a lot of crosses in the box and we seemed to address it midway through, I think.”

Faversham Town put in a poor performance for the opening 20 minutes and Turner frequently stepped outside his technical area to bark his displeasure to his players.

“I’m generally quite calm but I took a seat in the dug-out and I was soon out of it because it wasn’t good enough from us,” admitted Turner.

“It’s difficult enough getting results against teams in this league, let alone when you go behind, so it made it a difficult afternoon for us and that’s what I was disappointed about.”

George Monger played a short corner to right-back Ryan Cooper and Monger delivered a deep cross towards the far post for Dave Cook to come up from the back to plant his diving header over the top of the near post from a tight angle.

With the stadium music still playing, Thamesmead Town missed a glorious chance to double their lead in the eleventh minute.

Lennie Laker threw the ball down the line, the ball was flicked on by Aaron McCallum and released Ikechi Eze down the left-channel.  The midfielder put over a great cross towards the far post but Anidugbe placed his half-volley past the foot of the right-hand post from six-yards.

“That was probably the easier one,” admitted O’Brien.

“That’s the thing with us, on a positive, we created a lot of chances but to come away with one goal is not good enough. I reckon, maybe, seven or eight real good chances that other teams probably score four, we’ve scored one, so we have to look at that and address that.

“Dan Parish being out is a massive, massive blow because he’s someone who can score goals and he’s done his hamstring. We don’t know the severity of it but you’re definitely looking at two weeks.”

Turner said: “I thought they looked dangerous from wide areas in that time. We got slowly better defensively and getting bodies up against them. We made those chances, not clear-cut chances, but they certainly edged the first period of the first half.”

Holding midfielder Eze played the ball out to Anidugbe, who cut in from the right wing and floated over a cross for the quiet Matt Bodkin, who looped his header over the Faversham crossbar from eight-yards.

Faversham Town played a direct style of football and quiet striker Jack Harris hooked shot was charged down by Will Godmon, who spread himself to make a vital block at his near post as the former Tunbridge Wells man tried to flick the ball over the keeper.

Faversham Town grabbed an equaliser with 24 minutes and 46 seconds on the clock, courtesy of some great wing play from Tenyue.

He sprinted unchallenged down the left touchline for at least 75 yards before whipping over a glorious cross, which sailed over Laker’s head and Goodger couldn’t really miss at the far post, tapping the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from inside the six-yard box.

“The cross was outstanding on the run,” said Turner.

“He’s very capable of that, as you know, you’ve seen him in the past. He’s obviously made up for his error with their goal. It was good timing for us because I felt as though we were starting to move into the ascendancy and get better.  You have to score goals when you’re in that area and it’s a good finish because he’s pulled off, it’s not easy to get yourself free.  People think it’s easy for forwards to get free and it’s an easy tap-in but he might’ve lost his marker to get that tap in and he’s done well for us since he’s come into the club.

“He’s an interesting character because he was at Wealdstone last year and a very short spell at Whitstable and he’s moved back down local but he’s given us a real presence and a real element of leadership, experience as well.  You can tell with his work-rate and his work-ethic that’s starting to filter through the side and I think if everyone catches that bug and works as hard as he does, then we’ll be a difficult side to beat again.”

O’Brien added: “Defensively, for me, it’s a full-back run at a full-back and he’s run what? 90 yards and there’s not been a tackle put in then something’s wrong!

“I just found it was too easy for him to run up the line and deliver the ball. Unfortunately, he’s left Lennie isolated and the fella’s just tapped it into the goal.  Yes, for us that’s a bad goal but for them it kicked them into gear.”

Faversham Town grabbed the winning goal as early as 28 minutes and 58 seconds on the clock.

The Lilywhites won a free-kick some 35-yards out on the left and set-piece specialist Walder whipped in a quality delivery with his right-foot which bounced once in the centre of the box and curled into the far corner.

Turner said: “Danny’s got a good delivery and we encourage to aim it just outside that far post really because if no-one touches it, like today, it goes in. It gives the keeper all sorts of problems then.  We had enough bodies running across and it’s ended up being a great set-piece goal for us.”

On Walder’s substitution, Turner revealed: “He’s very key but he missed a lot of pre-season.  I still think this team has got a long way to go in terms of we can be fitter and we can be quicker and Danny was struggling at the end and had to be taken off but he’s influential especially from those areas.”

O’Brien added: “Danny Walder’s free-kick wow! Just seemed to be like the invisible wall. All off a sudden it’s in the back of the net. I don’t understand how they got the second goal, never mind.

“Poor goal to concede. I’m not going to talk too much about it because I haven’t seen it but we should be defending better from there.”

Bodkin looped a long throw into the Faversham box and a couple of shots from Anidugbe were blocked and the ball came out to Merrick James-Lewis, who hooked his shot past the post from 25-yards.

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

O’Brien said: “That they need to get back into how we started the game! Once Faversham took the lead, I thought we dropped off.

“I thought we didn’t compete. We were just out there on a jolly-up. The work-rate wasn’t good enough and we needed to get back on it and that was pretty much what we wanted to do.

“We wanted to get on the ball more and move them more because we felt we were the fitter side than them really but the players need to take those instructions on and get on with the job.”

Turner added: “Relief really because we’ve turned it around because in the early stages it certainly looked like they would come in in the ascendancy.  If they would’ve got a second goal in that period then it would’ve been very difficult.  I know we came back last season from two down but I’m pleased with the reaction of the players because the experience through the spine is starting to show.  We didn’t panic and we pushed ourselves back into the game, which was important.”

James-Lewis was withdrawn at the interval and Scott Kinch took up his holding midfield role. However, when Rook was struggling with a hamstring injury and slotted in beside McCallum in a forward role, Kinch dropped in beside Denny at the heart of defence for the final 20 minutes.

Rook relished his battle with Dean Grant and Denny launched a long free-kick into Faversham’s box but Kinch failed to keep his glancing header on target from 15-yards and the ball bounced behind for a goal-kick in the 50th minute.

Faversham were to be denied by their former goalkeeper Godmon ten minutes into the half.

Monger got down the left-channel and whipped in a cross towards the near post, which bounced off Rook’s chest and fell nicely for Tenyue, who drilled his low angled drive towards goal from 12-yards, forcing Godmon to swiftly get down low to his left to parry.

“Do you know what, I expect that from Will, he’s a very good goalkeeper but it’s frustrating because they got in behind us a little bit too easy for my liking,” admitted O’Brien.

“We need to plug in those gaps and that’s come from communicating and talking and that let us down a little bit today.  We were a little bit – I wouldn’t say shell-shocked or in respect – I just don’t think we got going for 90 minutes!”

“Will used to be with us so we know about his capabilities,” said Turner.

“Shame we didn’t have anyone to follow up maybe for that.  I think we looked a threat.  I don’t think we played great second half but I think in these early stages in the season it’s about putting points on the board.

“I think you can tell with Dean Grant, Jack Harris and Harry Goodger, we got behind them a few times.  I don’t think there was anything clear-cut in the second half but their back-line was always under pressure, which is important.”

Kinch hooked a ball into the Faversham box but McCallum failed to get his hooked angled drive on target from a tight angle, flashing across the keeper and out for a goal-kick by the corner flag.

But Thamesmead Town squandered a glorious chance to equalise in the 64th minute.

Anidugbe played a through ball along the floor to release McCallum – who appeared to be several yards offside but Robert King kept his flag down – and Simon Overland narrowed the angle and used his legs to make the block at his near post.

“Again, he’s got to score, he’s got to score,” admitted O’Brien, who is Tommy Warrilow’s number two.

“He’s a young lad, he’s got ability and he needs a goal just to get himself going but good save but I expected him to score to be honest.

“Was it offside? Yes, I thought it was offside to be honest, straight away.”

Turner added: “I’m glad you said that (was offside) because from where I was it looked a mile offside!  Certainly the linesman couldn’t tell who was playing him on which is generally a sign he wasn’t sure but it’s one of those. It’s gone our way. Simon’s done his job there and done it really well. I’d like to have seen the flag go up but it wasn’t to be and fortunately for us Simon was there to save us.”

The final goalscoring chance of an uninspiring encounter arrived just 84 seconds later when Bodkin put it on a plate for Pacquette, who rose above Tenyue at the near post to loop his header over the crossbar from eight-yards.

“He’ll be kicking himself, he should’ve had two today,” said O’Brien.

“We’re talking about the chances that we’ve created so that’s a positive that we’ve created those chances but the next step is if you’re creating five chances, you’ve got to score two minimum and we’ve come away with one today, conceding two poor goals and we’ve come away with no points so it’s not a good game.”

Turner added: “I think that probably sums up the last 20.  I don’t think we did anything spectacular, I don’t think they did apart from the odd ball that was playing into the box.  I don’t think we were under too much stress back there, which was nice that we dealt with most things.

After two rounds of games in the Bostik South East Division, Faversham Town are in eighth-place with four points, while Thamesmead are in the bottom three without any points and only have East Grinstead Town and Guernsey below them in the table.

“To come away from home with the three points is a big boost going into the FA Cup weekend,” said Turner, whose side host Eastern Counties League Division One South side Hackney Wick in the Preliminary Round next Saturday.

Balham must fancy their chances when they host Thamesmead Town in The FA Cup.

“I’m not going down that road of do you know what? It’s early and this, that and the other because winning and losing is a mindset,” explained O’Brien.

“If you’re losing games it’s easy to lose games if that makes sense? If you’re winning games it means a lot more for you to go out there and win games and I don’t want the club or the players to fall into this.

“Come Monday night when we go training, we’ll get on with it. We’ll work hard and the Faversham game is history now. We have to move on to The FA Cup, which is a huge game and then Phoenix (away) which is a huge game, a derby game.

“We have to try and grind out a clean-sheet, which will be nice and grind out a win.”

Thamesmead Town: Will Godmon, Harvey Brand, Lennie Laker (James Pass 68), Ikechi Eze, Joe Denny, Carl Rook, Bode Anidugbe, Merrick James-Lewis (Scott Kinch 46), Richard Pacquette (Tom O’Connor 69), Aaron McCallum, Matt Bodkin.
Subs: Michael Adolfo, Chigozi Agwuegbo

Goal: Bode Anidugbe 4

Booked: Will Godmon 19, Carl Rook 68

Faversham Town: Simon Overland, Ryan Cooper, Renford Tenyue, Danny Walder (Luke Griffiths 87), Matthew Bourne, Dave Cook, Dan Carrington, George Monger, Harry Goodger (Ashley Miller 90), Dean Grant, Jack Harris (Michael Jenner 78).
Subs: Ollie Lee, James Brown

Goals: Harry Goodger 25, Danny Walder 29

Booked: George Monger 9, Danny Walder 66, Dean Grant 50

Attendance: 127
Referee: Mr Graeme Ions (Tunbridge Wells)
Assistants: Mr Robert King (Crawley, West Sussex) & Mr Stephen Matthews (Redhill, Surrey)