Thamesmead Town 2-1 Hythe Town - The main thing is to get promoted, to get out of this league, says Thamesmead Town boss Tommy Warrilow

Wednesday 16th August 2017
Thamesmead Town 2 – 1 Hythe Town
Location Princes Park Stadium, Grassbanks, Darenth Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 1RT
Kickoff 16/08/2017 19:45

Bostik South Division
Wednesday 16th August 207
Stephen McCartney reports from Princes Park Stadium

THAMESMEAD TOWN manager Tommy Warrilow says his side will be the dark horses for promotion this season.

The Mead kicked off their debut Bostik South campaign with a 2-2 draw at Cray Wanderers at the weekend and left it late to leave Hythe Town pointless, after the Cannons opened their campaign with a 2-1 home defeat to Walton Casuals.

Tonight’s victory puts Thamesmead Town in seventh-place in the table on four points, while pointless Hythe Town are in the bottom six at this early stage.

Thamesmead Town celebrated winning their first home game at Princes Park in Dartford, but Warrilow admitted he needs to address his side’s performance as a crowd of 114 watched two sides keep the ball in the air for most of the game.

Thamesmead’s goals came from set-pieces as Laurent Mendy headed in to give his side the lead 14 minutes before the break.

Hythe Town lost striker Dean Grant at the break after being poked in the eye towards the end of the first half and his replacement Kenny Pogue came off the bench to equalise in the 52nd minute.

Thamesmead Town snatched victory at the death as substitute striker Paul Vines, 33, announced his return from injury by slotting home the winner at the end of his first game since March.

“Scrappy, but a win, we’ll take that all day long,” said Warrilow.

“The second half, we never really got going for one reason or another.  The first half, I thought we were ok.

“I said to the boys afterwards, the difference this year is we’ve got late goals, we keep going and going and going.

“Vinsey chipped in, we’re getting him back to fitness. At the moment there’s not a lot of moment regarding the subs and what we can do. We’ve got a small squad and we’ve got two or three out at the moment so it was needs must.

“I’m pleased because the second half was frustrating and we’ve cashed in at the end. We kept going and cashed in with a set-piece and then saw the game out properly.”

Hythe Town boss Clive Cook admitted: “We didn’t deserve to lose.  I think they nicked a result and we didn’t deserve to lose, that’s it.”

Warrilow admitted his side must put in a more eye-catching performance if people are going to commute to Dartford to watch them.

“It’s nice to win at home. Full stop. But I want to win nice, come off and go ‘we played well tonight’. 

“I thought we done ok tonight but the second half I didn’t but it didn’t matter.  It was enough to get a result tonight and we’ll address the rest. 

“We’ve got a FA Cup game (away to East Preston) on Saturday but for us if anyone would’ve told me we’d have four points out of the start, I’d probably have taken that with Cray and Hythe being probably two sides that should be up there or there abouts at the end of the season.”

Cook added: “They play one dimensional football, they do it very well. A big side, six foot four and everything’s in the air, so ok, I’ll take it.  We’ll re-group and go again in the first half and they went in 1-0 in.”

Thamesmead Town went close to breaking the stalemate in the 13th minute when Jake McIntyre swung in a free-kick from the right and Mendy flicked his shot just past the foot of the far post from 17-yards.

Thamesmead keeper Lewis Carey, 23, thwarted Hythe three minutes later by making a fine save.

Striker Sam Adams played the ball out wide to winger Kieron Campbell, who drilled his right-footed shot towards goal from 16-yards, which saw the former Eastbourne Borough stopper tip the ball onto the crossbar and over for a corner.

Warrilow said: “It’s no doubt I’ve had a real coup getting Lewis here.  I’ve just got him in back playing football and enjoying himself. He’s better than this league, he’s better than the league above (Bostik Premier) and I think he’s better than the league above that (National League South).

“I know club’s are already sniffing around him.  You think you don’t find out but it does because that’s the sort of relationship I’ve got with my players but he’s on contact and if he leaves early he’ll leave here for a lot of money but even though he’s been here for five or ten minutes and I’ve had the kid for a long time and I think the kid’s capable of going a lot, lot higher than the club’s that have been texting him.”

Cook added: “We had a very good first half and we didn’t deserve to go in 1-0 down.  We deserved to probably go 2-0 up.  We’re very disappointed with the result because we didn’t deserve that but the way they play you’re always sceptical for their chances that they do create with the ball they do put in.”

Both side’s strikers endured a frustrating night as Mendy rolled the ball inside to Dane Luchford, but his only chance of the night rolled into Will Godmon’s hands to easily gather.

Poor defending form the home side down the left-channel gave Ryan Palmer a chance to cut in from the left and just inside the box where the Hythe winger stroked his shot just past the foot of the near post.

But Thamesmead Town smashed the stalemate by scoring with 30 minutes and 48 seconds on the clock.

McIntyre swung in a free-kick from the right and Mendy planted his header through a crowd of players from 10-yards and assistant referee Thomas Nicholls flagged to signal that the ball had crossed the line before Ryan Johnson had a chance to clear the ball off the line.

“I’m delighted with that because we’ve worked on our set-pieces,” said Warrilow.

“Laurent Mendy has been outstanding for me. He’s another boy we’ve stuck on contract. He’s 18, midfield and he’s been asked to play left-back for me. He doesn’t realise how good he is.

“We’re a big, athletic side and we can play football, we can mix it up, which we’ve had to coming from the Ryman North so we’re trying to find that mixture but our set-pieces are important. We’ve scored from two, it’s a weapon we’ll use  as you’ve seen tonight, I said at half-time that we should be scoring more goals from set-pieces this year.”

When asked about both side’s direct long-ball game, Warrilow replied: “Yes, I looked at it. We said for the first 10-15 minutes I don’t think we turned them enough. I wanted us to turn them a little bit because I thought they were a bit vulnerable at the back with balls over the top.

“I thought we made a few mistakes, players going for the same balls, playing in the wrong areas. There’s a time to play and a time not to play and the most important thing is about getting the three points on the night and addressing the performance afterwards.”

A wayward pass from Leon Smith gifted Hythe Town with a throw-in down the left-hand side and Palmer managed to run towards the by-line before whipping in a cross for Campbell to strike a volley from eight-yards, which Carey tipped over with his left hand.

Warrilow said: “That was from our throw-in.  We tried to play out at the back. I’m not killing my boys at the back because they’re young.  My back four just need to talk more and organise more but they should never play balls across like those two did and from that they nearly scored and that’s what I’m trying to tell my boys, it does matter but an absolute fantastic save.”

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

Former Hythe footballer Warrilow said: “Just said there was more to come from us.  I asked them to turn them for 10-15 minutes and get us in behind and get us up the pitch and I don’t think we came out of the blocks in the second half.”

Current Hythe manager Cook said: “The same things what we done in the first half, second half.  There was not a lot wrong with it.  We made opportunities, we done very well against a really, really good side.”

Grant was examined by physio Donna Walker but the Hythe striker wasn’t able to carry on so on came Pogue in time for the second half.

Cook revealed: “The boy just caught him in the eye. He put his fingers in his eye. He lost his vision but he’s ok now.”

Hythe Town levelled with their first chance of the second half, which was timed at six minutes and 11 seconds on the second half clock.

Adams’ hooked pass split open Thamesmead’s last two men through the heart of the pitch and Pogue slipped his left-footed shot underneath Carey and into the back of the net from 12-yards.

Cook said: “That’s what Ken’s good at, he scores goals.  He took his chance, he took his 45 minutes really well and he’ll be in contention for Saturday.”

Warrilow added: “There’s a couple of players going for the same ball and we’ve not got there and he’s got in between and he’s toe poked it under Lewis.

“My two boys have gone for it. Either Leon (Smith) should stay and left Kinchy deal with it and everyone went for it and that’s what happens if you don’t win it.

“I could see it coming to be honest but it was important we weathered the storm and got some composure back.”

Pogue found himself down the left channel and he floated over a cross, but Adams powered his header over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.

Thamesmead Town’s central midfielder Tom O’Connor went agonisingly close to giving his side the lead just past the hour mark.

He cut the ball onto his right foot and curled his shot around the keeper and over the top of the far post from 30-yards.

Warrilow said: “He didn’t really get in the game a lot Tom but again it’s like the free-kick (which he blazed over the bar). He can be infuriating.  He’s a 21-year-old lad who’s on a contract as well. He’s got loads of ability. He could play higher as well.”

Dave Cook was seen looking up to the heavens as he jogged back to his central defensive position as he missed a headed chance towards the half-way mark.

Palmer swung in a free-kick from the left and Cook made space inside the six-yard box but the manager’s son directed his free header over the crossbar.

Cook said: “He should’ve done better than that. I always think if you’ve got a free header in the box at pace on it he should do better than them.”

Warrilow said: “That was Simon Glover’s man, an experienced player switching off. We should never concede a set-piece. We seem to panic even if there’s four or three where that ball is going to come in and you should engage it and go and attack it.  We’re a big side and they had a couple of free headers in there.  They could’ve done better with that so we rode our luck with that.”

Scott Kinch played the ball out of the Mead defence and Mendy’s pass along the deck played in substitute striker Alex Teniola, who cut inside and curled his shot towards the far corner, forcing Godmon to dive to his left to tip the ball behind for a corner.

“Al’s problem is he gets too frustrated, I think he should’ve rolled Tom O’Connor in there because the shot was never going to beat Will really,” said Warrilow.

“I think it was a bit of an easier save than it looked but he’s gone on and keen to implores and he put a good shift in on Saturday.”

Cook said: “Will’s a quality player and the first two games we’ve played in the league, you can’t fault him for either of the games.”

McIntyre swung in another free-kick into the near corner of the Hythe penalty area but Mendy was a long way out to score with his header, which was easily gathered by Godmon.

Another Mead substitute, this time Ryan Flack, who was suffering from blisters, saw his angled drive tipped over the bar by Godmon.

But Thamesmead’s players celebrated within their technical area when Vines notched his first goal of the season, the goal timed at 46:00 on the second half clock.

Carey thumped a deep free-kick into the Hythe penalty box from the halfway line, the ball was knocked down by Kinch and Vines slotted his left-footed shot into the bottom near corner from inside the six-yard box.

Cook said: “It’s just a bitter pill to swallow.  What can I say to it? It’s heartbreaking.  The dressing room’s gutted. We actually spoke about it, the only way that they were going to score was with set-pieces because they’re a big side. They were never going to beat us by playing football but fair play to Tommy, he’s got them playing that way very well and I can’t say they deserved it.”

Warrilow said: “He’s been out a long, long time. We’ve been very, very patent introducing him back into the side.  At the end of the season he’ll be up there with 20 minimum goals minimum and I’m pleased for him.

“Kinchy is a massive asset for us.  I know he gets a bit of a hard time but he’s not had a whole pre-season. He had a thigh strain.”

When asked about Thamesmead’s aspirations for the season ahead, Warrilow replied: “I’m very happy – with what I had available.

“It’s like every season. This year I want to stay in the cups for as long as possible for financial reasons – that’s probably the kiss of death.

“But the main thing is to get promoted, to get out of this league.  People may laugh and joke. We’ve not started badly when a quarter of my squad are out, so we’ll just keep chipping away.  No ones talked about is a lot so we’ll just plod along and just called old fashioned or whatever we’ll just get on with it and take points of everyone and spoil their party.

“Dark horses? I think we will be but I think if you speak to other managers and the players that I’ve got, they won’t call us that.  I’ve got a small squad but it’s a very good squad.  The only problem is like now, you get a few knocks and niggles.”

Thamesmead Town: Lewis Carey, Harvey Brand, Jake McIntyre, Scott Kinch, Leon Smith, Joe Denny, Simon Glover (Ryan Flack 72), Tom O’Connor, Dane Luchford (Alex Teniola 65), Tashi-Jay Kwayie (Paul Vines 74), Laurent Mendy.
Subs: Richard Butler, Max Ovenden

Goals: Laurent Mendy 31, Paul Vines 90

Booked: Jake McIntyre 73, Leon Smith 80, Tom O’Connor 82

Hythe Town: Will Godmon, Jerald Aboagye, Ben Wilson, Ryan Johnson, Mitchell Dickenson, Dave Cook, Ryan Palmer (Tommy Cooney 77), Jordan Johnson-Palmer (Mitchell Chapman 65), Dean Grant (Kenny Pogue 46), Sam Adams, Kieron Campbell.
Subs: Jay May, Charlie Webster

Goals: Kenny Pogue 52

Attendance: 114
Referee: Mr Damith Bandara (Pease Cottage, West Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Thomas Nicholls (Lewisham, London SE13) & Mr Paul Agboola (Elephant & Castle, London SE17)

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