Tonbridge Angels 3-0 Dover Athletic - Both teams are a disgrace to behave like that, says Dover Athletic Academy manager Mike Sandmann

Monday 03rd October 2016
Tonbridge Angels 3 – 0 Dover Athletic
Location Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF
Kickoff 03/10/2016 19:45

The FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round
Monday 3 October 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Longmead Stadium

DOVER ATHLETIC Academy manager Mike Sandmann says both clubs should share the responsibility for a night of shame during and after this FA Youth Cup Second Qualifying Round tie.

Tonbridge Angels comfortably booked their place in the next round, with a comfortable 3-0 win, courtesy of second half goals from Sid Sollis, Liam Smith and substitute Louis Pateman.

But East Sussex based referee Jonathan White will be remembered for being card-happy during a game where he pulled out his yellow card for dissent at every given opportunity, much to the shock of the crowd of 161 at Longmead Stadium.

Mr White dished out six yellow cards to each side, mostly for dissent, while Dover Athletic striker Ben Cardwell was sent off for picking up a second yellow card with five minutes remaining for a foul on Tonbridge substitute Dominic Welsh.

But the final whistle brought unsavoury scenes as players from both sides took to fighting each other. Spectators invaded the pitch and stewards were called into action to restore calm, as frustrations boiled over.

It was confirmed by Tonbridge Angels’ secretary Charlie Cole afterwards that Dover Athletic had two players (goalkeeper Stan Waller and central defender Ollie Roberts) sent-off, along with Tonbridge Angels’ winger Richard Frempong, all for violent conduct for their part in the disgraceful post-match pitch battle.

The Football Association will be keen to learn the findings of Mr White’s report where 16 cards were issued.

Both managers were asked their thoughts on the referee’s performance and the post-match brawl.

“I don’t really want to talk much about the official but I think he was really poor from start to finish,” claimed Sandmann afterwards.

“If you look at how many bookings we’ve got, we’ve got double the amount of bookings in one game that we had all season last year!

“It’s not the referee changed the result of the game because they were the better side. You can tell at the end what happened is not good enough from both teams, it’s a disgrace! I’m certainly embarrassed by it and I’ve told the players they should be deeply embarrassed as well, but I just thought the referee, I thought he booked eight of our players, which I’ve never really seen in a game.”

Tonbridge Angels’ manager Jay Stubberfield, took the easy option out.

“They’re 3-0 down, they’re frustrated but the ref, I mean didn’t exert the most control of that game to be fair,” said the club’s Ryman Youth League manager.

“A couple of lads have let themselves down.  I want to talk about our lads really and the chirpiness back to the referee and the bookings for dissent aren’t good enough and that’s got to change! Whether we believe the ref’s having a great game or not, it’s something we’ll look at address.

“I was up there shaking the referee’s hand. I’m not sure. Generally I don’t want to sound like Arsene Wenger but I didn’t see it.  I saw some bits going on afterwards but I don’t know what exactly instigated it, so I’m not really that interested.  It’s just something that’s marred, in the end what was a decent display from us and it’s a shame but we don’t like to see those things, of course.”

Tonbridge Angels were the better side on the night as they repeated the form that saw them dispatch Phoenix Sports 4-0 here in the last round, against Dover Athletic, who lost to Millwall in the First Round last season, albeit with another team.

Stubberfield said: “Deserved victory.  A little bit disappointed at the frenetic place of the first half. I wanted more control but in the second half, when we calmed down, we got the ball down and played and we looked like the better side.

“It took two set-plays for the second and third goal to finish them off, which is not ideal what we’d like but in the end it was a 3-0 professional win.”

Reflecting on the match itself, Sandmann admitted: “It was nowhere near good enough! They were a lot better than us from start to finish and they thoroughly deserved to win.

“We’re a brand new team. We were extremely successful last year and done really well in this competition. We do it on a two-year cycle so this is the start of the cycle.

“You can see we were quite naive.  I thought the first goal really killed us. I’m not putting the defeat on one lad but that’s what he’s here for. He’s here to learn and develop and learn from his mistakes and he’s going to do that.

“I think after the first goal they built momentum, they were on top and we were always chasing.  Up until 0-0 it can go either way but I thought from start to finish they were better than us. They wanted it a little bit more. They won their individual battles and we didn’t do enough to win the game so I’ve got no complaints with the scoreline.”

Tonbridge Angels created their first opening after only 39 seconds.

Henry Ikejie played a lovely pass up to striker Sollis, who cut past Tom Bond inside the box but dragged his shot across the keeper and past the far post from 10-yards.

Stubberfield said: “In the first half we wanted more ball possession if you like but we were sort of playing on the mini-counter attack and it wasn’t meant.

“We were breaking off with attacks and our first three or four opportunities were within two passes so we got Sid in. He dragged it wide. We’d like him to hit the target across the keeper but it was one of them, but we always felt it was coming but we wanted more control of the game.”

Tonbridge Angels’ won the counter-count by 13-4 and all deliveries were put in by their left-winger Tommy Chapman.

His first in-swinging corner was tipped over the bar by Waller, who then caught Smith’s free header at the far post after Sollis headed the ball back across goal after the second corner came in.

Dover Athletic’s best chance arrived in the eighth minute but right-winger Jordan Bartlett looped a poor free-kick into Lewis Mitchell’s hands from 27-yards.

Sandmann added: “It was a nothing chance! I don’t think we caused Mitch many problems tonight at all to be honest.  We didn’t do enough. I thought our play up to the final third wasn’t good enough and we’ve been working on it a lot and we just didn’t do enough when the ball went up there and it kept coming back. It didn’t stick and we didn’t create anything going forward. It was always difficult for us.”

Dover Athletic defender Roberts pushed Sollis to the floor on the right-hand side – it wasn’t the only time that the pair tussled.

Chapman swung in the resulting free-kick with his left-foot from the right hand side of the box and Sollis held his head in his hands in despair after glancing his header wide.

Dover Athletic right-back Joshua Spencer launched a long throw into the box and Mitchell grabbed hold of the ball after Lyndon Dixon flicked the ball on.

Dover Athletic keeper Waller got down low to his left to push away Jardell Conteh’s whipped low centre from the left channel and Sollis curled his shot around the right-hand post in the 25th minute.

Bartlett’s pass released Roberts down the right wing and he hit a deep low cross to left-winger Marshall Wratten, whose low drive deflected past the post.

Tonbridge Angels missed a glorious chance to break the stalemate in the final four minutes of the half.

Mitchell launched a big kick straight down the middle, the ball was flicked on by striker Sollis to put Frempong through on goal, but his left-footed chip was caught by Waller, who had advanced off his line to make a comfortable catch.

“He just need to make the keeper, the keeper was set and if he could make the keeper do one or the other than it would’ve been the good decision,” said Stubberfield.

“It was one of them. He was a bit too quick to have a go at it.”

Waller made another smart save low to his right to deny Jack Fenton sliding the ball into the bottom far corner from 25-yards, and Chapman collected the loose ball, whipped in a great cross from the left only for Sollis to head wide.

Stubberfield said: “I thought we were the better side. I did think we were the better side. We’re the better team, there’s no doubt about that, but I just felt we didn’t have the control on it. A club of our standard and the players that we’ve got, they should have.

“It was just a question of getting that first goal and I thought once we had it, we never looked back.”

When asked his thoughts at the break, the Tonbridge manager replied: “Calm down! Calm down! Do what we asked you to do! Settle on the ball, move the ball from side to side, probe more. We felt that we were fitter and they would tire with the way they were playing.

“If we could stop their crosses and their balls in the box, which was the only thing they threatened from really, then if we’d kept it nil we’ll win the game.”

Sandmann added: “We thought we’d change it a little bit more confident in possession and try to move the ball and if we were going to get beat it’s because we gave everything and they were better than us.

“I didn’t think we performed well enough or to our capabilities but it’s very early doors for us as a group. We are a brand new group, been together a couple of months, if that.

“It’s always difficult in these competitions when you come up against sides that’s been together years and they’re well drilled and know each other, so we knew it was going to be tough for us tonight.”

Dover Athletic made a double change at the interval, but Tonbridge Angels got off to a flying start by taking a deserved lead just 71 seconds into the second half.

The pacy Frempong reached the left by-line and cut the ball back across the face of goal where an unmarked Sollis slammed the ball into the back of the net from two-yards to score his fourth goal in this season’s FA Youth Cup competition.

Stubberfield said: “It was great play from Richard. He’s really good in one-v-one situations like that and once he gets one-v-one he’s a threat. We’ve seen Sid arriving late in the box. It’s a real threat for us with something we’ll look to reproduce on more occasions.

Sandmann added: “It starts with Ollie (Roberts), if he just heads the ball, it goes clear and he’s tried to volley it in a difficult position and he’s just misjudged it. The lad’s gone down the side and they’ve scored the goal. 

“You are going to get punished by making mistakes. Hopefully he learns from that mistake. That’s going to be the most important thing and that will stick in his memory and I’m glad because next time he gets in that position he won’t do it again.”

Tonbridge Angels were to be denied a second goal on the hour-mark when Frempong shrugged past Roberts and cracked a rasping drive, which was pushed over by Waller’s outstretched right-hand.

“Richard’s a threat when he gets the ball at his feet and when he’s dribbling at you, you don’t really want to be defending against him.  It’s just a question of him doing it in the right areas in that final third,” added Stubberfield.

Sandmann simply added: “I thought he made a couple of good saves.”

Chapman floated in his 11th corner of the game from the right and Pateman’s free header sailed across goal and past the far post from 10-yards.

Tonbridge Angels linked up well with quick passing down the left including left-back Conteh and left-sided central midfielder Ikejie, the ball wriggled its way into Sollis’ path, who hit a right-footed angled drive from 30-yards, which was pushed away by Waller, diving to his left.

Stubberfield added: “He cut in. I don’t think he was expecting him to shoot to be fair but he’s got that in his locker Sid. He’s got a good goal in him. From where I was it looked like it was bending in, the keeper did well.”

Tonbridge Angels’ central defender Connor Watson advanced into the final third to hit a drive, which almost embarrassed Waller, who managed to get something on the ball to ensure it flashed just past the foot of the left-hand post, only just though!

Tonbridge Angels deservedly doubled their lead in the 73rd minute.

Chapman floated in a free-kick from the left towards the far post where right-back Smith was left unmarked to send his downward header across the flat-footed keeper to find the far corner.

“That there is a combination that’s been going, those two have been in the team since they were eight years old and the Chapman to Smith combination, it might be the first time we’re starting to hear it at this level and hopefully senior level but I’ve been seeing that since they were eight,” revealed Stubberfield.

“Tommy whips in a superb ball and Liam attacks the ball really well so it’s doesn’t surprise me.”

Sandmann admitted his goalkeeper should have done better.

I think the ball travelled a long way. I think realistically he should come and collect that for me.  We want these boys to go and play first team football and at first team level you’d be expected as a goalkeeper to come and claim that!

“We spoke to him about it and we’ll be speaking to him about it. Hopefully that’s something he’ll learn from and improve in his next game.”

When told that Chapman and Smith have been team-mates since an early age, Dover’s manager replied: “That’s what you’re up against! These teams that you come again have been together for (over) eight years and you can see that by the way that they played and drilled and they know the expectations of each other and what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are.

“We’re a new group at the start of our two year cycle and that will come but I didn’t see many positives tonight, which is disappointing but there’s certainly lots of things we can move forward and improve on.”

Waller made another vital block at his near post to beat away Sollis’ powerful drive after the Tonbridge Angles striker shrugged his way past substitute Kieran Smith down the right.

Chapman then floated in another cross, which was flicked on by Ikejie and Smith’s looping header bounced on to the top of the crossbar.

Stubberfield said: “Most people do tend to keep their right-backs back on the half-way line but we know the threat that Lima offers. He’s great in the air and he attacks the ball well. It won’t be the last time you hear of a Chapman cross into Liam Smith that’s for sure!”

Referee Mr White took centre stage in the final 10 minutes as he booked players for fun. One had to go, Dover Athletic finished the game with 10 men when Cardwell picked up his second yellow card with five minutes remaining.

Tonbridge Angels wrapped up the comfortable victory with their third goal in the final seven minutes.

Chapman whipped in yet another free-kick from the left, Dover Athletic failed to clear their lines at the near post and central defender Pateman poked his shot into the bottom far corner of the net.

Stubberfield said: “It was the second ball. Another Chapman cross. We always say to our lads as much as we try and play, let’s be right at set-plays and get around the first one and try to pinch the second one and Louis is another one that’s been with me for years since he was 12 and he’s been known for that, for popping up at the right time. He’s a goalscoring centre half!”

Sandmann added: “I thought all night every time it went in our box they wanted to win the ball a lot more.  They attacked it a lot better than we defended it and that was defending and attacking.  Every time it went in our box they were favourite to it and they got their first and that was disappointing from our point of view and it’s something that we’ll certainly be looking at.”

Stubberfield was delighted limiting Dover Athletic to very little.

“We knew before the game that we were the stronger side, very similar to Phoenix Sports in the last round. If we can keep it nil, we’ll win.

“But it’s just a question of defending set plays and balls in the box and long throws.  They had a few moments in the first half, semi-moments but other than that we were pretty comfortable really.”

Sandmann was disapointed in the manner that his goalkeeper captain Waller reacted to alleged abuse from the fans.

Both sets of players - and the spectators that invaded the pitch - cannot be proud of themselves on a night of shame.

“Do you know what, there was people behind the goal giving the keeper (Waller) stick and rightly so,” said Sandmann.

“If he wants to prepare for first team football, it’s not nice at that level and you are going to get people to give you stick! You can’t react to it. It is what it is. That’s what you’re there for. You have to have thick skin and deal with criticism when it’s going to come your way. He didn’t deal with it very well, nor did the centre half (Roberts) and one of their lads squared up to one of ours.

“Both teams are a disgrace to be honest to behave like that. I don’t put any blame on them. We have to take a share of responsibility and I’m deeply embarrassed the game ended like that.

“Did the referee contribute to that? Yes he did! Because I felt he made an easy game into a very, very difficult game. Eight bookings and I don’t remember a terrible challenge.”

When asked what his Academy players will learn from tonight, Sandmann replied: “They learn how to deal with defeat. They learn in terms when things aren’t going well on the pitch, how they should respond. Suck up a bit of pressure and keep a bit of shape. They need to rise to the occasion and be brave enough to pass the ball and trust in what we’ve been doing and tell them what to do.

“But they certainly get a lot more out of this tonight in terms of development and moving forward than they would do if it was a comfortable night.

“I’m glad the scoreline was the scoreline because it does tell a story, it really does.  I thought they were three goals better than us from start-to-finish in all areas of the pitch.”

Stubberfield has threatened to wield the axe for their Ryman Youth League game at Ashford United following tonight’s poor discipline.

“Nine of our starting 11 today are under 17s as well so we’re a year ahead of our time,” he said.

“I don’t think people realise the standard of players that we’ve got in our side.  There’s players out there, if they can get their temperament right, which is a  big thing, a huge thing in football and get the discipline right, there’s players out there that can go a long way up the football pyramid.

“But I mean the cards itself highlight a lack of temperament, a lack of discipline from individuals, which have to change if they are to get anywhere and at the moment that’s why they’re at Tonbridge Angels.”

The draw for the next round is expected to be made on Friday.

Stubberfield said: “We feel we’ve got a good chance. We don’t feel we’ve hit our stride yet.  Against Phoenix Sports in our last game we got through it, we were the better side, similar to tonight.

“We’ll just look at the next game and we’ll worry about that on Friday. Whoever we get, we get.

“We’ve got Ashford away in the league next Thursday, which we beat them 5-0 but after tonight and the bookings and the lack of temperament they’ll be big changes for that and we’ll see what we can do but we’re not looking past the draw and Ashford next Thursday.”

Tonbridge Angels: Lewis Mitchell, Liam Smith, Jardell Conteh, Callum Adonis-Taylor, Oliver Baker (Louis Pateman 32), Connor Watson (Dominic Welsh 81), Richard Frempong, Jack Fenton, Sid Sollis, Henry Ikejie (Ziyad Ghali 81), Tommy Chapman.
Subs: Guy Taylor, Kunie Bakare

Goals: Sid Sollis 47, Liam Smith 73, Louis Pateman 83

Booked: Sid Sollis 45, Jardell Conteh 45, Tommy Chapman 62, Callum Adonis-Taylor 64, Henry Ikejie 70, Richard Frempong 79

Sent Off: Richard Frempong 90

Dover Athletic: Stan Waller, Joshua Spencer (Jordan Alford 71), Tom Bond, Lyndon Dixon, Kyron Connelly, Ollie Roberts, Jordan Bartlett (Kieran Smith 46), Kieran Young (Matthew Robinson 46), Jack Cussen, Ben Cardwell, Marshall Wratten.
Subs: Shusanta Rai, Mason East

Booked: Marshall Wratten 14, Ben Cardwell 27, Matthew Robinson 77, Jack Cussen 84, Ollie Roberts 88, Kyron Connelly 89

Sent Off: Ben Cardwell 85, Stan Waller 90, Ollie Roberts 90

Attendance: 161
Referee: Mr Jonathan White (St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Jeremy Annandale (Tonbridge) & Mr Bo Wang (Ashford)

Coverage Sponsored by:

Tonbridge Angels’ pitch maintained by: