VCD Athletic 0-5 Faversham Town - I hope the boys embrace being at the top end and try to stay there, says Faversham Town boss Ray Turner

Saturday 12th August 2017
VCD Athletic 0 – 5 Faversham Town
Location Oakwood, Old Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 4DN
Kickoff 12/08/2017 15:00

Bostik South Division
Saturday 12th August 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakwood

FAVERSHAM TOWN manager Ray Turner says his players have to embrace being at the top end of the table after getting their new Bostik South campaign off to a dream start.

The Lilywhites romped to the top of the table after thrashing a VCD Athletic side that were making their debut in the division after switching from the North Division.

Faversham Town raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening six minutes through wide midfielder Charley Robertson and striker Liam King.

Vickers keeper Joe Mant was one of eight players making their debuts for the Crayford based side and he was picking the ball out of the net early in the second half when King slotted in his second of the game.

Jordan Casey came off the bench at the break to add a fourth, before Mant saved Sam Bewick’s late penalty but the winger reacted to poke in the rebound.

“Well, naturally you always approach every season with a little bit of nervousness and that settled some nerves for sure,” said Turner.

“Well deserved.  I thought we dominated the key moments of the game and it was nice to see some of the strength-in-depth of the squad coming on in the second half.

“The standards didn’t drop, well deservedly victory but it’s one game and we move on to Tuesday and the key thing for us is backing it up with a result on Tuesday night.”

This was a good a start that Turner and Faversham’s travelling fans could have dreamt about last night.

Turner said: “There’s always a bit of nerves, I don’t care what you say, managers are always never quite sure where your team is in pre-season.  We steadily improved, we haven’t been spectacular in the pre-season but I think what we’ve got is a good group of players and certainly the spine of the team, I added a bit more experience in there and it showed today.”

VCD Athletic boss Keith McMahon admitted: “A bit shell-shocked if I’m honest with you because I didn’t see that coming!

“We’ve had a decent pre-season, as ridiculous as it seems, we did well in that game, defending was absolutely shocking! We couldn’t cope with a big bang ball over the top. I think we had, I know we had the majority of the possession going forward. We were fine. I just think we switched off then we were going forward, at the back.

“I thought we marked like schoolboys and just got done, punished by one ball going over the top all the time.

“It’s nightmare defending. I don’t think we were a nightmare going forward.  We most probably had more attacks than they did, more shots on goal than they did. They probably had seven and scored five. You can’t defend like that, there’s no excuses.”

Vickers started the game with three central defenders and two wing-backs but reverted to four at the back when they lost Owen Roberts, who slotted in at the heart of those three defenders, through a rib injury after 29 minutes.

“We lost a centre half with looks like broken ribs and we changed the shape at the back,” added McMahon.

But by the time that Derek Duncan replaced him, the game was over for McMahon’s men.

Left wing-back Alastair Gordon set the tone when his poor header back towards his keeper was intercepted by Faversham striker Mark Lovell, but Mant made a vital block, which delayed the inevitable by 23 seconds.

Renford Tenyue threw the ball into the box and the unmarked Robertson hooked his shot in off the near post from 12-yards, which rolled into the opposite corner of the net.

Turner said: “We looked threatening all day, I thought, in forward areas and Mark’s done very well for us. He’s added a bit of steal and added a bit of experience and I think all the time he was on the pitch he complimented Liam King really well and could’ve got himself a goal, but he anticipated it really well and fortunately we didn’t have too long to dwell on it because Charley got a goal quite early on after.

“Charley came back to us last year and by his own admission we couldn’t get him up to fitness levels really. I still think he’s still got, I know he’s still got a long way to go in terms of sharpness but he gives us a little bit of magic every now and then and he’s got that ability to do something that possibly our other players haven’t got that so he balances the team up nicely.

“He did well today and it was a really good start, a really good technical goal.  I feel all the goals were but you’ll always say that but I think it was a particular good strike, he caught the keeper out actually.”

McMahon said: “The first goal was a blatant foul! Lovell has knocked into Kam (Darboe) without the ball and the fella’s turned and hooked it in, decent finish, but I don’t think they beat us, I think we gave the game to them defensively.

“We told them the first 10-20 minutes clear your lines, don’t do anything silly.  Alastair’s tried to put it back to the keeper, Mark’s should’ve scored, it’s an open goal and they scored from the throw.”

Junior Baker and Roberts failed to cut out Lovell’s defence splitting pass along the deck through the middle, which put King through on goal and the Faversham striker slotted his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner to give Faversham Town a two-goal lead with only five minutes and 54 seconds on the clock.

Turner said: “Really nice, that was really nice. Kingy hasn’t scored pre-season so he obviously got another one early at the beginning of the second half.  It will do him the world of good. He looked sharp, he looks stronger, he’s come back stronger and those two showed some glimpses in terms of partnership and it continued when Jordan came on but I’m pleased he got his couple of goals today.”

Turner knew the game was not done and dusted inside the opening six minutes.

“I’ve seen enough games to know it’s quite early on in the game so it was important at that stage there was not a lot of threat coming so you knew one goal at that time does change the whole dynamic of the game, so it was important we were solid because they had to come out and commit a few more bodies and attack us a little bit more.  I’m very pleased we took that through to half-time and through to 90 minutes.”

McMahon admitted: “The game was over in the first six minutes. We came out like it was pre-season at the back and didn’t defend properly!

“Two bob defending!  One long ball, 30-yard pass in between two centre halves. We didn’t cover, ball watch, didn’t get tight. He’s got in between them and scored, that’s it, easy.”

When asked what he was thinking at the time, McMahon knew there was plenty of time to recover.

“You’ve got to get the next goal, you’re looking for a response and I think we did respond,” said McMahon.

“We had most of the ball, you’re just sitting there going ‘wow, poor start’, but get a goal and keep plugging away and I even thought we did.”

Shell-shocked VCD Athletic took nearly 15 minutes to create their first opportunity but Steve Carvell’s drilled his right-footed free-kick from 30-yards out over the crossbar.

Faversham’s debutant goalkeeper Simon Overland made a comfortable save in the 20th minute, getting down low to his right to hold Omar Lawson’s low angled drive after he received the ball from Rashid Kamara.

“Omar’s had a shot, a little flick from Rash, that the keeper saved. We just looked two completely different sides, good going one way and poor going the other,” admitted McMahon.

“It was a comfortable save. It was a good little move but it was comfortable. We needed to score. We needed to get ourselves back in it.  I’m not impressed with the back four.”

Faversham Town were direct and got the ball forward early and Lovell was causing a nuisance before he was forced off through a calf strain before the second half started.

Right-back Ryan Cooper clipped the ball forward and Bewick brought the long ball down under his spell before cutting inside and bending his shot just past the foot of the near post after 21 minutes, before the rest of the half was a niggly affair with very little going on.

McMahon said: “We dominated play for the last 20 minutes of the first half, didn’t score when we needed to score, but you can’t be good at one end and not the other end.  I just thought Faversham were quite solid today and organised and we weren’t at the back.  We were organised going one way and not the other.”

Turner said: “I’m pleased with how threatening we were today. We haven’t scored a lot of goals in pre-season and it’s always a difficult thing to judge but if we can save them up for the season, that’s a good thing so by then I think we were a fairly confident side.

“We were able to relax into the game a little bit because you’re never sure what’s going to come out from the first games, by then we looked a  threat all game in terms of going forward.”

Turner was forced to replace Lovell just before the start of the season half.

“I don’t think it’s a big problem.  I think it’s just a tightening up of his calf, probably an age thing, he probably won’t like me saying that.  We’ve got to be careful with him getting him through those early parts of the game because he is important to us.  Jordan’s done ever so well when he came on as well but that shows our strength-in-depth that we’ve got now.”

Both managers’ were asked their thoughts at the break.

McMahon said: “I told them I’m looking for characters and I want us to defend properly and go with your men and when the ball’s dead, get the right side.  I just thought we were too casual defending. We get a goal, we’ll be fine and carry on where we left off.”

Turner added: “Not a lot in terms of it was important to get back to standards, they were important. I’ve seen enough games to know if they do score the first goal the game can change and you can lose a little bit of control of the game so we spoke about game management quite a lot in terms of just controlling the tempo of the game and also what was key really, my key message was to keep being an attacking threat because I thought there were more goals in us so that proved to be.”

Faversham Town created the first chance of the second half after only 80 seconds when Bewick cut into the box from the right and his right-footed angled drive was comfortably saved by Mant.

Faversham Town’s third goal, however, arrived with 113 seconds on the clock.

Central midfielder George Monger, who slotted in at left-back when Tenyue was later forced off through injury, slipped a lovely low pass through the Vickers back line to put King through on goal and he slotted his right-footed shot across the keeper, the ball kissing the foot of the far post before nestling into the back off the net.

Turner said: “Really nice for George in terms of he put him through, a great ball, great pace and we’ve got good midfield players and we picked some good passes today and Kingy’s finished it off and those two goals will do him the world of good.”

McMahon added: “Just one long ball over again and they’re clear through and he’s scored again so it was our own undoing today.

“Just absolutely rank defending, defending square, loads and loads of room, neither centre half was tight, the gap between both of them and you just cannot defend like that at any level and we defended like schoolboys today and the lads know that, we’ve just told them.

“That was maybe the only bonus, we didn’t get absolutely pulled to pieces there today at all. If you’ve come in at half-time you would’ve sat there and gone ‘hold on!’  Maybe I’m watching a different game, I don’t know. That’s what it seemed to me.”

Vickers built down well down the left with Gordon and Kamara combining for substitute Derek Duncan to crack a left-footed drive which sailed over the crossbar from 25-yards, but lone striker Kemo Darboe offered very little despite his big stature and Baker demanded more from his uninterested team-mate.

McMahon knew his side had to accept the lifeline that was thrown out to them in the 57th minute.

Carvell slipped a lovely pass down the right channel to put Lawson through on goal but Overland shut down the angle as he advanced and got down low to his left to block the shot with his chest.

McMahon said: “He should’ve scored! One-on-one, the keeper’s come out, he only has to run it across the box and Rashid has a tap in and it gives you a lifeline. We didn’t take it, decent build-up, decent play.  We were playing alright but we needed to score and we didn’t and they’re the chances you need to take.”

Turner added: “He’s a big lad and he’s not that easy to get past. He deserved his clean sheet today. He’s a good presence and a good leader back there and he's not easy to get round in those situations.”

This proved to be a good spell from the home side and Derek Duncan’s left-footed free-kick from 25-yards was palmed over the crossbar by Overland’s left-hand.

Set-piece specialist Danny Walder swung in a free-kick from the right flank which was comfortably gathered by Vickers keeper Mant at his near post as the former Hythe Town stopper will look to forget about his debut here.

VCD Athletic have technical players in their team but their problem is that they play as 11 individuals and not as a team and there was no leadership out on the pitch and it appeared on this poor performance that they just met each other just before kick-off.

McMahon said: “Listen, we’ve got to gel but if you don’t get the right side of a forward, it doesn’t matter what level, you shouldn’t be playing at this level.  They’ve had a real bad day and they got punished for it and it’s an eye opener for them.  We had a chat, they know who it is.”

When asked whether he is going to bring in better defenders for their trip to Whyteleafe on Tuesday night, McMahon revealed: “We’ve got Ricardo Joseph to come back who had the motorbike accident and we’ve got Marc Gorbell to come back in who is not far away. There’s two centre halves, so that’s your answer.”

Their luck was summed up in the final 20 minutes when Darboe and Kamara linked up and the ball was played inside to Carvell, who drilled his right-footed shot against the top of the right-hand post from 25-yards.

A frustrated McMahon said: “It just summed the day up, that was it, it’s one of those days. If we had played absolutely awful and we got pulled all over the place, I would’ve come in and said we’ve got issues but when you’ve played some of the football like that but defend recklessly then you’ve got to have a little look and that was going through our minds for most of the game.”

Turner added: “That was a good effort from them I have to say.  They were committing a lot of bodies forward in a spell there but a good strike from them, probably the most threatening during that second half in terms of potential of a goal from them.  I thought on the whole we coped quite well.”

Faversham Town could have wrapped up the victory when Monger played a 60-yard diagonal pass over to the right for Casey, who cut the ball back and Bewick dragged his shot past the far post.

Faversham Town’s fourth goal arrived in the 76th minute through route-one football.

Goalkeeper Overland launched a big kick upfield, neither Karmarl Duncan or Baker failed to deal with it and set it up for Casey on a plate, who stroked his half-volley past Mant from 16-yards.

Turner said: “Really pleased for Jordan.  We were without Luke Harvey today.  The best compliment I can give Jordan we didn’t miss Mark (Lovell) too much in the second half.  He deserved his goal, he’s got better and better. He’s one that looks fitter than when he first came with us. He’s stayed with the club even though he hasn’t started. His attitude has been first class so good reward for him, pleased for him.”

 McMahon was now sounding like a broken record.

“Embarrassing defending, that’s what I said.  We’re on the attack, we’ve had all possession, it goes through to the keeper. It’s just a drop kick and our centre halves are just daydreaming and not marking anyone. 

“I’ve just said to the lads, if the midfield runners are running through us and they’re slipping balls in and they’re scoring, fine, but not when a centre forward has just got to run over the top and he’s just booted it over the top, that’s just Sunday morning defending and that’s what we had today and we need to put it behind us.”

VCD Athletic midfielder Kamara can take credit from this game and he went close when he cracked his volley screaming across goal and just past the top of the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

Faversham Town scored their fifth goal with three minutes and 23 seconds into time added on, shortly before referee Tom Fell called time.

Cooper played a one-two with King down the left before he went over as Derek Duncan came across him and the referee pointed to the spot.

With King on a hat-trick, Faversham’s designated penalty taker, Bewick, stepped up to take the penalty, which was parried by Mant, diving to his right but Bewick pounced on the rebound to poke it over the line from inside the six-yard box.

Turner said: “He’s very reliable generally from the spot. That’s probably why we kept professional until the end. Kingy was on a hat-trick as well at that point. It was only right Sam took the penalty, he’s the penalty taker.

“It wasn’t the best in terms of the first strike but he was very lively all game and he finished it up and knocked it in and a well-deserved goal for him.”

McMahon felt the decision was a bad one.

“It summed the day up, absolutely terrible decision from the referee because it was never a penalty,” he said.

“You’ve even seen the five foot divot he’s left there but he’s come inside the right-back (Imudia) and the centre half (Kamarl Duncan) without any challenges and Derek Duncan’s come across him and the bloke’s gone to shoot and he’s kicked the floor, nowhere near Del and the ref’s given a pen. Just summed what was our day up.

“Joe’s made a good save and it’s gone straight back to the geezer, who has scored.”

So Faversham Town are top while VCD Athletic occupy the sole relegation spot after one league outing.

Faversham return to Salters Lane to play Ramsgate on Tuesday night, a side that went down to a 3-1 home defeat to Phoenix Sports today.

“I don’t know what it means particularly this time of the season but what it does represent is a good start and we’ve got to back it up on Tuesday,” said Turner.

“I hope the boys embrace being at the top end and try to get up there and try to stay there because I think in the past we’ve had to play catch up, which we have done quite well to be fair to us.  We’ve had the experiences of the play-offs but it will be nice to be up there and be shot at.”

McMahon has to rally his troops and raise confidence ahead of their midweek trip to play Whyteleafe, who held Greenwich Borough to a 1-1 draw.

“If you defend like that, you’re going to be at the bottom but we haven’t been so you have to put it down as a one-off,” said McMahon. 

“We need to regroup on Tuesday.  I have not got an issue going forward and I’ve got a lot of confidence in the side.  It’s a kick in the teeth.  You don’t expect that on the first day at home as well. Better defending, we could’ve been looking at a different result but we didn’t.”

VCD Athletic: Joe Mant, Jeffrey Imudia, Alastair Gordon, Owen Roberts (Derek Duncan 29), Junior Baker, Karmarl Duncan, Steve Carvell, Siao Blackwood, Kemo Darboe (Emmanuel Osei 76), Rashid Kamara, Omar Lawson (Aymun El-Moyhalbel 67).
Subs: Ola Bankole, Aaron Sekhon

Booked: Derek Duncan 33, Siao Blackwood 84

Faversham Town: Simon Overland, Ryan Cooper, Renford Tenyue (Macauley Murray 67), Danny Walder (George Batney 76), Matthew Bourne, Ryan Cheek, Sam Bewick, George Monger, Liam King, Mark Lovell (Jordan Casey 46), Charley Robertson.
Subs: Kyron Lightfoot, Samuel Lawford

Goals: Charley Robertson 4, Liam King 6, 47, Jordan Casey 76, Sam Bewick 90

Booked: Sam Bewick 32, George Monger 61

Attendance: 83
Referee: Mr Tom Fell (Tooting, London SW17)
Assistants: Mr Errol Walker (Colliers Wood, SW19) & Mr Caspar Vick (Wandsworth, London SW18)

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