VCD Athletic 2-2 Hythe Town - With the side we had out we deserved to win that all day long, we were the better side, says VCD Athletic boss Keith McMahon

Saturday 26th January 2019
VCD Athletic 2 – 2 Hythe Town
Location Oakwood, Old Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 4DN
Kickoff 26/01/2019 15:00

Bostik South East Division
Saturday 26 January 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakwood

FURIOUS VCD Athletic manager Keith McMahon pointed the finger of blame at his goalkeeper Joe Mant and referee Alexander Bradley as the reasons for dropping two points against fellow play-off chasers Hythe Town during an entertaining game at Oakwood.

Hythe Town winger Kieron Campbell went on a sixty-yard run with the ball before tucking home his fourth goal of the season on a clinical counter-attack to put the away side in the driving seat in the first half.

Hythe Town goalkeeper George Kamurasi barked “don’t change your mind” several times at Jake McIntyre, who held his nerve to find the bottom corner from the penalty spot to equalise before the Vickers took the lead just 96 seconds later through Aymun El-Moyhalbel’s controversial goal.

The eccentric Kamurasi, who plays outfield for Sunday League outfit SE Dons, volleyed home an injury time equaliser following the 23rd corner of the game (14 of them for the home side).

Hythe Town finished the game with 10 men when holding midfielder Chris Kinnear was shown a straight red-card at the end of the game.

“I’m really p***ed off, we should’ve won the game comfortably,” said McMahon.

“I think the referee and my goalkeeper has just cost us two points, simple as!  The goalkeeper should’ve come – it wasn’t even a corner – and then their goalkeeper’s handballed it in the back of the net! He’s even laughing and joking with them at the end.

“I keep going on about it and people think I’m moaning but they’re (match officials) rubbish at this level and something has got to be done or we might as well give up. The FA need to start spending some money on them.

“I thought with the side we had out – we had the bare 11 and we deserved to win that all day long – we were the better side!”

Hythe Town boss Sam Denly said: “A good game for the neutral probably.  I think it’s two points dropped really.

“At 1-0 up I thought we were dominating the game.  Second half they were better and we were under it a little bit at times.

“I knew we got a 90th minute equaliser and the keeper scores it but at 1-0 we had some very good chances to put the game to bed. Zak Ansah’s had a couple, Chris Kinnear’s had one where the keeper’s made a great save.

“Two minutes of madness, all off a sudden we’re 2-1 down. It was a soft penalty for us to give away and then the goal for me was offside but I guess we’ll take the point and we’ll move on.

Both sides are very much in the play-off picture in the Bostik South East Division after today’s results.

Whyteleafe occupy the final play-off berth with 38 points from 22 games and VCD Athletic are in seventh-place on 35 points, two points better off then Hythe Town in eighth.

VCD Athletic were without their 19-goal talisman Charlie MacDonald, who was nursing a knee injury and took part in the warm-up but was withdrawn after the team-sheets were handed in.  Centre-half Junior Baker showed his versatility by playing as an emergency striker.

The Cannons, who extended their unbeaten run to four games, keeping three clean sheets in the process, were without the suspended winger Ryan Palmer.

The game started at a frenetic pace as both sets of players knew the importance of the game as everyone is playing catch up with runaway leaders Cray Wanderers.

Vickers went close to scoring following their opening corner after only 91 seconds.

Dominic Odusanya played the ball short to Alex Gaggin, who cut the ball back to El-Moyhalbel, who floated over a deep cross towards the far post for centre-half Joe Denny to glance his free downward header just past the foot of the far post with the keeper scrambling low down to his left.

McMahon said:  “We had a lot of chances today.  I didn’t think we showed the right attitude on Tuesday (in our 2-1 win at Sittingbourne).  Today I thought the attitude – with the side we had out – was unbelievable.  We’re going to create chances but it’s putting them in the net.”

Hythe Town produced a fine one-touch passing move down the right with 26-goal striker Zak Ansah linking up the play with winger Nassim Dukali and Charlie Webster (who started behind Ansah before finding himself out wide in the second half) slipped over as he scuffed his shot past the foot of the near post from just inside the corner of the box.

Vickers were impressive on each flank with Gaggin and El-Moyhalbel showing good pieces of skill with the ball during the game.

Gaggin drove forward on a 40-yard run with the ball before cutting into the middle of the pitch but his low right-footed drive was comfortably gathered by Kamurasi, who stooped down to pick up the ball.

Assistant referee Stephen Matthews failed to flag as Ansah appeared to be yards offside as he latched onto a long ball from right-back Salvyn Kisitu but his chip from 15-yards was palmed behind for a corner by Mant, stretching high to his left.

“Zak’s had a few chances today, no clear-cut ones but we played some good football on the break. I thought we looked dangerous and Manty’s made a couple of good saves for them,” said Denly.

McMahon said: “Listen, he was about five yards offside! That is what I’m saying! It’s embarrassing! It’s not even close! It’s getting embarrassing so I think he thought he was offside, that’s why he just flicked it over him. It wasn’t even a finish was it? Someone of his level scores. He thought he was offside and just flicked it, sums it up!”

Campbell whipped in a great cross from the left and an unmarked Kinnear looped his header over the crossbar from eight-yards but this time the Redhill-based official raised his flag.

The first foul of the game was committed in the 17th minute of the game and the resulting free-kick was swung into the Vickers box by Jack Sammoutis and Baker showed his defensive instincts by guiding his header back into Mant’s gloves.

VCD Athletic then created when Alastair Gordon played the ball into Baker, who swept the ball back inside for Gordon, who teed up El-Moyhalbel, who from the edge of the D wasn’t going to trouble Kamurasi.

Gaggin ran 40-yards with the ball before rolling the ball in behind Ollie Rowe and Kisitu but McIntyre latched onto the pass and lacked composure by drilling his shot into the side netting as the angle tightened.

VCD Athletic were to be denied the lead by another good save from Kamurasi, before Hythe Town cleared their lines from the resulting corner and counter-attacked in a clinical fashion.

Gordon, who played on the left-hand side of the midfield diamond, played the ball out wide to Odusanya, who took a touch before whipped in a cross and Denny’s free header was pushed over the crossbar by Kamurasi’s outstretched right-hand.

Denly said: “Again, that’s what he’s paid to do George. He’s been excellent since he’s come back and it was a decent save and that’s what he does for us.”

“We seemed to have a lot of corners in the first half, which says the dominance we had,” added McMahon.

Odusanya delivered many poor corners into the Cannons box and his third one was cleared out by Lyoubi and Campbell picked up the ball inside his own half.  He surged forward and once in the final third, three Vickers defenders let space open up in front of him and Campbell drilled his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from just inside the box.

Denly said: “It was a great goal on the counter-attack, that’s what we’re looking for. We’ve got a lot of pace in Kieron and Ryan Palmer when he plays and Nassim Dukali has got pace and you want to be dangerous on the counter and that was a classic example of that and it was a good finish from Kieron.”

McMahon added: “Listen, it was our corner and we’ve just spoken about.  Dominic hasn’t missed the first man out and they’ve broke and scored.  I won’t mind seeing a video of the actual strike as well to be honest with you.

“Kieron’s a decent player and he’s run a long way but we should’ve dealt with that but for them it was a good counter-attacking goal.

“It was our own mistake and we just keep doing it and cause our own problems with our own mistakes so it was going through my mind again!”

The Cannons almost exploded into a two-goal lead when Ansah found a pocket of space on the left-hand side of the penalty area and in trying to sweep his shot into the bottom near corner, Mant stepped across to hold the shot low down at his near post.

Gaggin cut into the middle for a third time in the 29th minute and his left-footed shot from outside the box lacked power and Kamurasi comfortably gathered the rolling ball.

Ansah’s back-heel set-up a chance for Dukali, who scuffed his low shot past the foot of the near post from 18-yards at the other end.

Hythe Town were indebted to Kamurasi again ten minutes before the break.

McIntyre delivered a deep free-kick with his left-foot some 10-yards from the half-way line and Baker nipped in front of his marked to plant his header towards goal, which was pushed over by the right-hand of the vocal keeper.

“Junior was a bit disappointed with that as much as his header in the first five minutes of the second half as well,” said McMahon.

“He’s a centre-half playing up front but he’s normally decent in the air and I thought he might’ve done a little bit better.”

McMahon explained why Baker was playing in that role today.

“We had Charlie MacDonald out, we had Courtney Barrington out and Malachi Hudson out – three forwards.

“I could’ve played Charlie but he’s got swelling on his knee. He got a bang against Cray and it swelled right up and after the game on Tuesday night it was the size of a balloon. He’s worked so hard with working on machines to try to get it down and he did the warm-up and he was named on the team sheet but he said ‘gaffer I’m not too sure!’

“To miss one game is better than missing six.  People could say if he played, we win the game but then we don’t have anyone for the next five or six weeks but he’s a professional and he knows his body and I’ve got to listen to that as well.”

Denly admitted: “Like I said to Charlie, I was quite pleased when he pulled up in the warm-up. I hope it’s not something serious but he’s a great player and he scores goals wherever he’s been so it was nice to see him sat on the bench and not playing.”

The Cannons had the final chance of the half but Ansah drilled his right-footed free-kick dipping just over the Vickers crossbar from 35-yards.

At half-time, McMahon said: “Stop making mistakes! Show a bit of character, get the ball down and we’ll beat these comfortably!”

At half-time, Denly added: “I thought we were defending really well. They had 10 corners, they had a lot of corners in the first half and we were defending well. We looked resolute. We’ve had three clean sheets in a row and we looked solid in the first half.  They had a lot of possession in terms of chances and corners but we looked solid at the back and it was very much of the same and make sure we get our banks and we’re working hard and organised and maybe a little bit more clinical on the break.”

Hythe Town were to be denied a two-goal lead by Mant’s footwork just 75 seconds into the second half.

Lyoubi ran the ball out of defence with some silky footwork before feeding Dukali, who put Ansah through on goal and with only the keeper to beat he was denied by the keeper just a couple of yards inside the box.

Denly said: “Zak normally slots there and we expect him to. It’s a good save from Joe and it’s a different game then at 2-0. We would’ve been comfortable but it wasn’t to be!”

McMahon added: “Again, he was offside, so what can I say? He’s rolled it, he’s put him through and Joe saved it with his legs.”

Vickers missed a glorious chance too when the impressive El-Moyhalbel drove down the right and stuck out both of his arms to ask for support. It came from right-back Bradley Simms, who charged down the wing and floated in a great cross for Baker, who outjumped Rowe to power his header over the crossbar from eight-yards.

McMahon said: “It was an excellent move.  We hit them on the break and it’s mostly one of the better crosses we put in today. We seemed to get in behind them a lot and our final ball was poor. He’s put a good cross in and he’s met it so well and you thought ‘goal’ but it’s gone over the bar. If he heads it down, he scores.”

McIntyre whipped in a left-footed free-kick from just outside the Hythe Town box on the right-hand side but there wasn’t enough dip on the shot to find the top far corner.

The Cannons linked within the final third with Kisitu playing the ball inside to Kinnear, who fed Campbell, who turned and cut the ball on to his right boot but his low right-footed drive from the edge of the D was meat and drink for Mant, who saved comfortably.

Dickenson launched a long ball forward and Webster held the ball up before releasing Ansah down the right and he swept his shot bouncing into Mant’s gloves for a routine save on the hour.

Mant pulled off a great save to frustrate Hythe Town following their third corner of the game in the 65th minute – VCD Athletic had chalked up 12 flag kicks by then.

Sammoutis swung in a corner from the left and Kinnear found space at the near post and flicked his header towards the top near corner over a crowd of players and Mant dived high to his right to grab hold of the ball before dropping down on his line with a pair of safe hands.

Denly said: “A good save from Joe again. I thought it was in! I was right behind that and all off a sudden Joe appears to pluck it out of the air.  Again, they’re fine margins. At 1-0 that could’ve been game, set and then five minutes later we find ourselves 2-1 down!”

“It was a good header, he got his whole body behind it and he held it well,” added McMahon.

VCD Athletic restored parity by equalising with 23 minutes and 9 seconds on the clock after senior assistant Stephen Matthews flagged after Hythe left-back Lyoubi fouled Gaggin on the right-hand side of the penalty area.

In a show of gamesmanship, keeper Kamurasi went eyeball to eyeball with Baker, who appeared at first to be the man who would take the resulting penalty.

It was then down to left-back McIntyre to take the spot-kick.  Kamurasi barked out “don’t change your mind!” several times to try to put off McIntyre, who held his nerve and swept his left-footed kick into the bottom right-hand corner, although the keeper dived the same way and was close to getting his left hand to the ball.

McMahon said: “Jake’s got a great left-foot, that’s what we deserved! It was a penalty. We hit them on the break and they made a bit of a defensive mistake I think. Sam will tell you that.  Junior’s won the flick and Alex got in between and it’s a pen and he can shout all he wants. I don’t mind it, it’s football! If you put the ball in the bottom corner, he’s not getting anywhere near it is he?”

Denly added: “Mind games from George, he’s good at that. Probably a lot of people find it frustrating but that’s part of the game and he went the right way. He clipped it over his hand.

“The penalty was soft from us. Aziz didn’t need to make that challenge there. The ball was going away from goal and I did feel they wouldn’t score today. We looked strong at the back and looked organised and we gifted them a penalty, which ultimately turned the game on its head.”

VCD Athletic controversially took the lead just 96 seconds later.

Gaggin sprinted down the right and cut into the box and cut the ball back towards Baker, who was thwarted by Kamurasi’s presence at the near post.  There appeared to be a couple of Vickers men behind the last defender and El-Moyhalbel steered his left-footed shot over the line from eight-yards out.

Denly said: “Frustrating!  I thought it was a couple of great saves from George. I thought the goal was offside. The ref and the linesman told me that he was in an offside position but the ball was played from one of my players, which I’m not sure about so for me it’s frustrating.

“But we’ve got to be better than that and we lost our heads for a couple of minutes. From 1-0 up to 2-1 down in the space of 96 seconds isn’t good enough and it’s frustrating!”

McMahon said: “They’re all saying it was offside. There was one in the net and one on the goal line so I don’t know what the offside was. It was what we deserved being 2-1 up, comfortable really. We should’ve been 3-1 up as well just straight after that and the games dead.”

Campbell swung in Hythe’s fourth corner of the game and Kinnear planted a diving header over the crossbar at the near post.

Hythe Town had brilliant Kamurasi to thank for keeping them in the game as he made a couple of double saves inside the final 15 minutes.

Odusanya stroked a left-footed drive towards the bottom left-hand corner from 25-yards which the keeper stepped to his right and dived to parry the ball straight into Baker’s feet but swiftly got up to make a point-blank block.

“The double save was outstanding. That was probably the best one. A good save from Dom and to get up as well.  Maybe if that’s Charlie up front he dinks it over him or goes round him but it weren’t and to be fair Junior’s got on the end of it but it was a great double save,” said McMahon.

Denly added: “George made some good saves today, I thought he was excellent.  I thought both goalkeepers made some good saves.

“I think when we went 2-1 down we kind of lost our way a little bit for 10-15 minutes.  The game spun on its head in two minutes and all off a sudden we went hiding a little bit and the players were struggling to get to grips of the game.  That’s when you need your keeper and defenders to keep you in the game and that’s what they done.”

Kamurasi earnt his money because within a minute he was called into action again.

Odusanya cut back their penultimate corner of the game to Gordon and his 25-yarder was parried by Kamurasi, who then denied Odusanya at his near post and Gaggin failed to find the bottom far corner with the third bite of the cherry.

“He made a couple of good saves so you can’t do no more. We weren’t exactly blasting them over the bar. We’re hitting the target and getting a goal puts it to bed, even still it should’ve been over,” added McMahon.

This was a thrilling game of football for the 107 fans inside Oakwood in Crayford but only one substitute was used (Elliot Capel for the injured Dukali for Hythe Town in the 56th minute) owing to injuries and rookie players on the bench.

“I was getting frustrated because we’ve got a lot of injuries at the moment so it’s hard to make changes,” admitted Denly.

“We’ve got defensive players on the bench really today and no offensive ones to come on and make a difference because of the injuries we’ve got and Ryan Palmer’s suspension, so looking behind me it was hard to make any changes to effect the game, which is frustrating.

“But Listen, I always believe. Gavin and Steve (Theze and Nolan) believe.  You have to believe. If you don’t believe then you don’t get anything out of the game and the boys did as well and showed good character to keep going to the very end.”

Odusanya’s out-swinging corner from the left came out to Gordon, who was unmarked outside the penalty area and his looping shot was plucked out of the air by Kamurasi from underneath the crossbar.

VCD Athletic had a chance to snatch the victory when a good run from Odusanya saw him cut the ball back for El-Moyhalbel, whose shot on the turn was blocked by the knees of Kamurasi at his near post.

Kamurasi came up for the final two Hythe corners at the death.  The Vickers cleared their lines and Gaggin lost his composure as he broke down the right and from 55-yards he sliced his shot over the wooden terrace stand down the touchline re as he tried to score in to an empty net, which didn’t impress McMahon.

He said:  “He’s shown his naivety in the last few minutes and the goalkeeper’s up and he’s got the ball and tried to shoot from the half-way line with no goalkeeper.  Just run the ball all the way and he scores but Alex was a constant threat. If he had a better end product he wouldn’t be playing at this level.”

Hythe Town snatched a deserved point as Kamurasi saved his side by scoring two minutes and 29 seconds into time added on.

Webster swung in their eighth and final corner from the left and Kamurasi controlled the ball before smacking his volley into the net from the edge of the six-yard box in a crowded goalmouth.

When asked about the alleged handball, Denly said: “I know one thing, Keith didn’t see that because there’s about 20 bodies in front of him and I can’t see it either so I don’t know is the answer to that but if we got a bit of luck then I think we deserved it. We haven’t had much this season so if he used his hand, we’ll take it.  They certainly got a bit of luck with their second goal. In my opinion it was offside but that’s football.

“It’s a bit of a goalmouth scramble and George is in the middle of it and thankfully for us he’s managed to tuck it away.

“George is a character.  Listen, he’s quite funny at times. I just want him to concentrate on his job, which is keeping balls out of the goal for us and he’s been excellent.”

A furious McMahon claimed: “Listen, two things, the equaliser, he’s handballed it and he’s completely caught it and kicked it in but he shouldn’t have ever done it!

“My goalkeeper has made an absolute cock-up. They’ve put the ball over the top, he’s just got to come and pick it up and he’s stayed on his line saying he was injured – I’m not having that and it’s cost us again!

“If he comes and picks it up, it’s not a corner. We keep the ball, game over, so I’m really p***ed off with him if I’m being honest with you.

“Maybe not the best time to talk about it but I’m not fussed at the moment. It’s two points it’s cost us and it’s got to come to an end unfortunately.”

There was still time for one last bit of drama but this excellent game was marred by a red-card as Hythe captain Kinnear was shown a straight red card by referee Alexander Bradley for a lunge on Vickers’ holding midfielder Jack Steventon, although Kinnear protested that he won the ball.

McMahon said: “Good God! He just left the floor! Five or 10 years ago it’s a normal tackle but he’s left the floor and he has gone through him.  It’s the last minute, maybe he’s taken one for the team or whatever. It wasn’t a pretty tackle. Jack saw it coming and rode it.”

Denly added: “I didn’t see. I sound like (former Arsenal manager) Arsene Wenger here but I generally didn’t see it. I had two men in front of me. Some people were saying it was, some people were saying it weren’t, so I can’t comment. I didn’t see it!”

VCD Athletic travel to Whitstable Town next Saturday, while Hythe Town welcome Three Bridges to Reachfields Stadium in their next game.

Whitstable were held to a goal-less draw at basement side Greenwich Borough in the Steve O’Boyle and Steve Sallis’ first game in joint-charge of the struggling home side.

Scott Porter’s Whitstable are in the bottom five in the table with 24 points on the board from 22 games.

Tommy Warrilow’s Ashford United remain in third-place on 42 points – 15 points adrift of leaders Cray Wanderers - after their 1-0 win at Three Bridges, who are in 12th place with 27 points.

VCD Athletic: Joe Mant, Bradley Simms, Jake McIntyre, Jack Steventon, Joe Denny, Ricardo Joseph, Alex Gaggin, Alastair Gordon, Junior Baker, Dominic Odusanya, Aymun El-Moyhalbel.
Subs: Charlie MacDonald, Dominic Vincent, Tom Cecil, Courtney Barrington, Regan Wiley

Goals: Jake McIntyre 69 (penalty), Aymun El-Moyhalbel 70

Booked: Joe Denny 62, Jack Steventon 84

Hythe Town: George Kamurasi, Salvyn Kisitu, Aziz Lyoubi, Chris Kinnear, Ollie Rowe, Mitchell Dickenson, Nassim Dukali (Elliot Capel 56), Jack Sammoutis, Zak Ansah, Charlie Webster, Kieron Campbell.
Subs: Michael Turner, Jude Harding, Nigel Neita, Alastair Carney

Goals: Kieron Campbell 26, George Kamurasi 90

Booked: Aziz Lyoubi 67, George Kamurasi 90

Sent Off:  Chris Kinnear 90

Attendance: 107
Referee: Mr Alexander Bradley (Brighton, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Stephen Matthews (Redhill, Surrey) & Mr Chimango Gondwe (Watford, Hertfordshire)