VCD Athletic 1-1 Waltham Abbey - If we create chances like that every week then we're going to win games quite comfortably, says VCD Athletic boss Keith McMahon

Tuesday 23rd July 2019
VCD Athletic 1 – 1 Waltham Abbey
Location Oakwood, Old Road, Crayford, Kent DA1 4DN
Kickoff 23/07/2019 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday 23 July 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakwood

VCD ATHLETIC manager Keith McMahon says his side are in a good place despite not winning their two opening pre-season friendlies.

The Crayford based side began their warm-up campaign with a 2-1 defeat away to Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Chatham Town at the weekend and missed several good chances as they were held to a draw by Waltham Abbey at Oakwood tonight.

VCD Athletic missed out on the Isthmian League South East Division play-offs by just one point last season, finishing in sixth-place with 62 points on the board from their 36 games.

Michael Spencer’s side play at the same level and finished in ninth-place in the Isthmian South Central Division last season, having banked 56 points from their 38 league outings.

VCD Athletic took the lead through Onoriode Ogboe’s low drive into the corner inside the opening 14 minutes but Waltham Abbey grabbed a late equaliser through a penalty from striker Darelle Russell after the home side missed several glorious chances to build on their lead.

Spencer who played under McMahon at Thamesmead Town, got through 18 players, while McMahon used only three of his four substitutes on a sultry evening.

“If you’re talking about the result, disappointed but it’s pre-season,” said McMahon.

“I thought our performance for an hour was excellent.  A bit of tiredness, a few changes, obviously a mistake at the end, poor finishing. It’s pre-season and I’m happy. On another day that could’ve been quite a big win.

“We created double more chances than they did but listen that’s what pre-season is about. It was a hot day wasn’t it. I think both teams put quite a lot of effort in. Overall, for an hour I was quite happy about that.” 

The game started at a slow tempo with Waltham Abbey creating an opening inside seven minutes when a long throw dropped to central midfielder Aaron Gordon, whose shot was charged down and looped up and dropped into Matthew Funnell’s hands.

Waltham Abbey have two tall centre-halves and one of them, Ryan Deer, split open the VCD Athletic defence with a ball over the top but Russell swept his first time shot past the near post from 18-yards with his left-foot.

VCD Athletic then started to get back into the game and they took the lead with 13 minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

Dominic Odysanya, a central midfielder despite wearing the number 9 shirt, collected the ball in midfield before playing the ball to right-winger Alex Gaggin, whose fine pass put Charlie MacDonald through on goal.

The 38-year-old talisman dinked the ball towards goal, only for Waltham Abbey keeper Anthony Page to claw the ball out high to his left.  The ball came out to Alastair Gordon who sprayed the ball out to the unmarked Ogboe, who placed his right-footed shot across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 12-yards.

McMahon said:  “It just didn’t fall for Charlie today did it, it just didn’t fall for him. He said himself he could’ve had four goals on another day but I’d rather them count as soon as the season starts on August 17th.

“It’s his first run-out, he’s a constant threat. I just thought some of our football in the first half was outstanding.

“Young Dominic Odusanya, who played in the centre of midfield, was unplayable in the first half, so we looked very, very good.

“I’m obviously pleased for Kelvin (Ogboe), first goal for the club, he took it well.”

Gaggin floated in the home side’s second of seven corners towards the far post for Odusanya to loop his header up and Page stepped to his right to catch the ball quite comfortably.

Waltham Abbey’s holding midfielder Jack Daveney floated in their second and final corner of the night in the 19th minute, which was met by a header at the far post by centre-half Louis Bowen, which was plucked out of the air by the Vickers keeper.

VCD Athletic wasted a glorious chance to double their lead in the 21st minute when Gaggin was released down the right and he centred for MacDonald, who had to dig the ball out from under his feet before dinking his right-footed shot across Page and watched the ball trickle past the foot of the far post from 16-yards.

McMahon said: “Again, another good move wide and it’s dropped back in and Charlie played a one-two with Gaggin and he hit it across the goal and you’re just waiting for the net to move but it’s just one of those days for him. I’ve got no issues whatsoever with Charlie missing some chances today.”

The busy Page kept Waltham Abbey in the game when he palmed over Odusanya’s drilled right-footed angled drive from 16-yards, after a poor swept clearance from Aaron Gordon fell his way after Alastair Gordon floated in a free-kick from the right.

“To be fair to the keeper, he’s made a few good saves today. I think he’s kept them in it and kept it down massively but another good move, a good chance. I was pleased first half. I thought we created a hell of a lot of chances,” said McMahon.

VCD Athletic centre-half Dominic Vincent-Edwards gave the ball away in the final third and Daveney played the ball out to Aaron Gordon, who cut into the box and played the ball into Kyle Roberts, but his near post flicked shot was picked up by Matthew Funnell at his near post.

Funnell was called into serious action in the 44th minute when he got his body behind Russell’s fiercely struck right-footed drive after Alastair Gordon lost possession to Danuel Ungudi in midfield and he played in his team-mate behind Abdul Lyoubi and Ryan Mahal.

“Darelle Russell’s a good player and he’s made a decent save there,” added McMahon.

Waltham Abbey created the first half’s final chance at the end when Bowen played the ball into Daveney, who teed up Russell, who cracked his right-footed dinked shot over the crossbar from 20-yards.

“I thought we was excellent.  We’ve played one game and acquitted really well.  We moved the ball very quickly and caused them all sorts of problems going forward,” said McMahon.

“Some good goalkeeping, some last-ditch defending and some of the balls we put in the box from out wide was outstanding!

“I thought Alastair Gordon controlled the three in midfield and we looked rock solid at the back. I thought it was nearly a complete performance for us over them and we should’ve gone in five-nil up!”

VCD Athletic created their first opening of the second half after only 24 seconds when Alastair Gordon, MacDonald and Odusanya linked up before left-winger Ogboe drilled his right-footed shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box.

“He should’ve scored, clear though,” insisted McMahon.

“I said how many chances are we going to miss?  I think your report is about missed chances. We’ve missed a hell of a lot to be fair and also good goalkeeping by their keeper, he made a couple of exceptionally good saves.

Waltham Abbey then started to up their performance and were the better side  in a 4-3-3 formation -  but they will need to work on their finishing as Funnell was not tested as winger Tim Ogunrinde, Russell, Roberts and substitute Jordan Slama all drilled shots sailing harmlessly off target from outside the box.

It took the Essex side halfway through the second half to manage a shot on target, as Billy Holding’s hooked pass released Kambu Smith down the left and he wriggled his way past a couple of defenders to reach the by-line but his shot from a tight angle was too hot for Funnell to handle and he flicked the ball away and a team-mate cleared the danger.

McMahon said: “He drilled it across the box and Matty done that. I thought we defended quite well. We limited them to not a huge amount.  They had a lot of pop shots over the bar and quite erratic finishing from them. I think we made their keeper work a hell of a lot more than they did ours.”

Waltham Abbey keeper Page kept his side in the game inside the final 15 minutes when trialist midfielder Michael Oddabaye played the ball inside to Alastair Gordon, who split open the Waltham Abbey defence to put MacDonald through on goal but Page made a vital save with his legs to frustrate the Vickers star striker.

“Again, you’re sitting there thinking goal, game over and the keeper’s done his job, but I’m just pleased with the chances that we’ve created,” said McMahon.

“If we create chances like that every week then what we’ve got up front we’re going to win games quite comfortably and that is what we wanted.

“We wanted to be a bit more solid at the back and I think we have.  We’ve changed our back four completely apart from Bradley Simms, who played today at right-back.

“Dominic Vincent-Edwards made his debut for us. He done well. We had one player over 25, we’ve only got one player over 25 in the whole squad and we all know who that is.  We’ve had eight under 20s out there tonight so it bodes well for us. Dom’s come in and he played for the youth team last year.

“I’m not scared of throwing the youngsters in and he’s come in and done a decent job for us in there.

“We’ve brought Sean Roberts (in from Cray Wanderers) in central midfield, whose fitted in great for us and needs minutes still and with Kelvin (Ogboe) up top as well and all the four new signings have fitted in well and we haven’t seen Raphe Brown yet!”

The impressive Oddabaye floated in a corner from the right, which was poor and cleared away at the near post and the ball came out to fellow substitute Liam Rosenfield, who smacked his volley straight at Page from the edge of the Abbey box.

Ogunrinde was forced off through an injury so back came Russell and his rest did the trick as he floated in a great deep cross from the left which was met by Charlie Edwards at the far post but the substitute steered his header wide.

Rosenfield played the ball inside to trialist Brent Broaja, who passed to Alastair Gordon but Oddabaye lost his composure by sweeping his first time left-footed shot rolling straight to the keeper from 18-yards.

VCD Athletic wasted a glorious chance to seal a comfortable victory with 41 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock.

MacDonald played the ball out to Ogboe, who cut inside and onto his right-boot to float in a deep cross towards the far post. MacDonald was left unmarked and his diving header was somehow clawed out by the outstanding Page, who got back into position and spread himself brilliantly to frustrate MacDonald again.

McMahon said: “Kelvin done great, dinked it, Charlie stretched, got his head to it and the goalkeeper just stick a mitt out and how he’s clawed it off the line I don’t know! On another day we’re talking a completely different score.”

Inevitably, Waltham Abbey snatched a draw, courtesy of a calamitous mistake from Vickers’ nineteen-year-old goalkeeper Funnell, who dropped the ball at Smith’s feet inside the box and brought down the substitute winger and referee Gerry Herron pointed to the spot and reminded Funnell the new Law of staying on your line.

Russell rifled his right-footed penalty into the top right-hand corner to ensure Waltham Abbey grabbed an equaliser, which was timed at 43 minutes and 14 seconds on the clock.

“I’m a bit disappointed with Matty if I’m honest with you,” admitted McMahon.

“It’s a bread and butter pick the ball up and he’s lost concentration and dropped it at the geezer’s feet and pulled him down and same as Saturday, he made a mistake there and hopefully he can get it out of his system because it’s two in two now and I didn’t think they were going to score to be honest with you.

“I think we gifted it to them but listen, it’s pre-season, it ain’t the end of the world! He’s a good goalkeeper, he’s a young kid, he’s 19.”

McMahon takes his side to Park View Road to play Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Erith & Belvedere on Thursday night before playing Isthmian League sides Maldon & Tiptree, Barking, Canvey Island and Grays Athletic.

The Vickers’ travel down to Brighton to play relegated side Whitehawk on the opening day of the Isthmian League South East Division on Saturday 17 August, before welcoming Three Bridges to Oakwood three days later.

“We’ve only got a smallish squad but I think the new boys’ are settling in well. When we get Jack Steventon and Raphe Brown back in on Saturday that will add a couple more to us.

“I think we’re in a good place. We’re maybe one or two players short in the whole squad but we’ve got a good under 18 side here as well that we’re going to have a look at.”

McMahon said playing a side at their level was exactly what his squad needed at this point of the season.

“Listen, it was a competitive game in stages. If they didn’t we wouldn’t have moved the ball so well.  I know Michael Spencer well, he played for me at Thamesmead, he’s a decent fella and I know they had a good, quick side and they’re looking for a play-off place as well.  I think we did get what we wanted. The finishing could’ve been better but listen I think the way we moved the ball and passed it and looked dangerous is massive for us two games in.”

VCD Athletic: Matthew Funnell, Bradley Simms, Abdul Lyoubi, Alastair Gordon (Brent Broaja 61), Dominic Vincent-Edwards, Ryan Mahal, Alex Gaggin (Michael Oddabaye 68), Sean Roberts, Charlie MacDonald, Dominic Odusanya (Liam Rosenfield 77, Onoriode Ogboe.
Sub: Ayman El-Mogharbel

Goal: Onoriode Ogboe 14

Waltham Abbey: Anthony Page, Mark Tsumui, Dominic Njoya, Jack Daveney (Billy Holland 46), Louis Bowen (Ricky Brennan 77), Ryan Deer (Russ Dedman 46), Tim Ogunrinde (Darelle Russell 82), Daniel Ungudi (Charlie Edwards 46), Darelle Russell (Kambu Smith 61), Aaron Gordon (Jordan Slama 61), Kyle Roberts (Junior Appiah 46).

Goal: Darelle Russell 89 (penalty)

Attendance: 35
Referee: Mr Gerry Heron (West Wickham)
Assistants: Mr Billy Woods (Bexleyheath) & Mr Kieron Parrott (Rochester)