Westside 3-4 Deal Town - Everyone knows the FA Vase is important to this football club - to show the character at 3-1 down with half-an-hour left is the biggest thing for me tonight, says Deal Town coach Steve King

Wednesday 23rd October 2019
Westside 3 – 4 Deal Town
Location Chalky Lane, Chessington, Surrey KT9 2NF
Kickoff 23/10/2019 19:45

The Buildbase FA Vase First Round
Wednesday 23 October 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Chalky Lane

DEAL TOWN head coach Steve King praised the character shown from his players’ after they fought back from the dead to keep their FA Vase adventure alive in Chessington.


Westside – a Christian club based at West Side Church in Wandsworth – were playing their biggest game in their 23-year history tonight, after beating Forest Hill Park (2-1 after extra time) and Bexhill United (3-2), while Derek Hares’ side came away from their league rivals Hollands & Blair with a 2-1 win in the last round.

Westside went into this thrilling First Round tie sitting in sixth-place in the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League First Division table with 19 points from 11 league games and Steve Walters’ men have won their last four games and they gave Deal Town a major scare.

Deal Town arrived at the ground just 35 minutes before kick-off due to traffic delays and were in eleventh-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, having collected 15 points from their 10 games.

You must question the scouting network in these parts as Westside striker Jevon Webster had an outstanding game tonight, with pace to burn and was the best player on the pitch and it’s a shock that no one higher up the food chain hasn’t picked him up.

Deal Town started the first 10 minutes on the front foot but fell behind through a counter-attacking goal, tucked home in clinical fashion by Webster to score his eighth goal of the season.

Deal Town were a threat from set-pieces and centre-half Josh Maughan hooked in the equaliser before Westside grabbed the lead through Connor Coyne’s own-goal on the stroke of half-time, despite the home side twice hitting the base of the right-hand post.

Westside found themselves 3-1 up after a drilled finish from their left-back Zachary Johnson-Read and were on course of pulling off a giant-killing act over the 2000 FA Vase winners.

However, left-back Steve O’Brien was Deal Town’s saviour by scoring twice in the space of four minutes, one a penalty, the second straight from a corner, before Coyne headed in the winner with seven minutes of this enthralling First Round tie remaining.

“We gave them a couple of really sloppy goals from our point of view,” said King.

“I can’t fault the boys. We were 3-1 down with just over 20 minutes left so to win 4-3 in normal time, all credit to them.

“It’s not easy coming here. We had a few issues before the game but they kept going so fair play to them.

“We all came here together (by minibus) just to make sure we got here. We left Deal as early as we possibly could but there was an accident on the M20 and we had a pick-up in Folkestone so we had to go back across and stuff like that but that’s not an excuse.

“I thought we played well first half, we just made a couple of really poor mistakes and that’s nothing to do with arriving late, that could happen any day!

“I thought the first 10 minutes we were excellent so it happens but it’s non-league and you have got to expect that.”

Despite their mini-bus arriving at ten-past-seven and having their swift warm-up interrupted by being thrown off the small artificial pitch behind the goal, Deal Town started the game on the front foot.

O’Brien swung in a delicious corner from the left and Billy Munday’s poked shot caused a goal-mouth scramble and the ball was forced over the line but a foul on goalkeeper Giordano Zabotti among all the chaos thwarted Deal Town after only 88 seconds.

“I think whenever the ball bobbles around that much of the area the referee is likely to give a free-kick. The boys didn’t think it was a foul but we looked dangerous from set-pieces all night and we could’ve scored from two or three set-pieces in the first half,” added King.

Westside’s Nacho Diaz – who was one of two holding players – drilled a right-footed free-kick straight into James Tonkin’s midriff from wide on the left, before Deal Town went close twice at the other end.

Joe Reeves’ hanging corner came in from the right and holding midfielder Alfie Foster’s free-header was planted across the keeper and just past the far post from within a crowded penalty area.

“We work a lot of them in training, the boys were in last night working on them as well.  Our runs were good, I thought our deliveries from set-pieces was excellent, it just didn’t happen,” said King.

O’Brien drove down the left wing and played the ball into targetman Coyne’s feet, who laid the ball off to Sam Wilson, whose angled drive was comfortably saved by Zabotti, low to his right.

Westside immediately went up the other end, taking the lead with a classy finish from their talisman Webster just 28 seconds later, the home side taking the lead with 10 minutes and 53 seconds on the clock.

Zabotti launched the ball up field and Webster had plenty of work to do when he collected the ball wide on the right, cutting in and past the Deal Town centre-half Maughan and into the box where a calm finish, slotting past Tonkin with such ease.

King said: “I thought their 10 (Webster) was outstanding to be honest.  I’ve been to watch them and we knew what their threats were. We knew on the counter-attack, when you go forward, they were going to be very dangerous.

“They’re a good side.  You talk about the difference in levels but I think they’ve won four on the bounce. They’re in the top six in their league and like SCEFL One the teams that are at the top end have got threats.

"We knew coming here that we were likely going to score but we needed to defend a bit better.”

Deal Town responded immediately with central midfielder Ben Chapman cutting in and hitting a deflected drive which flashed just past the foot of the far post.

Westside missed a glorious chance to grab a 2-0 lead in the 17th minute as Deal Town got lucky.

Centre-half Luke Bigginton’s square pass was intercepted by Webster some 35-yards from goal and the striker sprinted into the box and dinked his shot across Tonkin and watched in despair as the ball trickled towards the base of the far post before being cleared.

“Spot on! A bit of luck! Luke’s been outstanding for us this season. He’s our captain but we just have a habit when something goes against us for the next five minutes we can be a bit frazzled and that’s what happened there,” said King.

“He’s played a little under-hit square ball and I said at half-time, I said the chances they created in the first half, fair play to them, they had lots of pace but they were from our mistakes and we were letting them in and that was the disappointing thing.”

Deal Town’s right-back Liam Hark released Reeves down the right and he easily got past Westside centre-half John Jupp to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back for Chapman to sweep his shot across the keeper towards the bottom far corner, but Zabotti made a vital save with his legs.

“I thought Reeves looked good all night wide right and he hurt them and we were trying to get the ball out to him and Chapman has been scoring a lot of goals for us,” said King.

“We said at half-time when you do come to places like this and you do create chances, you’ve got to take them and we’ve got to work on that.”

O’Brien was putting in some quality deliveries with his left-boot and he hung in a free-kick from the right which was met by Munday with his back to goal but the winger hit his over-head kick flashing across the keeper and paste the far post.

Deal Town were knocking on the door and with 28 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock the door crashed to the ground as they scored their deserved equaliser.

O’Brien whipped in another quality free-kick from the right some 35-yards from goal and a Westside player rose to nod the ball away poorly and Maughan hooked his left-footed shot across the keeper to find the far corner from 12-yards.

“I thought the goal from a set-piece was coming to be fair.  Another great delivery from OB, just dropped and for a centre-half, a good finish from Josh.  That got us back in to the game at that point and I thought we needed to score then,” said King.

Just past the half-hour mark, Tonkin’s big kick was flicked on by Wilson and Chapman tried to bend his shot from the left hand channel into the far corner, only to see the ball go around the far post.

Westside were dangerous on the counter-attack and the outstanding Webster was involved in all of their good and they struck the post for a second time in the 39th minute.

Combative central midfielder Elliot Whitely pinged a diagonal pass over to Webster on the right and he played the ball inside to Diaz.  Webster twisted and turned his man before shifting the ball on the outside to right-wing-back Ayman Dahdouh, who clipped the base of the near post with an angled drive with the visiting keeper rooted to the spot.

“I thought Webster is probably as lively as what we’ve played all season.  There’s some good forwards in our league but if you put him in one of the top sides he’ll score a lot of goals. I thought he caused us real problems,” admitted King.

“I came up here and watched them a few weeks ago, he scored a couple that night and was quality and I thought fair play to the lad, they’re a good side and they’ve got pace in forward areas and he’s probably the stand out.”

Diaz’s free-kick from wide-left was gathered by Tonkin, who launched a big kick up field which sailed over the last defender to put Reeves through on goal but the winger lost composure and drilled his shot across the keeper and harmlessly wide of the mark when he only had the keeper to beat.

The miss proved costly as Westside grabbed the lead, 124 seconds into time added on.

Westside were awarded a free-kick just outside the centre-circle and centre-half Joshua Walters floated a ball into the Deal box and no one took charge of the situation and allowed the ball to drop inside the box and the ball bounced off Coyne’s shin and trickled over the line for an own-goal.

King said: “I think it might’ve been Connor Coyne. It might’ve bounced and hit him on the shin but no one was claiming it at half-time, not that they had much chance but we normally defend set-pieces really well.

“You’ve seen us at Hollands & Blair, which is one of the hardest places to go and defend and the ball’s just dropped and Sam Wilson, who is one of our better defenders thinks he’s heard a call and just left it and it’s bounced around.

“If anyone who knows me, I pride myself as a coach on getting set-pieces right at both ends and that was right on half-time and that was a real shocker from us but we had words at half-time.”

King added: “I was just disappointed with the boys because I thought 90% of our first half performance was very good. I thought we controlled the game and created chances but gave them two really poor goals from our point of view and we said we’ve got to stop doing it.  We’ve got good enough players, we dominate games, we just have to stop having those 10 per cents.

“Goals change games and I said we’ve got to stop doing it and really the big message was we’ve come here on a Wednesday night, got here at 10-past-seven, don’t go and get beat, don’t get rolled over and I thought we were excellent in the second half.”

Westside created their first opening of the second half in the 11th minute when Webster’s left-footed drilled free-kick from just outside the corner of the box stung Tonkin’s fingers before the ball dropped down and was caught by the visiting keeper.

Deal Town were seemingly dead and buried when Westside scored their third goal of the game with 11 minutes and 40 seconds on the clock.

Webster was released down the right and his electrifying pace took him into the penalty area and he fizzed in a great low cross, which evaded Simpson in the middle but no one had tracked Johnson-Read’s run and the left-back unleashed a left-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner.

“Let’s give them the full credit. I thought that’s a great goal from them,” admitted King.

“We’ve given the ball away at the top end of the box but they’ve gone a length of the pitch and stretched us, crossed it and nestled in the bottom corner.

“How many chances did we have in those sort of areas where we scuffed it or hit the keeper? 

“Luckily, we did enough from our point of view to make sure we got the four goals to counter-act that so there was no shock to me. We didn’t come here all blasé thinking Westside are a league below, we just have to rock up. We knew exactly what was coming. Did we deal with Webster well enough? No probably not!”

Derek Hares and King’s response was instant as they took off Foster and Hark and brought on Jack Penny and Troyboy Howard and they went with three at the back with two wing-backs and right-winger Howard was to play a key role later on in the game.

“We were thinking about the subs before the goal but at 2-1 you think we’re on top at that point. The goal came on the counter-attack and we had a few corners at the start of the second half and you think the goal might come but it sounds stupid but the third goal sort of forced our hand,” said King, who switched to 4-4-2.

Nineteen minutes in and Deal Town should have pulled a goal back from their seventh corner of the game.

Reeves swung in a deep corner from the right which was knocked back across goal by Maughan and Coyne sent his header over the crossbar from six-yards in the centre.

King said:  “He’s got to score!  Coyne knows but if you’re six-yards out, you’ve got to score!  He’s got his goal in the end, he’s got the winner.  The thing he’ll always do, he’ll always get into goalscoring positions.  I think he’s got six now this season and he knows where the goal is. He’s a goalscorer. He should’ve scored from that one but he’s got there in the end.”

Penny played the ball in behind to release Wilson down the left and he whipped in a deep cross, which was knocked back across goal by Howard and Penny’s left-footed volley struck Walters and deflected just past the far post.

Westside’s Whitely drilled a right-footed free-kick from 25-yards, which took a deflection and flashed just past the foot of the far post.

Deal Town had a glimmer of hope when referee Abdulaziz Olol pointed to the spot after Chapman was tripped by Whitley inside the box after Coyne and Howard linked up down the right.

O’Brien held his nerve to rifle his left-footed penalty high into the top left-hand corner from the penalty spot with 25 minutes and 35 seconds on the clock.

“When we got the subs on we were able to play in Coyne’s feet quite easily and then we were getting runners off him and once Chapman’s the wrong side, he’s got into the box.  We thought there were a couple of handballs in the box before it so the ref had to give that one. I think it was pretty blatant,” added King.

“OB’s scored against Greenwich in the 92nd minute the other week, he’s an experienced boy and he’s stepped up.”

Deal Town were now on the front foot and Coyne played the ball into Wilson, who released Penny in behind Dahdouh and his cross was met on the volley at the far post by Munday, who lacked composure to rifle his shot over the crossbar.

Deal Town were deservedly level when Zabotti was punished for poor goalkeeping with 29 minutes and 33 seconds on the clock.

The goal came from Deal’s ninth and final corner of the game, which was swung in left-footed by O’Brien and neither the man on the line at the near post or a flapping goalkeeper could prevent the ball curling into the back of the net.

King said: “I thought all night our delivery was spot on.  Reeves’ and O’Brien’s delivery was very, very good and other stuff that hasn’t gone for us tonight, you talk about the one in the first couple of minutes when it’s bounced round and that one has gone in. 

“I thought it came at a great time for us because maybe fitness wise if looked like they were getting a little bit leggy and we fancied ourselves going down the hill when it went to three-all so you never know because the game was never going to be secure because with Webster on the counter-attack they’re always a threat but I fancied us at that point.”

Westside were now on the ropes and Deal Town scored the winning goal with 37 minutes and 27 seconds on the clock through Coyne’s sixth goal of the season.

Howard wasn’t tracked by a Westfield player as he cut across the centre of the pitch before playing the ball out to Penny on the left.  Penny released Howard down the left and he easily beat centre-half Hunter-Moses to reach the by-line before wrapping his boot around the ball to put it on a plate for Coyne, who buried his header into the bottom left-hand corner, the ball kissing the left-hand post before nestling into the back of the net.

“Troy’s a 17-year-old boy. I’ve had him since he was 14-15 within the youth teams. He’s got pace, he loves running at people, loves football,” said King.

“He’s got a lot of learn off the ball and you probably saw after we went 4-3 up he made a couple of mistakes and gave it away in silly areas but he’s ideal.

“We gave Troy a chance and that’s what you want with 15 minutes left when you’re chasing a game because the boy can run!”

Both sides had chances to score as the game reached its gripping climax.

With Coyne now off the pitch, Wilson led the line and skipped past Walters down the left, cut into the box and Zabotti made a vital save, smothering the ball low to his left as Wilson couldn’t beat the last line of defence.

Deal Town substitute Nick Treadwell pounced on a loose ball inside the Westside half, drove forward and carried on with his run, only to be denied by a smart save from the Westside stopper.

“Look, we’ve had two chances to kill it haven’t we?  We’ve brought Treads on to secure it up because you’re always thinking do we keep going because we’re on top of the game but they’re going to go for it so let’s get another body in the middle of midfield. We did the right thing because we created two great chances.  We just have to take one of them. If we take one of them you enjoy the last minute or two of the game.”

Westside were inches away to forcing extra-time  when substitute Tinashe Nkoma reached the by-line and whipped in a deep cross, which was met by an unmarked Simpson, the striker controlling the ball before curling his low shot just around the base of the far post.

“You know, you watch as much football as I do, there’s always a chance when a team’s one behind in added time.  You just think it was coming but it will never shock you so they didn’t so we’re happy.”

Deal Town travel to Erith Town (Saturday) and then onto Lordswood (Tuesday 29 October) in the league before hosting Oxhey Jets (currently in the top five in the Spartan South Midlands Premier) in The FA Vase Second Round on Saturday 2 November.

“Well for the football club, everyone knows The FA Vase is important for this football club,” said King.

“We’ve got a home draw in the next round. We don’t know a huge amount about Oxhey Jets at the minute but we’ll do our homework between now and then.

“We’ve got people come up to watch us and we have to represent this football club and put performances in that we’re capable of and if we’d lost the game I don’t think we would’ve done that so the most important thing for me was to win the game.

“We want to get to Wembley, everyone does, you get one round closer don’t you and you just never know.

“To show the character at 3-1 down with half-an-hour left is the biggest thing for me tonight. You didn’t see the players’ head drop and that shows the character of the group.

“It’s going to be tough isn’t it. We’ve come here to a Step Six side and it’s been tough but I’ve always said we’re judged how many points we get after 38 games. The FA Vase is for the players and the club and the fans and people like that. The further you go the better and you want to give them more days out.”

Westside: Giordano Zabotti, Ayman Dahdouh, Zachary Johnson-Read, Nathan Hunter-Moses (Michael Tia 84), Joshua Walters, John Jupp, Nacho Diaz, Glen Nichols (Theo Campbell 82), Scott Simpson, Jevon Webster, Elliot Whitely (Tinashe Nkoma 73).
Subs: James Richards, Ismael Costa-Lima

Goals: Jevon Webster 11, Connor Coyne 45 (own goal), Zachary Johnson-Read 57

Booked: John Jupp 89

Deal Town: James Tonkin, Liam Hark (Troyboy Howard 59), Steve O’Brien, Alfie Foster (Jack Penny 60), Josh Maughan, Luke Bigginton, Billy Munday, Ben Chapman, Connor Coyne (Nick Treadwell 85), Sam Wilson, Joe Reeves.
Subs: Kane Smith, Ben Cardwell, Lee Scott

Goals: Josh Maughan 29, Steve O’Brien 71 (penalty), 75, Connor Coyne 83

Booked: Luke Bigginton 86

Attendance: 32
Referee:  Mr Abdulaziz Olol (Elmers End)
Assistants:  Mr Ryan Woods (Fulham, London) & Mr Ian Hempel (Chessington, Surrey)