Sunday 18th September 2005

Frustrated Kent managers want to bounce back


Two frustrated Kent managers will be hoping their sides bounce back in Tuesday night's Southern League Errea Cup tie at Stonebridge Road, writes Stephen McCartney.

Dartford suffered a 4-1 defeat at Corby Town in Kettering, and Chatham Town lost their unbeaten league record in an incident packed game thanks to a controversial penalty at Barton Rovers.

In EXCLUSIVE interviews with www.kentishfootball.co.uk , both managers Tony Burman (Dartford) and Steve Binks were clearly frustrated and disappointed about yesterday's defeats, but will be hoping for much better luck at Stonebridge Road.

First of all to Burman, and he was raging about his sides poor performance.

He said: "There's no excuses.  In the first half the team was very poor.

"I've stuck up for the players when they've lost games and I felt they've played well - but the first half yesterday was unacceptable.

"It was nothing to do with formations or anything like that, it was just the fact that there was no fight or enthusiasm within our play."

Speaking about the second half - his side were 3-0 down at half-time - Burnham added: "We were a little bit better in terms of passing, more effort and we managed to pull one back and get back to 3-1.

"But we never troubled their keeper at all and they got a  penalty inside injury time.

"I have to say I was very disappointed with our performance for the first time this season - and yes, since I've returned in January."

Burman, however, wants his side to react, against local rivals Chatham Town on Tuesday night.

"Well, I hope the players have taken in what I've told them and sometimes you need a game within 72 hours rather than seven days, and I'm hoping I'm getting a reaction from the players after yesterday's performance," he demanded.

Burman revealed he will be giving a couple players their first starts of the season - but won't be making wholesale changes for the Errea Cup tie.

"I think we've got a fairly strong squad," he said.  "Before Saturday's performance I wanted to play some players in the game against Chatham and that's what I'll be doing.

"Players that are in my squad that have been waiting patiently for a first team debut.   A couple of players will be making their debuts.," he revealed.

With the FA Cup reaching its second qualifying round stage on Saturday, and with the Darts out of the competition, Burman takes his side to Kent rivals Sittingbourne on Saturday, and explained the reasons why they are making the short trip to Bourne Park.

"First thing is we approached Uxbridge to bring our away game forward from New Years' Eve but the offer was declined.

"But I'm grateful to Sittingbourne (whose home game with Berkhamsted Town was called off due to their intended visitors being involved in the FA Cup) for bringing their game forward from February, as both sides have already been knocked out of the FA Cup.

On the injury front Dave Martin (ankle) is doubtful for Tuesday's game and Burman revealed he has received another text message from Tostao Kwashi last week but the authorities in Vietnam are still saying his Visa is being processed.

And Chatham Town boss Steve Binks was upset with, not with his players, but other issues during their 1-0 defeat up at Barton Rovers.

After Rob Denness' looping cross beating the keeper only to strike the base of the post, they felt they had taken the lead after 21 minutes but a late offside flag denied Brendon Cass, after the former Tonbridge Angels' striker rounded the goalkeeper to find the net.

However, the pivotal moment came two minutes before half time.  A collision on the edge of the Chatham penalty area, in which goalkeeper Louis Green appeared to be fouled by Barton striker Paul Barnes, somehow resulted in a penalty being awarded to the home side.

As to why it was a penalty, only the referee will know.  Barnes converted the penalty with Green still clearly suffering the affects of the challenge.

Major changes were needed at half-time with Green unable to continue and with no substitute goalkeeper, midfielder Glen Billinness took the keepers jersey and Matt Solly replaced him in the centre.

Chatham controlled possession in the second half but struggled to put the home goal under threat.

But with 18 minutes left another collision inside the penalty area resulted in a half-hour delay, when Barnes was knocked unconscious and requiring paramedic assistance.

Chatham substitute - fireman Andy Garrett - a qualified first aider - heaped praise from everyone for assisting the Rovers physio in treating the injured player.

After the restart Barton were reduced to ten men when Mark Potter was dismissed for a second yellow card offence.

With the numerical advantage the Kent side put the home goal under more pressure but it wasn't their day.

A frustrating way to lose their unbeaten record, but Binks revealed Green should be fit to face the Darts after the bruise has come out in the upper part of his shin.

Speaking about Garrett's non-footballing contribution, Binks said; "Andy saw to Barnes, for which Barton Rovers was extremely grateful that we helped them out.

"The ironic thing was we had to go back into our dressing room for a good 30 minutes, had a two minute warm up and just as we were waiting for the ambulance to leave the pitch, the player (Paul Barnes), who was badly shaken, walked out of the ambulance and headed to the dressing rooms. He was seriously injured, his mum was already at the hospital, but couldn't be contacted as no-one knew her mobile number."

Reflecting on the game, Binks said; "We were bombarding their goal before that and they didn't get into our half and it looked like we were going to equalise.  That stoppage didn't help us and we couldn't force the equaliser.

"We didn't have luck on our side.  We had a perfectly good goal from Brendon (Cass) disallowed, when he rounded the goalkeeper.

"We were very unfortunate not to be in front after 30 minutes and on the stroke of half time.

"I thought their penalty was harsh, Barnes went through, 50/50 with Louis (Green) and our goalkeeper got badly injured in the challenge, got clattered into his knee, the referee whistled and amazingly pointed to the spot.

"We found ourselves 1-0 down, when we didn't deserve to me, in my opinion."

But what is bothering the Chatham manager is "cheating" from players, something that he doesn't tell his playing staff to do.

"There are too many players at this level that appeal for everything and heavily influence officials on the basis on who shouts the loudest, and I just wish semi-pros just except decisions without lambasting the linesman or referee," he said.

"Whoever appeals the loudest gets the decision go their way, and in my book that's cheating."

But with both Kent club's trying to get yesterday's frustration out of their systems, Binks calls this derby a "humdinger".

"I think it will be a humdinger, they are normally competitive games between Dartford and Chatham and I don't see this any different," he predicted.

"Barton were a poor side, and losing 1-0 we will be looking to put it right," he warned.

"They got the lucky breaks but I don't mind losing to a team that were better than you.  But they didn't play any football, they got lucky, and with us trying to play the right football and putting them under pressure we just couldn't score.

"I am so frustrated, I can't wait for Tuesday to get it out my system.

"We are looking to put it right.  The other two unbeaten sides in the league, Boreham Wood and Ilford both lost, if we would have at least drawn yesterday we would have been the only undefeated side in the league.

"But there was a lot of positives out of the game, we took the game to them, we deserved a bit better."

Steve Best (family commitments) will be drafted into the squad but Andy Larkin (hamstring) is unavailable for upto three weeks.

I'm sure the Southern League game between these two sides, being played at Maidstone Road on 27th September, will also be a bit passionate!

Dartford v Chatham Town
Southern League Errea Cup First Round
Tuesday 20th September 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet