Thursday 01st September 2005

Late heartbreak for brave Deres


Friday 26th
August 2005
FA Cup
Preliminary Round
Stephen McCartney reports from
Park View Road
Erith & Belvedere 1 Tony Dakin 86
Tooting & Mitcham Utd 2 Matt Howard 90
Gavin Grant 90


Brave Erith & Belvedere suffered late heartbreak as two goals late in the game eliminated them from this season's FA Cup competition, writes Stephen McCartney.

Their Ryman League Division One visitors, Tooting & Mitcham United, however, deserved their victory for their impressive display, but will face tough opposition in the first qualifying round in two weeks time, with a trip to Fisher Athletic awaiting them.

Deres' central defender, Tony Dakin was the Kentish Observer League side's star man and he capped a solid display with a goal, four minutes from time, which he thought would turn out to be the winner.

Substitute Peter Afolayan sent in a corner kick to the far post for Dakin to get in front of his marker to stab the ball into the net.

It was his first ever goal for the first team, and boy, did he enjoy it!

But Tooting & Mitcham United avoided slipping up on this potential banana skin by scoring twice in time added on by Mr A Slaughter.

Their first goal came from substitute Matt Howard's right-footed free kick from 25-yards, which came off Deres' skipper, Luke Morrish's head to find the roof of the net.

And into the seventh minute of time added on, another substitute, Gavin Grant rifled the ball into the net to sink the Kent side's hearts.

But knowing footballers, with the time now past midnight at the time of  writing this article, they have probably forgotten about the defeat and are dancing the night away in local nightclubs!

Tooting's front two of John Hastings and Jason Pinnock were impressive with wing-backs Craig Tanner and Mikael Munday always willing to support them up the pitch.

Deres' striker, Chris Dickson had the Kent side's first chance after 16 minutes.  Latching onto a through ball and seeing the goalkeeper had advanced off his line, his shot, from an acute angle, sailed over.

The Deres' goal led a charmed life throughout the first half, and it took some acrobatic defending from Dakin to prevent his side going a goal down after 23 minutes.

Five minutes later it was that man Dickson again that almost stole his side the lead.

Darren Adams' played a ball over the top of the visitors defence and was latched upon by his strike partner.  After initially getting the better of last defender Justin Bowen, the central defender recovered to block the shot on goal, with his goalkeeper Mark Torcaso all at sea.

More chances came Tooting's way with Jamie Findlay's left-footed curler going just wide of the far post from 20-yards; Ted Hart's snap shot flashing wide and Pinnock's 16-yard right-footed drive flying just over the bar on the stroke of half-time.

You must admit the Deres did very well to go into the break still on level terms, but early in the second half they did create a couple of chances of their own.

Lee Sugden tested the goalkeeper with a low drive from 25-yards and Dickson's whipped in a cross to the far post for Adams to plant his header wide, but the offside flag had already been raised.

More Tooting chances came and went and with the game going into the final twenty minutes could the Deres escape with a replay at Imperial Fields on Monday afternoon?

Well, they tried!  Hastings' shot over the bar from 25-yards and Bowen was denied by a flying save from Clark Hunt, tipping the powerful header over the bar.

But when Dakin stole the home side the lead with only four minutes left, were Erith & Belvedere going to cause the first upset of the 2005-06 FA Cup campaign?

Sadly, no!  As two late, late, goals sent Tooting through.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with after the game, Deres' boss Mick Acland admitted he was proud of his young heroes.

"Disappointed with the result obviously, but I think Tooting probably edged the game but we've got no experience in our side," he admitted.

"We have got to learn, if we learn from that we'll be allright.

"We had two or three players missing, which are vital to us.  We should have held on at 1-0 but that's football."

What Acland is currently missing is a player who can put their foot on the ball and spray passes around the pitch.  Sadly, former Dartford midfielder Mark Horan was one of those unavailable players.

"I thought in the second half we did very well because in the first half we were marking (players) too far away," Acland said.

"We pushed up and I think that made them work very hard for their victory.

"It's a bit unfortunate but they can hold their heads up.  We have just told them how proud we are."

Tonight we saw promising signs from this young team, which should bode well for their Kent League campaign.

"Tooting are a better team than the teams we'll play in the Kent League and let's be honest you look at the next round being Fisher away - now that's a tall order for them!

"The league has got to be priority.  The FA Cup is just a bonus isn't it?

"I think we want one or two experienced players and I think we can perform.  If we do that in the league games I think we'll beat a few Kent League sides," said Acland.

Still £500 from their extra preliminary round 4-2 home win over Hamble last weekend will come in useful.

Erith & Belvedere: Clark Hunt, Tom Maycock (Alex Craig 76), Barry Gibson, Tony Dakin, Luke Morrish (Capt), Tommy Martin, Steve White, Lee Sugden (Peter Afolayan 76), Darren Adams, Chris Dickson, Sam Friskey.  Subs:  Ozzie Akif, Ricky Hardie, Neil Murray (GK)

Tooting & Mitcham United:  Mark Torcaso, Aaron Day, Craig Tanner, Ted Hart, Danny Arkwright, Justin Bowen, Jamie Findlay, Scott Kinch (Capt), John Hastings, Jason Pinnock (Matt Howard 73), Mikael Munday (Gavin Grant 73).  Subs: Vernon Francis, Marcel Dennis, Fraser Muscat

Attendance:  215
Referee: Mr A Slaughter
Assistants: Mr L Collins & Mr S Baker