Thursday 01st September 2005

Striker high on the shopping list


Monday 25th
July 2005
Pre-Season Friendly Stephen McCartney reports from
Greatness Park
Sevenoaks Town 0  
Lewes 2 Lee Newman 36 (pen)
Ryan Bradley 83

A striker is high on the shopping list for Kentish Observer League side Sevenoaks Town, writes Stephen McCartney.

That was evident as they created only two chances against the reserve side of Nationwide Conference South outfit Lewes at Greatness Park tonight.

But the Sussex visitors did field several first team players, including strikers Lee Newman and Lee Farrell, who plays in the Deaf Olympic Games team for this country.

Sevenoaks' former Beckenham Town reserve team goalkeeper, John-Paul Green, however, impressed in goal for the home side, making a string of fine saves to keep the visitors at bay until the 36th minute.

His first save came after just seven minutes when his diving save allowed him to tip former Arsenal midfielder, Jerome Brown's rasping drive around the post.

Sevenoaks battled well throughout the game, but they did fail to have someone able to put their foot on the ball or hold the ball up, as they found the ball came back towards their defence as quickly as it went upfield.

However, their two shots on goal came just before the half hour mark when Lewes' goalkeeper, Michael Hunter's poor clearance was headed towards goal by Dave Waters from 30-yards and the goalkeeper was relieved to see the ball go wide of an open goal.

Two minutes later, Ross Cable clipped a 20-yard free kick over the four-man wall, but also over the crossbar.

Lewes took a deserved lead in the 36th minute when Newman found the bottom left hand corner from the penalty spot.

Farrell made a superb run with the ball just before the break. Picking the ball up in midfield, racing down the wing, he evaded a strong tackle, and cut the ball back from the by-line but Newman was denied by a fine block by the home goalkeeper, who impressed throughout.

Just after the break, Farrell evaded another strong tackle, and managed to get in a shot, but dragged it wide of the far post.

The Sevenoaks' management team made a string of substitutions after the hour-mark and Newman struck the foot of the near post after 66 minutes.

And when substitute Ryan Bradley captalised on Green blocking a goalbound shot, nodding home from close range, with seven minutes to go, it gave Sevenoaks' assistant manager, John Adams plenty food for thought.

With the Kent League fixtures announced earlier today, Adams' saw tonight's test a good way to prepare for the club's opening fixture at last season's runners-up Herne Bay on Saturday 13th August.

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk Adams said: "Lewes are a good side, and have got a lot of good young kids, looking for a contract offering.  We had our backs against the wall all the time.

"Pleased but disappointed we didn't have a shot at their goal.  We didn't really create chances.

"But when you think of the level of their football compared to us, we would rather have that then a kick about so it was a lovely work-out.

"This is our Herne Bay game to see how we can match up, as they are also a quick, fit side and can keep the ball.

"I think if we can defend better, don't forget we're playing trialists as well, (manager) Gary (Davies) changed the side again, so hopefully this will be good practice for us."

However, Adams wasn't too concerned with the ball don't sticking up front, as they won't be playing too many teams of this caliber in the Kent League this season.

"To be fair to the two lads up front, I think we were lacking quality giving them the ball," he said.

"The other side were fitter than us and quality does tell as you don't get chances to feed your own strikers, and the ball came back as quickly as it went up.

"The midfield didn't hold the ball.  In the first half we didn't count two or three passes.  The second half got better but you are always going to be chasing the ball.  But I wouldn't slaughter the front two, no."

And like every club in the land, Sevenoaks would like to add a quality striker to their squad.

"I think Gary would like a striker.  I think we would all like a decent striker that scored 20-25 goals a year.  But it's not possible in this standard.

"I think once we start playing Kent League football the we play will be Kent League.  Tonight we were chasing as we were playing a better side so I wouldn't be too disappointed about tonight."

Goalkeeper John-Paul Green did well tonight and he faces stiff competition with former Erith Town stopper, Craig Clark for the number one jersey vacated by the injured, Darren Smart.

"The keeper played exceptionally well tonight, and don't forget we've got two good goalkeepers now.  Both are fighting for their positions."

But Adams admitted the management trio of himself, manager Gary Davies, and coach Bryan Meaney are working hard.

He added: "It's only a matter of us getting it right - and I think we will get it right."

Sevenoaks Town:  John-Paul Green, Kris Hollidge, Dave Waters, Lee Coburn, Martin West (Andy King 75), Steve Simpson (Michael Cooke 67), Marvin Elliott (Danny Powell 61), , Dave Forster (Jack Pittaway 79), Ross Cable (Geoff Sweeting 61), Dominic Websdale, Toby Ademosu (Andy Hart 61)