Thursday 01st September 2005

Slade Green boss blasts team for lack of heart

Slade Green 0-1 Sevenoaks Town
Tuesday 9 March 2004
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
by Martin Wiseman

This evenly contested clash was one of few scoring opportunities, and a mere three corners – 2 to Slade Green and 1 to Sevenoaks. 

Yet it was around this trio of corners that the game’s controversy and eventually winning goal from Sevenoaks all came. On 35 minutes Paul McCarthy took the ball around the Sevenoaks keeper, only to see his angled shot cleared off the line, and so earn no more than a corner, the game’s first.  The flag kick was met by Terry Hodgkinson who should have opened his goal account for Green, but for what looked to be a handball offence on the line by a visiting defender.  McCarthy and Darren Upson went into the book for arguing Green’s case a tad too strongly. 

Five minutes later, just after Shaun Malyon had won Green’s second corner, McCarthy netted for Green.  But this ‘goal’ was nullified by a linesmen’s flag, who later confirmed his decision was based on an illegal challenge, on keeper Smart, a few seconds earlier.

Smart needed 4 minutes of attention before he was able to continue.  Joe Frimpong - making his first full appearance for Green – miscued an attempted clearance onto his own crossbar after 58 minutes, which won Sevenoaks their first and last corner. 

From it Green’s defence got into a right old pickle, and Clarke’s cross shot was bundled in by Dave Forster on the far post. 

With Paul Vines stranded out of his goal there was a clear hint of offside about the strike, but it wasn’t to be Slade Green’s night, and the goal was allowed to stand. 

Lacking the width and crossing qualities of Dave Martin – the latest to be lured away by offerings from Thamesmead, Green’s only real threat on Town’s goal came in that lively period leading up to half time - a period that was extended a full 10 minutes due to lengthy treatments required, not only to the visiting keeper, but also to Terry Hodgkinson, who had to be substituted later on.

This substitution saw the introduction of yet another new face for Green, Andrew Brown.  Nine minutes into the pre break time added on McCarthy sent in a worthy 30 yarder which had keeper Smart living up to his name. 

While on a bitterly cold evening, Green took time to warm to their task, Sevenoaks called the tune during the opening half hour without ever seriously threatening the home goal.

In truth, but for the 58th minute clincher, the only occasion a goal looked lively after the break came when Paul Vines dallied in making a clearance and he had the concern of seeing his eventual clearance ricochet off the inrushing Clarke, and fly not a million miles wide of his goal’s upright.

Despite their mid-table status, Sevenoaks have yet to record their first Kent League draw, with over 20 league games played!! 

Justice would have been served had the 9th March 2004 been the date for this odd statistic to have come to and end.  But it was not to be.  If Green were to take any solace from the evening it would have to be the return from injury of Scott Lewis, Phil Miles, Shaun Malyon and Mark Barton.

Slade Green manager, Phil Miles blasted his players after the defeat.  He said: "At the end of this season I am due to leave the manager's job at Slade Green, our performance against Sevenoaks Town on Tuesday night has done little to make me re-think my decision, in fact after that performance I might aswell go now.

"The players let me, Peter, Rob, Graham, Slade Green FC, but more importantly themselves down, they lacked any kind of skill, spirit, ability to get the ball down and play, but most worrying of all, from my point of view, was the lack of HEART shown.

" I don't often have a go at the players but maybe it's time for some of them to move on, they obviously don't care as much as I do about football and their standards are obviously not very high if they can perform like they did.

"Some are seemingly going through the motions and this fact is underlined when you hear them laughing and joking 5 minutes after such a pathetic performance, I know we don't pay them anything but I always felt the players we have had a pride in what they did, how wrong can one be.

"Maybe I'm blowing it out of proportion or over reacting to our defeat, I don't believe I am, I would lose to any team if our performance is right but Tuesday was unacceptable and won't be tolerated by me or this football club."