Bridon Ropes 0-1 Tunbridge Wells - We've got history in the competition but these boys want to write their own chapter and do their own things, says Tunbridge Wells' boss Jason Bourne

Wednesday 19th September 2018
Bridon Ropes 0 – 1 Tunbridge Wells
Location Meridian Sports & Social Club, 110 Charlton Park Lane, Charlton, London SE7 8QS
Kickoff 19/09/2018 19:45

The Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round Replay
Wednesday 19 September 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Charlton Park Lane

TUNBRIDGE WELLS manager Jason Bourne says it’s down to the current crop of players to rewrite their own chapter of FA Vase history for the club.

The 2013 Wembley Finalists made hard work to beat Bridon Ropes but progressed through to the First Round courtesy of a composed finish by willing runner Danny Powell on the stroke of half-time to seal a home tie against AFC Uckfield Town on Saturday 13 October.

Bridon Ropes came away from Culverden Stadium with a 1-1 draw at the weekend and were in fourth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 15 points on the board from their eight league outings and went into the game on a five match unbeaten run.

Tunbridge Wells arrived in Charlton sitting second from bottom in the Premier Division table with three points from six games but tonight’s win extended their unbeaten run to four games – but there was not a lot of difference between the two sides in a game where both goalkeeper’s didn’t have much to do.

“Just nice to get a win to be honest with you,” said Bourne, who was captain when the club played at Wembley Stadium.

“We played three Vase games and a game against Rusthall in the league, it’s four unbeaten. I know it’s only a little run but it gets us started.  We’ve kept a couple of clean sheets, which is more than pleasing for me.

“I don’t think we played particularly well today but the boys worked really hard, the same as they did on Saturday.  That’s all we can ever ask of them.  If they work hard, are organised, we’ll keep clean sheets and we’ll win games, especially with someone like Danny Powell working their socks off up top.”

Bourne revealed he doesn’t reflect on his home-town club’s appearance at Wembley Stadium to keep the pressure off them.

“We have tried to put that on the shelf a little bit because sometimes it creates a little bit of pressure for the lads,” explained Bourne.

“We’ll see how far we get. We’ve got history in the competition but these boys want to write their own chapter and do their own things. We take it easy, we don’t mention it in the changing rooms any more.  We used it as a bit of motivation previously, showing anything is possible, which it is. We’ll take the pressure of the lads, we don’t talk about it and see what these guys can do.”

Bridon Ropes manager James Doherty said: “It’s a bit of a hard one to swallow really, I don’t think there was much in the game tonight.

“I think we created more chances, they took their one main chance and that was the difference at the end of the day.

“I think what’s really come back to bite us was we should’ve won the first game. It’s football. Sometimes football ain’t fair. We’ll have to concentrate on the league really, that’s where our main priority is this season.

“We’re a young team and I think as we progress during the season they’re growing up, a few of my boys are turning into men in front of my eyes really.

“I mean Tunbridge Wells, they all get paid, my team don’t.  There’s a lot of positives.  We’re growing in stature and there’s just not much in it but there’s things you sort of notice and they’re young and you learn from your mistakes.”

Bridon Ropes came out of the traps on the front foot for the opening 10 minutes, before Tunbridge Wells weathered the storm and came out of their shell before it was pretty even from 20 minutes onwards.

Centre-half Jake Hampson hit the ball down the left channel for Tunbridge Wells lone striker Powell to chase and he held the ball up before crossing the ball, which was cleared out to Josh Biddlecombe but he smashed his right-footed angled volley over the top of the far post from just outside the corner of the box after nine minutes.

Sloppy defending from Bridon Ropes’ centre-half Charlie Hopwood and holding midfielder Sam Cassell gave Powell a sniff at goal but his shot on the turn lacked power and Levi Rutherford picked up a rolling ball quite easily.

Bourne said: “Powell ran them absolutely ragged in the first game and as soon as they saw him turn up and see he was on the team sheet today, they would’ve had nightmares.

“He got off to a good start. We put balls in those areas for him to go and work. It’s something that we looked at for the first game and to be fair the boys executed what was did and it paid dividends.”

“You’ve got to be switched on at all times, especially as a centre-half,” said Doherty.

“We went back to a back four tonight – we’ve been playing three at the back. 

“We had a few players out tonight like Richard Jimoh our top goalscorer (with 10 goals) so we sort of had to change our formation a little bit just to suit the players I had.

“I said before the game that Powell was their dangerman. He runs the channels, the work-rate of the lad was unreal first and second game. He was a threat throughout and they should’ve been aware of that but I thought after that they pretty much kept him at bay.  It was a game of few chances and I thought they done alright after that.”

Bridon Ropes impressed down the right with brothers Cameron Anderson-Parr (right-back) and Tyler Anderson-Parr (winger) and Doherty revealed there is interest from down the road in Tyler.

Cameron released Tyler, who cut inside before drilling a left-footed dipping drive just over the crossbar from 20-yards in the 15th minute.

“The twins are great players.  I’m sort of an old school sort of player and manager and these lads, I’ve never seen anything like it! The work-rate what they give to the team is just second to none and they ring me up and ask how they can improve and there ain’t much I can really tell them apart from they can work on their finishing.

“But if they score 15-20 goals they’re not going to be at Bridon. Tyler’s got (League One side) Charlton looking at him anyway. They’ve been to a couple of games.  We had Henry Dasofunjo on the bench tonight, Charlton are looking at him as well. He’s got a slight knock but I couldn’t risk him, we’ve got a big game (at Kent Football United) coming up on Saturday.”

Bourne added: “Both are very good players.  In my opinion a lot better than the level that they’re playing at but they linked up well in both games.”

When asked about the home side having more of the ball, Bourne replied: “They’re a very good footballing side, they’ve got some great players in the middle of the park, who are all very comfortable on the ball and you can see why they’re doing well in their league and I’m sure they’ll have a very good season.

“We knew they would have a lot of possession against us but we also knew by them having possession they’ll be spaces that we can go and exploit.  We made sure we were nice and tight and nice and compact and maybe let them have possession at times so we can counter.”

Tyler Anderson-Parr switched flanks and wriggled his way into the Tunbridge Wells box but Cameron Hall came off his line and smothered the ball at his feet.

Bridon Ropes hit Tunbridge Wells on a counter-attack on the half-hour mark.

Powell’s cross was poorly cleared and Jake Beecroft twisted and turned his man inside the box but was tackled by Adam Smith, who launched a big kick up field to release winger John Woodcock down the left.  He whipped in a great cross towards the near post but lone striker Nathan Simpson headed over.

Assistant referee Ronald Albert raised his flag for offside to disallow Drew Crush’s finish, hooking in Biddlecombe’s flick on after Beecroft’s free-kick.

Bourne said: “The officials weren’t always going to get it right but at half-time they explained why they gave it.  They’ll always do their best but I thought they got it wrong! From where I was it bounced off one of the Bridon players, went into Crush’s path and he scored.”

Doherty agreed, admitting the ball came off his centre-half Hopgood.

Doherty added: “It’s a weird one because at first, I didn’t think it was offside because it looked like it came off our player.  It came of Charlie’s belly and then it fell to their player and he’s stuck it in. It was a great finish but luckily enough the linesman flagged it.”

Both sides won four corners a piece and Woodcock swung in the ball from the left and Jordan Downes’ hooked shot deflected off Crush’s outstretched leg and looped over the bar. 

Woodcock’s next flag-kick was cleared out to Cameron Anderson-Parr, who sliced his shot wide from outside the box.

Visiting keeper Cameron Hall launched a big kick upfield and Rutherford didn’t come out to gather the ball which resulted in Hopwood failing to clear his lines and this allowed Biddlecombe to roll a weak left-footed shot into the keeper’s hands from 25-yards.

Tunbridge Wells sealed the victory just four seconds into added on time at the end of the first half.

The Wells cleared a Bridon Ropes throw from the right and Powell collected the ball at his feet on the half-way line and tapped the ball short to Beecroft, who played a sublime through ball through the heart of the pitch.  Bridon’s left-back Finlay Chambers was at the heart of defence and had yards on Powell initially, but the Wells striker won the foot race and kept composed to place his right-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from 14-yards.

Bourne said: “It was a lovely finish. There’s not many people like Beecroft, you know he’s going to thread that quality ball and Danny made a run off the side of him. I thought he maybe took it a little bit too wide, an extra touch too many, but that’s a great finish.  Danny worked his socks off and he got what he deserved.”

Doherty said: “I think the problem was before then. We had a throw, they cleared it and Sam Cassell has let it run across his body instead of controlling it.

“It was right on the stroke of half-time.  Powell is a great player, he does the dirty stuff really well. He runs the channels. I think every team would have him in their team because the dirty stuff he does. He runs the channels, he runs after the rubbish, he runs after more rubbish but he’s always getting something and he got his reward and it just so happened to be the winning goal tonight. On his performance he deserves something on the night. I think he is a very, very good player.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Doherty said: “It was gutting because the half-time team talk was just going to be go out and do it again.  I thought we had more of the game and it’s horrible to say because I know football’s completely different. You’ve got teams that will play a certain way and another team will play another way but we try to play and I thought there was one team out there today trying to play football.

“I think Tunbridge Wells play to their strengths and it is getting Powell in behind and it was just going to be go again but because we conceded a goal I had a little bit of a dig at them because it’s probably the fourth or fifth time that we’ve conceded right on half-time or in the 90th minute, so it goes down to game management.

“I can’t dig them too much because they’re a young team and it’s stuff you have to learn from your mistakes and it will come and I’m just hoping they’ll get it out of their system so we can crack on in the league.”

Bourne added: “I don’t think the goal changed my half-time team-talk very much because we knew we’d always be a threat in there. Nothing really changed.  We knew we wasn’t keeping enough possession and we didn’t get on the ball as much as we would like.  We were going to let them have it in areas that weren’t going to hurt us and our shape was good.”

Bridon Ropes created an opening just 70 seconds into the second half when Smith (who replaced Cassell as the holding midfielder) found space further up the pitch before lashing his left-footed half-volley high over the crossbar.

Bridon Ropes deservedly had a goal chalked off by Ronald Albert in the 59th minute when Cassell used his hand to force the ball into the net following yet another great delivery from Woodcock.

Doherty said: “It was a great ball in and he seems to think it hasn’t hit his hand so again the linesman has seen it, who am I to say it was handball or it wasn’t? He gave it offside in the first half so it just seemed to rebound off him and if it’s hit his hand it’s hit his hand. If it hasn’t, it hasn’t.  We just have to move on and get on with it really.”

Bourne said: “It was a big handball! I’d be very, very disappointed if it wasn’t given. I could see it from where I was. The linesman had a good view of it.  It was never a goal but it was a little warning shot on the hour.”

Tunbridge Wells went close following a well-worked set-piece when left-back Alfie Hall played a low free-kick into Powell’s down the left and he held the ball up superbly and cut the ball back for Biddlecombe, but he lacked the finish and hit his first time shot just over the crossbar a couple of yards inside the box.

Bourne said:  “We knew a second chance would come. We spoke about it at half-time and when the second chance does come Powell would put it away and put the game to bed.  We made little openings like that and got in a few times but we wasn’t able to convert.”

Bridon Ropes manager Doherty went for it and brought on big target-man Mojeed Adisa and he gave Crush something to think about for the rest of the game.

Woodcock swung in his fourth corner, which was cleared out to Chambers, who smacked his right-footed volley just over the crossbar.

Left-back Downes looped a long throw into the box and Adisa and Crush jumped up together at the far post and Cameron Hall caught the ball.

But Bridon Ropes missed a glorious chance with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Smith cleared the ball from outside his penalty area and Cameron Anderson-Parr hooked the ball out to Woodock on the right. He cut inside and hung up a cross which was chested by Adisa before he cracked his volley over the crossbar from eight-yards out.

Doherty added: “It was exactly the same as the first game. I thought we had the run of the game but as for clear-cut chances there weren’t many.  One thing my team don’t do, they don’t give up and they do keep going.

“Mo’s a great lad. He’s joined us this season from Meridian. He’s been fantastic around the club, around all of the lads and he’s always happy and at the minute he’s having a bit of a rough time in front of goal.  He just needs one to go off him, off his bum. I think he’s hit the post four or five times this season. Being a forward myself, every striker goes through these spells. I’m sure he’ll come good for us.”

Bourne added: “It was a good chance. He came on, they brought him on at a similar time in the first game and someone of that physique, he’s very mobile as well. Someone of that physique is always going to draw other players to him and make space for others. I thought Crush dealt with him well. He had a little chance. For all of their possession I don’t think they had many but maybe he should’ve done a bit better but we’re due a bit of luck.”

Tunbridge Wells failed to impress in the final third and relied on Powell’s hard work to see them through and with Crush and Hampson resilient, Bridon Ropes didn’t test the visiting keeper at all.

Bridon Ropes biggest chance of scoring was from Woodcock’s set-pieces and Smith sliced his half-volley wide from 25-yards as the ball was cleared out to him inside the final three minutes.

Bridon Ropes attracted their largest crowd of the season as 101 came through the turnstiles.  Tunbridge Wells have banked £725 in prize money for winning, while Bridon Ropes exit at their first hurdle has scooped them £250 from The FA.

“It’s lovely that Bridon Ropes are even apart of the Vase.  I think it’s a game for the committee and a little bit of prize money goes a long way with Bridon because we haven’t got a lot,” said Doherty, who at the age of 34 has been at the club since the age of 15.

Tunbridge Wells play league games against Canterbury City (home) on Saturday, K Sports, Bearsted and Punjab United before locking horns with AFC Uckfield Town in the next round.

“Our keeper in the last game was superb and made some great saves but I don’t think he had too much to do. I don’t think he actually made a save in the whole game so it’s just testament to the boys how well they defended and how hard they worked,” added Bourne.

“We’re starting to get a bit of a settled side, starting to build a little bit of momentum.  We’d want more points in the league but cups just gives you a bit of momentum and gets you started and gets a good feeling back in the camp and that’s really what we forged last year. Cup wins was the basis of everything we done well.

“I don’t know a massive amount about Uckfield. They’re on a great run (going into Saturday’s home FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie against Dartford on a 12-match unbeaten run). They’ve beaten a couple of teams in our league earlier this season so we’ll do our homework but we’ll enjoy this tonight.

“We’ll set up the same against Canterbury and work our socks off and pick up some much needed points.”

Bridon Ropes: Levi Rutherford, Cameron Anderson-Parr, Finlay Chambers, Sam Cassell (Adam Saunders 82), Charlie Hopwood, Luke Hewitt (Matt Dennis 58), Jordan Downes, Adam Smith, Nathan Simpson, Tyler Anderson-Parr (Mojeed Adisa 68), John Woodcock.
Subs: Henry Dasofunjo, James Doherty

Booked: John Woodcock 41, Adam Saunders 90

Tunbridge Wells: Cameron Hall, Alexx Kendall, Alfie Hall, Jonathan Shea, Drew Crush, Jake Hampson, Jared Trespaderne (Connor Charlton 77), Ian Parsons, Danny Powell, Josh Biddlecombe (Jordan James 86), Jake Beecroft.
Subs: Jordan Haylett, Michal Czanner

Goal: Danny Powell 45

Booked: Jonathan Shea 35, Danny Powell 90

Attendance: 101
Referee: Mr Abdulaziz Olol (Elmers End)
Assistants: Mr Ronald Albert (Catford, London SE6) & Mr Peter Agboola (Walworth, London SE17)