Chatham Town 5-1 Camberley Town - I thought we controlled the game today and that's the most pleasing thing, says Chatham Town boss James Collins

Saturday 15th September 2018
Chatham Town 5 – 1 Camberley Town
Location Maidstone Road Sports Ground, Bournville Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME4 6LR
Kickoff 15/09/2018 15:00

The Buildbase FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Saturday 15 September 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Maidstone Road

CHATHAM TOWN manager James Collins says there’s a feel good factor around the club after thrashing a poor Camberley Town side to reach The FA Vase First Round for the first time in 19 years.

Chatham went into the game sitting at the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 16 points in the bag from seven games but Beckenham Town overtook them after thrashing Crowborough Athletic 7-1 at Eden Park Avenue to move two points clear with a game in hand.

Chatham Town centre-half Taylor McDonagh hooked in an early goal before Camberley Town – in the bottom six in the Combined Counties League Premier Division table with six points from seven games – levelled through a header from striker Marcus Cousins.

Chatham Town striker Paul Vines scored twice to take his impressive goalscoring tally to 10 before wingers Jon Pilbeam and his replacement Louis Clarke ensured it was a comfortable day for Collins men against Dean Greenwood’s side.

“It was comfortable. Although we have been scoring goals recently, we haven’t been controlling games and I thought we controlled the game today and that was the most pleasing thing,” said Collins, whose side have scored 31 goals in their opening 10 games of the season.

“We won 5-2 last week (at K Sports) but we wasn’t in control of the game, whereas today we was in control but we could’ve scored a few more.

“I don’t think it was a great performance last week and I said that, although you might think that’s negative after we’ve won 5-2. We created a lot of chances and we had a lot of chances against us and we’ve worked on something in training this week and always try to implement it and try to stop giving the ball away so much and getting the ball in better areas and we weren’t quite stretched today.

“We didn’t make too much of a thing about it being The FA Vase. It’s still early days, you can’t think about anything like that but I did say one team from Kent (Deal Town in 2000) has ever won this. If you do go out you want to go out fighting and give a good account of yourselves so I’m pleased to get through to the next round.”

Chatham Town opened the game on the front foot against a Camberley side that played with three centre-backs and two wing-backs, whose defensive shape made it a flat back five.

Striker Byron Walker played the ball inside to Michael Hagan, whose right-footed drive from 30-yards was destined to nestle inside the bottom left-hand corner, only for keeper Harry Birchnall to dive low to his right to hold.

“The throw is something that we’ve worked on, it’s been a bit of an Achilles heel since I’ve been down here and it was a good move from the throw,” said Collins.

“We wanted him to get on the ball, which we’ve asked them to do, express themselves. It was a good shot and a good save and that’s Michael’s first game in the 10 (role) and I thought he was outstanding today and played really well and it’s massively pleasing.”

Chatham Town opened the floodgates with seven minutes and 46 seconds on the clock.

Camberley had two defenders at the near post and no-one on the back post for all of Chatham’s corners and they were made to pay the ultimate price.

Jason Thompson swung in Chatham’s first of 10 corners towards the near post for McDonagh to find a pocket of space to hook the ball across the keeper and into the unguarded bottom far corner of the net.

“We went and had someone watch them last week, we’ve done our homework on set-pieces and stuff like that but it was something I challenged the boys to do,” said Collins.

“I think we must’ve had double figures on corners again today and we’re averaging 12 corners a game I think and we’re not scoring enough from them so I was well chuffed to get a goal from a corner.”

Chatham Town right-back Danny Grant had a great game and linked up well with Pilbeam during the first half.

Grant whipped in a low cross from the right and quiet striker Bryon Walker ghosted in at the far post to steer his shot past the near post from a tight angle from close range.

Camberley Town’s first of two shots on target came in the 18th minute when midfielder Steven Duff drilled a low left-footed drive from 35-yards, which was held by Ben Nourse low to his left on his knees.

“It was straight down his throat. I don’t count shots from outside the area.  I’ve always said that to players, if someone shoots and scores it’s a great goal,” added Collins.

Nourse launched a big kick forward and Vines flicked the ball out to Pilbeam, who hooked the ball in from the right-hand side of the penalty area and drew a comfortable save from Birchnall.

Camberley Town’s second shot on target brought their equaliser, which was timed at 22 minutes and 2 seconds on the clock.

Grant allowed Brad Smith and Duff get the better of him within the channel and Duff cut the ball back to left-wing-back Daniel Dansie, who whipped in a great first time cross with his left-foot and picked out Cousins at the far post, who found the bottom right-hand corner with a downward free-header from six-yards.

“I didn’t think they opened us up at all apart from their goal, which we could’ve done a lot better but it was a very good cross and a good header,” admitted Collins.

“I said to Jon Pilbeam, I thought he let the three (Dansie) just run off him and we speak about sometimes you get stretched in games. Ok, it’s not his man but you have to react to the nearest man and he went past him and he got a free cross in. After that it was a great cross and a great header.

“I was just disappointed to concede a goal really. I wanted to keep a clean sheet today, I always want to keep a clean sheet but I thought we were in control of the game. 

“You kind of worry a little bit but I wasn’t particularly worried because I know we can create chances but we missed quite a few.  It weren’t so much I didn’t think we’d score again, it was another sloppy goal and it’s becoming a bit of a thing and I hoped that would be the only one.”

Chatham Town squandered a glorious chance to regain control when Hagan’s through ball put Thompson through on goal and after cutting into the box and leaving the keeper on the floor the former Cray Valley midfielder lost his composure on the edge of the six-yard box and took too long to get a shot off and allowed left-sided centre-half Ben Hutchings to make a block on the goal-line and the ball looped over the crossbar.

“He done unbelievably well to get into that position. I don’t know if he span around so many times he was dizzy, I don’t know, but it was a great block! You want him to score then but it’s a great block really, unbelievable block,” added Collins.

Chatham Town took a while to get that miss out of their system but Camberley lacked quality in an attacking sense to trouble a Chatham defence which was well-marshalled by 32-year-old Richard Avery and McDonagh.

Avery could have got on the scoresheet when he met Thompson’s deep corner at the far post and held his head in his hands in despair after volleying past the near post from a tight angle.

Collins said:  “We don’t score enough goals from corners but I think if you’re missing chances like that, it’s not when you’re not creating them that’s the problem. Last season we barely created a chance. At any level of football you’re not going to score from every chance. You’ve just got to keep creating them.”

Chatham Town clinched the game with a second goal, which was timed at 41 minutes and 40 seconds.

Grant, who was impressive during the first half, although he stayed further back after the break, cut in from the wing and whipped in a great cross towards the near post.  Vines nipped in front of Jewell to head the ball past him and cut around him before hooking his shot across the keeper to score from six-yards.

“I said to him at half-time I didn’t think he was having his best game for us to be honest,” admitted Collins.

“In his defence he had one that blocked him and the other one that came for him on the head and hit him very hard and he’s got a fat lip.

“I felt he could’ve held the ball up but put the ball in the box he’s just lethal. I’ve never seen anything like it to be honest. That was just pure desire and from where I was standing I didn’t even know how he got in front of his man. He just loves scoring goals and he’s just been brilliant for us.”

Vines scored 28 goals for Thamesmead Town last season and Collins has high hopes for the striker one level lower.

Collins said:  “When I spoke to him (during the summer) he said he’s had a couple of people speak to him but he rang me two days later and I sold him my ideas on the club and told him the club’s ideas.

“He’s had a couple of Bostik League club’s come in for him since and he’s said he likes it here.”

Reflecting on his half-time thoughts, Collins said: “We’ve now scored 13 goals in our last three games, you can’t hammer them too much so I went through them individually what I felt they did well and could’ve done better and said just keep creating chances.

“I didn’t want to concede another goal. I didn’t want to concede sloppy goals or give sloppy possession away and I want us to control the game and I felt we did in the second half.”

The start of the second half started with a slow tempo but Camberley failed to call Chatham keeper Nourse into any kind of action.

A struggling Walker was replaced by Matt Parsons, who played on the left-flank, while Hagan moved forward to partner Vines.

Chatham Town sprung into life on the hour-mark when Grant fed the ball into Hagan’s feet outside the box and he played the ball out to Pilbeam, who cut inside and flashed a left-footed angled drive into the keeper’s hands for a comfortable save from 25-yards.

Collins said: “The first 20 minutes nothing really happened.  That is probably boring as it is to watch when that happens but that was the most pleasing 20 minutes because we’ve gone 2-1 up and we’ve managed the game.

“We knew they would have a little go for 20 minutes and we just weathered that storm without anything happening without conceding any chances and once we done that we just picked them off towards the end of the game.”

Chatham Town made it 3-1 with 16 minutes and 2 seconds on the clock, courtesy of Vines’ tap-in.

Thompson played the ball into Bedford, who rolled the ball out to Grant in space down the right wing and he cut inside and played the ball to Pilbeam, who reached the by-line to play a low cross across the goal-line for Vines in space at the far post and he couldn’t miss.

“He scores a lot of goals like that but it’s being in that position,” added Collins.

“You watch games and you constantly put balls across the box and there’s no-one there. He’s just got a knack of scoring goals.  I don’t think it’s lucky. 

“I spoke to him yesterday, we had a long chat for 45 minutes on the phone. He’s my captain and tried to understand how he works and he spoke about his career and he told me he just loves scoring goals and he’s just got that desire to be in there and he sniffs out a chance.

“He scored 28 goals in the league above, you’d like to think he’ll keep scoring. It’s not even just his goals, he’s just a top bloke as well. He’s been so good in the changing room. He’s good for me. He loves the game, he’s a big thinker about it and he wants to win. I wish I had him for the last 10 years!”

Grant clipped a diagonal cross towards Vines at the far post and he knocked a hanging header down for Hagan, who latched onto the dropping ball to hit his first time shot past the right-hand post from 18-yards.

“Danny played very well today.  I think with Danny, I’m his biggest critic because I know how good he can be but I don’t think he believes how good he is. He switches off sometimes and I thought he was outstanding today,” added Collins.

“Even hanging that ball up that Vinsey won and you’re thinking what’s he going to do> Michael Hagan made a great run and Hagan linked up well with Vinsey today. They’ve got a little bit of understanding coming to fruition and that would’ve been a great goal.  I thought we played some good football today at times.”

Camberley’s Duff drilled a left-footed free-kick a yard or so over the crossbar from 35-yards before Chatham Town’s fourth goal came with 25 minutes and 52 seconds on the clock.

Holding midfielder Bedford played a sublime through ball along the pitch which cut open Jewell to put Pilbeam through on goal and he applied the finish, right-footed across the keeper into the far corner from 16-yards.

“Pilbeam got a rocket off me because I didn’t feel he was working very hard first half and I said to him ‘are you ill?’ because he’s been brilliant for us,” revealed Collins.

“Russell sees a pass and Russell’s been really good for the last two games. It was a great ball. He was trying to play it for five minutes and he was trying to get Pilbeam to come in and it was a lovely finish as well.”

McDonagh was substituted, so Reece Butler moved across from left-back to partner Avery in the heart of defence, while Parsons moved back to a more natural position of left-back.  Luis Dos Santos, 16, then came on as a left-winger and showed some good touches to impress his manager.

“He’s just turned 16, it was a lovely weighted pass,” said Collins.

“We started a 16-year-old at left-back the other day. We’ve got an under 18s playing under 21s but they’ve got two years at under 18s and they look very good. Three of them, two have played for the reserves today and Luis come on.

“He played in pre-season and scored and done well when he was 15 and we were like wow! We’ve been waiting to edge him in. I put him on the bench the other week because we were short on numbers and then the game opened up and he came on and was fantastic.  He earnt the right again and I’ll try to give him as many minutes as I can and introduce him to men’s football.

“He’s got no pressure, just to go and express himself and anything these boys do this year is a massive bonus. It’s good for the club they’ve got people coming through and I’ve always tried to promote young players so he is an exciting prospect.”

Santos found a pocket of space on the edge of the box but Vines ignored him and decided to tee up Pilbeam, whose right-footed deflected drive from outside the box was held by the busy Birchnall.

Greenwood came off the bench to play as a holding midfielder to protect a slow Camberley defence and even pushed three men up front (Duff, Cousins and Smith) but Nourse will have busier days than this one.

Santos released Vines down the left channel and the striker cut into the Camberley box and as Jewell slid in, the striker drilled his shot past the near post.

Hagan then cracked a right-footed dipping drive towards goal from 20-yards, which was caught by Birchnall, who launched the ball up field for Cousins to drill his right-footed shot on the turn from 30-yards, which screamed past the far post at the other end.

Chatham Town scored their fifth goal with 42 minutes and 31 seconds on the clock.

Butler played the ball along the deck to Bedford, who released Vines down the left. He sped into the penalty area and reached the by-line on the left and tried to curl his shot around the keeper into the far corner – but Clarke powered his diving header into the goal from underneath the crossbar to deny Vines his hat-trick.

“I said to him was it going in and he said no,” confirmed Collins.

“I’m pleased Louis scored because he’s been brilliant for us. He’s done pre-season, he’s not missed a session. He’s come down from Corinthian, done the sessions and didn’t even speak to me about money or training expenses or anything like that. 

“He’s been on the bench, he’s not got on and he’s played for the reserves. There was an accident on the M25 on Thursday and we only had 12 at training and he was the 12th man. I said it’s tough, so I was well pleased I got him on and he scored. He’s a lovely lad and he’s only come out of 18s football last year so another promising youngster.”

Camberley created one late chance when Duff played the ball inside to Greenwood, who sliced his powerful drive past the far post from 25-yards.

Chatham Town play Crowborough Athletic (at home next Saturday), Sheppey United (away, 25 September), Rusthall (away, 29 September) and at home to Deal Town (6 October), before playing in the First Round of The FA Vase on 13 October.

“I’ve not had a bad record – I’ve won some cups and stuff – and it would be lovely to progress.  You can’t really think about it, it’s another game and it’s nice to score some goals and just keep that winning mentality going,” said Collins, who wants a home draw in the next round.”

This Chatham Town side can go far in The FA Vase this season but Collins warns: “It depends on who you draw. There’s some good teams in our league and there’s good teams in leagues scattered around.  I think that Combined Counties League is strong. We played Walton & Hersham in The FA Cup and I thought they were decent.

“It’s just who you draw.  You can draw a game you think you can win on paper and you have a player sent-off in the first five minutes and you’re down to 10 men. You do need an element of luck and you need to play well on the day and turn up. The best team doesn’t always win cup games on any given day you’ve got a chance in the cup.”

Collins, who banked £725 in prize money with this win, while Camberley Town take home £250, added: “It’s good for the club to get a little bit of money.  Every little helps the chairman.  I think there’s a feel good factor because we’re winning games.”

Chatham Town: Ben Nourse, Danny Grant, Reece Butler, Russell Bedford, Richard Avery, Taylor McDonagh (Luis Dos Santos 74), Jon Pilbeam (Louis Clarke 79), Jason Thompson, Paul Vines, Byron Walker (Matt Parsons 66), Michael Hagan.
Subs: Jack Mahoney, Tom Fitzgerald

Goals: Taylor McDonagh 8, Paul Vines 42, 62, Jon Pilbeam 71, Louis Clarke 87

Camberley Town: Harry Birchnall, Mark Jordan, Daniel Dansie, Daniel Jewell, William Neville, Ben Hutchings, Steven Duff, Sam Bello-Balogan, Brad Smith, Marcus Cousins, Steve Brown (Dean Greenwood 67).
Sub: Jack Dean

Goal: Marcus Cousins 23

Booked: Steve Brown 65

Attendance: 136
Referee: Mr Thomas Price (Brighton, East Sussex)
Assistants: Mr Phillip Wilks (Brighton, East Sussex) & Mr Perry Hart (Peacehaven, East Sussex)