Chatham Town 0-5 Aveley - There's a severe lack of quality, admits embarrassed Kevin Watson

Saturday 03rd January 2015
Ryman League Division One North
Saturday 3rd January 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Maidstone Road

CHATHAM TOWN boss Kevin Watson says he will not be paying his players after suffering an embarrassing 5-0 home defeat to fifth-placed Aveley.


Groundsman Barry Adams, chairman Jeff Talbot and other helpers worked tirelessly to get the Maidstone Road pitch playable ahead of the game and they were rewarded with Chatham Town’s worst performance of the season on a wet and murky day.

The Medway side’s fourteenth league defeat of the season saw Watson’s beleaguered side slip down a place to nineteenth (bottom six) in the Ryman League Division One North table on 28 points from 28 games, which leaves them six points clear of the relegation zone with eighteen games left.

Chatham Town have lost fourteen games by the odd goal, but the home fans in the rain soaked crowd of 143 were not expecting to see their struggling side leak five goals at home.

Aveley skipper Billy Holland gave his side a sixteenth minute lead from 30-yards, but Chatham Town were in the game going into the half-time interval.

But what was unacceptable was the manner that the Kent side capitulated during the second half.

Junior Baker came up from the back to head in a second, before winger Marcus Elliott slid in the third just before the hour-mark.

Chatham Town lacked character and desire to fight their way back into the game and Petrit Elbi was gifted a fourth, before Elliott scored his 12th goal of the season to wrap up a miserable day for Watson.

Watson, who was honest during the seventeen minutes interview, said: “Embarrassing! It’s not often I’m embarrassed.  I’m as accountable as all of the players.

“Still don’t think there’s a huge lack of effort, it’s a lack of quality. Some of them are not good enough.  They can be good enough in spells but not good enough consistently to perform at the desired level.

“They’ve seen the effort that’s been put in (to get the game played), but like I say I don’t think it’s a lack of effort.  I judge it sometimes because it’s a lack of effort, it reflects worse on me in terms of we’re not performing. They do try, but there’s a severe lack of quality, knowhow but you look at players and you think to yourself right either you can do and you won’t do it or they would do it but they can’t do it some of them.

“I like them all individually but the nature of what I’ve got to do if that’s the case there needs to be changes and there will be changes.  It’s not easy to make changes, that’s the issue, to get the right people in. We’ve gone through the process of trying to do that and we’ve know that for a little period of time.

“We played well against Cray Wanderers in the last game here and deserved the result (1-0 win) but even that game we should have seen the game off with a bit more quality and possibly some of the players that we’ve lost from last season, when we did do better last season, they had that quality.”

Watson lost inspirational skipper Matt Solly to a dislocated and broken ankle on New Years’ Day, which caused their away game at Thurrock to be abandoned and it appeared that this knocked the stuffing out of his team mates, especially during the second half today.

Solly watched his team-mates start the game well and they went close to taking the lead early on.

Laurence Collins played a free-kick into Liam Hickey, who bent his left-footed shot around the foot of the far post from 25-yards after only 111 seconds.

Collins then swung in a corner towards the near post from the right and Kane Phillip rose to send his free header across goal and past the far post.

Aveley manager Justin Gardner appeared to have told his side to shoot from distance and Holland issued Chatham a warning when he drilled his right-footed shot straight into Tom Wellham’s body from 30-yards.

But the home side threw away that warning when Jack Stevenson played the ball inside to Holland, who was given time and space to drill his left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of the net from 30-yards.

Watson said: “That’s what I’ve been saying to my lot especially in conditions like this.

“If you can get ten shots off in the first half, it sounds like a strange kind of target because they done that. They got three off quite early.

“It wasn’t the best struck shot but it had a little bit of accuracy about it on the surface.  He wasn’t closed down quick enough. I didn’t see it behind the goal. It’s always difficult, I’m not a goalkeeper to judge.  I thought Tom could have done better with that one. He obviously made amends a few minutes later with another one.”

Aveley winger Theo Ola also tried his luck from similar distance, his shot flashing past the left-hand post.

Chatham Town striker Junior Kaffo cut in and from 35-yards drilled his shot towards the far corner, his shot taking a deflection and going behind for a corner.

Collins swung in the resulting corner from the right with his left-foot towards the near post where Richard Davies came up from the back to nod wide.

Watson rued a great chance missed at the halfway point when central midfielder Jamie Taylor was put in behind the Aveley back four but his deflected left-footed shot sailed over the crossbar when he only had keeper James Marrable to beat.

Watson added: “You must hit the target! It’s hit straight and it’s hit high anyway. It’s not the way to finish that.”

Davies then played the ball out of defence to send winger Greg Benbow on his way, but he drove his left-footed shot past the near post from 30-yards.

Watson said afterwards that he was impressed with Davies’ contribution and the defender unleashed a 40-yard drive, which forced Marrable to dive to his right to push the shot around the post.

Watson added: “Yes, sadly enough, like I say, there was still effort from some players. I thought Richard Davies done well. I thought a couple of others done ok but you can’t, too many passengers to carry I’m afraid.”

Chatham Town were a threat from some excellent corners from the right by Collins and Liam Hickey was allowed to plant his header downwards for Marrable to make a smart block, low to his left.

Chatham Town squandered another good chance to get back into the game in the 37th minute.

Hickey clipped the ball out of defence to release winger Kane Phillip down the left and he whipped in an out-swinging cross to Kaffo, who curled his right-footed shot around the far post from 25-yards.

Phillips’ pace caused Mathias Bakare problems again before cutting the ball back to Taylor at the near post, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

But Aveley should have doubled their lead five minutes before the break.

Jack Stevenson pumped a free kick into the penalty area, which was headed back across goal by Deen and Elbi’s first time shot was brilliantly saved by Wellham, low to his left.

Aveley had the last chance of an end-to-end first half when Davies gave the ball away and Stevenson played in Elbi, whose right-footed drive forced Wellham to dive to his right to parry.

Reflecting on his side’s first half chances, Watson said: “Yes, but again they’re chances but they don’t seem like chances because the end product isn’t good enough!

“So ok there’s balls into the box and there was a one-on-one and things like that but it’s just that composure, that quality at times, that’s the difference.

“Aveley had desire to go and score goals and that’s why they are where they are in the league. They have that desire. They’re a team that keep at it and they have a level of consistency.”

Watson called for bravery for the second half – sadly he got a shocking performance from his players.

“I said to them that they have to be brave and get on the ball and play with a higher tempo and desire,” he said.

“You would think what happened at the Thurrock game – I was talking before the game about short careers – I’m not saying Matt Solly’s career is over because it’s obviously not, but football is a ruthless game and every time you go out to play, they’re playing at a decent place.  How many was watching today? Around 150 people watching them play, paying to watch them play.

“They’re getting their kit washed for them, they get given tracksuits, they get paid.”

Watson revealed: “They won’t get paid for today and I’ve never done that before and if that’s a problem….because there’s a lot of people that don’t get paid playing and we’ll see how much that means to them because they won’t get paid for today’s game.

“It’s not a case of the club robbing them, it’s a decision I’ve made. The club would pay them. As a manager that’s a decision I’ve made and some of the funds that would have gone on wages will go into the fund for Matt Solly and his injury.”

Chatham Town created a great chance to equalise after only 215 seconds, but that miss set the tone for the rest of the game.

Davies pumped the ball towards the edge of the Aveley penalty area and the ball slipped through to Phillip, who skied his shot over the bar from sixteen-yards.

Things started to go from bad to worse for Chatham Town as Aveley kicked into gear.

The Essex side doubled their lead in the 52nd minute when Dean swung in a free-kick from the right, the ball was flicked on across goal at the near post and Baker directed his header across Wellham into the net.

Watson told his players about Baker’s capabilities – watched in the stand by Keith McMahon his manager at Thamesmead Town - but he admitted it fell on deaf ears.

He said: “We know he’s a danger from set-pieces and we spoke about it before the game. He was the only one that I mentioned. Someone was allocated to mark him. In all fairness the first header that he got in off someone should have been tight to anyway.”

Aveley scored their third goal just five minutes later when Elbi reached the right by-line and cut the ball back across goal for the unmarked Elliot to slide the ball into the empty goal.

Watson added: “Again, nativity, getting sucked to the ball, not looking off your shoulder at people.

“But we’ll go through the goals now individually but there’s far more issues from those, actually who was making him there.  Like I say, there’s cracks everywhere!”

Aveley were clinical on the break but they were gifted their fourth goal in the 69th minute.

Chatham keeper Wellham’s clearance was charged down by Elbi, the ball striking the striker on his back and dropping into the empty goal.

The finger of blame was clearly pointed at the goalkeeper.

“Yes, risk and reward,” said Watson.

“You can come out and you can clear it. It can go down the other end but the risk is maybe you go a little bit safely and play to the side. It happened with their keeper when Junior (Kaffo) was shutting him down like that and it didn’t end up ricocheting against Junior and going in.”

All Watson could do was stand in the drizzle and watch his side take a pasting!

“It’s extremely frustrating at times, you do feel helpless,” Watson admitted.

“Like I say to them I can berate the ref about decisions, I can do things like that. I can get into an argument with their manager because you do feel helpless on the side sometimes when you’re giving information that people aren’t able to do it. We can see what’s going wrong and what we need to do and you get that message across but unless some individuals can do that, so one or two things happen.

“We get in individuals in who can do it or we have to adapt the information that we’re giving for the individuals to be able to cope and bring down the tactics to their level.”

Chatham Town lacked leadership out on the pitch.

“Lack of leadership, another issue,” admitted Watson.

“Matt Solly’s a different kind of presence. What you’re referring to is men. People like Peter (Hawkins, my assistant manager) can affect the game like that and there’s a few players around and they’re quite difficult to get hold off in their latter years, they tend to want a little bit of money and rightly so and collect as much as they can.

“There’s other teams we’ve played this season – I won’t name names – and they’re not doing that well and they’re paying the money. It’s swings and roundabouts really. It’s getting the right ones.”

And it was five in the 74th minute when Paul Preston charged down the left and swept the ball across goal towards the far post where Elliott’s last contribution to the game was to hook the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box.

Watson said: “I don’t think you should get beat 5-0 if you’re in the same league as a team. It’s a poor, poor result. You should not get beaten by five goals!”

Chatham full-back Joe Loft clipped a long ball into the Aveley penalty area, which Kaffo flicked his header into Marrable’s gloves for a comfortable catch.

Aveley squandered a chance to score a sixth goal when substitute Arian Retkoceri released Ola in behind Davies but the winger drilled his shot into the side netting when he only had Wellham to beat in the final three minutes.

Watson has seven days before welcoming tenth-placed Ware to Maidstone Road and needs to improve the club’s precarious league position.

He said: “We need to train. We need to re-group. We need to get on the phone. We need to try to find some new players. We need to speak to individuals. All that stuff happens in the working week when you’re trying to do your day job as well but that’s what we buy into. That part is what we sign up for going into management so we need to work together to do all those bits and pieces.”

Relegation will spell a return to the Southern Counties East Football League (the old Kent League) for the first time since 2000.

“It’s a concern, it’s definitely a concern,” admitted Watson.

“I’m not going to deny I am looking over my shoulder. I’m turning round and looking the other way.

“We’re treating it as if we are in it (relegation trouble) because you have to otherwise if you don’t and you’re naïve like that you do get sucked into it.

“We’ll work on things, trust me. We’re doing quite a lot to try and do it. There’s lots of hurdles and you can go into the bar now and you could say what do they need and everybody could tell you what we need and the sort of players we need and the things we need to do different.

“But when you actually have to put those things in motion and make it happen things are slightly more complicated.

“I spoke about the sort of hurdles that we’re up against in terms of the league we play in and finances and all those things.

“I don’t use them as excuses, it’s a reality we face but it’s what we know about and what we have to work with.

“We’ve been relatively successful in the past working with those kind of restraints if you like so you can’t use it as an excuse at this point.”

Chatham Town: Tom Wellham, Joe Loft, Laurence Collins (Austin Edwards 61), Jamie Taylor, Richard Davies, Liam Hickey, Kane Phillip (Owen Kabodi 61), Corey Holder, Junior Kaffo, Anthony Carlton, Greg Benbow (Ola Rabiu 55).
Subs: Lewis Knight, Lee Kidman

Booked: Junior Kaffo 33

Aveley: James Marrable, Mathias Bakare, Paul Preston, Junior Baker, Spencer Harrison, Ahmed Deen, Theo Ola, Billy Holland (George Essuman 63), Petrit Elbi (Steven Carvell 70), Jack Stevenson, Marcus Elliott (Arian Retkoceri 74).
Subs: Kyle Asante, Charlie Gregory

Goals: Billy Holland 16, Junior Baker 52, Marcus Elliott 57, Petrit Elbi 69, Marcus Elliott 74

Booked: Spencer Harrison 33

Attendance: 143
Referee: Mr Shaun Scott (Horley, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Shaun Farrer (Reigate, Surrey) & Mr Tim Hatt (Redhill, Surrey)