Cray Valley (Paper Mills) 2-1 Glebe - I thought the refereeing reached an all time low and something has to be done, insists Glebe chairman Rocky McMillan

Saturday 13th April 2019
Cray Valley (Paper Mills) 2 – 1 Glebe
Location Badgers Sports Ground, Middle Park Avenue, Eltham, London SE9 5HT
Kickoff 13/04/2019 15:00

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Saturday 13 April 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Middle Park Avenue

GLEBE chairman Rocky McMillan says something has to be done about the poor refereeing in the Southern Counties East Football League after his team had two players sent-off at title-chasing Cray Valley.

Centre-half Scott Kinch was shown a straight red card for a handball on the line in the 55th minute – which was the correct decision made by referee Stuart Marriott – but a second yellow card for 16-year-old centre-half Joshua Crispin seven minutes later was very harsh.

Chris Edwards drills a late winner for Cray Valley to win the local derby against nine-man Glebe to maintain the pressure on leaders Corinthian with three league games remaining.
Photo: Allen Hollands

“I thought this afternoon’s refereeing reached an all-time low,” claimed Mr McMillan.

“Glebe players battled against two baffling sending offs and a lack of consistency.

“The players were superb out there today and their effort deserved decent refereeing!

“To say I’m furious is an understatement! Something has to be done! I’ll join in any committee discussion but trust me every club feels the same about this season.

“It’s all too easy to hide behind excuses – today, the lad had a total mare!”

Glebe manager Peter Sweeney, meanwhile, got his tactics spot on as they nullified Cray Valley’s attacking threat, which was without Kevin Lisbie and Calum Willock, while Glebe’s Danny Phillips was suspended.

But the game turned in the Millers’ favour when Kinch used his hand to block Gavin Tomlin’s overhead kick and referee Mr Marriott pointed to the spot and pulled out a red-card.

Tomlin stepped up and scored his 14th goal for the club from the resulting penalty-kick but when Crispin was shown his second yellow card – for two fouls on Francis Babalola and his only fouls of the game – Glebe faced a mountain to climb.

Glebe grabbed an equaliser with nine men through Jack Harris’ near-post side-footed finish following a free-kick with 18 minutes remaining but Chris Edwards smashed a first time half-volley into the net from 18-yards to win it for Cray Valley late on.

“Disappointed to be honest with you.  I don’t really talk about officials but I thought the ref was harsh and poor in the two decisions he made to send our players off,” claimed Sweeney.

“Against a team like Cray as soon as it happens it’s an uphill battle but credit to my boys they dug in and we got the equaliser and they nearly held on. I’m proud of them, I’m proud of my team.”

Both sides linked up with three centre-halves and two wing-backs each and midfield was a packed area as Sweeney got his tactics spot on in this local derby.

“Listen, Cray are a very, very good side and it’s about nullifying their qualities and yes we did that very well,” said Sweeney.

Cray Valley manager Kevin Watson admitted: “We were poor! We didn’t deserve to win the game. Yes, you’d take the result. I suppose there’s been games that we’ve deserved to win and not got the results but you’d take it.  I thought we were alright in the first half but second half especially when they went down to 10 men and nine, we were worse!”

Cray Valley created their first opening inside the opening five and a half minutes following their first of seven corners.

Anthony Edgar drove the ball in from the right towards the far post and Ashley Sains – the centre of a three man defence – rose to plant his header just over the crossbar.

Glebe took nearly 19 minutes to create their first opening but it fell to Kinch, who was the central figure in their three central defensive line-up.

Jack Clark floated in a free-kick, which failed to beat the first man and Stacy Long picked up the loose ball, cut onto his left-foot and decided against shooting from 25-yards. Instead, he played the ball over to Kinch on the other side of the penalty area but he drilled a first time shot into the allotments from 25-yards.

The first half produced a local derby which was short on quality.

Halfway through the half, Glebe keeper Tommy Taylor made a comfortable save at the second attempt.

Lea Dawson and Tomlin linked up inside Glebe’s final third and Edgar cut onto his left-foot and his 30-yard drive stung Taylor’s fingers but the keeper gathered.

Watson said: “I know it’s a cliché, he hit it too well. He struck it quite nicely but the goalkeeper’s dealt with it.

“We got in a few decent areas in the first half. It just lacked that little bit of composure at times.  I thought the first half was ok though. I thought for 30 minutes we controlled it. I thought they came into it for 15 minutes or so.”

Sweeney added:  “They were threatening first half, like they were always gonna but I thought our shape was brilliant.

“I thought we worked hard and we stopped their qualities for a lot of the game but when you’ve got nine men for that length of time, even with 10 men, it’s going to be difficult to stop them.”

Glebe were playing some direct football at times, as they tried to hit big target man Harris and Henry Adeniran, who is on dual-registration from Dulwich Hamlet.

Glebe were denied the lead in the 39th minute, courtesy of a superb flying save from Andy Walker.

Long skipped past Liam Hickey and controlled a ball that was bouncing about like a hand grenade on the right-hand side of the penalty area before he cut the ball back for Sam Edwards, who teed up Clark, whose rasping drive from 22-yards took a deflection and forced Walker to dive high to his right to use his right hand to push over the crossbar.

Visiting keeper Taylor made a comfortable low catch to prevent Edgar scoring from the left-hand side of the D on the edge of the Glebe penalty area as an uninspiring first half came to a close.

“We’ve had a few free-kicks and we’ve scored a couple during the season but we need to do a bit better. It’s hard sometimes to get free-kicks around the box and we need to do a bit better with,” admitted Watson.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

Watson said: “We spoke about a few things. We need to do better because we didn’t finish the half well. I can’t say my team-talk didn’t work but sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.

“Football is difficult, you’re asking players to do things. It’s easy from the side but for them to actually execute it, it’s difficult.”

Sweeney said: “Just keep doing what you’re doing! Work hard, we’ll get chances. I thought our set-pieces had to be a tiny bit better because we’ve got quality in the team.  I thought we’d get another chance from a set-piece.”

Glebe were to be denied a deserved lead inside the opening six minutes of the second half, thanks to a brilliant save from Walker.

Long poked a through ball through to Sam Edwards who broke free of the Millers defensive line and was destined to curl a right-footed shot around the keeper into the far corner from 15-yards, only for Walker to dive and tip the ball around the post for a corner.

“Their keepers pulled off two unbelievable saves, one in the first half and one in the second half,” said Sweeney.

“That was a good move from us. It would’ve been a great goal but fair play to the keeper, it was a great stop.  If he doesn’t pull them off, there’s not many keepers in this league that would’ve made those saves so really we could’ve been 2-0 up but that’s why Cray are where they are.”

Watson added: “Walks was the one who probably came out with the most credit out of the team I felt.

“I thought Walks made some very good saves and he made a very good save in the second half. That’s his job and he does it very well.

“We’ve still got the opportunity to use Deren Ibrahim when needed. It was never going to be a replacement or a long-term thing but I’ve said all along Walks is the captain and it’s important he plays and he does well.”

Cray Valley linked up well down the right with Edgar and Denzel Gayle, whose angled drive forced Taylor to dive to his left to make a fine block only for Gayle to scream a shot past the foot of the near post.

Cray Valley were given a big helping hand to take the lead, with 11 minutes and 45 seconds on the clock.

Edgar released Babalola down the right channel and he hung over a cross which was met by an overhead kick by Tomlin inside the penalty area. His attempt beat Taylor to his right but Kinch used his hand near to the goal-line and was deservedly shown a straight red card (09:57 on the clock).

Captain Kinch took a very long time to trudge of the pitch as the incident happened at the allotment end of the ground, hoping this would put Tomlin off.

Tomlin stepped up and sent Taylor the wrong way, placing his right-footed penalty into the right-hand side of the net to score his 14th goal since his move from Dulwich Hamlet.

“It was hard to see, it happened quite quickly didn’t it,” said Watson, when asked about the handball.

“If that was the case, it was a red card.  It’s hard to have a lot of sympathy for teams when it’s the opposition.

“I like Glebe, I like their management, chairman, I like the club but we’re here to win games. If it’s an advantage to us over the course of the season I don’t think we’ve had loads of things necessarily go our way so maybe that did.

“He’s getting on a bit Kinchy so it’s probably took him a while (to leave the pitch), but I didn’t watch the penalty but I think the goalkeeper’s gone the wrong way from what I was told.  I don’t watch penalties.”

“I didn’t as much see that one. I mean they’re going to call for it,” said Sweeney, when asked about Kinch’s handball.

“Tomlin’s a good player, he’s been about and you give a player like Tomlin a penalty, you know what’s going to happen.”

The goal lifted the Millers tempo for a short period as Glebe looked to be on the ropes.

Following a short corner with Tomlin, Edgar played the ball into Chris Edwards, whose driven shot was parried by Taylor, who caught the follow-up drive from centre-half Hickey just before the hour-mark.

Only the referee will know why he dished out a second yellow card for the unfortunate Crispin, who committed only his second foul of the game with 62 minutes on the clock.

Sweeney said: “Josh’s made two fouls in the game and he’s got two bookings! The first one in the first half isn’t even a booking. I gave him (the referee) the benefit of the doubt and his next foul, he sends him off!

“It’s just frustrating! You work hard in training and a decision can just be taken away from you with a stupid decision and the thing that disappointed me, was no consistency. 

“There were fouls like that happening all over the pitch but no bookings. I don’t want players to be booked, I just want consistency, so it’s disappointing.”

Watson added: “It weren’t a nasty game but I think the first one, I actually don’t think it was him that committed the foul, it could’ve been the other lad but if it was a foul we do have a lot of fouls against us.  I don’t think it was that sort of game so maybe it was a bit harsh.”

Watson, meanwhile, is proud of the fact that his side have yet had a player sent off this season – but his players have picked up 58 yellow cards in all competitions this season.

“We haven’t had a red card. We’ve had 58 yellow cards, which is probably the lowest in the league. We’ve won the respect award for quite a few months so I think that’s important.  We do have that philosophy but I think over the course of the season not having a lot of suspensions and things like that is an advantage. It’s hard work and we do have to stay on top of that.”

Sweeney was forced into making tactical changes following the controversial decision with Aaron Fray coming off the bench to partner Dwayne Agyemang at the heart of their defence.

Sweeney said: “I still fancied us, 100% with 10 men but your attacking options change a little bit but your shape doesn’t.  When we get another one sent-off we’re scrambling a bit of what to do and whether to go for it or not concede again but the quality of my players and we got an equaliser and looked to get a point out of the game.”

Glebe showed great character to grab a deserved equaliser, timed at 26 minutes and 32 seconds on the clock, following a free-kick.

Just why Cray Valley centre-half Tumkaya escaped a yellow card for a bad foul on Adeniran on the left touch-line is why managers complain about the lack of consistency from referees at this level.

Clark delivered a left-footed free-kick which was on the money and Harris found a pocket of space at the near post to side-foot his right-footed volley across a diving Walker to find the bottom far corner from six-yards out.

Sweeney said: “It was a good worked goal.  The quality of the players on the team, especially from set-pieces, we’ve got three or four who can deliver a good ball so we know that we’re a threat from set-pieces.”

Watson said: “Look, Jack Harris is still a good player. It was a silly free-kick to give away, a good delivery, not great marking, disappointing.

“I thought maybe the writings on the wall, you’re not going to win the game.  Nine men, they score a goal but there was enough time to get a goal if we do things properly.”

Cray Valley came agonisingly close to scoring the winner in the final nine minutes when right-winger Gayle charged down the right after being released by Tomlin’s through ball along the deck and cut inside and stroked his left-footed shot against the base of the near post from 15-yards, with Taylor beaten.

“It weren’t a bad strike and it’s gone out and not quite followed it in. It was important we kept plugging away and asked questions,” added Watson.

“That was unlucky,” admitted Sweeney.

“Looking back Phil Wilson (assistant) and I it’s nigh on impossible for another team not to have a couple of chances. It is hard. My players were getting tired with how hard they were working.  Two extra players is a big, big difference.

“I did think when we got the equaliser, even though we had nine men, I was confident that they would struggle to break us down and they did struggle.”

Chris Edwards was given acres of space to cause damage as Glebe’s right-back Nathan Palmer was nearer Fray than his opponent on a few occasions towards the end of the game as tiredness crept in.

Watson said:  “We just didn’t control the game, we didn’t pass it well enough. We didn’t expand the pitch, which ironically we normally do quite well and I just hope Chertsey were watching today, lets hope so!

“Over the course of the season we would’ve played 60 games, more than most other teams so you’re not going to be at it, so you just want to control the game a bit better.”

Gayle was a constant threat with his pace down the right and Chris Edwards issued a warning when he hit a first time drive flashing just past the foot of the left-hand post from 16-yards.

Chris Edwards cut in to put the ball into the Glebe penalty area but Tomlin drove his shot across the face of goal and past the far post, as he tried to bend his shot around Taylor and into the far corner from 15-yards.

Gayle took a touch and whipped in a deep cross towards the far post which was controlled by Chris Edwards’ chest before he smacked his shot towards goal.  Agyemang received a huge slice of luck as he sliced his clearance over his own crossbar.

“That was a good stop. They were going to throw caution to the wind to try to get people in the box and create chances. Fair play to Cray, they’re on par to win the league and they’re going to Wembley and I wish them all the best,” added Sweeney.

Watson admitted: “You just think it’s not going to be your day, fortunately it was!”

Cray Valley snatched the victory with 42 minutes and 26 seconds on the clock and celebrated like they had won The FA Vase at Wembley Stadium.   Hopefully that’s to come on 19 May!

Substitute Ryan Flack’s resulting corner from the right was an out swinging delivery and Chris Edwards smashed a first time right-footed half-volley screaming into the top left-hand corner from the 18-yard line.

Watson said: “It was a great strike from Chris Edwards. He’s got a great strike on him. We shouldn’t need that to win the game when they’re down to nine men but you’d take it!”

“The goal from Chris Edwards. I played with him (at Greenwich Borough) and he’s a good player and it was a great finish and sometimes you have to hold your hands up,” admitted Sweeney.

“Credit to my boys, I thought we were brilliant in the way we conducted ourselves. I can’t fault the work-rate. Sometimes we played some good football on a horrible pitch. I’ve learnt more about my players again.”

With three league games remaining, this exciting title race is going down to the wire.

Clubs in this division have invested in players who should be playing in the Bostik South East Division and the quality out on the pitch is evident with this exciting title race.

It’s criminal that the same level of commitment and quality isn’t affored to match officials.  It’s soul destroying that this issue isn’t being met and something does need to be done to improve standards in the Bostik South East, SCEFL Premier and SCEFL First Division.

Corinthian came away from Hollands & Blair with a 1-0 win, courtesy of Andres Felipe Losada Tobon’s winner and Michael Golding’s side remain at the summit with 84 points on the board with three games left.

Cray Valley are two points behind them and Fisher are third on 78 points, while Chatham Town are in fourth-place on 76 points.

Cray Valley travel to Chatham Town next Saturday, before hosting relegated Croydon (bottom on eight points) on Easter Monday, before completing their campaign with a trip to Canterbury City – the side they beat in The FA Vase Semi-Finals 2-1 on aggregate - on 27 April.

The Millers then play Chertsey Town at Wembley Stadium in The Buildbase FA Vase Final on Sunday 19 May (12:15).

Glebe host Bearsted (20 April); travel to second-from-bottom side Rusthall (22 April) before hosting Crowborough Athletic on the final day of the season.

Corinthian, meanwhile, are at home to Deal Town (20 April), travel to Fisher on Easter Monday and then complete their league campaign at home to Bearsted.

“We need to be better in the next few games. We need to be better against Chatham on Saturday to get a result,” said Watson.

“I expect us to be because we’re not usually that poor but it’s a lot of games and it’s tough to expect players to be as good as we want them to be every game and today they wasn’t but fortunately we won the game.

“We look at Corinthian’s results after the game but we can’t affect their results so we’ll leave them to do what they need to do and then we need to keep winning games, which is tough.

“I’ve said all along, we’ve gone into the season having to win games and that’s very much the philosophy and you end up where you end up at the end of the season as a result of it.

“We’ve won a lot of games but they’ve been in different competitions so we’ll keep plugging away. There will be some twists and turns yet.”

Cray Valley (Paper Mills): Andy Walker, Denzel Gayle, Chris Edwards, Ashley Sains, Liam Hickey, Cem Tumkaya, Anthony Edgar (Ryan Flack 73), Lea Dawson (Josh James 77), Gavin Tomlin, Francis Babalola, Paul Semakula.
Subs: Tyler Myers, Brad Potter, Tommy Osborne

Goals: Gavin Tomlin 57 (penalty), Chris Edwards 88

Glebe: Tommy Taylor, Nathan Palmer, Henri Fulton (Aaron Fray 69), Scott Kinch, Joshua Crispin, Dwayne Agyemang, Jack Clark, Sam Edwards, Sam Adeniran, Jack Harris, Stacy Long.
Subs: Lee Friend, Tom Hever, Peter Sweeney, Alexandru Danier Catana

Goal: Jack Harris 72

Booked: Tommy Taylor 13, Joshua Crispin 45

Sent Off: Scott Kinch 55, Joshua Crispin 62

Attendance: 88
Referee: Mr Stuart Marriott (Ashford)
Assistants: Mr Alexis Stacchini (Orpington) & Mr Graham Smart (Ditton)