Erith & Belvedere 4-1 Bridon Ropes - I couldn't find a 50 pence piece to put in the meter to get the lights back on, says Erith & Belvedere boss Owen Jones

Wednesday 24th April 2019
Erith & Belvedere 4 – 1 Bridon Ropes
Location Champion Hill Stadium, Dog Kennel Hill, Edgar Kail Way, East Dulwich, London SE22 8BD
Kickoff 24/04/2019 19:45

(after extra time)
Wednesday 24 April 2019
London Senior Trophy Final
Stephen McCartney reports from Champion Hill Stadium

VICTORIOUS Erith & Belvedere manager Owen Jones has revealed he wanted the game abandoned during the 23 minute floodlight failure before his players celebrated winning the London Senior Trophy for the first time.


Bridon Ropes were in front courtesy of James Murphy’s swept finish inside the opening seven minutes before Champion Hill was plunged into darkness with 18:59 on the clock in the second half as one of the four floodlight towers failed.

Erith & Belvedere celebrate winning the London Senior Trophy after beating their league rivals Bridon Ropes at Champion Hill.
Photo: SCEFL

Erith & Belvedere equalised with nine minutes left of normal time through substitute Kameiko Pope-Campbell’s header, which took the game into extra-time.

Winger Pope-Campbell, central midfielder Ramell Lake and substitute midfielder Chan Quan scored the goals in extra-time to ensure last season’s finalists put the first piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet.

Bridon Ropes’ left-back Jordan Downes was red-carded for a bad foul on Harry Harding inside the final two minutes of extra-time.

“First of all, I just want to say Bridon Ropes, well done! They provided for us a fantastic game,” said treble-chasing Jones.

“To be honest when the lights went out I wanted the game to be abandoned and they were saying no!

“I said it either going to go one way or the other. We waited (over) 20 minutes, we were either going to crumble or they’re going to crumble but you can’t have two teams at it when they’ve had such a long break.  We came out and fair play to the lads I just told them to keep knocking the ball long and run them and see what happens.”

Bridon Ropes manager James Doherty said: “Obviously gutted for the result but I think for the first 90 minutes we were by far the better team. 

“I think their goalkeeper has pulled off – I lost count to be fair of how many saves he done.

“In extra-time we’ve just switched off and as soon as we went 2-1 down it was like playing catch up and we went for it and they got a lift from their goals.

“I think my players lost their heads a little bit but I can’t be more proud of my lads.  The effort they put into that game was fantastic.

“It’s probably summed up our end of season. With a week to go we were top of the league and we lost both our games over Easter and I questioned the work-rate and the attitude of some players and tonight they’ve showed me that their hearts at Bridon and that they’re willing to put a shift in for the team.”

Jones’ hand was forced with a final day trip to Snodland Town on Saturday, which could lead to winning the Southern Counties East Football League First Division title should Welling Town – who are a point in front with 75 points – slip up at Lydd Town – as he made six changes to the side that beat Sutton Athletic 3-1 on Easter Monday.

Bridon Ropes went into this final in fourth-place in the table with 69 points from their 33 league outings and this was their third defeat on the spin, which has coincided with a stadium ban for their manager.

Erith & Belvedere have beaten Tottenham Hale Rangers (3-0); holders Phoenix Sports Reserves (3-0) and Tooting Bec (2-0), while Bridon Ropes defeated South Kilburn (8-0); Hashtag United (4-3); Hackney Wick (15-14 on penalties after a 1-1 draw) and New Salamis (3-0) to reach their second London Senior Trophy Final, having beaten Corinthian-Casuals Reserves 2-1 after extra time under Daniel Frost in April 2014.

Bridon Ropes created the first chance of the game after only 160 seconds when Henry Dasofunjo stroked his right-footed free-kick over the wall from 35-yards, which bounced comfortably into Daniel Teeley’s gloves.

Erith & Belvedere’s left-wing-back Reggie Yembra threw the ball into the Bridon Ropes’ box but striker Jojo Ogunbiyi’s flicked header went harmlessly wide of the near post from 12-yards.

Bridon Ropes produced a fine move to take the lead, with six minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Centre-half Matt Dennis clipped the ball up to Dasofunjo, who released winger Tyler Anderson-Parr charging down the right. His pace ensured his beat centre-half Robert Curtis to reach the by-line and he cut the ball back for Murphy to sweep his first time shot across the keeper into the far corner from eight-yards.

Doherty said: “A great goal, a great start! Tyler is an exceptional player, he’s young, he’s hungry and he wants to learn and he’s done well.

“We’ve been giving our wingers/forwards a bit of a hard time recently because they’re getting to the by-line and not picking a pass so it was quite nice to see him get into that position and cut it back to one of our players.

“It was a great start for Murph to get the goal.  Take away the extra-time, he was the best player on the pitch by a mile but obviously their goalkeeper was outstanding.”

Jones admitted:  “We didn’t start off very well and there were a bit of nerves.

“It’s a cup final and fair play to them, they always start strongly, they always try to get as many goals as they can and then they sit back on it but we just felt lets whether the storm and if we can get in at 1-0 down at half-time, I really fancied us to take the game to them and that’s what we did.”

The game then turned into an even contest, which was watched by a crowd of 353 at Dulwich Hamlet’s Champion Hill Stadium.

A brilliant outstanding save from Teeley denied Bridon Ropes a deserved second goal in the 27th minute.

Murphy cut inside and cracked a right-footed dipping drive from 35-yards, which was destined to crash into the roof of the net, only for Teeley to dive high to his left and use his right hand to push the ball over the crossbar.

Jones said: “How many times have I told you about this goalkeeper?  He’s only 26-27 something like that. He’s undoubtedly the most and he doesn’t mind me saying it, podgy short-arse little goalkeeper that I’ve ever come across.  He’s undoubtedly the best goalkeeper, definitely in this division, definitely. He was superb today!”

Doherty said: “Well from my team personally Murph was the best player but on the whole I lost count how many saves Teeley made, he was exceptional! There were probably five world class saves. He got something on everything we hit, he was fantastic!”

Downes swung in the resulting corner from the right and their 33-goal striker Nathan Simpson steered his near-post free-header over the crossbar from six-yards.

Erith & Belvedere took nearly 31 minutes to create their first opening.

Centre-half Tony Hill swung in a free-kick into the penalty area and goalkeeper Alex Jones poorly punched the ball away.  The ball fell to Lake, who hit a low first time left-footed drive, which was blocked by the left leg of the grounded keeper and the ball trickled behind for a corner.

“Our set-pieces have been a lot better and we’re knocking balls longer and turning players better than what we did at the start of the season so it didn’t surprise me,” said Jones.

“I know that he can do this when we get next to the goal because we’re always looking to turn players.”

Doherty said: “Maybe a bit harsh on Alex, he should’ve done a better punch on it but he responded well and made the save. It was a great hit by Ramell, he’s a great young player.”

Bridon Ropes went even closer in the 42nd minute, which would have given them a deserved two-goal lead going into the break.

The pacey Anderson-Parr played a defence splitting pass to put Simpson through on goal and from inside the D his left-footed curler sailed around the top of the far post.

Doherty said: “Nathan is my elder player. He talks to the group because we are a young team. Those sort of chances are his bread and butter. I think he’s third top scorer in the league. He’s had so many of them. It was just one of those nights for him but I can’t take nothing away from him, he’s been fantastic on and off the pitch this season.”

Jones added: “The thing is we knew that we had to keep pressing them and pushing and that would happen and they would get opportunities.”

Bridon Ropes created the first opening of the second half when Downes’ in-swinging corner from the left was met by Dennis free-header, which looped over the crossbar from 10-yards.

Bridon Ropes’ right-back Daniel McCarthy went on a mazy run, which saw him beat three men but his left-footed drive was parried by Teeley, diving to his left.

Dominant Bridon Ropes had another chance when Dasofunjo chipped the ball into the Erith & Belvedere penalty box but Simpson’s free header flew straight into Teeley’s hands.

Erith & Belvedere’s half-time substitute Quan whipped his right-footed free-kick from 25-yards into the wall and the ball deflected over the crossbar but Jones and his men needed something to grab onto.

Murphy – who was Bridon Ropes star on the night – drove over the halfway line and fed Dasofunjo, who cut inside and his left-footed rasping drive was tipped over the bar by a flying Teeley, high to his left – in the 63rd minute.

The turning point in the game was the floodlight failure and Jones revealed that he asked referee Neil Bailey to abandon the game as both sides stayed out on the pitch on a chilly night.

“I couldn’t find a 50 pence piece to put into the meter to get the lights get back on but at that point I was well happy because we’d have to replay the game and we waited and waited and waited and just seconds before the ref was thinking about calling it off, he said ‘out you go we’re going to start so it’s worked out quite well,” said Jones.

“No disrespect to Bridon, while the lights were out we was warming up all the time and stretching and they wasn’t.  They just stood outside and I said you can’t do that for that length of time. I used to be a fitness coach so I do understand what happens when your body warms down because your bodies warmed right down and we even done some jogging and stuff.”

Doherty added: “At the time we were on top so I was just praying they would just come back on.

“Maybe it effected the game. I think we were on top for the next 15-20 minutes up until their goal really.”

When lighting was restored to all four towers, Bridon Ropes called Teeley into making another save just 45 seconds after the restart, diving to his right to hold onto Murphy’s left-footed drive from 25-yards.

Erith & Belvedere grabbed an equaliser with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

Lake floated in a free-kick from the left, keeper Jones rose with centre-half Dennis and failed to deal with it and Rob Curtis rose at the far post on the by-line to knock the ball back across goal for Pope-Campbell to steer his header into the back of the net from eight-yards out.

“I did change the team tonight as you’ve noticed because we’ve got a big cup final (at Snodland Town) on Saturday so that’s what I’m there for. I make big decision and thank god it worked out in the right way,” said Jones.

Doherty said: “It was literally a mix-up between my captain Matt Dennis and my goalkeeper. A header’s come across and it’s a tap-in. It’s small margins.

“At the end of the day, I’m managing little old Bridon Ropes, no budget. Erith & Belvedere are probably have the biggest budget in the league and I’m not going to lie, I’m not too happy how they went about themselves this season. They’ve more than once tried to get my players but fair play to my boys, they’re loyal to me, the club. There’s something about us that keeps them here.  I don’t know what it is, it’s probably the committee and what they give to players.  I’m obviously gutted. I wanted to win. I believe that my team deserved something this season because they are a good young team and they work hard.”

The goal galvanised Erith & Belvedere, who upped their urgency levels and played in an aggressive attacking manner as they wanted to avoid extra-time.

Quan drove forward and cut inside and his right-footed drive forced keeper Jones to dive to his left to parry and was relieved when Harding was flagged for offside after turning in the rebound.

So this game was to be settled in extra-time.

Jones said: “I just kept saying keep going, don’t let up! Just keep pumping the ball long and turning their defenders. For some reason their defenders just didn’t like it. They stopped playing but what was really good we took full advantage of them getting tired and you could see some of them were getting cramp and slowing down.”

Doherty said: “So a few things happened, I took Henry off because I thought he was a bit tight and I brought Richard Jimoh on and within two minutes of that James Murphy got injured and he was probably our best player tonight.  I think as soon as he came off that energy in midfield was lost and that gave them the extra drive.  I think it was a knock and cramp. He’s just come back from a cruciate ligament injury.””

Extra-time was an open affair but Erith & Belvedere finished off the job by scoring three goals as they put their opponents on the ropes.

The Deres deservedly took the lead with five minutes and 54 seconds into extra-time when Fred Obasa sprung into life down the wing and he played a low cross from the right to Harding, who put it on a plate for Pope-Campbell, who placed his shot into the bottom left-hand corner from six-yards.

“I made the substitutions at the right time. We brought on fresh legs, they’ve got pace as well haven’t they, but we handled their pace really well,” said Jones.

“Do you know what, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t even going to put him in the side today and something just said to me have him on the bench just in case, even if it’s five minutes to go.

“I just looked and thought do you know what, it just needs someone who could just hold it up a bit more and bring players in and that’s what he’s good at doing. I thought he was exceptional when he came on.”

“It was a bit of a knock-on effect,” admitted Doherty.

“My left-back Jordan Downes tried to challenge for a ball that he maybe should have so he’s come out of position. The centre-half (Sean Nicholls) has tried to cover him, a cross comes in and he’s free in the box to control. It was a lapse of concentration really.”

Erith & Belvedere raced into a 3-1 lead with seven minutes and 32 seconds on the clock, following their eighth corner on the night (the corner count was 10 each).

Obasa played a short corner from the right to Lake, who cut inside and drilled a powerful left-footed curler through a crowded penalty area to find the bottom far corner from 15-yards.

Jones said: “You’ve seen Ramell do that, what did we say the other day? We said he’s got to stop hitting the post and crossbar and start putting it in the back of the net, which he did and he did it really well.”

Doherty added: “That was the one thing that done me. We switched off. You’re 2-1 down, your game ain’t over so to let them take a short corner and no one react. It was a great finish. He scores a fantastic free-kick against us at their place as well. He’s an exceptional player and you can’t give him that time and space!”

Stunned Bridon Ropes were desperately unlucky in the 12th minute when Simpson cut in from the left and drove his left-footed angled drive against the post.

The electrifying Pope-Campbell cut inside and was given time and space to stroke a 35-yard angled drive which took a wicked bounce in front of the unconvincing keeper Jones, who used his chest rather than his hands to make the save.

Just two minutes into the second period, Bridon Ropes’ 25-goal striker Richard Jimoh held his head in his hands in despair after his right-footed free-kick from 30-yards was held by the outstanding Teeley.

Erith & Belvedere completed their scoring with five minutes and 21 seconds on the clock when Bridon Ropes switched off following another short corner.

Pope-Campbell played the ball short to Harding, who cut inside and his right-footed drive was spilt by Jones and the ball fell kindly at Quan’s feet. He took a touch before lashing his right-footed shot into the roof of the net from eight-yards.

“I’ve got to be totally honest with you, my son (George Jones) plays for us and he was meant to be on the bench and Chan wasn’t even going to be involved today and my son came over to me and said ‘he ain’t bothered’. It means more to Chan so let him go on the bench and that’s what we did.”

Doherty added: “I think the game was done.  Alex is a bit gutted because he said ‘it’s my fault.’  He’s probably had one bad game for me this season and for me to say about that about a goalkeeper, it’s probably the hardest position to play in.  You can dominate for 81 minutes and all off a sudden you’re on the end of a 4-1 defeat, that’s football!

The second period was end-to-end.  John Woodcock’s corner from the left was met by Adam Smith’s header, which was held low by Teeley to his left, who also saved from Woodcock’s shot on the run.

Erith & Belvedere’s pacey winger Guyliano Tresor Mpungi raced forward and cut inside and curled his shot around the far post.

Bridon Ropes were reduced to 10 men in the final couple of minutes when Downes was shown a straight red card for a bad touchline foul on Harding.

Doherty said: “I thought it was quite harsh. It wasn’t that sort of game. He’s caught him. Don’t get me wrong but that’s what Harry does. He wins fouls and you see him roll about for five minutes but as soon as the red card comes out he jumps up and runs over and laughs at him!  If one of my players done it, I’ll be having a go at them!”

Jones added: “I think he had enough of Harry. I actually tried to mark Harry in training and I kid you now he just doesn’t stop. He’s like a wasp. He doesn’t stop moving and I suppose that guy just had enough!”

Harding played in Pope-Campbell at the death but Jones rushed off his line and used his legs to make the save.

Jones dedicated their victory to chairman John McFadden and Joe Ford, the Sporting Club Thamesmead manager who is seriously ill in hospital.

“Well first and foremost our chairman is in hospital waiting to have an operation and we dedicate the game to John McFadden and I’m so proud of the boys.

“I’ve made a lot of changes today and all of them responded in the correct way, they were upset, six of them didn’t play.”

A season that promised so much, has ended in disappointment for Bridon Ropes.

“I’ve just said to my players, things happen, it is football. There’s more to life so don’t beat yourselves up too much and these sort of things can make you stronger as an individual,” said Doherty, who takes his side to fifth-placed Sutton Athletic on Saturday.

“I don’t know what players are going to be with me next year. They are being sniffed round and a few of them may go to Greenwich Borough in the summer and all the best to them.  They’ve got that ability.

“I just said to them let that defeat be a lesson and that hurt and take it on to whatever you’re going to do.”

Erith & Belvedere: Daniel Teeley, Fred Obasa, Romayle Wade (Kameiko Pope-Campbell 54), Robert Curtis, Reggie Yembra, Tony Hill, Ramell Lake, Connor Dobson, Jojo Ogunbiyi (Guyliano Tresor Mpungi 70), Harry Harding, Bobby Holley (Chan Quan 46).
Subs: Gravlyn Kitendon, Osita Isichei

Goals: Kameiko Pope-Campbell 81, 96, Ramell Lake 98, Chan Quan 111

Booked: Reggie Yembra 60

Bridon Ropes: Alex Jones, Daniel McCarthy, Jordan Downes, Adam Smith, Sean Nicholls, Matt Dennis, Tyler Anderson-Parr (John Woodcock 62), Jacob Kalonda, Nathan Simpson, James Murphy (Nathan Medley 93), Henry Dasofunjo (Richard Jimoh 91).
Subs: Luke Hewitt, Charlie Hopwood

Goal: James Murphy 7

Booked: Jacob Kalonda 86

Sent Off: Jordan Downes 118

Attendance: 353
Referee: Mr Neil Bailey
Assistants: Mr Yashar Yekta & Mr Jason Keen
Fourth Official: Mr Jordan Whitworth