Erith Town 1-1 Glebe - We were nowhere near our best but we've come away with a point, says Glebe boss Anwar Uddin

Monday 06th August 2018
Erith Town 1 – 1 Glebe
Location Erith Stadium, Avenue Road, Erith, Kent DA8 3AT
Kickoff 06/08/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Monday 6 August 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Erith Stadium

GLEBE manager Anwar Uddin admits his side were not at their best after reaching the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table after their second outing of the new season.

The much-fancied Chislehurst based outfit beat Tunbridge Wells 3-1 at home on Saturday, while Erith Town went down to a 4-2 defeat away to newly-promoted side K Sports.

A crowd of 172 witnessed Erith Town’s homecoming after a five-year absence but they endured a direct side over reliant on set-pieces in a game of very little excitement.

Glebe took the lead a couple of minutes before half-time, courtesy of a well-worked four-man corner routine, finished off by midfielder Louis Sprosen.

Erith Town deserved to claim a point and it came from an emphatic penalty from otherwise quiet striker Adrian Stone, 35, with five minutes of a forgettable game remaining, as the Dockers climbed up to eleventh-place in the table at this early stage.

“It was like a disappointing end conceding the late penalty, but on the whole I think we were below par today in terms of our performance,” admitted Uddin, 36.

“This season, during pre-season and on Saturday, I thought we’ve been really good at times and today we were below par.  We couldn’t get the footballing side of our game going today but what we had to do was kind of absorb a lot of their direct play and we did that really, really well.  I thought we defended well so obviously disappointed to concede a late penalty but on the whole we’re unbeaten and it’s a positive.

“It was a big night for them, the pitch played really well, I think it was good tonight, it’s flat, it’s a good surface and it was good there were people here watching the game on a Monday night. 

“The key thing was we didn’t lose today.  We had a good start on Saturday, coming away from home it’s about making sure we keep picking up points and be hard to beat and I thought we were exactly that.”

“A good point, a blood and thunder game, a lot of spite and a lot of bite in it and we done exceptional I thought,” said Erith Town boss Adam Woodward, who guided Glebe to the Southern Counties East Football League First Division title in his only season in charge of the club before guiding the Dockers to a bottom four finish last season.

“I’m not really worried about them as a club to be honest,” added Woodward. 

“Listen, they are what they are.  I have no issues with any of their management team.  Look, I had an enjoyable year there, won the league, got them promoted, so a little bit of class and respect would be nice, not off the management that is.

“I was disappointed with certain things in the game. I don’t think we got the rub of the green of anything but look, we have to get on with it really.”

The first half offered very little to entertain the crowd that turned out on a sultry Monday night at the one-sided Erith Sports Stadium on Avenue Road.

Glebe created the first opening when right-back Aaron Fray and winger Fred Obasa linked up before striker Steve Smith played the ball inside to central midfielder Toch Singh, who leaned back and skied his shot harmlessly over the goal from 22-yards after 11 minutes.

Dockers left-back Daniel Palfrey fed a free-kick down the line for left-winger Ralique Lawrence to cut into the box before dinking his shot into Phil Wilson’s hands at the near post.

“I thought Ralique worked really hard off the ball tonight and I thought he was really good,” said Woodward.

“He’s a young kid, he’s got a bright future in the game.  He came on and scored on Saturday so a bit of weight was on his shoulder and he done really well.”

An edgy game that produced a total number of 30 fouls between the two sides started to come to life ten minutes before the interval.

“Not many chances at all but we had to make sure we stayed in the game and we got our goal before half-time,” said Uddin.

“In spells we had better possession. At half-time when we went 1-0 up it’s done, so it was about keeping them at bay really but they’ve got a direct way of playing and putting it down your throats for 45 minutes and credit to them, it works and it’s effective and if they were going to score it was going to be from a set-play, like a corner or a free-kick and they got a penalty.”

Erith Town central-defender Jack Hooper was adjudged to have nudged Smith from behind and the closest we came to a goal was from the resulting free-kick, which Sam Edwards curled around the far post from 25-yards.

Woodward said: “It was a good free-kick but the goalkeeper didn’t have to make a save but I don’t think they had a shot really to test Molloy, other than one right at the end.”

Wilson punted a long free-kick into the Dockers penalty area and Smith guided his hopeful header into Adam Molloy’s hands, before both sides created within the space of 27 seconds.

The direct Dockers went long with centre-half Simon Glover launching a ball out of defence and Stone stretched for a header, which he guided into Wilson’s hands for a comfortable catch.

“I think people will say we’re direct and they reckon they can work us out but I’m pretty sure the goal was a ball 45 yards out and a bit of a run,” added Woodward.

Wilson launched his kick up field and Erith Town allowed Smith to bring the ball under control inside the penalty area, cut the ball onto his right foot before dragging his shot past the near post from 15-yards.

Uddin said:  “It’s just disappointing.  Those kind of chances we’ve done well to open them up but it’s just about target practice, hoping with a bit more composure we make the most of them.”

It was inevitable that both goals would come from set-pieces and Glebe smashed the stalemate by scoring with 42 minutes and 37 seconds on the clock.

Quiet winger Ellis Green swung in the game’s opening corner – both sides won only a couple each during this snore fest – deep towards the far post. The ball was knocked back across by Max Fitzgerald and Edwards swept a curling shot towards the far corner and Sprosen flicked the ball into the back of the net.

Uddin said: “That’s what we do! We work on our set-plays in pre-season so we’ve got a few set-plays that we’re quite positive with and we know exactly what we’re doing and it’s great what we’ve done on the training ground has actually worked in a match.  We spent some time in training last week on those corners and free-kicks so it’s good that a corner worked for us today.”

Woodward added: “Listen, good goal.  I don’t know why he was standing in the box with no-one around him as the ball was headed forward but the lino seems to think he’s not offside because the ball went backwards but it is what it is.

“We just haven’t had the rub of the green again but look I thought we played well first half.  I thought we stopped them doing what they’re good at, made them go longer.”

Uddin added: “I said to them (at half-time) we have to try to improve!  I didn’t think we were at our best but we were 1-0 up so I just said to them to try to improve but make sure that we are solid. 

“I thought they were looking to get a corner or free-kick and we just had to make sure we didn’t concede anything silly but by and large we defended really, really well so I was really pleased but disappointed because we were nowhere near our best but we’ve come away with a point.”

Stone’s shirt was pulled by Fray as he tried to latch onto another long ball out of defence, earning the Glebe full-back a yellow-card.

Palfrey played the free-kick out to Lawrence on the left touchline, he cut into the box and lashed his right-footed drive dipping just over the crossbar from within a crowded penalty area in the eighth minute of the second half.

“He’s a bright exciting player. He done alright there.  He got the ball, he picked it up. Had a good run and was unlucky with his shot.”

Uddin added: “I thought Phil Wilson was good again tonight.  I thought we were comfortable.  There weren’t any clear cut chances, they didn’t really open us up so happy how we defended.”

Erith Town rued their luck in the 70th minute when Palfrey drilled a low left-footed free-kick from 35-yards, which took a couple of deflections en-route to clipping the base of the left-hand post, with Wilson beaten.

“Like I say about that luck again, it’s hit the post.  I don’t know (who it came off), do you know?  I don’t know but it’s just a bit of the rub of the green really,” added Woodward.

Uddin added: “Again that was where they were dangerous.  That was what they were looking to do so we got away with one there but they got the penalty in the end and that proved to be the leveller.”

Glebe played a long diagonal ball out of defence to spring left-winger Fred Obasa into life. He cut inside to hit a powerful angled drive from 30-yards, which forced Molloy into making a comfortable low save at his near post.

Uddin said: “Fred there got himself in a good position, always a threat and again it was just about making the goalkeeper work really.”

Woodward said: “I think all night they were quite comfortably defensively.  I thought Simon Glover and Jack Hooper were superb, young Lewis Scotter was decent at right-back and the same as Dan Palfrey at left-back.  Gloves is 36-years-of-age so two games in three days is brilliant and credit to him.”

Erith Town deserved their equaliser when it was smashed home with 39 minutes and 27 seconds on the clock.

Full credit must go to Goodchild, who drove through the heart of the Glebe defence only to be rashly challenged by Fitzgerald inside the penalty area and referee Jordan Whitworth pointed to the spot and booked the offender.

Stone stepped up to rifle his right-footed penalty high into the roof of the net – just off centre - as Wilson dived to his right.

“Adrian Stone does what he does,” said Woodward.  “He’s been a bit quiet tonight but he’s got his penalty and scored it.

“He’s good at holding the ball up. I think he’s great in the changing room. He’s the first one at training, the last one off the pitch. His attitude is superb, he gets the boys going and we’ve got a few good characters in there.”

Uddin added: “We got to the 85th minute and defended so well and a lack of concentration, Max has gambled to win a rash challenge. It was a penalty, disappointed that we’ve conceded so late.”

Glebe squandered a glorious chance to snatch the victory at the death and only substitute Bryan Zepo will know how he smashed his shot past the top of the near post from inside the six-yard box after the chance was put on the plate for him following Tolu Jonah’s long-throw into the box.

The Glebe manager said: “At the end Zepo had an open goal and he misses that and on another night we take all three points but I think the main thing tonight for us is we were nowhere near our best and we’ve come away from here with a point so it’s a sign of the team.”

Woodward added: “He put it wide. It was a good chance to be fair. Again, we switched off and not marked. We’ve got to make sure we get back on that.”

Sprosen drilled a right-footed drive from 35-yards straight down Molloy’s throat at the end of a poor game where both sides seemed content to cancel each other out.

A frustrated Uddin said: “A job well done.  I thought we were very below par.  I didn’t think we played well at all but we were hard to beat.  We were organised and we remain unbeaten so I’m positive about that.

“We’re top for 24 hours.  I think it’s important that we remain unbeaten, that was the key thing. Saturday-Monday is tough so to be unbeaten on four points as it stands, I don’t think Glebe have ever been top of this league so it’s a start and we want to remain unbeaten.  There’s going to be games when we don’t play well, we didn’t play well tonight but we’re hard to beat and we’ve come away with a point.”

Woodward must produce an eye-pleasing brand of football because watching direct football in a soulless athletics stadium will not attract the fans on a cold November night, especially when they are being charged £8 to watch the ninth-tier of English football.

“Listen, I would’ve taken a point at the start of the night, the occasion, the game,” said Woodward.

“I was taking to Steve O’Boyle on the sideline and talking about going for it and trying to get another one but I was happy - I will take a point.

“We know where we are as a club. I thought it was brilliant there was 172 here tonight, which is great for the club.

“It’s good to be back here. It was nice at VCD last year but it’s always nice to be back, somewhere you can call your own.  We need to turn this into a bit of a fortress.  The pitch is decent, people don’t like the running track, which is nice but we’ll try to make it as nice as possible for people. 

“If we can get more people through the gate and get the community back it will be a community club, we want to try to get this whole club back together and on the map.”

Both sides are in Sussex in The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday.  Erith Town travel to Hassocks, while Glebe are on the road to AFC Uckfield Town, whom are managed by former Tonbridge Angels midfielder Anthony Storey and was in attendance tonight.

Erith Town: Adam Molloy, Lewis Scotter, Daniel Palfrey, James Day (Alex Nelson 75), Simon Glover, Jack Hooper, Aaron Jeffery, Jason Goodchild, Adrian Stone, Louis Valencia, Ralique Lawrence.
Subs: Dan Nash, Lewis Mitchell, Steadman Callender, Billy Muckle

Goal: Adrian Stone 85 (penalty)

Booked: Jason Goodchild 61, Louis Valencia 73

Glebe: Phil Wilson, Aaron Fray, Daniel McCullock, Toch Singh, Max Fitzgerald, Tolu Jonah, Ellis Green (Bryan Zepo 64), Sam Edwards, Steve Smith, Louis Sprosen, Fred Obasa.
Subs: Danny Phillips, Peter Sweeney, Christopher Parr, Luke Miller

Goal: Louis Sprosen 43

Booked: Aaron Fray 53, Ellis Green 61, Max Fitzgerald 85

Attendance: 172
Referee: Mr Jordan Whitworth (Catford, London SE6)
Assistants: Mr Liam How (Dartford) & Mr Graham Scott (Gillingham)