Erith & Belvedere 1-3 Rusthall - Any game in the Vase is difficult but every round you go through gets that little bit harder, says Rusthall joint-manager Andrew McKechnie

Sunday 02nd September 2018
Erith & Belvedere 1 – 3 Rusthall
Location Park View Road, Welling, Kent DA16 1SY
Kickoff 02/09/2018 15:00

The Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round
Sunday 2 September 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road

RUSTHALL joint-manager Andrew McKechnie says it was not a vintage performance from his side but a professional performance saw them progress through to the Second Qualifying Round of The FA Vase.


The Rustics went into the game sitting third-from-bottom in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with three points from their opening five league outings, while they inflicted Erith & Belvedere’s first home defeat of the season.

Erith & Belvedere were in the top four in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 13 points from five games but also suffered a FA Cup exit at the first hurdle, losing 2-0 at Saltdean United after a goal-less draw here at Park View Road.

It’s a massive week of Cup football for Rusthall as they play their first ever FA Cup tie at Jockey Farm Stadium on Wednesday night when unbeaten Bostik South East Division side Cray Wanderers visit for a Preliminary Round Replay.

Both sides kept the ball on the floor and it was Rusthall who took the lead through Peter Shaw’s clinically taken drilled finish, but Erith & Belvedere deservedly equalised through Robert Curtis’ volley.

Rusthall sealed a trip to Guildford City courtesy of two second-half goals when Shaw and substitute Sam Murray snapped up loose balls inside the penalty area.

“It’s great to win in The FA Vase, it’s good to get through to the next round,” said McKechnie. 

“We didn’t really want to go to extra-time and a replay.  I think it was a professional performance. I don’t think it was vintage at all.

“The first half we didn’t look at the races and that’s credit to Erith & Belvedere.  Second half we upped the pace and played a lot more football and in my opinion we were the better team in the second half.”

Erith & Belvedere manager Owen Jones said: “It is what it is.  I just think we didn’t take our chances if I’m honest and then as time went on we just lost our shape a little bit.  Maybe we could’ve been a little bit more direct at times. We could have them back-peddling a bit more but they’re Step Five. We had more of the ball than them but we came out losers so maybe we did overplay but they took their chances well.

Jones added: “I said to the lads there’s going to be times when they’re going to come at us, it’s how we deal with that.  It’s how we react and position ourselves and how we keep out shape.

“I thought we dealt with them really comfortably. It’s just that we got sloppy with the goals and we didn’t react. All the goals that went in, we seemed to be second to the second ball all the time!”

Harry Harding was pulling the strings in the Erith & Belvedere midfield but his team-mates were not of the same quality and it appeared he had to do everything himself.

The Deres started the game on the front foot but it was Rusthall that grabbed the lead, totally against the run of play, with 12 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock.

Callum Gailie delivered a low cross from the left wing and in an attempt to clear his lines at the near post, holding midfielder George Jones flicked the ball up and miss-kicked his clearance and the ball ricochet off him and his team-mate Curtis and Shaw took a touch before drilling his left-footed drive across the keeper and into the far corner from 10-yards.

“He was just alive to the situation.  There were a couple of ricochets off the Erith & Belvedere defenders and Pete was just alert to it and it was a smart little finish, giving the keeper no chance,” said McKechnie.

“At that point we were hoping we were going to kick on from there.  We improved slightly but we didn’t get their until after half-time.”

Jones added: “Well, I think there’s not much you can do about that, especially when it came off George Jones, it ricochet off him and it just happened to land in straight of the Rusthall player and he put it in so fair play to him.”

Erith & Belvedere created a glorious chance when George Jones released winger Munyardzi Bruce Muchenje down the right and he cut inside left-back Dan Kommu and from inside the box he curled his right-footed shot around the keeper and past the far post from 15-yards.

Jones said: “He was unlucky David. He’s been on the bench a little while. I started him today for the first time. I thought he did reasonably well and he was unlucky. He turned and got a shot in, which was good and it looked like it was promising for him that he actually might score a goal.”

Rusthall’s number 10 Joe Fuller dropped deep to collect the ball at feet and linked up well with Shaw out on the right but in the 18th minute he drove through the heart of the pitch before drilling a right-footed shot into Daniel Teeley’s midriff from 35-yards.

“Joe Fuller can play in a number of positions and in all honesty he’s quality in all of them,” said McKechnie.

“When we play him up front we want him in and around the box. If he’s going to be shooting, we want him in that 18-yard box causing problems in there.”

Erith & Belvedere won the corner count 11-2 and Harding swung in a deep corner from the left but Tony Hill came up from the back to plant his header over from a tight angle at the far post.

Fuller swept the ball out to Shaw on the right and he cut inside Nicholas Harvey but his weak left-footed shot from 17-yards rolled into Teeley’s hands for a comfortable save in the 32nd minute.

Erith & Belvedere deservedly levelled following their third corner of the game, the goal timed at 32 minutes and 43 seconds.

Harding swung the ball in from the right and Curtis rose to nod the ball across goal and Rusthall failed to clear their lines and gave Harding a second chance to loft the ball back into the box from the right.

Rusthall had plenty of bodies inside their box but Carter flicked the ball up and smacked a beautiful right-footed volley into the top right-hand corner from 10-yards.

“A good goal, a good player, real leader and I thought he had a good game today,” said Owen.

“We did deserve the equaliser because we were the better side straight up to that point.”

McKechnie added: “It was disappointing.  The fact it was the third phase of play, we had a good couple of opportunities just to clear our lines, get rid of it and we didn’t and that’s something they’ve got to learn and got to deal with it. It was a talking point after the game but we’ll move on and improve on it.”

Teeley pulled off an outstanding save to prevent Rusthall centre-half Robbie Bissett from scoring in the 37th minute.

Bissett’s left-footed free-kick from 25-yards was destined to sail into the top left-hand corner but Teeley dived high to his right and used a strong right-hand to push the ball over his crossbar.

Stephen Camacho swung in the resulting corner and Fuller rose at the far post and only just cleared the crossbar with a bullet header.

McKechnie said: “It’s a good strike, Robbie Bissett has got fantastic technique, it’s a good strike but the keeper’s made a good save.”

Jones added: “Great goalkeeper he is, he’s one of the best goalkeepers I’ve ever come across in my footballing career! He’s an outstanding character, player and he does play with a smile on his face and I think we’re very blessed to have somebody like him in goal for us.”

Erith & Belvedere should have taken the lead when Muchenhe delivered a deep cross from the right wing and Rusthall’s right-back Anderson failed to get any purchase on his weak header which allowed Mpungi to drill his left-footed shot against the top of the near post from 15-yards.

Jones said: “He’s unlucky really because he has scored a couple of goals like that. He’s very good at cutting in or going on the outside and getting a shot in.  I thought it almost went in but he did well.”

McKechnie added: “It was a thing through the first half. We just shut off a little bit. I think we got a little bit sloppy even after taking the lead. We didn’t quite switch on in that first half and we were sloppy at times.”

Rusthall’s holding midfielder Ryan Waterman clipped the ball up and John Phillips’ deflected drive from 25-yards was easily gathered by Teeley.

Midfielder Phillips fed the ball into Fuller’s feet and he sprayed the ball out to Shaw on the right and after cutting inside his left-footed shot bounced into Teeley’s hands from the edge of the penalty area.

“I think the message was we just weren’t good enough. We want to play football, we didn’t play enough football,” admitted McKechnie.

“We were flat-footed, we were second best to a lot of it, that’s credit to Erith & Belvedere because they’re a good side and they’ve got some good players.

“Harding, the captain, is a good player. They were making intelligent runs, they were pulling us apart, they weren’t a static team so the message was just to compete more, move the ball quickly, play football and basically have a go! We’re in The FA Vase, we’re at half-time, we’ve probably got away being 1-1 at half-time, so we had to improve!”

When asked about his thoughts at the break, Jones replied: “Just said to them, you’ve got to keep doing what you’re doing but we’ve got to take our chances. We’re not taking our chances that’s the thing and get more movement, not so much Harry Harding because I thought he was really good but whoever linked up with him, there’s got to be better movement.”

Erith & Belvedere created the first chance of the second half when Hill’s throw was flicked on by striker Olayokun and Harding raced forward, cut inside and drilled a low right-footed shot from 10-yards, which forced Callum Christie to use his left-foot to deflect the ball behind for a corner.

Jones said: “Harry was doing that all day.  Another time he would’ve either slot somebody in or scored.

“He’s been playing really well for us. I rate him very highly as I rate Jamie Taylor as well, who I gave player-of-the-month. I thought he had a very good game as well and he moved the ball around well and he linked up very well with Harry and Harry does know how to find players and he’s irreplaceable really.”

McKechnie said: “That’s why Callum’s a fantastic keeper. I don’t remember him being called on loads and loads of times today but the two or three times he was, he was first class to it. Harding was a good player and caused us problems.”

It proved to be a crucial save as Rusthall took the lead with 10 minutes and 52 seconds on the clock.

Anderson ran forward with the ball at his feet and once in the final third he played the ball inside to substitute Murray, who from 30-yards cracked a left-footed drive which left Teeley rooted to the spot as the ball crashed off the top of the right-hand post.

Shaw wanted it more than any other Erith & Belvedere player and nipped in to see his right-footed shot trickle into the bottom right-hand corner from eight-yards.

McKechnie said: “He was unlucky with the strike, it was a fantastic strike. I thought it was in to be honest but Pete was again, very much like his first goal, he was just alive in the box and he was on it.”

Jones added: “That’s the point I was making earlier on. We didn’t react quickly enough to the second ball really so fair play to Rusthall.

“I still felt confident we could get something out of it but then I think the boys showed a bit of nativity in terms of they seemed to be rushing everything. We’ve never been in that position to rush like that when we play sides from Step Six.  We still stray composed and play but maybe we got a little bit anxious and that’s what opened up for them to get the third goal if I’m honest.”

Gailie slotted in at right-back after Kommu was withdrawn through injury before Rusthall went close in the 66th minute.

Anderson played the ball into Camacho down the right-wing and he was given time and space to whip in a deep cross which was met by Fuller’s free header, which he failed to get on target.

Teeley pulled off a brilliant save to frustrate Rusthall again.

Bissett placed his left-footed free-kick from 25-yards around the wall and Teeley got down low to his right to parry the ball into Fuller’s feet and his cross was met by a flicked header from Harvey at the near post, the ball sailing across goal and striking the top of the far post.

Jones said: “It was what I would call another opportunity for them to come at us. They’re always going to open up opportunities and I thought we dealt with them alright. It wasn’t that bad but you could see on the cards that something like that was going to happen.”

“Very nice free-kick, around the wall, bottom corner, very good save from the keeper again,” added the Rusthall joint-manager.

“We were alive to the situation more in the second half.  Joe’s put a good ball in, he’s put it in a good area and he caused problems and the Erith defender tried to get something on it and we were unlucky not to force an own goal.”

Jones put Harding through on goal and Christie stuck out his left leg to make a vital block at his near post again. 

Harding swung in their seventh corner and Curtis rose at the far post to plant his header just over the Rusthall crossbar.

Erith & Belvedere squandered a glorious chance to equalise with 15 minutes left.

Harding got in behind Gailie again and his low centre was put on a plate for substitute striker Reginald Yembra, who stuck out a long left leg to hit a first time shot against the crossbar from eight-yards out.

Jones said: “Should really gone in if I’m honest. I think from where he was he should really put it in but maybe he was leaning back too much and he put a lot of power on it but maybe he should’ve took the pace off it, just put it in really. I don’t know, I wasn’t in that position but it’s a big chance, big moment and big miss!

“I don’t say he’s bad or anything for doing it bit you expect your striker in particular, he’s come on and he could’ve turned the game around just by coming on and proving a point as a sub.”

McKechnie added: “Yes, he should’ve equalised, he should’ve scored! We got away with that one if I’m being honest!

“If anything, that felt that moment was the kind of real wake-up call. I felt from then we improved, we definitely improved. We tried to exploit the space that was on their right and we were trying to exploit that a little bit more but I think that one kind of kicked us into life.”

Erith & Belvedere’s player-of-the-month winner Jamie Taylor was given time and space to hit a dipping drive into Christie’s midriff from 30-yards, before Rusthall killed the game off by scoring their third goal, timed at 39 minutes and 5 seconds.

Shaw showed desire and skill to run to the by-line before cutting the ball back for Callum Ridley to drill a powerful shot, which brought yet another outstanding diving save to his right out of Teeley. But the keeper was let down by his defenders as no one reacted to Ridley, who looped his header over the keepers left-shoulder and onto the crossbar and the stopper got something to Murray’s follow-up shot but couldn’t prevent the ball rolling into the bottom right-hand corner.

“Again, we probably had four opportunities when we should’ve scored before we did but again as we were in the first half Sam was alive to it again to force it over the line and get the win,” said McKechnie.

Jones added: “We’ve got to wise up when we’re playing teams at higher levels. Our reaction, the way we react is really important and I don’t think with all of the goals they weren’t outstanding goals. It’s just that we didn’t react to the second ball.”

Christie was called into making two late saves as Erith & Belvedere tried their luck from outside the penalty area.  Mpungi stung the keeper’s fingers from 35-yards before the keeper got down on his knees to pick up a weak shot from Harding closer to the penalty area.

Jones admitted: “We’re playing a team from Step Five in a competitive cup competition and I think we were a little bit short in terms of, when I say short I don’t mean in terms of personnel, I just mean in terms of our game.  I don’t think we were on it when we got on the edge of their box really. 

“There wasn’t enough movement or invention and creating an opening.  Harry Harding worked his socks to try to make something really happen.”

Rusthall travel to Guildford City – who thrashed Rochester United 4-0 yesterday – in the next round on 15 September.

“It’s another away game, a long list of away games we’ve had at the start of this season so we’re starting to get used to playing away,” said McKechnie.

“That will be a difficult game, it’s the next game in the Vase. Any game in the Vase is difficult but every round you go through gets that little bit harder.

“We’ll go into it with no pressure again, we’ll go there to try to play football and try to win the game.”

Erith & Belvedere have suffered first hurdle exits in both The FA Cup and The FA Vase this season and Jones wants his side to bounce back when Forest Hill Park visit Park View Road next Saturday.

“I’m not too disappointed with the loss. I don’t like losing. I’ve got to focus on the reality.  Would we get to Wembley? No! We won’t win The Vase but what we can do is win the Step Six League, that’s in our make-up to do that.”

Erith & Belvedere: Daniel Teeley, Munyardzi Bruce Muchenje, Guyliano-Tresor Mpungi, Robert Curtis, Nicholas Harvey, Tony Hill, Chan Quan (Elyon Marshall-Katung 82), George Jones, David Olayokun (Reginald Yembra 66), Harry Harding, Jamie Taylor.
Subs: Gravlyn Kwtondon, Tyler Spranger, Dillon Green

Goal: Robert Curtis 33

Booked: Jamie Taylor 90

Rusthall: Callum Christie, Jordan Anderson (Tom Cameron 87), Dan Kommu (Sam Murray 53), Ryan Waterman, Robbie Bissett, Luke Stratford, Stephen Camacho, John Phillips (Callum Ridley 66), Peter Shaw, Joe Fuller, Callum Gailie.
Subs: Regan Corke, Alex Carey

Goals: Peter Shaw 13, 56, Sam Murray 85

Attendance: 59
Referee: Mr Jamie Eacott (Walderslade)
Assistants: Mr Piotr Zachwieja (Chatham) & Mr Wayne Horsfall (Gillingham)

Editor’s Statement.
I (Stephen McCartney) would like to apologise to Erith & Belvedere FC and its chairman Mr John McFadden for an offensive comment that I published within the original match report that has since been removed.  I have been experiencing personal stress issues over recent months and admit that I have let my standards drop within my match reports during this stressful time.  If I have offended you during this time then I sincerely apologise.