FC Elmstead 0-2 Sporting Club Thamesmead - Hopefully it gives us a litlte bit of breathing space, says under pressure joint-boss Danny Joy

Friday 21st October 2016
FC Elmstead 0 – 2 Sporting Club Thamesmead
Location 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ
Kickoff 21/10/2016 19:45

The Buildbase FA Vase First Round
Friday 21st October 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakley Road

SPORTING CLUB THAMESMEAD joint-manager Danny Joy says knocking FC Elmstead out of The Buildbase FA Vase has saved them from the sack.

The artist formerly known as Seven Acre & Sidcup went into this First Round tie sitting in the bottom two in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with one win and two draws from their opening nine games.

But Joy and Ross Baker’s reign at Bayliss Avenue might have only lasted 14 games had they lost to FC Elmstead, who went into the game in 12th place in the table with four wins and four draws from their 11 league outings.

FC Elmstead defeated Southwick (2-1) and AFC Uckfield (1-0) on their travels and were making their debut at this stage of the competition, so were Sporting Club Thamesmead, who needed two bites of the cherry to see of Ringmer (6-1 at home after a 2-2 draw after extra time).

Joy and Baker held a team meeting before training on Wednesday night after only 12 players were available for last Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at Lordswood in the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy First Round.

But they responded by putting in an impressive performance that belied their lowly league position as they dominated a FC Elmstead side that were clearly missing their manager Fabio Rossi, who left last night to go on a cruise.

Sporting Club Thamesmead left it late to seal a deserved victory, with strike partners Josh Patrick and Dan Parish notching their ninth and fourth goals of the season respectively to save their manager’s jobs.

“We offered our resignation on Sunday and we was told they’d review it at the end of the month which gives us two games but tonight’s massive, it’s massive for me and Ross, it’s massive for the boys and it’s massive for the club,” revealed an honest Joy.

“We’ve gone through a bad spell. We’ve not been playing bad but at this level if you don’t take your chances, you get punished and that’s been happening to us, but tonight we feel that we’ve bossed the game and thoroughly deserved it.

“They did respond (following our team meeting). We told them a few harsh truths but the club we’re at don’t pay no wages. They play for the love, the same as me and Ross. The same as the committee. Everyone, we’re all here because we love football and when we go to places like Lordswood and we’re missing 12 first team players – people have to work, I appreciate we don’t pay no money and people have to work – but missing 12 players just wasn’t acceptable so we just asked for a bit more out of them availability wise and a lot more out of them effort wise and I think tonight’s proved they’re playing for us still.”

Coach Jack White and assistant manager Paul Gorman were put in charge of FC Elmstead tonight and the poor performance from their players left White almost lost for words.

He said: “They fully deserved it.  There’s not much to say, they deserved it! From the first whistle I think they wanted it more than us. They moved the ball better than us. We just struggled to get going tonight.  In the whole time that I’ve been at Elmstead I don’t think we’ve ever played that poorly. We wasn’t at our best tonight.

“Sometimes when you go into games like that you look at league tables.  I think sometimes in some of the players’ mentality they potentially approached the game the wrong way and I think it’s easier than what it is but every game’s different and if you don’t work hard enough then you don’t get the right result.

“I just don’t think we played tonight. We didn’t play to the way that I know we can play, didn’t play to the way that we train, that we’re asking them to play, so we just didn’t get it right tonight.  You have nights like that and unfortunately it was probably one of the biggest games to have that night.”

The only thing that FC Elmstead got right was to charge adults £5 to get in and they were rewarded when they attracted their second largest ever crowd as 172 flocked through the turnstiles at Oakley Road.

Landlords Holmesdale, who were relegated last season and are now playing in the same division, charge £7 and attracted a crowd of only 80 against FC Elmstead a couple of Friday’s ago, proving that you do not entice people to your ground if you charge extortionate prices for Step Six football.

The game took ten minutes to get going and it was Sporting Club Thamesmead that called Cockerels’ goalkeeper Dan Teeley into making a comfortable catch.

Gary Phillimore played a short free-kick inside to Ashley Kempster, who took a touch before cracking a left-footed drive straight at the goalkeeper from 25-yards.

Teeley made a vital save shortly afterwards when he sprinted off his line towards the edge of his penalty box to block Parish’s shot after left-winger Gilberto Delayo Nguema split open Reece Barrett and Sonny Robinson with a fine pass.

White added: “Teeley was awesome tonight. If there was one player out there that did give his all for us, that was certainly Dan Teeley. He gets my man-of-the-match.”

Joy said: “The keeper’s done well, not surprised! We were a bit shocked really about how quick he came out! But we back Dan Parish to score in those situations. He would always back himself to be fair and we was a little bit disappointed that he didn’t score but like we say, just keep getting in to those positions and it will come.”

Joy added: “It’s been the story of our season.   We’re playing well in games but not taking our chances but it made a lot of difference tonight because I thought we defended well.  We’ve been a little bit soft and a little bit easy to break down but tonight we defended well, which always gives you a chance of winning the game.

“But we can’t keep missing chances. On another night Elmstead nick one and we’re chasing again, so we need to be more clinical but we are creating and it’s a big step forward.

FC Elmstead offered very little up top. Aaron Guard and Ben Lockett linked up down the left but striker Thomas Pratt’s hook went well wide of the target.

Sporting Club Thamesmead then started creating – and missing – some good chances after 28 minutes.

The impressive Tony Ecuyer played a low ball in from the right and Parish nipped in front of his man to steer his shot past the near post from a tight angle.

Elmstead skipper Christian Howell lost possession to Leon McLeod, who took the ball on but dragged a poor shot across the keeper and past the far post from 25-yards.

Right-back Kempster launched a long throw in from the left, the ball fell at Phillimore, who flicked the ball up before hitting his volley well wide of the left-hand post from 16-yards.

Joy said: “Gary’s technically very good. We’ve missed him this season because he’s been injured and out due to work and he’s been on holiday, but he does give you that little bit of quality and that little bit of a threat from the edge of the box because his striking from distance is always good and we thought he done well to make himself the chance really.”

The Acre continued to press and Parish collected the ball down the right channel, rolled the ball back to right-back Tony Hill, who delivered a deep cross into the box where Patrick rose with keeper Teeley, got to the ball first but looped his header just over the crossbar.

“Josh is a one man wrecking machine,” said Joy.

“He throws himself in places that other people wouldn’t dream off. He made the chance. It was a great ball in, maybe if Josh was six inches higher the keeper’s got no chance but the keeper done his job.  You can’t knock Josh Patrick’s endeavour.”

But when you’re struggling at the bottom of the table – only pointless Lewisham Borough are below them – things just don’t go for you.

Nguema played the ball inside to Patrick in the middle, who rolled the ball into Ecuyer’s path, who took a touch to drag his low shot across the keeper only to see the ball clip the foot of the far post and the ball cleared off the line by Robinson.

Joy added: “It’s very difficult. Sometimes you do need one to go in like that. It’s not always the 20-yard worldie you need, it’s the one that goes in off your shin or off your knee or in off the post but we’ve not had that bit of luck and hopefully tonight we can try to make it start to turn.”

White added: “It had been coming in terms of the pressure that they were having and at that moment in time we was just wasn’t performing the way that we should’ve been.  I think if we have played them again, I think it would’ve been a different result but tonight we just wasn’t good enough.”

Teeley was keeping FC Elmstead in the game and he made a brave save to deny Nguema, after he was played in behind Robinson by man-of-the-match Ecuyer.

Joy said: “Very brave to be fair, the keeper’s been good for them all night. He’s good with his feet, his distributions good and brave as a lion but you would expect that from a keeper. There aint many people who want to play in goal and it takes a certain type of breed.”

Somehow, FC Elmstead escaped with a goal-less scoreline at the break when in truth The Acre should have been two or maybe three goals in front.

When asked about not creating any goalscoring chances, White replied: “That’s one of the reasons why we’ve lost! If it’s that easy for the opposition and you’re not turning them, you’re not getting in behind them.  We kept playing far too narrow and I think Ricky Hardie had an amazing game tonight.  I think he was superb but if you keep trying the same thing over and over again and it’s not working, you’ve got to mix it up and I think we did lack a little bit of creativity in terms of just pulling them apart and just opening them.”

When asked what he told his outplayed team at the interval, White admitted: “I said you’re lucky! I said if it wasn’t for Teeley then we’re 2-0 down right now!

“If we’re playing that poorly and it’s still 0-0 what’s going to happen when we start to turn it on? Because we can play.

“We’ve got a very good squad but if anything it’s a young, slightly immature squad so in terms of big games just approaching it with the right professional attitude sometimes we can let occasions get to us.  There’s a much bigger crowd than usual.  I’m not saying any of them are a key factor for why we didn’t perform tonight but it just didn’t click.”

Joy said: “Looking back at it we can’t remember them having a chance in the first half, but we stressed to the boys that we’ve been in this situation before. We’ve been playing well in the first half and we switch off because we praise them and say how well they’ve been playing and then they don’t come out so we made sure that we started again with the same attitude as they started the first half, take it to them and not to rest on our laurels because it was still 0-0.”

The second half was poor for the first 17 minutes.  Hill clipped a long ball towards the edge of the Elmstead box where Patrick skied his shot on the turn from 20-yards after 50 minutes.

FC Elmstead took nearly 18 minutes into the second half to fashion their first real clear cut opening – and like London red busses two came along at once.

Christian Howell floated in a free-kick from the right, the ball was flicked on by Ben Slade and Pratt nipped in only to have his shot blocked by Sporting Club Thamesmead’s goalkeeper Simon Vanderhook.

The second-choice goalkeeper was then forced into making another save just 15 seconds later, diving low to his left to save Pratt’s angled drive from the other side of the pitch after Ashley Wright’s pass.

White admitted Dexter Babalola’s introduction to the middle of the park sparked Elmstead into life for a short while.

He said: “I think that was after we made a change.  We needed to mix it up and I think Dexter coming into the middle certainly brought a bit of energy, unfortunately tonight we didn’t capitalise on that.  We had a really good spell in the second half of around five to ten minutes after Dexter came on creating those chances but then we just didn’t click into gear.

“It was open. It was extremely open but we just didn’t get going.”

“We felt we started well in the second half but after 10-15 minutes we started to step back a little bit,” admitted Joy.

“We started to drop a little bit, which gave them a little bit more space to play in front of us and it created our problems.

“Our keeper’s done well tonight. We’ve got two good keepers here.  Max Saville is injured unfortunately, Simon’s a 20-year-old man and he’s come in and been fantastic for us but what we’re saying is we haven’t had those little bits of luck.

“Those chances that teams have been getting against us every week have been put in the back of the net.”

Teeley was forced into diving full-length to his left to tip away Nguema’s angled drive from 25-yards as it turned into an end-to-end game for the first time.

“It was end-to-end. I think everyone was tiring,” said Joy, who explained why the left-winger was substituted.

“The game was played at a ferocious pace. Gilberto came inside, I think it was going wide but he was driving and he was causing many problems but we just felt we needed to make a change with Gilberto because he kept coming inside. We wanted someone who could go around the outside of the full-back and cause them a problem in a different way.”

Ecuyer put in a cross from the right but Parish’s poor header was comfortably caught by Teeley, moving to his right, before Marcus Howell’s header was caught by Vanderhook after another free-kick from Elmstead set-piece specialist Christian Howell.

Hill whipped in a first time cross from the left and Patrick directed his towering header past the left-hand post as it appeared it was going to be a night of frustration for The Acre.

But when you’ve got a striker of Patrick’s calibre in your ranks, he can always pop up with his ninth goal of the season to end the frustration, the goal coming with 27 minutes and 05 seconds on the second half clock.

Central defender Joe Abbott hit a long ball out of defence which wasn’t dealt with by Barrett and Patrick latched onto the ball and drilled a low shot from 16-yards across Teeley, who got his right hand to the ball but couldn’t prevent the ball nestling into the back of the net.

“He took it well, he took it well. It was a good ball. It was a good spot from Joe, whose got that in his locker. He’s got that 60-yard diagonal in him, which we do.  We try not to play long but sometimes if it’s on then it’s a no brainer to play the ball.

“Josh had a couple of chances tonight but when he got his proper chance, he took it, which we expect from him and what he deserved.”

White said: “I thought it was offside from where I was. Obviously, I’m seeing it on the angle.  I saw between our two centre halves that he’s in an offside position so I’m actually shouting at the referee and the lino because I thought it was offside! In my honest opinion it’s offside.   He started in an offside position when the ball was played. Should we have reacted better? Possibly. But I honestly believe it was offside and that is why the two centre halves didn’t quite get there.”

When asked what he was feeling after going down to a struggling side, White replied: “Change it, so we brought on Nick Wybrow just to give us a little bit more creativity up top. It was already in the plans to happen but after that it was a case of let’s start changing things, let’s start mixing it up. Let’s start trying to get the boys going and I think it worked to a degree.”

Abbott denied FC Elmstead a chance to take the game into extra time with a fine piece of defending.

Barrett found himself in the left-back position when he hit a long ball, which was flicked on by substitute Nick Wybrow to put sub striker Jack Jeffrey in but Abbott came across to put in a tackle, the ball bouncing into the hands of Vanderhook for a comfortable save.

White said: “I think personally from the sidelines it’s easier to say but if Jack takes another touch, takes it into the box, are they going to trip him? Is it going to be a penalty? Could he have got a clearer shot away? Possibly!

“But he’s got the shot out early, the keeper’s not set but he’s made the save.  Again, on another night I think we’re probably a little bit more composed. I think with opportunities like that, we finish them.”

Joy added: “I think it’s hard not to naturally drop when you score. You know it’s coming towards the end of the game when you’re getting deeper and deeper.

“Simon’s done well. He pulled off a few good saves as the game went on and on chances created we won comfortably. Simon’s kept us in it at the end and he’s got a big pat on the back for what he’s done tonight.”

FC Elmstead lost the ball in Acre’s half of the pitch and paid the price as Sporting Club Thamesmead deservedly won the game by two clear goals, the goal timed at 43 minutes and 37 seconds.

Parish threaded the ball through the heart of the pitch to put Patrick in behind and he only had keeper Teeley to beat.  The striker cut inside and decided to play the ball back inside to an unmarked Parish, who composed himself to drive his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner (past Barrett on the line) to score from 16-yards.

Joy said: “They’ve been playing together for years but with boys coming in and out of the side they’ve not had the game time together. They’ve had three or four on the bounce now and there’s a massive clique between them.  We felt they bounced off each other well tonight and Parish especially deserved his goal because he worked unbelievably well.”

White added: “It’s typical counter-attacking football. We went three at the back, three up top, just to go a little bit more direct to even force extra time or get the result and that’s generally what should happen.

“Again, it’s come from our mistake. It was an enforced mistake on our behalf so we’ve given possession away from there, they’ve broke and they’ve gone and put the ball in the back of the net so if we’re a little bit more composed in those areas maybe we go and nick the equaliser.”

Ecuyer nearly capped off a good performance with a goal at the death but saw his left-footed drive clear the crossbar after Elmstead failed to clear their lines.

Sporting Club Thamesmead continue their best ever run in The FA Vase and look forward to Monday’s Draw to see who they will face in the Second Round on 12 November.

Both clubs have scooped £1,275 in FA prize money and FC Elmstead still pick up £225 in prize money despite defeat.

White believes Sporting Club Thamesmead’s players raised their game just because it was a FA Vase tie.

“I said to the boys, the fact that it was the First Round of the Vase that didn’t matter to me.   The fact that we’ve not played the way that we could’ve done tonight is what’s annoyed me,” said White.

“We’ve not given a display of ourselves tonight, or played the type of football that we’ve played and that we’re capable of.

“There’s been games where I’ve not been there before, games where Fabio’s not been there before but the boys still play. I don’t think (the manager being away on a cruiser) has any effect on it.

“I think, if anything, the occasion has possibly got to them. Maybe the way that they approached the game has ultimately let them down.

“If that’s a league game I think we win it. I honestly think we win it. Cups are really magical things in a way. The spirit of them tonight is literally what cups are really about. They wanted it from the first whistle.  I think come the league we compose ourselves and we go back to the football that I know we like to play.

“I think it’s been one of those nights for us.”

Crockenhill host FC Elmstead in the league next Saturday and White added: “You shouldn’t get too high when you win and you shouldn’t get too low when you lose. It’s just trying to keep that consistency and we’ve just got to try to pick ourselves up and go again.”

Joy is delighted that tonight’s win keeps him in a job.

“It’s nice for the club. Our club is run by sponsorship and a lot of loyal people who love the club and want the club to progress so everything we can put in the bank helps and we’re trying to do our part with that.

“We’ve created a little bit of history by getting to the First Round and now we’re in the Second Round and have nothing to lose.

“This is a nice break from the league. We’ve been having it hard in the league so hopefully we can take the momentum and this positive thing into the next game (at home to K Sports) next Saturday.

“This is what we’ve said to the boys. They’ve showed us the performance and the results you get when everyone’s 100% and everyone’s shows that little bit of hunger so now they can’t let them drop because they’ve let themselves down.

“But they’ve set a precedent from tonight now to go and do it week-in-week-out. The sack is lingering over us but we can only take it one game at a time. We said we’re proud of the boys so hopefully we can get respite now because it’s a big win for the club and a comfortable win.  If we came here and nicked it then I don’t think it would’ve helped us too much but we’ve come here and dominated so hopefully it gives us a little bit of breathing space.”

FC Elmstead: Dan Teeley, Marcus Howell, Harry West (Jack Jeffrey 79), Christian Howell, Reece Barrett, Sonny Robinson, Ben Lockett (Nick Wybrow 74), Aaron Guard (Dexter Babalola 57), Ben Slade, Thomas Pratt, Ashley Wright.
Subs: Daniel Carpenter, Tom O’Reilly

Booked: Nick Wybrow 90

Sporting Club Thamesmead: Simon Vanderhook, Tony Hill, Ashley Kempster, Leon McLeod, Ricky Hardie, Joe Abbott, Tony Ecuyer, Gary Phillimore, Josh Patrick (Kieran McMahon 90), Dan Parish, Gilberto Delayo Nguema (Sodiq Badaru 78).
Subs: Danny Frondigoun, Baz Ajala, Ryan Townrow

Goals: Josh Patrick 73, Dan Parish 89

Booked: Leon McLeod 21, Ashley Kempster 23

Attendance: 172
Referee: Mr Brett Grant (Canvey Island, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Guy Pell-Ilderton (Rayleigh, Essex) & Mr Ryan Fox (Benfleet, Essex)

Coverage Sponsored by: