Glebe 3-4 Dartford - We had a mountain to climb but I pointed out to them that that mountain was quite climbable and I knew the talent that we have in the squad that we could do it, says Dartford Academy coach Ben Greenhalgh

Thursday 19th September 2019
Glebe 3 – 4 Dartford
Location Foxbury Avenue, off Perry Street, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6SD
Kickoff 19/09/2019 19:45

(after extra time)
The FA Youth Cup First Qualifying Round
Thursday 19 September 2019
Stephen McCartney reports form Foxbury Avenue

DARTFORD Academy coach Ben Greenhalgh says his players’ will need to be bringing back down to earth after pulling off a remarkable fightback to beat Glebe in The FA Youth Cup.

Glebe, who play in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division at first team level, are three levels lower than Vanarama National League South side Dartford, but they certainly gave their opponents a major fright during this enthralling encounter in Chislehurst.

Glebe were destined to pull off a First Qualifying Round giant-killing act as they led 3-0 at Foxbury Avenue after 51 minutes.

Striker Tafari Jallim scored a sublime 25-yard free-kick to give the home side the lead ten minutes before the break, before midfielder Oscar Powell found space at the far post to sweep the ball home, before Jallim’s acrobatically hooked in a third.

Dartford started their recovery through substitute Jack Calvert but they were heading out of the competition as they were 3-1 down with six minutes remaining.

Another substitute, centre-half Grant Odejah hooked in a second goal in the 85th minute before striker Charlie Edmundson bounced back from having a late goal ruled out for offside to curl home a last-gasp beauty to force extra-time.

Dartford were the dominant force during the extra 30 minutes and another super-sub, left-back Harvey Horton buried a header inside the final five minutes to seal their progress into the Second Qualifying Round.

“I was just saying to the boys, I’m not sure if they’ll get a better moment in football throughout their whole career,” said Greenhalgh, 27, who also plays for Tony Burman’s first-team.

“Under 18’s football is always one of the most enjoyable years of football anyway but to be 3-1 down with 15 minutes to go and the way they worked for all 90 minutes and the then following 30 minutes in extra-time, I can’t fault the boys because of how much effort they put in and they really just kept going until the end.

“We were 3-1 down with six minutes to go and obviously had a 90th minute goal and from there I just couldn’t see it going the other way so a big congratulations to the boys.  They’re going to go and enjoy that moment and we push on to the next round.”

Glebe manager Richard George said he was proud of his players, who are not full-time Academy players.

“Very disappointed.  I thought we were the better team today, played some fantastic football. Unfortunately, a couple of the injuries came at the wrong time for us today and literally changed the whole complexity of the game.

“But I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. I thought they were fantastic today and played some absolutely fantastic football.”

It could have been one of Glebe’s greatest ever nights had they managed to hold their nerve  - but George was proud of his team nonetheless.

“It’s fantastic for them to come down to a venue like this, the atmosphere, the quality of the football. Yes, it’s a fantastic performance from them so a marvellous performance and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Glebe’s right-back Zak Emmingi went close to opening the scoring when he hit a first time drive inches past the top of the near post when he latched onto a deep cross from left-winger Asanti Amoah after just 26 seconds.

Greenhalgh admitted his side couldn’t adapt to playing on a grass pitch.

“We did a bit of practice in terms of playing at Glebe because we work on the Astro day in day out,” he said.

“We struggled to get into our middle three players in the first half going up the hill. We couldn’t quite get the ball under control and work it through the middle and it became difficult for us.”

Dartford’s first opening arrived shortly afterwards when Sam Coulibay swept his free-kick forward from the half-way line and the ball fell to Samuel Odaudo but the central midfielder scuffed his shot into the hands of Glebe’s goalkeeper Ted MacDonald to make a comfortable save.

Dartford striker Edmundson burst forward at pace from the half-way line, shrugging off Glebe’s centre-half Raul Zanfir in the process and his chip was beaten away by the advancing MacDonald in the 16th minute.

“Charlie worked hard all game.  He’s done really well since he’s come in, being one of the young boys but he’s just an out-an-out goalscorer,” said Greenhalgh.

“I’ve already had people compare him to Michael Owen, the way that he runs and the way that he moves and he’s a really exciting player and he will give you absolutely everything!”

Glebe were a threat down the left with 15-year-old Amoah’s pace a constant threat and he got in behind Harry Lashley to whip in a low cross which flashed across the face of goal but Jallim sliced his first time shot past the right-hand post from the edge of the Dartford box.

“Asanti Amoah is a young up and coming player for us here at Glebe, a tremendous talent and put a wonderful shift in certainly in the first half or so, so onwards and upwards for him really,” said George.

Edmundson found himself wide on the left and he played in a low cross towards central midfielder Alfie Evans in space but he dragged his shot past the left-hand post from 25-yards.

The Dartford skipper was very similar to first-team central midfielder Lee Noble both in stature, hair and performance.

“He’s called mini-Nobes.  He trained with the first team quite a lot last year so the whole first team know him as mini-Nobes,” revealed Greenhalgh.

“It’s a good club for him to be at. It’s difficult for small players in non-league and Dartford have witnessed a player whose been there for 11 years and gets man-of-the-match every week and he’s been one of the most solid players at the club.

“It’s good for Alfie to give him a chance, not saying to live in Lee Noble’s shadow but I think fans will warm to him because of that. If he gets a possibility and also he will get that chance because Tony Burman did it with Lee Noble and it’s proven to work out quite well.”

Glebe left-back Nathan Agyapong released the impressive Amoah down the left and he cut the ball back for combative midfielder Jonas Whitmore, who teed up Emmingi, whose left-footed drive took a deflection and forced Dartford keeper Daniel Colmer to step to his left to stick out a hand to push towards safety.

Glebe snatched the lead with a quality finish with 34 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock.

Jallim stepped up and stroked his right-footed curling 25-yard free-kick around the wall and dipping into the top right-hand corner.

George said: “It was funny! He does like to take them but he’s very, very good at them but to be fair I was just in the process of getting one of the other lads to take it because that’s kind of his range but he over-ruled me and clearly it proved the right decision – it was a fantastic free-kick!”

Greenhalgh added: “You can’t fault Dan the keeper, you can’t fault anything there. It’s just an unbelievable goal!

“It’s come from Sam Odaudo, whose been one of our strongest players and was very strong tonight. He’s just got a little bit lazy with one of his passes across the back and Harvey Horton’s had to dive in. We thought Harvey might’ve won the ball but he had to dive in. I understand why the ref gave the foul and to be honest from that far our you don’t expect someone to put it into the top corner. It’s an unbelievable goal!”

Dartford’s response was swift and just 175 seconds after going a goal behind, Odaudo played the ball into Edmundson’s feet and he held the ball up on the edge of the box under pressure and swept the ball over to an unmarked Tayler Hawks, who slipped over before sweeping his shot across and over the keeper and over the crossbar from the right-hand side of the penalty area.

Evans then played the ball inside to Max Walsh, who skipped past three Glebe defenders but was denied by former Dartford keeper MacDonald, who dived to his right to make the save.

George said: “He’s a quality goalkeeper. He’s been here at Glebe for a while now. His quality really shown through today.”

“We actually had Ted at Dartford, he didn’t do the Academy at the end but he’s a very good goalkeeper and he made a lot of good saves tonight,” added Greenhalgh.

“He was solid with his kicking and he was a really crucial part of the team today and he stopped us getting a few goals earlier on.”

Glebe were clinical in front of goal and they turned defending a Dartford corner from Walsh into hitting their opponents on the counter-attack and grabbing a 2-0 lead with 41 minutes and 5 seconds on the clock.

In came Walsh’s corner from the left, Glebe cleared their lines and released Amoah charging down the left.  He whipped in a low deep cross towards the far post and found Jallim who put it on a plate for an unmarked Powell to sweep his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner from eight-yards.

“We were (dangerous on the break) and that’s very typical of the way we set up the team with the quality we have to be able to counter on the break and we do it very, very well,” said George.

“That’s a move that we’ve worked on quite a lot in training, certainly from the counter perspective. It was an excellent team goal and well deserved at that stage as well.”

Greenhalgh added: “We actually spent 20 minutes yesterday working on attacking corner and it was all about going short for the first three corners and Max has ended up delivering one when everyone’s gone short and they’ve counter-attacked on us and scored.

“Max put his hand up straight away and the performance he put in there was second to none.  He had two assists and worked so hard. I can’t wait to see their GPS stats.”

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

George said: “I think it’s about taking your chances at the right times but like we said at half-time to the boys, yes we might be in this fantastic position but equally at the same time we have to go out and manage the second half because Dartford are going to come out with all guns blazing and surely enough they did!

“Unfortunately, losing a couple of key players at the wrong time cost us the game today because we were by far the better team.”

Greenhalgh said: “I was positive! I liked to think as myself as quite positive in terms of the coaching style and I said to them that we could’ve come in at 0-0. I don’t think we deserved to be 1-0 up or anything like that.

“But we had a mountain to climb but I pointed out to them that that mountain was quite climbable and I knew with the talent that’s in the squad and the way that we’ve come back from games already this season, that we can do it and they proved me right!”

The Glebe keeper was the busier of the two tonight and Dartford created their first opening of the second half with four minutes and 47 seconds on the clock.

Lashley, who started as a centre-half before switching to right-back after Elijah Tomomewo’s night only lasted 13 minutes due to injury, launched a long throw into the box. The ball was flicked on at the near post and Walsh – who has vital experience in the tenth-tier with Sporting Club Thamesmead – hooked his shot which bounced into MacDonald’s hands.

Dartford faced a huge mountain to climb when Glebe raced into a three-goal lead with five minutes and 58 seconds on the clock.

Glebe were a threat with pace going forward and right-back Emmingi easily shrugged past Evans before reaching the final third before playing the ball out to Opeyemi Abiru wide on the right.  He reached the by-line before hanging in a precise cross for Jallim to hook his acrobatic shot across the keeper and planting it into the bottom far corner from 12-yards.

George admitted he didn’t think the game was won at that point in the evening.

“We were in dreamland and it was trying to manage the players and the expectations at that stage,” he said.

“The opposition were going to have a little purple patch to get back in to the game and it was how we managed it.”

Greenhalgh added: “It’s another good goal by them, he took it quite well.  I didn’t give up at that time, the boys didn’t give up and that’s all that mattered. It was a tough one to take but what a reaction from them as soon as we went 3-0 down!”

Dartford were certainly lifted after pulling a goal back with 12 minutes and 59 seconds on the clock.

Lashley whipped in a deep cross from the right touchline from inside the Glebe half and Evans, with his back to goal, laid the ball back to left-winger Calvert, who drilled his first time drive into the roof of the net.

Greenhalgh said: “Jack Calvert has started every game so far so I imagine he’ll be a little bit disappointed not to be on the starting sheet but all of our players have been working hard in training and Lucas Baker and Tayler Hawks deserved their spot but Jack’s come on with great attitude and straight away he’s come on and got a goal, which is all you can ask for from a sub.

“We needed that goal. They believed, I believed but we really needed a goal to go you know what we can do it!”

George added: “I think at that stage they didn’t have too many shots on goal. They didn’t really create many chances.  One chance, they put it away.”

The turning point seemed to come in the 71st minute when Glebe’s centre-half Samuel Braddick was forced off the pitch with cramp and Dartford sensed blood and went for it.

“He had cramp in both legs so unfortunately he wasn’t able to continue and losing him at that stage of the game was quite important and it was a game changer for them because that’s when the game changed,” admitted George.

Edmundson was released down the left-channel and he whipped in a cross towards the far post but Walsh steered his free header straight at the goalkeeper.

Just 88 seconds later, Walsh returned the favour to release Edmundson down the left, the Dartford striker cut into the box and forced MacDonald into diving to his right to parry the shot.

Dominant Dartford squandered a glorious chance to score a second goal with 16 minutes remaining.

Hawks played a low 20-yard pass to put Calvert through on goal and his first time shot was parried by the excellent MacDonald, who was relieved to see Calvert lash the rebound over the crossbar from 10-yards out.

Greenhalgh said: “I think it felt like it wasn’t going to be our day. We were creating chances, we weren’t quite putting them in the net but it was a positive sign because we were creating a lot of chances so we did keep believing on the side.”

George added: “I think we just switched off for a moment there and certainly inexperience’s of a couple of younger players there particularly, just switched off at that moment and that is what happens at any level of football when you switch off and it could be quite costly.”

Referee Steven Martin pulled out a red-card to send-off Dartford coach Elliot Leveson inside the final seven minutes of normal time as the referee insisted several times that only two people were allowed to stand up within the technical area.

Leveson, who was down as a coach on the official team-sheet was also tasked with updating the club’s Twitter account during the game.

“The ref made a few strange decisions that we couldn’t quite agree with, which is football and we got a bit hyped on the side,” explained Greenhalgh.

“There was a rule today that only two of us could stand up as coaches and Elliot was giving the waters out. He was a third man. He got told off a couple of times so he went to sit down and as he was watching the corner he stood up to look around the dug-out and while the game was going on the ref seemed to be waiting for that and he’s come over and sent him off for it.

“But we can laugh about it now. I’m not sure what happens with Elliot because he does play football so I’m not sure what happens there?  It’s not exactly what he deserves but we can all walk out of here with our heads held high, really knowing that we managed to get the result and it was worth it in the end.”

Glebe had a glorious chance to seal the game when Jallim worked the right-channel and whipped in a deep cross for substitute Joshua Eke, whose shot was saved by Colmer.

George said: “If that goal had definitely gone in I think it would’ve have been game over at 4-2 and no way back. That’s a bit of a heartbreaker at that stage. We probably would’ve gone on and seen the game out.”

Glebe started throwing it away as soon as Dartford scored their second goal of the night, which was timed as late as 39 minutes and 31 seconds on the clock.

Walsh, who has clearly benefited from playing in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division, delivered a deep cross in from the right towards the far post for Odejah to hook his shot into the top left-hand corner.

Greenhalgh said: “Grant came off the bench and hasn’t quite done pre-season with us so he’s only been back for a week and a half. He was a solid player for us last year, a good centre-forward. He’s got an instinct for a goal and he was the perfect person to be on the end of one of Max’s crosses.”

George added: “Again, it was down to a couple of individual mistakes that we allowed them to get back in at the stage. We just switched off and a little bit of naivety on the part but that’s a learning curve for the boys.”

Evans’ fine pass put Odejah through on goal and with only MacDonald to beat the impressive Glebe stopper made another vital save before the ball was cleared away.

Dartford felt they had deservedly scored their equalising goal with 44 minutes and 4 seconds on the clock – but Matthew Jennings’ offside flag temporarily saved Glebe.

Horton’s fine pass from the left put Calvert in behind the tiring Glebe defence and he stroked his shot across the keeper and the ball was trickling into the bottom far corner. 

However, Edmundson tapped the ball over the line and was clearly in an offside position when doing so, so the flag was raised.

“We had a bit of premature celebrations,” admitted Greenhalgh, who took the side tonight with Tony Burman taking first team training.

“Charlie did this on Wednesday, not in a vital moment but also I backed him on Wednesday because there was a defender behind him so the defender would probably cleared it off the line. 

“Today, there’s no backing for him because it was going in, there was no one about. I don’t know why he’s put it in?! I even tried to claim it was maybe in the goal because we all had a bit of a premature celebration. What happens next, that’s Charlie Edmundson!”

George thanked his lucky stars that his side were left off for a short period.

“Correct decision, absolutely correct decision by the linesman. He got that one right and we’re still in the game at 3-2,” said the Glebe manager.

“At that stage you’re thinking yes we’ve rode our luck and hopefully we can see the game through but you don’t always get what you deserve in football and unfortunately we didn’t get that more little bit of luck that we needed to see it through.”

Dartford deservedly forced extra-time by scoring their equaliser with four minutes and 7 seconds into stoppage time.

Odejah launched a long ball out from the heart of defence which caught out the Glebe defence, Edmundson easily cut inside last-defender Michael Okwuom before curling his sublime right-footed shot into the top far corner from 20-yards.

Greenhalgh said: “That’s what Charlie will do! He did exactly the same on Wednesday last week. He scored a worldie goal after making that little mistake.  Today, I think the boys nearly turned on him a little bit but they didn’t. I love that they kept the positive energy and they kept pushing him on because they know he has the quality to go and do what he did.”

George said: “It was a well taken goal at that stage, I think. We were literally dead on our feet with the injuries that we had. We’ve made our three subs to try to see the game out and unfortunately those injuries that we were carrying up the pitch, it was just unfortunate at that stage. However, I still think we were by far the better footballing side all day long!”

There was still time for one of these sides to snatch the victory as referee Martin played 10 minutes and 5 seconds of time added on.

It was Glebe who had the chance to snatch victory.

Powell burst into life and was released down the right and whipped in a deep cross, which was retrieved by Eke, who cut inside Lashley before drilling a right-footed angled drive, which was plucked out of the air by Colmer’s outstretched arms.

“We started really pushing towards the end and we knew they were really good on the counter-attack so it could’ve gone the other way if they managed to put one of those chances in but we were pushing for the game. We had to get back into the game and luckily enough we did,” added Greenhalgh.

Both sets of players were up for it after both managers issued their instructions and Glebe appeared to be content to play for penalties, while Dartford wanted to win the game in extra-time.

George said: “I thought we could still compete. I still felt that we were the better side that finished the end of the second half very strongly and there was hope.  It could’ve definitely gone either way. We played some very good football. We carried on playing the way we’ve always played but the boys showed tremendous heart out there today particularly in the second half, considering that Dartford are an Academy side, allegedly, and our boys were still going strong and the Dartford boys were falling all over the place with cramp so very proud of the lads, very, very proud.”

Greenhalgh said: “I brought them in, we had amazing celebrations in the corner of the pitch and I just spoke to them and said it’s not over, we’ve done so much to get into this position and we’ve got to really push hard going up the hill in the first half because we struggled before, so we’ve got to work really hard for this 15 minutes and as soon as we get into that second half we keep it at 0-0 and we can get a goal!”

Glebe created the first opening inside three and a half minutes into extra-time when Whitmore whipped in a free-kick from the right and was met by a free-header at the near post by Abiru, which he steered past the near post before looking up into the night sky in despair.

Dartford’s Walsh then stung MacDonald’s fingers with a left-footed free-kick from 30-yards, which the Glebe keeper gathered the ball at the second attempt, although no one in a purple shirt pressed the keeper.

Dartford could have won it in the final minute of the first period when Evans showed more desire than Glebe left-back Nathan Agyapong to win the ball in a 50-50 challenge before releasing Calvert, who cut into the box and skipped past the keeper only to lose his composure and lash his shot over the top of an empty goal, a tight angle from eight-yards out.

Greenhalgh said: “I’m not sure he lacked composure because I actually feel with Jack he has too much composure.

“He tries putting it in too much of a good goal and really trying to put it in the top corner sometimes.

“He did all the of the hard work and all he just had to do was just side-foot it in to the back of the net and I think he went too powerful and it’s gone over but he’s got himself in the right position. On another day we needed them to go in. Luckily today we didn’t need it to go in.”

George added: “I put that down to good goalkeeping. He did his job by shutting down the angel.

“It was about consolidating and digging in and trying to work on the counter and we did have a couple of chances on the counter so I thought we finished the second half of extra-time fairly stronger.”

Dartford substitute left-back Horton whipped in a deep cross which was met by Walsh’s free-header at the far post but he failed to get it on target inside the opening four minutes of the second period as Dartford looked the more likely team to score.

Seven minutes in, Abiru’s deep cross from the right sailed over towards the far post but Eke’s attempt deflected just past the near post.

Dartford’s left-back Abdulmuiz Alaka chipped the ball forward, the ball was flicked on by Walsh and Calvert’s left-footed low drive forced MacDonald into diving to his left to push the ball around the post for the match winning corner.

Glebe switched off at the vital time as Walsh swung the ball in from the right and no one picked up Horton at the far post and the Dartford saviour buried his free header into the top left-hand corner from a couple of yards out to spark wild celebrations. The goal was timed at nine minutes and 48 seconds into the second period.

“Max’s delivery is one of the best deliveries I think I’ve ever seen in Academy football all last year,” said Greenhalgh.

“He was top goalscorer in the first years last year and he’s done it all the time in training and in games so he was the perfect person to be on the ball with five minutes left to put it in the exact area that he did and trust in Harvey our defender, it was a great header to put it in the back of the net.”

George added: “Unfortunately Michael Okwuom just switched off for a moment there. Again that little bit of naivety. He’s one of the young players in the side, 16 years old but what a great experience for him to come and compete at this level. He held his own certainly when he came on but it’s moments, moments in games and the Dartford player took his opportunity very well.”

Both sets of players must be congratulated in giving the crowd such an exciting game of football to watch and it will be a pleasure to see how their careers develop in the future.

Glebe manager George said: “I think the experience to play at this level, the crowd, it’s certainly the Glebe way. This is what we do here, we try to get the youth and promote from within from the 16s and having that good blend of 16s and second year 18s in the squad.  The boys do get a really good opportunity to play at this level of football.”

Glebe were watched by newly-appointed first team manager Gary Alexander.

“Gary came in at the start of the game and wished the boys all the very best and gave them a bit of a team-talk as well but that’s what we do here at Glebe,” added George.

“We’re all working together for the greater good but equally to promote and develop the boys at this level and hopefully some of them will get an opportunity if they continue being committed and working hard and will get an opportunity in the first team, so fantastic.”

Dartford coach Greenhalgh added:  “It means absolutely everything! I could’ve come in if I lost the game and said we’re not going to go on and win The FA Youth Cup, so it’s not the end of the world.

“I think just as an experience, mentally that’s only going to strengthen what happened today, the come-back from 3-0 down. 

“We might have to bring them back down to earth a little bit in the next few days as we go to Aldershot away next week so it’s going to be some different games in the league so we’ll look forward to the draw and we’ll go again and we’ll enjoy the moment and work hard at training on Friday.”

Glebe: Ted MacDonald, Zak Emmingi (Michael Okwuom 91), Nathan Agyapong, Max Leeves, Raul Zanfir, Samuel Braddick (Joshua Eke 71), Asanti Amoah (Joseph Nana Ike Okwesa 71), Jonas Whitmore, Tafari Jallim (Louis Henry 88), Opeyemi Abiru, Oscar Powell.

Goals: Tafari Jallim 35, 51, Oscar Powell 42

Booked: Nathan Agyapong 43

Dartford: Daniel Colmer, Elijah Tomomewo (Harvey Horton 13), Abdulmuiz Alaka, Samuel Odaudo (Grant Odejah 70), Harry Lashley, Sam Coulibay, Tayler Hawks, Alfie Evans, Charlie Edmundson (Carlos Israel Ospina 104), Max Walsh, Lucas Baker (Jack Calvert 55).
Subs: Jony Fernandes, Dan Watson, Marvin Hersche

Goals: Jack Calvert 58, Grant Odejah 85, Charlie Edmundson 90, Harvey Horton 115

Booked: Harvey Horton 34, Alfie Evans 61, Samuel Odaudo 63, Tayler Hawks 70

Sent Off:  Elliot Leveson 83 (coach)

Attendance: 122
Referee: Mr Steven Martin (Orpington)
Assistants: Mr Teddy Osborn (Bromley) & Mr Matthew Jennings (Greenhithe)