Greenwich Borough 1-0 Lordswood - I was so disapointed because I felt they were there for the beating today, says Lordswood boss James Collins

Saturday 15th August 2015
Greenwich Borough 1 – 0 Lordswood
Location Princes Park Stadium, Grassbanks, Darenth Road, Dartford, Kent DA1 1RT
Kickoff 16/08/2015 15:00

The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round (Sponsored by Emirates)
Sunday 16th August 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Princes Park Stadium

GREENWICH BOROUGH assistant manager Paul Blade says he is looking for a place in The FA Cup First Round for the first time in the club’s history.

The club reached the Fourth Qualifying Round last season when they bravely went down to a 2-1 defeat away to Vanarama Conference North side Worcester City and Blade wants the Southern Counties East Football League leaders to go one better this time around.

But they will have to perform better if they are to get past league rivals Beckenham Town in the Preliminary Round – and four other teams after that – if they are to fulfil Blade’s dream.

Michael Power smashed home his fifth-goal in three games – from the penalty spot – to win the game for Greenwich Borough.

But Lordswood deserved a second bite of the cherry as Greenwich Borough keeper Craig Holloway made four saves to deny a Lordswood side that went into the game on the back of a 3-0 defeat at Cray Valley, followed by a 1-0 midweek home win over Deal Town.

Greenwich Borough opened their campaign with a 4-1 win at Rochester United and Blade – in charge while boss Ian Jenkins serves an eight-match suspension – decided to replace Calum McGeehan for Danny Young at the heart of defence following THAT 7-4 win at Holmesdale on Wednesday night that put the Dartford based outfit at the top of the tree.

“I think it was a totally different game than it was the other night but I think you have to expect that,” said Blade after his side maintained their 100% record.

“Team’s aren’t going to come here and roll over and let you play and dictate the game and they’re going to work hard and stop you from playing.

“We didn’t play particularly well but they nullified us in certain areas but we still caused a threat.

“I still feel we should have won the game comfortably. Yes, they had a couple of half chances and they could have nicked one but if you look at the chances for both sides overall, I think the better side deserved to win the game.”

Lordswood boss James Collins felt his side should have claimed at least a draw.

“Gutted! Gutted because we didn’t turn up in the first half,” he said.

“I got into the boys at half-time and if we had played like we did in the second half, I think we would have got something out from the game.

“I was just disappointed with the first half performance. We just did not get going at all! We just showed them too much respect, which was the one thing we said that we need to learn from Cray Valley.”

Power should have given the home side the lead inside the opening six minutes.

Jack Clark played a short corner to Chris Edwards who cut the ball back to Jake Britnell, who took a touch before drilling a right-footed shot which was blocked. Power’s angled left-footed drive from 12-yards flashed across the face of goal and past the far post.

Blade said of the former VCD Athletic striker: “A good little movement, he spun in the box and opened himself up. He could have passed it in more than striking it in.  The keeper was caught flat-footed.

“You look at it and think is it going to be one of those days. You get a little bit of frustration and that’s what happens sometimes with a forward. You start snapping at things and thing’s aren’t really working but I think it was still comfortable.”

Collins watched the 11-goal thriller at Oakley Road and got his tactics spot on.  They put a man on midfield playmaker Peter Sweeney and Lordswood’s left-back Richie Hamill produced a great display to keep Greenwich winger Mohamed Eisa in his pocket, while right-back Ollie Mentessi and Jack Healey (in the second half) snuffed out the threat from former AFC Wimbledon winger Jesse Darko on the other side.

“Every game is different, isn’t it? We felt if we could put someone in the hole and get running at them we might cause them problems,” explained the Lordswood boss.

“I think they’re a fantastic team, but off the ball I felt that was their weakness, so instead of getting behind the ball and shutting them down, we wanted to try to get them on the back foot, so I suppose it worked. If you look, 1-0 on paper is a good result but I’m disappointed.”

Blade added: “They sat a man on Peter Sweeney, he followed him everywhere he went. If he went to the toilet their player was standing behind him.  You’re going to get teams who will do that. At the end of the day, I like 1-0’s, clean sheet, job done!”

Greenwich Borough went close following their second corner inside ten minutes.

Sweeney swung in a corner from the right towards the far post where Young came up from the back to glance his header just past the far post from six-yards.

Collins was frustrated when his side got in behind the Greenwich Borough defence but couldn’t capitalise on it.

Man-of-the-match Timmy Babington strode forward through the middle before playing the ball in behind Edwards and Young to put Danny Smith into the box, but the wide midfielder slipped and Gary Alexander came across to make the tackle and clear his lines.

Collins said: “That was the first time that we really got in behind and that’s what we were saying at half-time to them. 

“The fact that we got in behind it not a bad place to play. You want that belief. We should be doing that. We should be trying to get in but we lacked any belief, we were slow on the ball.”

Collins was barking orders at his lone striker Brima Daramy during the early stages of the game and he was not clearly happy when he warned “Brima, you’ve got five minutes otherwise you’re sitting here with me!”

Daramy, who was subbed off at half-time, took immediate notice of that warning by setting up Armstrong Bekombo, to drill a first time with his right-boot over the bar from 25-yards.

Collins made a tactical switch by replacing Daramy for Babington and the Greenwich Borough defence couldn’t deal with his pace.

Babington cut in to the penalty area from the left and unleashed a swerving right-footed angled drive which Holloway used his chest to make a block at the near post.

But Greenwich Borough won the game in the 32nd minute.

Sweeney floated a free-kick into the Lordswood box and Young rose to head the ball across the face of goal.  Eisa kept the ball in play and cut the ball back from the left by-line and Britnell was tripped by Lordswood’s central defender Ashley Sains as he was just about to pull the trigger.

Power stepped up and lashed his right-footed penalty into the top left-hand corner, sending I’Anson the other way.

“Good strike,” said Blade.

“I’ve known Shaggy a long time. I haven’t seen him miss a penalty! I don’t see that being a problem. He gets the ball you always know he’s going to score!”

Collins added: “He was never going to miss that! I think it was a clear penalty.

“It’s a set-piece that’s gone into the box, they’ve won the first header, they’ve reacted quickest and he’s brought him down. He’s apologised. I thought he had a good game, it can happen.”

Lordswood produced a nice move in the 39th minute when Babington played the ball into Jack Howlett’s feet, flicking a pass into Daramy’s feet but the striker dragged his shot past the near post from 19-yards.

Greenwich Borough raced straight up the other end and just 26 seconds later Power’s right-footed chip from 20-yards was caught by the Lordswood keeper.

Power had the last chance of the first half when he received Edwards’ low pass, turned and hit a shot on the turn which he drilled high and wide from 25-yards.

Both camps were asked their thoughts at the break.

Blade said: “Just don’t get sucked into them, just be patient, be solid and try to nullify what they’re going to give because their manager is going to give it to them and tell them to keep going. It’s only 1-0, they’re still in the game, there’s a long way to go, but just don’t give them a sniff.

“We didn’t start the greatest but I just think it’s one of those days where we just didn’t particularly play well but we were solid enough but at the end of the day, it’s about winning!”

Collins added: “I thought it was a pretty dull game, pretty boring to watch. I thought there was no pace towards the game. It’s so slow, it’s like a testimonial game, I thought in the first half. I don’t think they (Greenwich) played anywhere near their capabilities. You’ve got to take advantage of that!

“I was so annoyed that what we said at the beginning of the game. We told them not to be overawed, don’t be in awe of them, get out and go at them, it’s the best way and we didn’t get at them and I don’t think they started well either.

“It was a great opportunity. I don’t know what they’ll say but I would imagine that they could play better.

“You said to me during the week that it would be an upset (if we had won). I believe in them lot and it annoys me that they don’t believe in themselves but saying that we’ve been together 6-8 weeks and it takes time, doesn’t it?”

The first ten minutes of the second half was a feisty affair, all because Lordswood felt they had equalised after only 25 seconds.

Assistant referee Mark Jenkins rose his flag as Babington was played in and referee Wally James did not noticed that the flag was raised and the game carried on.

Babington cut into the penalty area and drilled his right-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net and players in orange and supporters celebrated – while Mr Jenkins still had his flag raised.

Lordswood celebrated the goal and lined up inside their own half ready for Greenwich Borough to restart the game but after consulting Mr Jenkins, the referee said “offside!”

Both Blade and Collins agreed that the decision was the right one.

“I thought the referee was poor! His decision making was really poor. He caused a lot of problems himself,” claimed Blade.

“Their disallowed goal, the linesman flagged so long before hand, it was so offside and it makes it more heated and it makes it a different game. It gives other teams a little momentum, gives them a little buzz. If the referee sees it (the flag) early, blows up, it doesn’t happen.

“You get their bench screaming, supporters screaming and it makes it a different mockery of it. “

Collins added: “I know it was offside to be fair to the linesman. He had his flag up for a good 20 seconds and the ref hasn’t seen it so if he says he was offside from the initial one, he was offside.  I have no complaints. If he said the initial ball was offside, he had his flag up for a long time, so no complaints really.”

With Lordswood’s players’ still frustrated tackles started to fly-in and a flashpoint occurred when Sweeney challenged Nick Gonsalves and allegedly elbowed the Lordswood midfielder’s head.

Gonsalves was still on the ground and Lordswood defender Jack Healey was spotted pushing Sweeney at the start of a 21-man melee right in front of the two dug-outs.

The referee allowed tempers to calm down and decided to book Sweeney for the original challenge, although Healey was not punished for his push.

Collins said: “I know everyone says it, but I actually didn’t see it!

“I didn’t see if he got elbowed but what I said to him is you’re standing off them and showing them too much respect and I love the fact that there was a tackle and we got around each other and it set the tone for the second half. It got us going a little bit so I’ve got no problems with it. They stuck together as a team and that’s what I want!”

Blade claimed: “It’s a foul, yes, I’ve not got a problem with that but the boy cheated because it all went off.  I was standing directly within five yards and he looked up and he was laughing and he put his hands around his face.  I don’t like that! I think that’s cheating. You see it on the tele and everything else but when you’re trying to get somebody else sent off, I don’t agree with that one.”

This incident appeared to spark Lordswood into life and their players felt that Greenwich Borough were there for the taking.

Babington raced forward on a 20-yard run before unleashing a low right-footed drive from 20-yards, which was destined for the left-hand corner, but Holloway made a full-length save to his right to push the shot around his post.

Collins was full of praise for Babington, by saying, “I thought he had a very good game. We’ve been playing him out wide but we just thought he we may throw a little curball in and put him behind. Peter Sweeney is a fantastic player but we weren’t sure if he’d fancy doing all the running.”

Blade added: “He kept a clean-sheet, that’s what you want from your goalkeeper.

“He (Babington) was lively, probably their most lively player. He was a threat, if you want to call it that and he was their only threat.  Apart from that, I don’t think anyone else had a shot or do anything against Craig.

“He was always going to be a threat but he didn’t cause us too many problems.”

Sweeney, who was playing Vanarama Conference football for Dartford last season, showed his class and whipped in an excellent free-kick from deep which only needed a touch from anyone to send the home side through.

A long ball forward from Young released Britnell down the left and he cut inside and his right-footed angled drive deflected just past the far post.

Babington, who was Lordswood’s sole threat, was to be denied another goal by Holloway in the 61st minute, the keeper this time diving to his left to tip the shot around his post.

Collins revealed: “He’s the bane of my life that goalkeeper! Last season he pulled off saves! He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, brilliant goalkeeper and that’s what he’s there for, isn’t it?”

Edwards clipped the ball up from his position of right-back – Greenwich Borough were a lot more solid and resilient with a back four than the chaotic formation they played with in midweek – to release Eisa, who brought the ball under his spell but I’Anson rushed off his line to smother the ball at the striker’s feet just inside the box.

Lordswood substitute, central defender Sam Hayes gave the ball away to Power outside the box, who fed Darko, whose shot was blocked and the loose ball was hit on the volley by Britnell, which forced I’Anson to dive to his right to save well.

“Sam’s still finding his feet a little bit but he was brilliant for me last season,” said Collins.

“He had a really good game on Tuesday. He wasn’t great at Cray and he did ok today. He did some good stops but there’s still a bit of work to do with Sam.”

Power was involved again when his flicked header found Isa, who slid the ball through to Saunders, who beat Hayes to the ball inside the box, poking the ball straight at I’Anson from 15-yards.

The excellent Hamill whipped in a cross from the left towards the near post but Holloway reacted to launch a big punch away before Babington could head the ball in.

Lordswood were worthy of forcing a late equaliser.

Babington cut inside and sliced his shot across Holloway and past the far post – a great chance for Lordswood to equalise in the 79th minute.

But Greenwich Borough could have won it too.

Power played Eisa in through on goal but I’Anson responded well and rushed to the edge of his box to smother the ball at the winger’s feet.

Blade added: “I think if you look overall at the chances created and the chances in front of goal, if we sometimes be a little more composed instead of just trying to smash it in.  There were opportunities there because we passed the ball into a decent area. You’ve got to do what you feel comfortable with in those positions.”

Lordswood were to be denied a deserved equaliser with six minutes left.

Bekombo swung in a corner from the left, which was headed away by Alexander and the ball fell at Smith’s feet 22-yards from goal, who smashed a left-footed volley screaming towards the goal, but Holloway beat the ball away to his left.

Collins said: “I thought we deserved it. I don’t know, you’ll say what you think. It will be interesting to read on it later. I thought we were worth a draw. Saying that, they did have a couple of chances where they maybe could have gone 2-0 in front.”

Blade said: “We lost the ball in a bad area and we should have cleared it. We didn’t clear it, it gives them momentum and they flashed the ball across goal. That’s what he does, he’s good at that Craig.”

A foul by central defender Alexander on Howlett gave Lordswood an opportunity with a free-kick from 22-yards.

Hamill was hoping his fine performance was capped off with a goal when he drilled his left-footed free-kick through the wall, but Holloway watched the ball all the way and made a low save.

Collins said: “People will say it’s not a bad result on paper but for me we lost the game in the first half. 

“He’s there to make saves, he makes good saves and you need to create chances. We didn’t test him in the first half and I felt if we could have got them on the back foot, they might have come out differently and taken the game to us more, but I just think we didn’t get close enough to them in the first half. We didn’t create enough. It was too little, too late.”

Greenwich Borough created the last chance of the game when Eisa’s cross from the left was flicked on by substitute Billy Bennett at the near post but Power’s shot at the far was blocked and cleared away.

Blade, meanwhile, is relishing their trip to Eden Park Avenue to play league rivals Beckenham Town in the next round.

“They’re going to be a good side. Playing down at Beckenham, I think that will suit us probably more than it will suit them.  We love playing there. It’s a superb surface and that will suit us down to the ground.

“We got close last year, done really well in The FA Cup. I’ve just said to them, you’re not going to play well every week but if you go and win 1-0’s and you never know what’s going to happen with a few lucky draws, win five games you’re in the first round so that’s what we’re looking forward to.

“But our main priority is to win the league. I think the Cup takes care of itself but we’ve sort of kept the same side now for three games so a little bit of consistency keeping the same side.

“I think we’ll be alright, we’ll be fine. We’ve learnt a lot of lessons from last year and we’ll take that on board and we’ll use that, what we learnt from last year.”

Greenwich Borough were disappointing today, especially after THAT 11-goal thriller at Holmesdale in midweek and today was a big contrast.

“It was so disappointing because I felt they were there for the beating today,” said Collins.

“In the week people kept saying it was a bad draw and you rang me and said ‘cup upset’, but I just believe in them. I believe in any of my players that I’ve ever had and I just want them to believe it, but they won’t believe it until they go and beat them. Maybe they’ll believe it now. If we play them next week, they’ll believe but it’s too late, isn’t it?”

Greenwich Borough: Craig Holloway, Chris Edwards, Jack Clark, Peter Sweeney, Chris Saunders, Danny Young, Mohamed Eisa, Gary Alexander, Michael Power, Jake Britnell (Conner Heffernan 86), Jesse Darko (Billy Bennett 69).
Subs: Danny Phillips, Calum McGeehan, Cameron Heffernan, Scott Kinch, Rob Gillman

Goal: Michael Power 32 (penalty)

Booked: Chris Edwards 43, Peter Sweeney 52

Lordswood: Sam I’Anson, Ollie Mentessi (Sam Hayes 46), Richie Hamill, Nick Gonsalves, Ashley Sains, Jack Healey, Timmy Babington, Armstrong Bekombo, Brima Daramy (Sodia Bakaru 46), Jack Howlett, Danny Smith.
Subs: Calum Comerford, Kieran Trussell, Alex Kendall, Sean Glover

Booked: Armstrong Bekombo 32, Sodia Bakaru 68

Attendance: 103
Referee: Mr Wally James (Sidcup)
Assistants: Mr Mark Jenkins (Welling) & Mr James Paternoster (Sidcup)