Haringey Borough 5-1 Tunbridge Wells - I'm proud of what we've done in The FA Cup and proud of coming here and giving a good account of ourselves, says Tunbridge Wells boss Richard Styles

Tuesday 22nd September 2020
Haringey Borough 5 – 1 Tunbridge Wells
Location Coles Park, White Hart Lane, Tottenham, London N17 7JP
Kickoff 22/09/2020 19:45

The Emirates FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Tuesday 22 September 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Coles Park

TUNBRIDGE WELLS manager Richard Styles says he was proud of his players after suffering a heavy defeat to Haringey Borough in The FA Cup First Qualifying Round.

Tom Loizou’s impressive attack-minded side kicked off their Isthmian League Premier Division campaign with a 2-1 win at Corinthian-Casuals at the weekend and were in fifth-place in the pecking order after one outing.

Tunbridge Wells went into tie sitting in second-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with three wins out of three.

They kicked-off their campaign with a 1-0 home win over Erith Town in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round before holding their nerve from the penalty spot (4-1) to beat Beckenham Town after the tie finished at 1-1 after 90 minutes but Haringey Borough were just too good for them on their artificial pitch.

Haringey Borough had to wait 22 minutes before opening the floodgates when Tunbridge Wells’ third-choice goalkeeper Tom Roberts was beaten by left-winger Anthony McDonald.

Tunbridge Wells restored parity through left-winger Euan Sahadow’s fourth goal of the season but Haringey Borough went into the break 2-1 up as holding midfielder Laste Dombaxe capitalised on some poor defending.

Haringey Borough increased their lead early in the second half as striker Daniel Akindayini notched his second goal in as many games.

The home side added a further two goals later on in the second half through central midfielder Georgious Aresti and substitute striker Abdul-Rasheed Ajani-Salau came off the bench to add gloss on a very impressive performance from the home team.

“I thought the scoreline flattered them a little but I thought we gave a good account of ourselves,” said Styles.

“I thought we competed well against a side two levels above us.  As the game went on we got a little bit more tired than they did but I’m proud of the boys, proud of what we’ve done in The FA Cup, proud of coming here and having a good account of ourselves.

“We were the underdogs tonight, no one expected anything from us. I’m happy with the boys, a lot of positives that I can take back for the rest of the season.

“Full credit to Haringey, full credit to the players they’ve got and personnel and the system they play, it’s very difficult, so I’m sure they’ll have a good season at their level.”

The two levels between the two sides was evident, as Haringey Borough started the game on the front foot and had a very pacey and talented forward line.

Playing a direct style of trying to get the ball in behind the two Tunbridge Wells centre-halves, Haringey Borough peppered their visitors’ straight from the off.

Haringey centre-half Scott Mitchell clipped a ball over the top to release McDonald and his driven shot from 25-yards took a deflection and flashed past the left-hand upright inside the opening four and a half minutes.

Tunbridge Wells’ main attacking threat was right-winger Regan Corke.

His pace saw him easily cut past Haringey’s left-back Michael O’Donoghue and went on a 40-yard run with the ball at his feet but once inside the box he chose the wrong option and prodded the ball into the hands of goalkeeper Jonathan Miles.

“That’s what he’s got to his game. We’ve just got to work with him, which we will do and he’ll get better and better,” promised Styles.

Tunbridge Wells were playing out from the back but when they did attack they were guilty of not sacrificing too many bodies forward and as a result some promising attacks broke down.

Dominant Haringey Borough came agonisingly close in taking the lead with 15 minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

Scott Durojaiye, playing in behind the striker Akindayini, played a diagonal pass along the deck into McDonald, whose sublime first-time flicked pass played in Aresti and his left-footed half-volley, on the angle, 15-yards from goal flashed across the keeper and just past the foot of the far post.

Relentless Haringey Borough kept pressing and Tunbridge Wells and their keeper Roberts received a huge slice of luck just 92 seconds later.

Aresti and McDonald linked up well down the left and slipped through the impressive winger Alfred Bawling, who got in behind the defence and swept his left-footed shot across the keeper, who grabbed hold of the ball on the line after the ball bounced off the foot of the far post.

“I think Tom’s been brilliant tonight. I thought the games he’s stepped in on I think he’s done really, really well and tonight’s another fine example of that,” added Styles.

Haringey Borough’s right-back David Olufemp also got on the act after linking up well with Bawling before cutting into the box and flashing his shot across goal and past the far post.

Haringey Borough opened the floodgates by scoring with 21 minutes and a second on the clock.

Durojaiye played the ball along the deck before Bawling cut into the box before putting it on a plate for McDonald, who took a touch before placing his left-footed shot past Roberts from 10-yards, as he got in behind Tunbridge Wells’ centre-half Robbie Bissett.

“There was a little play that they were trying to do over and over again and unfortunately they opened us up and got their goal at that point. Happy to hold out until 22 minutes really,” said Styles.

Roberts was called into action just past the half-hour mark after Haringey Borough were awarded a free-kick some 30-yards from goal within the left-channel.

Dombaxe whipped in his in-swinging free-kick with his right-boot into a crowd of players and Roberts did well to step down to his left to push the ball away.

Just sixty-one seconds later, Olufemi played the ball in along the deck and Dombaxe ventured forward to unleash a left-footed drive which he steered just past the foot of the near post.

Despite being outplayed and playing on the back-foot, Tunbridge Wells enjoyed a good, albeit brief spell and equalised with 37 minutes and 5 seconds on the clock.

The Wells built down the left and Jordan Wells slipped the ball through to Sahadow, who sprinted with the ball at his feet and once inside the box he drove a low left-footed angled drive across the keeper and in off the foot of the far post from 16-yards.

“Great goal, great goal, really worked really well. A great finish.  A lot of good things with that goal and to do it against a side like that is really, really pleasing so that was a highlight,” said Styles.

“I just wanted us to stay in the game for as long as possible, that was the plan. To come back so quickly after conceding was really pleasing.”

However, Haringey Borough were gifted the lead with 41 minutes and 25 seconds from the clock.

Bissett, who was playing Southern Counties East Football League First Division football for Rusthall last season, was punished for a sloppy piece of defending within the channel.

Bissett ensured a long ball was ushered out of his penalty area but once inside the channel his poor clearance was intercepted by McDonald, who played the ball over to Dombaxe, who drilled his right-footed shot into the back of the net from eight-yards, helped in by the keeper, scooping the ball to his left.

“Robbie’s come from playing a level below the SCEFL Premier last season and he's come in and he’s been absolutely superb,” said Styles.

“A little bit of experience, a little bit of learning. He’s had a couple of hands in the box, I think if he goes down there, like they would’ve done, like an experienced defender would do, you get a free-kick and then we can push out.

“Unfortunately, he tried to be too honest and he’s swung to clear the ball, they cut it out and they’ve hit us on the break.  It is what it is.  I can’t really point a finger at Robbie Bissett for that.”

When asked about his thoughts at the interval, Styles replied: “We’re in the game. It was the same chat if it would’ve been one-all so we’re in the game, stay in the game and to keep doing the right things in the right areas really and if we get a chance let’s take it!”

Haringey Borough killed off Tunbridge Wells by scoring their third goal just 134 seconds into the second half.

O’Donoghue slipped the ball through to striker Akindayini, who took the ball in his stride, steadying himself before placing his right-footed angled drive across Roberts to find the bottom far corner for a clinical finish.

It seemed that the Tunbridge Wells keeper struggled with low angled drives to his left as four of the home side’s goals came by this method.

“I mean, that was the sucker punch really them getting that one so quickly after half-time,” admitted Styles.

“I would’ve liked to hang out for 10-15 minutes but to get that one so early killed us a little bit so it was a long way back from there really.”

Both goalkeepers made comfortable routine catches as Bawling cut a corner back to Aresti, whose left-footed drive from 25-yards was caught by the Tunbridge Wells keeper and the ball was launched upfield and Corke was released down the right and after cutting into the box he drilled his shot into Miles’ midriff when he maybe had a better option to put it on a plate for Matt Day, who was lurking at the far post.

“The keeper’s read it well. If we had a couple of runners at the near post it might’ve been a different story.  Regan hasn’t done too much wrong there, in all fairness,” said Styles, whose midfield players often didn’t support the front men as Corke broke away at pace and cut in from the right flank.

Roberts was called into making a great save in the 56th minute when Dombaxe played the ball inside to Durojaiye who cracked a right-footed drive towards the top left-hand corner, forcing Roberts to dive high to his right and use a strong right hand to palm the ball towards safety.

“Again, relaying what I’ve said already, he’s come in and done really, really well. I’m pleased with what he’s done,” added the manager.

Haringey Borough kept their pressure up and O’Donoghue bent his left-footed free-kick around the four-man wall and Roberts got down low to his right to parry the ball before grabbing hold of it before Aresti could pounce.

Haringey Borough scored their fourth goal of the night with 19 minutes and 35 seconds on the clock, following a well-worked three-man move.

Durojaiye found himself on the left and he played O’Donoghue on the overlap and the left-back reached the by-line before cutting the ball back for Aresti to drill his low left-footed angled drive across the keeper into the bottom far corner.

Styles said: “Very clinical once again.  You give these guys an opportunity or you give them a sight at goal, they’ll punish you and that’s exactly what they did.”

Styles made a tactical change by putting Miles Cornwell and substitute Harry Hudson up front but Tunbridge Wells couldn’t get in behind a well-organised back-line on too many occasions.

A clever free-kick from James Huggins played Cornwell in behind the Haringey Borough defence but a poor touch inside the box ensured the ball rolled behind for a goal-kick.

Haringey Borough sealed the deal by scoring their fifth goal of the night with 36 minutes and 42 seconds on the clock.

The Wells gave the ball away and the home side broke straight down the middle through substitute central-midfielder Jorge Djassi-Sambu, who rolled the ball on the inside to fellow substitute, striker Ajani-Salau, who took a touch before stroking his right-footed drive across the keeper to nestle sweetly into the bottom far corner.

“I mean, we gave the ball away before that. We were a little bit sloppy, that’s only my criticism there.  We probably shouldn’t have given the ball away but we did and you get punished.”

Tunbridge Wells kept plugging away and called Miles into making a comfortable catch inside the final four minutes, following their only corner of the night.

Sahadow swung the ball in from the right and the ball was cleared back out to him.  The former Folkestone Invicta man took a touch before whipping a left-footed cross back into the penalty area and centre-half Ryan Cheek rose to glance his header straight into Miles’ hands from six-yards.

“A good chance. It would’ve been nice to have got a second one but the keeper’s obviously made a good save,” said Styles.

Tunbridge Wells suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at K Sports in The FA Vase First Qualifying Round at the weekend but Styles was pleased with the way his side showed character against better opposition here tonight.

Styles said: “I’ve learnt a lot tonight seeing our boys competing at that level. That’s the level that my players’ aspire to be at because it’s the next level and that’s where we want to get to and that’s where we want to be.

“There’s things that we’ll learn, there’s things that we will learn from the mistakes we’ve made and there’s things we’ll learn from the other team.

“But I thought on the ball and in possession today we were very good. We were very confident, we were very positive and we moved the ball very well at times and we were under a lot of pressure so there’s a hell of a lot of positives I can take from tonight.

“I’m really pleased, they’ve shown a lot of character and a lot of guts and a lot of determination and that’s certainly enough for me to take on board.”

With uncertain times ahead off the pitch, the £3,479 prize money from The FA Cup and FA Vase will come in handy at Culverden Stadium.

“Any money you can bring into a club at our level means a lot and it helps so it goes without saying.  The two wins we done and tonight’s losing prize money will help. It’s tough times for most clubs in and around the areas and it all helps and we’ll use it wisely,” said Styles.

Welling Town – with four league wins out of four – visit Culverden Stadium on Saturday in an early top-of-the-table clash.

“I appreciate the support tonight, everyone who turned up tonight. That’s how incredibly fortunate we are to have such a great fan-base and that is felt right within the changing room, I can assure you of that,” said Styles.

“I hope they have gone home proud of the boys and the character that they’ve shown in spells tonight and I certainly hope they’re at the Culverden on Saturday to roar us home back to the domestic stuff.”

Haringey Borough: Jonathan Miles, David Olufemi, Michael O’Donoghue, Laste Dombaxe, Scott Mitchell, Rakim Richards, Anthony McDonald (Jorge Djassi-Sambu 69), Georgious Aresti, Daniel Akindayini (Abdul-Rasheed Ajani-Salau 80), Scott Durojaiye, Alfred Bawling (Sami Bessadi 76).
Subs: Callum Ismail, Arthur Leblond, Yannick Bitsindou, Daniel Aristidou

Goals: Anthony McDonald 22, Laste Dombaxe 42, Daniel Akindayini 48, Georgious Aresti 65, Abdul-Rasheed Ajani-Salau 82

Tunbridge Wells: Tom Roberts, Jack Hope, James Nurden, James Huggins, Ryan Cheek, Robbie Bissett, Euan Sahadow, Miles Cornwell, Matt Day (Harry Hudson 67), Jordan Wells (George Blake 80), Regan Corke (Frankie Griffin 73).
Subs: Brett Ince, Josh Froggatt

Goal: Euan Sahadow 38

Booked: Jordan Wells 75

Attendance: 176
Referee: Mr Matthew Norton
Assistants: Mr James Keane & Mr Andre Tregoning