Heaslewood tells his players: We must keep our heads - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Monday 25th September 2006

Slade Green will be looking to book their place in the first round proper of the FA Vase on Tuesday night, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Kent League side earned a draw in a controversial encounter at lower league Sussex side Pagham on Saturday, but player-assistant boss Adam Heaslewood hopes his side can keep their cool and finish off the job to earn a trip to league rivals Tunbridge Wells on 7 October.

The game was locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes play and the match officials took nearly ten minutes to confirm that the game at Nyetimber Lane had to go into extra time - which is always the case when FA Vase ties finish on level terms after 90 minutes.

And Slade Green equalised in a controversial manner late in the second period of extra time to force the replay at the Small Glen.

Pagham chose not to contest a bounce ball decision and Slade Green substitute Joe Diggins chipped the ball onto player-coach Andy Silk.

The former Bromley, Cray Wanderers’ and Leyton Pennant utility player - Silk was reserve team manager at Bromley for the past two seasons - latched onto the ball and sent a delicate lob over the Pagham goalkeeper, which bounced before finishing just beneath the crossbar.

But Pagham protested that they didn’t think a bounced ball was given but the goal stood.

Heaslewood, though, hopes his players will keep their composure during the replay, just in case things boil over.

He said EXCLUSIVELY to www.kentishfootball.co.uk  : “It had an element of controversy but what the (match) report (on Slade Green’s website) failed to mention was their second goal that bent the rules slightly.

“But football has a habit of equalling itself out. I don’t know how the replay will go in regards to the actions of the teams.

“I can’t comment on Pagham and their approach, all I know is that our players will be ready and will approach the game in the manner in which we ask them to, which will be in the correct manner.”

Slade Green’s FA Cup hopes were dashed in the preliminary round when they lost 2-0 at Cobham in a replay, after drawing the first game 2-2 at the Small Glen.

But Heaslewood hopes history doesn’t repeat itself.

“We must learn from our mistakes of the FA Cup when we didn’t kill off the game, had two players sent off and lost the replay,” he said.

“To give ourselves any chance we have to finish the game with eleven players on the field.

“We have suffered due to our lack of discipline already this season. That is the most important thing, having composure and discipline and we will plug this message to them.

“I am sure that the players will take it on board and react in the right way.

“We have a good chance but it depends on the players and what frame of mind we turn up in.

“I thought we had an excellent chance to progress in the FA Cup replay and we never - so let’s see.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s clash, Heaslewood said: “It was scrappy. We never really got going to be fair but we had some excellent chances particularly from set-pieces.

“Pagham are not a bad side, young, and try to pass the ball.

“In reflection I am disappointed that we did not finish off our chances but we are still in the hat and have the opportunity to progress on Tuesday night.

“It’s an incentive to progress through to the next round. I said before the game on Saturday it would be nice to have a good cup run and a few coach journeys to build team spirit within the club.

“Saturday was the first opportunity to do that and it proved to be a success in regards to team morale.

“But I just don’t think I will be able to convince the club to book a coach to take us to Tunbridge Wells.”

Heaslewood, meanwhile, admitted the Green “are down to the bare bones due to injuries and suspensions.”

Midfielder Heaslewood is, however, available after completing his suspension but Paul Gross and Jason Clews are serving three match bans.

Joint top scorer, Luke Morrish, whose scored four goals, is still struggling with a hamstring injury.

Heaslewood added: “The lads who came in though done a fantastic job and have staked a claim for a place in the starting eleven.”

Visit Slade Green's website:  www.clubwebsite.co.uk/sladegreenfc/

Slade Green v Pagham
FA Vase (Sponsored by Carlsberg) Second Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday 26th September 2006
Kick Off 7:45pm
At The Small Glen, 35 Moat Lane, Slade Green, Erith, Kent DA8 2ND