Herne Bay 1-2 Chichester City - This club has been one to implode on itself when results don’t go our way. We just have to stay calm and crack on, says Herne Bay boss Ben Smith

Saturday 24th October 2020
Herne Bay 1 – 2 Chichester City
Location Winch's Field, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5SG
Kickoff 24/10/2020 15:00

Isthmian League South East Division
Saturday 24 October 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Winch’s Field

HERNE BAY manager Ben Smith says his side have suffered from a mediocre start to their Isthmian League South East Division campaign after losing to Chichester City at Winch’s Field.

Smith’s side are in eleventh-place in the table with six points from five games after Chichester City claimed their second league win of the season and are now two places below the Kent side after securing a deserved win on a showery and windy day on the Kent coast.

Miles Rutherford’s side were a dominant force during the opening exchanges and deserved their two-goal lead inside 19 minutes, courtesy of Gicu Lordache’s 25-yard free-kick to score his fifth-goal of the season and Emmett Dunn’s near-post header from a set-piece.

Zak Ansah swept home his third goal of the season just before the break and had a penalty saved from visiting keeper Steven Mowthorpe inside the final nine minutes as the home side pressed for an equaliser.

“Frustration, really frustrated, we didn’t turn up for the first 30 minutes and you’re going to get punished if you start flat,” admitted Smith.

“We had a good performance last week (winning 2-1 at VCD Athletic in The FA Trophy) and we’ve come out here and started flat today in front of a good crowd, so really frustrated with that.

“It took us 30 minutes to get going but after the first 30 minutes we started getting more of a foothold in the game and we had enough chances to win two games today.

“I think they were probably the best side I’ve seen in that condensed, that first 30 minutes. I thought they were very good, so you have to give credit to them.

“We were just three or four yards off the pace and we gave them too much time.  I think coming back here after VCD on to this big pitch we didn’t adjust well enough.”

Herne Bay clearly missed attacking midfielder Anthony Edgar who was ruled out through an illness that has grabbed all the attention from the mainstream media since March.

“Anthony Edgar is a big miss for us today, he’s tested positive for Covid,” revealed Smith.

“He was the star of the show last week, he comes out and it changes slightly what we were doing. It’s a big miss.  He might be available next weekend.”

Chichester City created their first chance inside the opening nine minutes.

Central midfielder Lloyd Rowlatt’s hooked a pass forward and Herne Bay’s centre-half Laurence Harvey’s back-header from inside the D was intercepted by striker Devon Fender, who flicked the ball over the head of goalkeeper George Kamurasi but Herne Bay’s other centre-half Mohamed Kamara got back to clear his lines from the edge of his six-yard box.

“It was a sign of things to come.  We started sloppy and it started culminating in chances,” admitted Smith.

“I actually think Laurence Harvey had a great game today. That one there when he was dealing with that high ball and he had a couple of players around him and he’s got to make a decision.

“Big G (Kamurasi) is a big presence so that helps and Mo’s alive to the seconds. 

“I thought Laurence has had a very good game for a centre-half that’s conceded two goals in the game. I think he deserves a lot of credit today. He was one of the ones who did all of the things we expected.”

Robert Hutchings was tripped by Herne Bay right-back Ryan Cooper, which led to Chichester City deservedly taking the lead with 12 minutes and 11 seconds on the clock.

Lordache stroked his right-footed free-kick over the four-man wall to find the top left-hand corner, leaving Kamurasi rooted to the spot after he left a massive hole for the Chichester City attacker to pick his spot.

“It’s a great strike. We got what we deserved. We didn’t deserve to be level at that point and fair play to them, they punished us,” said Smith.

The big Ugandan goalkeeper was forced into action, following the first of five corners from the away side.

Rowlatt’s out-swinging corner from the left was cleared by Bradley Stevenson and was driven towards the bottom left-hand corner by Lordache from 35-yards.  The ball bounced right in front of the keeper, who got his large frame down to his right and used a strong right hand to push the ball behind for a corner.

Smith added:  “You can’t give players space and they’ve got good players and he’s been given space.”

Chichester City doubled their lead with 18 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock, following another set-piece.

Right-back Connor Cody floated a right-footed free-kick into the penalty area and Dunn found a pocket of space at the near post to flick his free-header across the keeper into the far corner from 15-yards.

Smith said: “That little bit of play there summed us up, half-a-yard away. We were nearly marking him, we were nearly picking the second ball up; we were nearly being first to the ball when it was passed to us. Nearly is not good enough!

“We were the nearly men first 30 minutes. We thought about doing it but didn’t, don’t get me wrong, it’s a good finish, a great ball in but they’re not areas we concede goals generally.”

Herne Bay were left off the hook when Chichester City squandered another chance to kill the game off at the halfway point.

Wideman Josh Clack delivered a high, hanging corner from the right and Dunn rose at the far post to plant his header across the face of goal for Cody to plant his header just past the right-hand post from inside the six-yard box.

Rutherford certainly done his homework on Herne Bay as left-back Hutchings kept winger Tushaun-Tyreese Walters in his pocket during the entre game and the Herne Bay winger put in a disappointing performance, like many other of his team-mates, who failed to turn up for the first half-an-hour.

Herne Bay striker Dean Grant came to life and missed a glorious chance to bring his side back into the game in the 33rd minute.

Holding midfielder Daniel Lawrence’s sublime through ball along the deck split open centre-halves Corey Heath and Ben Pashley to put Grant in on goal (after springing the offside trap) but Mowthorpe rushed off his line and made a vital block when Grant only had him to beat.

Smith said: “He’s got to score. He does well to get into position, a good ball from DL (Lawrence) but in games with fine margins, you’ve got to score goals.”

Grant drove forward with the ball at his feet before slipping the ball through to Ansah, who lashed his left-footed shot over the crossbar, while being put under pressure by Pashley’s sliding tackle just a couple of yards inside the Chichester box.

Herne Bay did pull a goal back with 41 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock.

Mobalaji Dawodu, who enjoyed a free role, clipped the ball down the right-channel towards Ryan Cooper.  He flicked the ball over Pashley’s head before crossing low for Ansah to sweep his first time shot across the keeper into the bottom far corner from eight-yards, despite Cody sliding in to attempt to make a last-gasp block.

Smith said: “A good goal. Really good play from Ryan Cooper, what we expect from Coops. He done really well with that, really good build-up, a great finish and at that point you’re thinking ‘here we go.”

When asked his thoughts at the interval, the Herne Bay boss replied: “We showed them too much respect firstly. They have found it lovely playing out here today on that big, nice pitch. 

“We just didn’t get close enough. We didn’t impose ourselves on the game.  We made it too easy for them, so I said get closer to them. I don’t think their back four were great and it was more of a case of can we put it on them? I didn’t think we asked enough questions of the back four.”

Herne Bay coach Darren Beale watched the first half in the main stand before joining Smith in the dug-out for 131 seconds of the second half.

Referee Nick Dunn came over to the home dug-out and booked Beale before showing him a red-card just seven seconds later, for “appealing for a decision.”

The second half was mostly scrappy with the home side creating a half-chance in the 11th minute.

Harvey pinged an attempted 40-yard diagonal pass, which was cleared by Hutchings and came out to Stevenson, whose speculative cross-shot from 30-yards was comfortably gathered by Mowthorpe. It was more of a cross than a shot at goal, however.

Mowthorpe received a huge slice of luck when he didn’t know too much about his save in the 17th minute.

Walters’ corner from the left was flicked away by the goalkeeper and the ball came out to Kamara, who smashed his shot from the edge of the box straight into the keeper’s face while the Herne Bay centre-half was faced with a crowded penalty area ahead of him.

“I mean, how’s your luck? He’s hit it so sweet, it’s flying in and it’s smashed him in the face,” said Smith.

“It’s a great strike, it’s one of those. Like today it doesn’t go for you, like today any of the bounces didn’t go for us and I’m a firm believe you make your own luck and we didn’t do that.

“There’s no excuses, they were good for 30 minutes and we didn’t match that 30-minute spell. We had little spurts where we thought ‘here we go, we’re picking up a head of steam here,’ and then it dropped.  We couldn’t keep an energy and a level of performance that we needed to go and win the game.”

Chichester City created an opening in the 66th minute when Clack swept the ball down the right-channel for Fender, whose right-footed angled drive was heading towards the bottom far corner, only for Kamurasi to dive low to his right and use a strong right-hand to push the ball towards safety.

“A good save from George. He didn’t have a lot to do second half but he stayed alert and stayed focused and it was a good save from him,” said Smith.

Herne Bay failed to play the game at a high tempo and their play was sluggish with Walters, Ansah and Grant failing to impress in the attacking third.

However, Herne Bay were given a lifeline to grab an equaliser, which Ansah failed to take.

Ansah played the ball out to substitute Tyler Sterling, who raced down the left before playing the ball into Grant’s feet on the corner of the six-yard box.  The Herne Bay striker was bundled over by Pashley at the near post and referee Nick Dunn pointed to the spot.

Rutherford was allowed to make his second substitution during the stoppage and this trick worked as Ansah’s right-footed penalty was pushed away by Mowthorpe, diving to his left, with 35:44 on the clock.

“I can’t blame Zak for missing a penalty, that happens in life. The best players have missed penalties before,” said Smith, who will keep the striker on penalties going forward.

“He’s scored a lot for us, it’s just one of those moments that you have to give credit to their keeper, he saved it. Zak’s not blazed it over. It Zak gets one on Tuesday night, he’ll score one.

“It’s the rough with the smooth with that. It’s frustrating when it happens but it doesn’t happen very often.  You have to accept it and go and get another one.”

That Chichester substitute, striker Ethan Prichard was guilty of a bad miss after he skipped past Kamurasi on the counter-attack and drilled his right-footed shot over the top of an open goal, on the right-hand side of the penalty area from 15-yards, just 35 seconds after the crucial penalty save.

Smith said: “He’s wide, there’s two on the line, he’s got to hit it hard but you may have expected him to score there with men covering. He didn’t have to hit it hard so obviously we put him under a bit more pressure.  Fair play to the lads, they’ve got back on the line.

“The game second half got really stretched and we wanted it to be stretched. We purposely opened it up because I thought we had the better of their back four.  I thought we could deal with it better if it was an open game and I think we did.

“We defended better second half and if you’re going on second halves, I think we had the better of the chances second half.”

Herne Bay created one final chance with 49:43 on the clock following their seventh and final corner – which saw Kamuarasi join his team-mates inside the Chichester City penalty area.

Walters swung the ball in from the right towards the near post but Cooper rose to plant his header over the crossbar.

“A great header from Cooper. He got up and you’re thinking goal here and it literally skimmed over,” agonised Smith.

When asked what was missing from his side today, Smith replied: “A little bit of luck but as I said earlier I’m a firm believer you make your own luck and we didn’t make our own luck today.

“If you want to win your second balls, you want those loose balls to bounce to you. You’ve got to impact the game in order for that to happen and we didn’t do that.  We were flat-footed today. We were much better second half and we’ll take that to Ramsgate on Tuesday night.”

Smith takes his side to tenth-placed Ramsgate, a side that have also collected six points from their first five outings and came away from second-from-bottom side Burgess Hill Town with a 3-0 win today.

“Tough game. There’s no secret that they’ve been busy with their recruitment, shall I say. They’ve got good players down there so it’s going to be a tough game,” warned Smith.

“You look at the league, I don’t think there is an easy game, I really don’t.  I don’t look at the table and go right ‘that’s an easy three points.’

When asked what he thinks of Herne Bay’s league position, Smith replied: “Mediocre start but I think it’s going to be one of those seasons where there’s a lot of inconsistent results so we’ve just got to get ourselves to a stage where we can go on a run.”

Smith had this message to the Herne Bay fans, “Just stick with us! There’s no need to panic. We’ll crack on and we’ll go again.

“This club has been one to implode on itself when results don’t go our way. We just have to stay calm and crack on. We can use a lot of energy moaning and winging that we’re not getting a run of wins or we can get our heads down and knuckle on with it and that’s what we’ll be doing.  We’ve got a good chance to do that (at Ramsgate) but we have to turn up and turn up with the right mentality to win that game.”

Herne Bay: George Kamurasi, Ryan Cooper, Daniel Johnson, Daniel Lawrence (Jordan Hibbert 65), Mohamed Kamara, Laurence Harvey, Mobalaji Dawodu, Bradley Stevenson (Tyler Sterling 65), Dean Grant, Zak Ansah, Tushaun-Tyreese Walters.
Subs: Tom Carlton, Kyron Lightfoot, Callum Adonis-Taylor

Goal: Zak Ansah 42

Booked: Dean Grant 44, Darren Beale (coach) 48, Mohamed Kamara 54

Sent Off: Darren Beale (coach) 48

Chichester City:  Steven Mowthorpe, Connor Cody (Tafadzwa Kanjanda 61), Robert Hutchings, Emmett Dunn, Corey Heath, Ben Pashley, Scott Jones, Lloyd Rowlatt, Devon Fender (Ethan Prichard 81), Gicu Lordache (Dolapo Oladipupo 90), Josh Clack.
Subs: Callum Overton, Lloyd Coote

Goals: Gicu Lordache 13, Emmett Dunn 19

Booked: Corey Heath 45

Attendance: 400
Referee: Mr Nick Dunn
Assistants:  Mr Richard Joss & Mr Simon Cutler