Holmesdale 6-4 Corinthian - It will be a tough 24 hours but we'll draw a line under our rubbish, terrible FA Vase defending, says Corinthian boss Michael Golding

Saturday 21st October 2023
Holmesdale 6 – 4 Corinthian
Location 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ
Kickoff 21/10/2023 15:00

The Isuzu FA Vase First Round
Saturday 21 October 2023
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakley Road

CORINTHIAN manager Michael Golding says he wants to draw a line under his side’s rubbish defensive performance after their league rivals Holmesdale reached The FA Vase Second Round for the first time.

Holmesdale scored six goals in the competition for the first time, while Corinthian leaked six goals in The FA Vase for the first time.

The crowd of 65 were treated to a free-scoring game between these two Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division sides.  Four of Holmesdale goals came from free-headers, while the game was littered with poor defending and woeful goalkeeping.  Corinthian goalkeeper Nathan Boamah struggled to deal with efforts that were down his right-hand side.

Holmesdale raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening 18 minutes as striker Emmanuel Oshinowo and holding midfielder Alessio Akabuogu buried free-headers, before central midfielder Brandon Davey drilled in an angled drive to pull a goal back for Corinthian.

The next two goals came from direct free-kicks, as Sam Bayford gave the home side a 3-1 lead with his ninth goal of the season, before Sam Bewick’s driven free-kick went through the Holmesdale wall and beat goalkeeper Liam Northwood at his near-post, for his eighth goal of the campaign.

Holmesdale scored twice in the space of 80 seconds at the start of the second half through another free header, this time from Callum Keeble, before Oshinowo punished some Sunday League defending from Corinthian.

Corinthian striker Charlie Clover then notched his tenth and eleventh goals of the season, sandwiched between another free-header, this time from Wale Odedoyin.

Holmesdale joint-manager Andy Constable said: “Obviously really pleased to get through, score six goals, not so pleased to concede four but in a game we’ve entertained everyone and we’re through, so I think that’s the easiest way to summarise that.

“I actually thought we could’ve had more (goals) to be honest with you.  I thought we really dominated the game.  I think the four goals that we conceded were all avoidable from our perspective.  Sometimes you can always look back to some point in a goal where it can be avoided but (we’ve made) basic mistakes where we just haven’t picked up or we haven’t cleared our lines properly and we got punished for that.

“It is unlike Corinthian to concede six goals and very unlike us to score six, so I have no explainable on how that happened.”

Golding made his feelings quite known.

“Rubbish from minute one to minute 98!  Fair play to Holmesdale, I wish them all the best in the next round but we were below par today, which hasn’t happened too often this season, so we’ll draw a line under it.

“It’s disappointing, it’s a competition, I enjoy this competition but we’ll draw a line under it and lick our wounds and we’ll go again next week.”

When asked about the home side scoring from four free headers, Golding replied: “I thought they caused us problems putting balls in the box.  I thought both defences were poor but I thought what they did well was they battled.  Their front two caused us problems whereas our front two or three probably didn’t cause them as many problems.

“I think the big difference between the two teams, which doesn’t happen very often to us at all, is their midfield won the vast majority of the second balls and went on the front foot.  Last week at Glebe our midfield three were exceptional and this week we were over run.”

Corinthian arrived in Bromley sitting in third-place in the table with 24 points from 12 games, a point behind Glebe and three behind leaders Faversham Town.

Holmesdale were in thirteenth-place in the pecking order with 12 points from 11 games.

Corinthian – who lost on penalties to Hebburn Town in The FA Vase Semi-Finals in 2020 – defeated Chessington & Hook United (5-2) and Canterbury City (4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Margate) to reach this stage.

Holmesdale came away from Seaford Town (2-1) and Welling Town (3-2) with away victories to set up this Kent derby at Oakley Road.

Holmesdale opened the scoring with their first attempt on target, with nine minutes and 26 seconds on the clock.

Central midfielder David Martin stroked a left-footed diagonal pass to left-back Anthony Morrison, who wasn’t pressed by Corinthian right-back Cameron Beckles.

Morrison whipped in a cross into the penalty area where striker Emmanuel Oshinowo planted his free header across the keeper to find the far corner from 15-yards, as Corinthian centre-half Jamie Billings lost his man.

“Four of the six goals were headers. We worked on it in training, getting balls into the box as early as we could and also driving into the box when we could so it’s really pleasing that we’ve put that into effect in a game,” said Constable.

“It’s a great ball from AJ (Morrison) and it’s an absolute great header from Manny.  He’s needed a goal. He works so hard Manny. We literally said to him today ‘you just need to add goals to that’ and you’ve got a hell of a player on your hands, so I’m really pleased with that one to nestle into the corner.”

Golding added: “I think we gave Dave Martin a bit too much time and space in the first half.  We asked Brandon Davey to get close to him and we didn’t quite get that right.  We felt the quality he’s got – he’s a great player for this level – but we did feel that Brandon could get around him.

“The ball’s gone out to the left wing-back and we asked Harry Lashley and Caameron Beckles to do a job for us today. We didn’t quite get out quick enough and then it’s essentially a free header from must be about 15 yards or so.

“It’s a great header from the lad, he’s put it right in the corner and probably one of their best goals in terms of the actual finish.  Can we do more? Can Harry Lashley do more? Probably and that’s the way we’ll look at it.”

Holmesdale went close to doubling their lead in the 16th minute when Morrison released striker Wale Odedoyin down the left.  He cut the ball back some 10-yards to Keeble, who put over a first-time cross towards the near post, which was glanced past the far post by Bayford, yes, you’ve guessed it, a free-header, as Corinthian centre-half Sam Fitzgerald lost his man.

Constable added: “Similar to a lot of the goals.  Just get the ball into the box and can we get on the end of it?  We got on the end of a lot and we were clinical a lot of times but not that one.”

Holmesdale deserved their second goal when it arrived with 17 minutes and 36 seconds on the clock.

No one in a Corinthian shirt pressed Bayford in midfield and he rolled the ball back to Holmesdale right-back Theodore McKenzie, who floated a deep cross towards the far post.

Corinthian right-back Beckles failed to challenge Akabuogu, who guided his free header across the keeper into the bottom far corner, as Boamah was beaten on his right-hand side once more.

“I think the marking in both boxes was questionable at times,” admitted Constable.

“But from our perspective, obviously pleased to get Alessio on the end of that one. It’s a quality header, off the slippery surface. He’s headed it down into the corner, gave the keeper no chance and I’m really pleased with that.  Again, a great ball into the box from Theo, so really pleased about that.”

Golding added: “I thought that was Nathan maybe could’ve done better with.  He could’ve got a bit of a stronger hand on it. He certainly got across but again it was a ball into our box that we didn’t deal with.”

Luke Adams – who played for Holmesdale under Lee Roots last season – was to be denied a goal upon his return to Oakley Road, by a fine save from Northwood, just 29 seconds before Corinthian pulled a goal back (21:10).

“Liam’s come into the club and made a difference to us, although it sounds bizarre because we have let in four goals but he’s made two or three really good saves,” Constable said of the former Cray Wanderers second-choice stopper.

“He gives us a bit of comfort and assurance to the rest of the defence by just his presence. His kicking is outstanding, when he needs to come he does and he punches it away.  I just think he’s a very, very good young keeper and we’re really pleased to have him.”

Clover cut the ball back from the left by-line and Davy produced a clinical right-footed angled drive, which flashed across Northwood to nestle inside the bottom far corner, to bring hope back to the eight vocal Corinthian fans behind the goal.

“I thought there were goals in it for us, as it proved,” said Golding.

“Paul (Sawyer, my assistant) said to me very early on, ‘this could end up being five-all,’. 

“I thought for a game that finished 6-4, I though there was so little quality on the pitch from both sides.

“It’s good from Brandon, he’s come back from a long injury and he’s playing slightly more advanced than he has done for us before so he’s picked up a couple of goals in his last two or three games, so we’re pleased for him.”

Constable added: “This is what I’m talking about, not clearing our lines. Alessio tried to let the ball run out of play. It was never going to reach.  Just clear it but he didn’t and they’ve robbed it off him. It’s a good cut-back and a great finish.  Frustrating, I think, is the word to describe that one.”

Adams through ball played in Clover, who beat the offside trap but Northwood rushed off his line to smother the ball at the striker’s feet.

Holmesdale scored their third goal of the game with 32 minutes and 31 seconds on the clock, after Corinthian holding midfielder Conor Driscoll tripped Keeble in a central position.

Bayford whipped his right-footed 28-yard free-kick over the four-man wall and Boamah was beaten on his right-hand side for the third time.

“Another great strike!  Sam’s got fantastic technique and I was actually saying on the bench I thought that was probably more suited to a left-foot but he proved me wrong and I was pleased to see that one flying in, so happy days,” added Constable.

Golding added: “They’ll say it’s a good free-kick and he’s got that quality. We know off Sam. It was poor from us.

“It was a header from Cameron (Beckles), Connor (Driscoll) has not picked up the second ball. He was on his heels slightly, given away a cheap free-kick.

“It’s a good free-kick, probably expect Nathan to do slightly better.  I think Dave Martin and Sam were standing over it, gives him a bit of a decision to make.  They both have good quality but I don’t think it was hit particularly hard but listen, fair play to the kid, it’s gone in.”

However, Corinthian showed some character to score their second goal of the game, timed at 40 minutes and 27 seconds on the clock.

Holmesdale centre-half Donald Macauley bundled Clover over from behind and the three-man wall allowed Bewick’s right-footed angled drilled free-kick from 30-yards go through the wall and beat Northwood at his near-post.

“It’s gone straight through the wall, it’s a terrible wall.  The keeper must be furious with them,” said Golding.

“We asked him to ask questions and it’s one of those, if you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the lottery and you go in (to half-time) at 3-2 and it gives you a little bit of a chance down the slope but obviously it wasn’t to be.”

Constable added: “I was right behind that. It’s though the wall, not acceptable for any wall at any level of football to break like it did and it gave Liam no chance to be fair to him.

“The guy has hit the target so fair play to him but can’t be breaking like that and let anything go through the wall.  You’ve just got to man up and just take one in the face if you have to.”

Central midfielder Martin floated a free-kick from close to the half-way line, which wasn’t headed away well by Driscoll on the edge of his penalty area and Odedoyin knocked the ball back for Ohinowo to poke his shot into Boamah’s gloves from the 18-yard line.

More poor defending, this time from Fitzgerald, gave Holmesdale another headed chance inside first half stoppage time.

Theodore McKenzie floated a deep cross in behind Fitzgerald and Oshnowo’s free-header sailed across the keeper and was kept in on the by-line by Morrison, but Boamah gathered comfortably at his near post.

Corinthian created an opening with the last kick of the half.

Beckles launched a long ball forward from right-back, Clover knocked the ball down and Adams hit a woeful left-footed shot harmlessly wide of the far post from 20-yards.

Constable said: “We were playing well and I just said (to the players at half-time) just keep doing the same things with regards to putting balls into the box and cutting out the mistakes.

“It was a similar pattern for us really, is if we keep doing the things we’re good at well, we’ll benefit from it but if we do keep making the mistakes then unfortunately we’re going to get punished.”

Golding added: “I thought it was an opportunity to get ourselves back into it at 3-2 and not to go out and give away anything silly, not to go out and let the game get away from us.

“I thought we would have more enough in us – if we can get up to our level in the second half – but you give away two goals in five minutes at the start of the second half.  Like I say, we didn’t deserve anything today and fair play to Holmesdale.”

Corinthian created an opening following Bewick’s third long throw, just 108 seconds in.

Bewick looped the ball in, Fitzgerald flicked the ball on at the near-post and Adam’s back-post flick was easily plucked out of the air by Northwood.

However, Corinthian skipper Billings lost his man again, as Holmesdale scored their fourth goal of the game with three minutes and 36 seconds on the clock.

Morrison played the ball down the line to Oshinowo, who drew Fitzgerald out towards the touch-line.

The striker then cut the ball onto his right boot and whipped in a great cross towards the near post for Keeble (who found acres of space where Fitzgerald should have been) to glance another free-header across the keeper into the bottom far corner of the net.

“I thought the ball into the box, Manny done brilliant,” said Constable.

“AJ’s put a great ball down the line, Manny’s held it up and managed to shift it onto his right-foot and he’s whipped a fantastic ball in and to be fair to Callum, it’s a free header but he’s made a great run across his man and he’s glanced it in.  Callum’s used the whip and the pace on the ball to finish that into the far corner – so it was another great goal.”

Golding added: “I thought that was a good goal to be fair. It was a great ball into a good area, he’s hit the cross well.  Could Sam Fitzerald had done more to use the touchline to not let the geezer turn and whip one in but the seven’s got a across, he’s a midfield runner, he’s got across Jamie and that for me was probably the best goal in terms of the quality of the ball into the box and the header.

“it just takes away a little bit of your momentum at half-time. I thought we were starting to get a head of steam.  Listen, that goes in and I thought that was one of their better goals.”

The defending just got worse for Corinthian, as Holmesdale were gifted their fifth goal, with four minutes and 56 seconds on the clock.

Martin was inside the Holmesdale half and he launched a long ball forward.  Corinthian goalkeeper Boamah just didn’t do his job and deal with the ball, Fitzgerald made a hash of a clearance and Oshinowo slotted his left-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner of an open goal.

Constable said: “Fitzgerald had a bit of a heavy touch, Manny’s responded to that and he’s just got something on it.  It literally didn’t hit the net, it just crossed the line but look, it’s a goal and again we’ll take that.

“You’d like to think that we’re going to be seeing the game out comfortably, although I said at half-time Corinthian will not stop until the final whistle, so it was never over to be honest with you.”

Golding added: “It came from our kick-off. We went short to Jamie, who has taken too many touches. We then done two or three passes and not made any ground whatsoever. Nathan then comes out, Sam Fitzgerald’s running back. It was calamitous from five or six people. It wasn’t Nathan’s fault, it wasn’t Sam’s fault. It wasn’t Jamie’s fault. There were four, five, six people involved in that and the deflection just trickles over the line and you’re then 5-2 down and the game’s done realistically.”

Corinthian scored the eighth goal of the game, timed at 10 minutes and 27 seconds, hitting Holmesdale on the counter-attack.

Davey released Bewick down the left, beating Luke Thomas’ offside flag and cutting into the box before drilling a right-footed angled drive across Northwood, before the ball bounced off the foot of the far post.

Adams then put it on a plate for Clover, who swept his first time shot across Northwood to find the bottom far corner.

“That’s what Charlie does! He’s picked up another two goals today, obviously it’s all in vain but if the ball’s in and around the six-yard box, the penalty area, and that’s what Charlies does at this level. He’ll go on and get 20-25 goals because he's a natural goalscorer,” said Golding.

Constable added: “Again, he was completely unmarked when that happened. I thought he looked offside but evidently not and it was an easy tap in for him in the end.

“I’m disappointed.  I thought we got caught trying to play out at the wrong time and again it’s decision making.  If we actually didn’t try to play out in that period of play and just maybe turn them and just clear our lines and get our shape again that doesn’t happen.”

Holmesdale switched to a back three (Macauley (left), Adejola Lahan (centre) and Akabuogu (right), and a long ball out of defence put in Oshinowo, who cut onto his right-foot and stroked his shot which was held by Boamah, low to his left, making his first save of the game in the 63rd minute.

Northwood also made a save as Corinthian could have scored from a set-piece, as both goalkeeper’s finally realised that they could play a part in the game and make saves.

Billings floated the ball from halfway, Northwood punched the ball away with his outstretched right-hand, Davey headed the ball before Bewick’s left-footed first time drive from inside the D was saved by the goalkeeper down on his knees.

Driscoll hit a long ball sailing over the top of Lahan’s head to put Bewick through on goal but Northwood swiftly came off his line to make a vital block in a one-v-one situation at the half-way point.

Morrison’s fine pass let in Odedoyin – Billings opened the gate – and this time Boamah dived full length to his left and used his finger-tips to ensure the shot went around the far post and went behind for the home side’s fourth corner.

Bayford fed the ball into substitute Antwon McKenzie, who split open Billings with a fine through ball to put Odedoyin through on goal but Boamah rushed off his line to make a brave block, the ball looping past the top of the right-hand post.

Corinthian kept plugging away, however, and Adams recycled the ball back into the Holmesdale box (after the home side had cleared Adam’s initial long throw from the left), Clover flicked the ball at the near post and Bewick’s back stick header was clawed out by Northwood, to his left.

Holmesdale notched their sixth goal of the game with 35:40 on the clock – and once again Fitzgerald went missing in defence.

An unpressed Bayford floated a long ball into the Corinthian box and Odedoyin’s free-downward header embarrassed Boamah and found the net.

“He headed it down and maybe wrong-footed the keeper but it was a great ball by Sam again, same as the other three, just a fantastic cross and a fantastic header,” said Constable.

“Wale comes in for some criticism, particularly for me sometimes, but he’s worked his nuts off again today and he’s got the reward of a goal, which I’m really pleased for him, so that was positive.”

Golding added: “He just peeled of Sam Fitzgerlad.  I don’t think that it was particularly good movement. We’re just not touch-tight as centre-halves inside the box. If you want to defend like that at any level, you’re going to concede goals and you play a team like Holmesdale, who have got that little bit of experience and they’re happy to put the ball in the box.

“It was a poor day defensively. I don’t think we caused them enough problems but we’ve done alright so far this year, so we’ll draw a line under it. It’s disappointing and we’ll go again.”

Boamah dropped to the deck and was rather relived to see Oshinowo’s deflected drive loop past the his near-post.

When asked about the performance from his goalkeeper, Golding replied: “We’ll look at the video and have a chat with him but that’s the life of a goalkeeper. He’s made some great saves for us this season and he’s a big part of what we’re trying to achieve.  No one wants to come to a game of football and concede six goals, let alone a goalkeeper, so we’ll dissect it and go again.”

Bayford noticed the Corinthian goalkeeper was off his line and stroked a right-footed shot from inside the Holmesdale half close to the half-way line, which sailed over the goalkeeper and bounced down before bouncing back up and kissing the crossbar, just seven seconds before the start of eight minutes of stoppage time.

“I thought Sam Bayford has hit an unbelievable shot from inside our half, right on the halfway line and it was a great strike and it’s gone over the keeper, bounced and hit the bar,” said Constable.

“It’s just frustrating, it could’ve been argued that it could’ve been a foul on Wale (Odedoyin) after that for a penalty as he was following in.

“Sam has got real quality and we’re really pleased to have him with us.  He creates a lot. He hasn’t trained this week because he’s been away, so he was feeling a bit tired at that point, which was why he probably shot rather than drive with the ball but great vision and great awareness of what’s going on around him and he can execute that type of technique really well, so unfortunate but really nice to see, it was a great bit of football.”

Golding said :”I know they’ve hit the crossbar from Sam from long distance – but I don’t think they made loads and loads of chances against us. I think they scored six or their seven or eight shots. 

The Corinthian boss revealed he will keep faith with his current squad, something that he is renowned for at the Longfield based outfit.

“I don’t think it’s a case of ripping it all up and starting all over again.  We’re a team that has to stay with the same group of players. We won’t go out and sign five or six like other managers do. We’ve got this group of players and everyone wants to be here and they’re the ones that we will use.”

Corinthian scored the 10th goal of this crazy game with 51:55 on the clock, following their fourth and final corner.

Northwood failed to deal with Bewick’s speculative cross-shot from the right, which bounced just before the far post and was put behind for a corner.

Bewick trotted over to the left-hand side and whipped in a corner towards the far post and Clover drilled his half-volley from within a crowd of players, into the right-hand corner of the goal.

Golding said: “I thought we were wasteful.  I think Sam Bewick or Jamie Billings both had corners that weren’t good enough and if your nit-picking, that was an area we thought we could exploit them but it just shows if you put the ball into a good area and Charlies does what Charlie does. The game was long gone by them.  I think the defending from us was terrible and there were no positives, none at all.”

Constable added: “It’s the end of the game, the goal was avoidable because he’s just not marked. He’s run off one of our players and we haven’t picked up and to be honest it’s things like that, that are really frustrating.  The game was pretty much done. 

“You’ve got to stay focused and switched on at all times and that is something that we’re going to drill into the players until they start doing it, so it was disappointing to concede that one and take a little bit of gloss of the scoreline.”

Looking ahead to Holmesdale’s first Second Round tie on 11 November, Constable, whose club has banked £2,100 in prize money for winning three FA Vase ties, said: “There’s a few SCEFL teams that have dropped out so hopefully we can get someone who is not in our league and that makes it a bit more interesting, rather than playing the same sides that we play week-in-week-out.

“It’s important for us to try to stay in cup competitions for as long as we possibly can, particularly ones that guarantee a little bit of revenue, so really pleased for everyone at the club to go through and let’s see what the draw throws up.”

Constable and Tony Beckingham take their side to Rusthall on Tuesday night.  Jimmy Anderson’s men are one place beneath The Dalers, collecting 12 points from as many games.

“It will be a tough game going to Rusthall midweek.  There will be a few fans there,” said Constable.

“We’ve played them already in the league, so I don’t know how we’re playing them again, it’s bizarre!   We beat them 2-0 here in a very tight game.  I think it will be a tight again there. 

“We’ve learnt a lot about what works for us today and I’d like to see us continue that momentum into that game on Tuesday and hopefully we can come away with something.”

Corinthian, meanwhile, travel to tenth-placed Bearsted next Saturday.  Bears manager Kevin Stevens and his management team were in the crowd today, as their FA Vase tie at Eastbourne United Association fell victim to a waterlogged pitch.

“I know Bearsted were sitting over there (in the stand) today and I’m sure they’ll come away with some ideas. I know they normally try to pass the ball but I think they’ll hit it as hard as they can into the Corinthian penalty area and try to score goals that way,” said Golding.

“Bearsted are a good side. We’ve been to watch them a couple of times and they’ve invested in players this year, which is a different policy for them but it’s obviously working well.

“We’ve got a couple of suspensions, so we’ll have to see what we’ve got in the squad. We had a couple away today so we’re expecting a very tough game against a team that’s probably thinking they can challenge for that last play-off place.”

When asked how he will get over this FA Vase defeat, Golding replied: “Tough, tough. It’s one of those. We said to the boys to draw a line under it and we probably have to do the same as a management team.  We’ll be in training this week, we’ll dissect the game and have a look at it.

“It’s tough. We wanted to come here and win, there’s no hiding behind that. It’s a cup competition that I love and wan want to be involved in. It will be a tough 24 hours but then we have to go again.”

Holmesdale: Liam Northwood, Theodore McKenzie (Deandre Williams 62), Anthony Morrison, Alessio Akabuogu, Donald Macauley, Adejola Lahan, Sam Bayford, David Martin (Eric Shulz 76), Wale Odedoyin, Emmanuel Oshinowo, Callum Keeble (Antwon McKenzie 58).
Subs: Andrew Dalhouse, Chris Newell

Goals: Emmanuel Oshinowo 10, 50, Alessio Akabuogu 18, Sam Bayford 33, Callum Keeble 48, Wale Odedoyin 81

Booked: Wale Odedoyin 59, Emmanuel Oshinowo 67, David Martin 72

Corinthian: Nathan Boamah, Cameron Beckles, Harry Lashley (Josh Brooker 80), Conor Driscoll, Jamie Billings, Sam Fitzgerald (Dean Nayler 88), Sam Bewick, Brandon Davey (Ross Obazee 84), Charlie Clover, Ahmed Salim Futa, Luke Adams.
Subs: Shiloh Apena, Jack Unwin, Michael Hagan, Kamron Holmes-Lewis

Goals: Brandon Davey 22, Sam Bewick 41, Charlie Clover 56, 90

Attendance: 65
Referee: Mr Kieran Cox
Assistants: Mr Luke Thomas & Ms Mary Talabi