Holmesdale 3-0 Farnborough Old Boys Guild - We've still got a litle bit of work to do, admits Holmesdale boss Lee Roots

Wednesday 24th July 2019
Holmesdale 3 – 0 Farnborough Old Boys Guild
Location 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ
Kickoff 24/07/2019 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Wednesday 24 July 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakley Road

HOLMESDALE manager Lee Roots says his squad have still got a little bit of work to do ahead of their Southern Counties East Football League First Division opener at relegated Rusthall on Saturday week.

The Bromley based outfit comfortably eased to a 3-0 victory over their Andreas Carter Kent County League Premier Division neighbours Farnborough Old Boys Guild on a scorching Wednesday evening at Oakley Road.

The damage was done inside the opening 29 minutes.  Harry Gamble started and finished a well-worked move to give Holmesdale the lead, before visiting goalkeeper Lee Gibbs went missing and allowed Harry Tanner’s rolling back-pass gift Ryan Golding a simple tap-in to an empty goal, before Gamble drilled in a third goal.

Both sides made 19 substitutions between them following the interval but no further goals were added during a boring second half.

Farnborough Old Boys Guild finished in the bottom five last season, while Holmesdale have finished in sixth-place for two seasons running.

Holmesdale have played Lordswood (1-3), Crawley Down Gatwick (5-3), K Sports (2-2) and Glebe (0-1), while this was Farnborough Old Boys Guild’s fourth pre-season outing having played Hackney Wick (1-3), Belvedere (4-1) and AFC Mottingham (5-2).

“I’m happy with tonight. It’s the first time that we’ve played a team that’s not in the league above so different team, different mind-set to go into the game,” said Roots.

“I’m happy first half, we was a lot better than the second half but we asked them to manage the game at half-time and don’t go too mad, which was definitely what we’ve done so it was a good night all round.”

Luke Johnson’s side were simply out of their depth during the first half.

“They’re a good side, a very good side. We gifted them two if not three goals in the space of 14 minutes and that’s hard to come back from but that’s our fourth game of pre-season and it’s their fifth.  We acquitted ourselves on the ball quite well. It was just our fitness levels, they’re half a yard sharper than us all over the park,” said Johnson.

Farnborough Old Boys Guild started the game on the front foot and striker Kallum Diani charged down Marcus Howell’s clearance and speculatively tried to score from 35-yards, but Holmesdale keeper Nathan Edwards stepped to his right to gather the ball.

Callum O’Shea gave the ball away in the final third and Edwards prevented Diani finding the bottom right-hand corner with a chance after only 162 seconds.

“Lee Roots’ is a pal of mine and I took a side down to Forest Hill Park last year. We didn’t equip ourselves in the first 15-20 minutes so I knew he’d have them playing well,” said Johnson.

“I was really pleased actually with the first 10 minutes, very, very pleased with the way we were playing. We got in behind them, we executed the game plan well.  They were half-chances, they weren’t clear cut but we forced the keeper to do a bit in the first 10.”

Roots added:  “I know Lee their gaffer, he’s a nice fella and I felt they maybe would try to go from front to back at the start, which was exactly what they did.

“We felt that the first 10-15 minutes where they could get into the game so we was aware but yes it was a good start from them.”

Holmesdale weathered the storm and grabbed the lead with their first attempt on goal, timed at 14 minutes and 37 seconds on the clock.

Gamble won the ball in the middle of the park and Alvin Turyatemba released Alex Arif charging down the right. He played right-back Dan Carpenter on the overlap and he had acres of space within the bottom channel to float in a great cross which was drilled in at the far post by an unmarked Gamble from eight-yards.

“It’s a pattern of play that we’ve worked on.  Carpenter is new into the squad but he’s understanding his transitions really, really well,” said Roots.

“What’s great about that goal it’s actually came from a scrap.  Gamble’s won it in midfield, he’s infectious, spread it out wide to Carpenter. It was a great cross and Gamble’s gone and I thought it was a really, really good goal, a really nice worked move and a great finish at the end.  I’m really pleased for Harry to get his first goal for the club tonight.”

Johnson said: “The goal was a crucial time. We were sort of on top probably. We tried to play the ball around at the back too much and we gave away a cheap one.

“If you give the ball away to a right-back with his quality getting forward he had about 20 yards to put a ball into because we gave the ball away. He’s got a free cross on it and he still had to put it there. It was a lovely cross and a pretty simple finish.”

Farnborough Old Boys Guild missed a chance to equalise when centre-half George Perfitt played the ball out to right-back Ray Knight, who released Steve McQueen down the right wing.  He looped in a cross which was met by left-winger Paul Lee but his near post downward header bounced into Edwards’ gloves for a comfortable save.

Holmesdale’s second goal was simply embarrassing when it arrived with 18 minutes and 4 seconds on the clock.

Goalkeeper Gibbs was standing close to the by-line closer to the penalty area line than his goal-mouth and his left-back Tanner rolled the ball towards the bottom far corner of an open goal some distance away.  Golding accepted the gift by tapping the ball over the line from three-yards out with no one near him.

“It’s a mistake from their goalkeeper but we have set it up as a press and we do try to set a trap and the left-back played it back and we’ve had a fortunate bit of luck but Golds is not going to miss from three-yards,” said Roots.

“He could’ve got down on his hands and knees and headed it in.  We won’t get that luck during the season but it has come from our press and our shape so I was happy with that goal.”

Johnson said: “I wouldn’t blame him to be fair. It was an unnecessary back pass. We were overplaying in areas that we don’t do and we don’t train to do that. We over played in an area we shouldn’t have played in.  Three passes in a 10-yard square, when the ball should’ve gone and our left-back got the ball and unfortunately sometimes the ugly things is the thing to do, chip the ball into the channels and he’s looked to play it back to the keeper and he’s played a terrible pass, a great pass to the centre-forward! To be fair it’s a good assist!”

Two players stood out in the first half for the away side and that were their two wingers, Lee and Dekklund Wallace.

Lee cut into the Holmesdale box and from the by-line was denied by Edwards, who came out to narrow the angle to prevent the ball squeezing into the bottom near corner.

With scorching temperatures, referee Bethany Archer called for a drinks break at 23:18 and allowed both managers to issue instructions to their team whilst they encroached onto the pitch and play re-started at 26:58.

The break did Holmesdale good as they raced into a 3-0 lead with 28 minutes and 28 seconds on the clock as Farnborough Old Boys Guild switched off.

Golding was given time and space to drill a right-footed shot towards goal from 25-yards, which was palmed away by Gibb.  James Shield retrieved the ball close to the by-line and cut the ball back to former Welling Town midfielder Gamble, who drilled his shot into the roof of the net, assisted by the goalkeeper’s two hands.

“The most impressive goal of the night,” said Roots, who spent a season away from Oakley Road at league rivals Forest Hill Park.

“Golds was open on the edge of the box but a great hit by Gamble, the keeper’s got a hand on it but couldn’t do enough and it’s gone in over the top.

“He could’ve scored a hat-trick in the first half Gamble today. I said to him before the game I’d like to see him move around the box and getting goalscoring opportunities and he’s done that tonight. He’s scored two goals in the first half so a nice well-worked move and a fantastic finish by Gamble.”

Johnson added: “Gibbo saved it, maybe should’ve caught it. We put in a poor challenge actually to try to win the ball back. If you’re thinking what should’ve happened but hindsight is a lovely thing! The ball has got to be kicked either for a corner or for a throw. Instead he’s tried to win it clean and he starts playing and the ball’s come back to him. 

“It all came from us taking three touches in the middle of the park and we had the ball played around nicely and played it to the centre-back who instead of taking one touch and knocking it, he’s taken three touches in the middle and lost the ball.”

Turyatemba floated over a deep cross from the left which was met by Shield’s header, but he steered his attempt wide of the near post when he had options to head the ball back across goal.

The first half was too easy for Holmesdale and Golding missed a sitter in the 43rd minute.

Turyatemba’s pace saw him reach the penalty area on the left-hand side before putting the chance on a plate from the by-line for Golding, who placed his shot past the foot of the near post from eight-yards.

Roots said: “I actually think the game was going a little bit stale at that point at the end of the first half and it was the easiest goal that Golding will ever miss and he will never miss one. What is it? Half an inch the other side and it hits the post and goes in?

“We were guilty of that twice. We could’ve gone in five or six at the half. I think we just switched off at the end there. We have got to punish that moment!”

This was a let-off for Johnson’s men, who called for character from his team.

“The thing I’m most proud of the lads, there was a point where that could’ve got silly because the heads had gone down there and they were annoyed with themselves,” admitted Johnson.

“They did start carving us open from that period up until half-time and that was a worry but their heads didn’t drop and we managed to gain some composure.”

Carpenter threw the ball to an unmarked Turyatemba, who hooked his shot looping over the crossbar from 25-yards, with Gibbs rooted to the spot.

Holmesdale had to settle for three goals during a one-sided first half but the introduction of centre-half Ollie Lacey at the break gave Farnborough Old Boys Guild more steel at the heart of their defence.

“I don’t think it was too easy,” admitted Roots.

“I think we had a regimental plan. I think they struggled to deal with our transitions and I think we’ve got a very good group here, a very high-quality group.

“I wouldn’t say it was too easy. There isn’t any easy teams or easy games but I think we made the game easy for ourselves by the way they kept their shape and the quality going forward.

“We felt if we moved the ball quickly, we’d have too much for them. It’s not easy but I felt we were very, very good in the first half.”

Roots added: “At half-time we was very happy. We really applied ourselves well. We could’ve scored four or five goals. A clean-sheet was nice, of course the game was going to slow down. It’s a very hot night, we were going to make changes but we just wanted them at this point being 3-0 up to manage the game correctly, not make any mistakes, manage tempo and manage momentum and as we made subs trying to keep it fluid.”

Johnson said: “I couldn’t take them back in, it was too hot in there!

“It was relatively positive. We played a team in a league above us and they’re really well drilled and will do very well in that league.  I don’t know the league that well myself but looking at the way they play football, I’m sure they’ll do well.

“They’ve got some players there that everyone knows about and they played to their strengths.  We matched them for 15.  At times we created our own downfall and I just said if you cut those out you’re more than a match for them in the second half.”

The second half was simply a stalemate as too many substitutions were being made and watching the game proved challenging.

Johnson said: “I think friendlies are about getting what you can out of them.  We’ve scored loads of goals and we’ve looked good going forward.

“We had a centre-half come in, Ollie Lacey, who came off the bench and steadied it and he’s not started the last two friendlies and he’s put himself in an unstoppable position because he came in and marshalled the defence, a defence that wasn’t talking to each other.

Holmesdale created the first chance in the 13th minute when winger Arif pinged a diagonal crossfield pass over to Yaccine Gnahore, who cut in from the left and delivered a deep cross towards the far post but Carpenter steered his header wide of the near post from a tight angle.

“Yacinne’s still coming back from a rolled ankle he suffered during an opening trial game at Lordswood. He’s a fantastic player. He still hasn’t got going yet,” admitted Roots.

“That again was another chance where it was maybe too easy to do the easy thing, which is just put it in. We tried to be a little bit too clever.”

The next chance fell to Farnborough Old Boys Guild with 43:45 on the clock when Tunde Adeloye split open the Holmesdale back line to put Wallace through on goal but a woeful first touch allowed Edwards to smother the ball at his feet.

“I mean if our keeper was in Lewisham for the second goal, I think Dekklund’s touch has ended up in New Cross,” admitted Johnson.

“He never does that either. He’s very reliable in those situations but they happen don’t they.

“It’s pleasing that we’ve carved them open as easily as we did.  We would’ve liked to have got on the scoresheet but it would’ve had little effect on the outcome of the game.”

Roots said: “It’s a really hot night and we were making changes and we kept control of the ball really, really well for a little bit. We changed shape a little bit and looked at AC (Constable) and Golding as a two, which meant our game had to go from front to back a little bit more.

“We made a couple of mistakes at the back. We made three changes at the back as well. The most important thing was how we reacted to little mistakes in those kind of thirds.”

Holmesdale striker Andy Constable, 40, still had time for a couple of injury-time chances.

Firstly, he latched onto a ball over the top of the defence but dragged his shot across substitute keeper Ray Marshall and flashed his shot just past the foot of the far post with only the keeper to beat.

“I thought there was one that just went past the post, it was a fantastic strike and Andy deserves a goal,” said Roots.

“He doesn’t need anyone to talk about what he’s achieved in the game. He’s been a great servant to this club and great around the camp. Not only what he can do on the pitch but for players. Unfortunate between the two of them (Constable and Golding), a couple of gilt-edged chances they should’ve scored. Andy’s a winner and he’ll be disappointed with any chance he misses.”

Constable’s flick set up a chance for Ben Lockett, whose right-footed shot was saved low to his left by Marshall.

Ben Lockett then fed Constable, who cut the ball onto his left-foot before stinging Marshall’s fingers with the last kick of the game.

Johnson added: “I reckon they had two chances in the last 10 minutes.  A couple of saves from Ray Marshall who done well in goal coming on and keeping a clean-sheet and that’s good for his confidence.

“We were tiring and their fitness showed and they went a little bit route one in the second half, which played into our hands but they did get a couple of opportunities, possibly could’ve taken them.

“I thought it was even second half. We were camped in our half but we kept them at bay well.”

Holmesdale complete their pre-season campaign with a home game against Lingfield on Saturday.

Roots said: “They’re a good side, a good club, a nice big physical side and I’m really looking forward to that game.

“I set that one up on purpose. It’s a real good test for us and we’ll treat it and approach it like the opening day of the season and we are expecting them to come here and give us a really, really good game.

“We’ve set our stall out, our first game at home, our first win and no goals against and we’ll work to continue that.  This will be a fortress for us and this is where we’ll win most of our games.  They’ll come here and we’ll give them a really tough game.”

When asked whether he knows his starting eleven for their opening day trip to Rusthall, Roots replied: “If I’m honest with you right now, I do, I do. I know where I am at but we’ve still got a little bit of work to do. We’ve got another game to look at so I do know where my 11’s at.  I would say the biggest thing I don’t know is my 16 because we’ve got such a talented squad, we really have.

“If we could take 18 to every game we would because everyone’s happy but you can’t so we’re looking forward to the start now.

“We’ve got a little bit more work to go. It’s pretty much there the 16, we’ll see how they get on in the next week or so but I’m really happy.”

Reflecting on the game, Johnson said: “Do you know what, I went in there and told them how proud I was. There’s a few new faces in the side and they’re gelling together well. 

“We’ve had 17 players down here, there’s a shed load of changes going on at half-time, it’s disruptive, It’s 35 degree heat.  I know both teams have got to play with that and they made a lot of subs as well but they’re a lot further down the line in their plan than we are and if were managing to match teams who are further down the line and playing a level above us and have got people who have played at even higher levels.

“Lee’s got an organised outfit and he’s doing brilliantly here and I really hope they win the league, I do because I like Lee, I like him a lot.”

Kent County League fixtures have not yet been published but Johnson wants to improve matters on the pitch this season.

“I think you’ll be mad to go into the Kent County Premier not thinking you can not win it,” said Johnson.

“Staplehurst won it at a counter last year and we drew with them twice and we finished 12th and you can take points of everyone there.

“If you get a consistent side out in that league week-in-week-out then that’s a main thing.  A good start is everything. Start well and the confidence flows. The quality level is much of a muchness.

“We’ve got aspirations of winning the league, that’s what we’re going to do this season!”

Holmesdale: Nathan Edwards, Dan Carpenter (George Oldfield 69), Ryan Watts (James Teodorrescu 54), Callum O’Shea (Ryan Golding 79), Tamar Bilal (Andrew Jones 76), Marcus Howell, James Shield (Kazim Bishop 46), Harry Gamble (Rory Catt 69), Ryan Golding (Andy Constable 46), Alvin Turyatemba (Yacine Gnahore 46), Alex Arif (Ben Lockett 69).

Goals: Harry Gamble 15, 29 Ryan Golding 19,

Farnborough Old Boys Guild: Lee Gibbs (Ray Marshall 46), Ray Knight, Harry Tanner (Ollie Lacey 46), Lee Coroner (Mason West 66), Tom Beckingham (George Perfitt 75), George Perfitt (Steve Flowers 60), Steve McQueen (Tunde Adeloye 60), Mason West (Connor Blackman 46), Kallum Diani (Aaron Smith 46), Dekklund Wallace (Steve McQueen 90), Paul Lee (Kallum Diani 71).

Attendance: 40
Referee: Ms Bethany Archer (Orpington)
Assistants: Mr Stephen Luke (Pembury) & Mr Ashley Barnes (Bromley)