Holmesdale 4-2 Kent Football United - We were hoping to cheer the chairman up but sadly not to be - it was a tough draw, Holmesdale away, there are easier ties, says Kent Football United joint-manager Lloyd Bradley

Saturday 19th September 2020
Holmesdale 4 – 2 Kent Football United
Location 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ
Kickoff 19/09/2020 15:00

The Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round
Saturday 19 September 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Oakley Road

HOLMESDALE assistant manager Mike Parker says he wants his side to go further than they did last year after their comfortable win over their league rivals Kent Football United in The FA Vase.

The Bromley based side haven’t reached the First Round but they will hold home advantage over AFC Varndenians in the Second Qualifying Round on Saturday 10 October.

Lee Roots’ side delivered the knockout punch to ensure their Dartford based opponents extended their winless run to 20 games in all competitions and with the sorry statistic of never winning in The FA Vase.

The last time Kent Football United last celebrated a win in any competition was 329 days ago (26 October 2019) when they beat Phoenix Sports Reserves 3-2 in the London Senior Trophy.

This was Kent Football United’s fifth tie in The FA Vase and they have entered at this stage in 2012, 2013, 2018 and 2019 but were knocked out by Farnham Town, Lingfield, Steyning Town and Snodland Town.

Half of the six goals at Oakley Road on this warm and sunny September day were own-goals and both sides captains were the culprits.

Kent Football United’s right-back Bobby Holley put through his own goal to give Holmesdale the lead on the half-hour mark before the outstanding Shameek Farrell scored from a nonchalant free-kick to score his fourth goal of the season following his surprise move from Premier Division neighbours Beckenham Town.

Holmesdale’s left-back James Teodorescu, 23, scored an own-goal on his 100th appearance for the club to bring Kent Football United back into the game just before the interval.

The unfortunate Holley scored his second own goal against his old club before Nathan Palmer gave Holmesdale a 4-1 lead just past the hour-mark before Kent Football United substitute Charlie Tagg went from the sublime to the ridiculous, scoring with a stunning hooked volley before being sent-off at the end of the game.

“A good win for the boys, a bit disappointed with the first-half performance if I’m being honest but the boys came out and responded well, worked really hard on the training pitch to sort ourselves out defensively to get better but really happy to get into the next round,” said Parker.

“I think the tempo starts early doors and we just never really good going.  We got a fortunate first goal for an own-goal but our player is claiming it came off him as they always will and I think that escalates it a little bit and two goals come.”

Kent Football United are jointly-managed by the father and son partnership of Lloyd and James Bradley.

“Obviously a little bit disappointed. I think Holmesdale deserved to win the game overall anyway but I was a bit disappointed with the goal just before half-time really killed us because we got ourselves back into it as well,” said Lloyd Bradley.

“I thought we played quite well for the first 20-25 minutes. It was quite an even game. 

“They were always going to be dangerous on the break us against us but I think that set the tone really after that.”

Holmesdale went into the game sitting in the top-eight in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table.

The Dalers lost 4-2 at Kennington on the opening day of the season but bounced back with a 5-2 home win over Lydd Town seven days ago.

Kent Football United were second-from-bottom having lost 5-1 at Rusthall and 2-1 to Greenways last weekend.

They were gifted an opening after only 115 seconds when a poor clearance form Holmesdale keeper Nathan Edwards went straight to right-winger Daniel Westerman, who took a touch before smashing his right-footed drive over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Bradley said: “That’s disappointing because Dan’s such a clinical player. We really expected him to take that but he snatched at it a little bit, rushed it and he needed a little bit of quality on it.  He didn’t need to hit it as hard as he hit it. He could’ve gone in to the box and placed it. It may have gone in but that’s been the story of our season so far really. When we do get chances we’ve not been taking them.”

Parker added: “One thing about Nathan Edwards, he holds his standards right up there and he will be disappointed with that.

“We had a conversation throughout the last few weeks, he doesn’t feel he’s performed at the highest levels but fair play to the kid, a young kid and he grows from it but I think he comes out flying in the second half and makes some big sweeps and big grabs at corners, so I think he recovers very well from it.”

Holmesdale are an excellent attacking threat going forward with plenty of pace and they should have taken the lead in the seventh minute.

Central midfielder Jake Britnell fed striker Ola Rabiu through on goal but his right-footed shot bounced off the foot of the near post when he had visiting keeper Liam Northwood to beat.

Parker added: “They either go the right side or the wrong side but he’ll probably feel he didn’t get the rub of the post.”

Bradley added: “A good effort.  We were pretty fortunate to get away with one there.  There was a lot of that going on throughout the game where they were pressing in behind.

“They’re the sort of team to do that. They’ve got a lot of talented players forward wise.  Their two wide players are always a threat and the strikers move the centre-backs around a bit.  The midfield players are able to move into channels and threaten you.” 

Kent Football United switched off at a Holmesdale short corner, when Farrell slipped the ball to Britnell, who played a one-two with Farrell before reaching the by-line and whipping in a cross towards the far post which was met by a towering header from centre-half Jordan Eels, which cleared the crossbar.

Praising Britnell, Parker said: “As a person as well, he’s brilliant to have in the dressing room, one of the boys, loves it.  The experience he brings to our midfield is paramount.  I’d say he just takes the game down to walking pace and just looks effortless when he plays. He’ll be disappointed with his first-half today by his own standards but what a signing we’ve made there.”

Holmesdale raided the right and Rabiu and Samuel Adenola linked up and Farrell cut the ball back to Rory Ward, the holding midfielder sweeping his first time curling shot across the keeper and past the far post from 20-yards.

Farrell took his time to walk over to take Holmesdale’s second corner and swung the ball in from the right towards the near post where Kent Football United’s holding midfielder Simon Glover was relieved to see his header only just clear the top of his near post after 17 minutes.

On 38-year-old Glover, Bradley said: “I thought he did very well. He said he’ll need a couple of games, he’s disappointed with himself. His legs weren’t as what they were, he misplaced a couple of passes but he said he will improve.  He’s done three training sessions with us.

“Jason Goodchild was signed yesterday.  There were a few pals playing together there so he’ll need some games and a bit of fitness.

“We’ve got some talented players, probably at the later stage of their careers but we’ve got plenty of experience in there but it’s just a case of trying to get them all on the pitch at once.”

Holmesdale were playing with a slow tempo during the first half as Kent Football United’s players competed for every first and second ball.

However, it was a case of end-to-end football in the build-up to Holmesdale taking the lead with 29 minutes and 21 seconds on the clock.

Kent Football United’s left-winger Steven Ita got inside the final third and floated in a cross, which was plucked out of the air by Holmesdale keeper Nathan Edwards.

Edwards launched a big kick upfield, wind-assisted, which was chased by Rabiu, who won the foot-race with his opponent Terry Cohen down the right.

Rabiu put in the cross, aiming for 17-year-old left-winger Adenola but Holley got across him and shinned the ball past his own goalkeeper Northwood to score his first own goal of the game.

“Samuel’s convinced he’s got a touch on it, as all players are. What do I think? I think that will be his first competitive goal for the first team at Holmesdale, so I’ll say first goal for Samuel Adenola. I back my boy,” said Parker.

“It was end-to-end. Like rip up the playbook on that one. He just puts it in to a good area and I always say to the boys, ‘put balls into good areas from crosses and ask the question.’  You’ll never know what can happen and that’s exactly what happened today.”

Bradley said: “I think he’s got a brace today, it’s unfortunate really.

“He’s trying to cover there and it’s a bit difficult, someone’s coming in behind him so he has to get something on it, probably took it with his wrong foot as well. He’s played it with his right-foot and scooped it away, which was always the wrong decision. If he played it with his left-foot he may have cleared his lines but it’s unfortunate, those sort of goals.”

Despite a disappointing opening 40 minutes of the game, it exploded into life.

Adenola pinged a diagonal pass over to Farrell, who controlled the ball before cutting into the box and drilling his left-footed angled drive across the keeper and past the far post.

Holmesdale grabbed a second goal with 44 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock, courtesy of Farrell’s nonchalant free-kick.

Farrell stepped up and stroked his curling left-footed free-kick into the near corner from 25-yards, proving that he is playing one level lower, at least, than he should be.

“Another great bit of business that Lee Roots, the gaffer, has managed to secure for us,” said Parker.

“They have a great relationship they have from their early days at Chipstead (in the Kent County League). 

“He wants to be here, he’s a great human to have within your dressing room. His leadership within the group is excellent and what he gives you in quality on the pitch is unprecedented.

“That’s what he does in training.  He’s just that kind of player. He’ll step up, takes control of the game and just slaps it in.  He’s played higher, we know that, he’s come to us with his relationship with the gaffer and he’s got on really well with the boys and we all love him and he’s our goalscoring threat at the moment.”

Bradley admitted: “Again disappointing, more the timing rather than that. A silly foul, a debatable foul as well, which was a bit of a worry. It was a soft one around the box. It’s a bit frustrating for us, certainly the management because we’ve done so well at that point and all we were looking to do really was get the team in and have a re-group and maybe change it.  To go in 2-1 down was a big disappointment but it was a great finish.”

However, Kent Football United showed character to pull a goal back, 68 seconds into stoppage time.

Lone striker James Owolabi was too isolated during the first half and was replaced at the break and Javlon Campbell suffered the same fate.

Central midfielder Jason Goodchild slipped the ball through to Ita, who got down the side of centre-half Eels to pull the ball back from the by-line and the ball bounced off Teodorescu and rolled into the net on the edge of his six-yard box.

Bradley said: “These are the things we put up with. At the time we probably started quite well in the second half as well. That was the problem really when you start well and you maybe relax a little bit into the game and they’re always a threat.”

Bradley revealed his thoughts on making a striker change at the break as they were pretty toothless up front, despite Ita’s hard-work on the wing.

“At half-time we brought Javlon Campbell on, obviously a bigger man up there.  We didn’t have much of an aerial threat first half.  James Owolabi done really well, worked his socks off up there, probably ran out of steam in the end but we tried to change it, pushing people on and try to get around Javlon, maybe it never worked.

“Javlon worked hard up there, we never really got the ball into him, although we wanted to get it to him.”

Parker added: “He thinks he’s got to do something with it. He’s had a little bit of a knock and he was just trying to get through to the end of the half.

“What a player JT is, our skipper. Today was his 100th appearance for the club so it was a special day for him, especially it being in The FA Vase.

“He scored – he didn’t score at all last season I believe. He won’t want to have that one.

“If anything, it just sharpens us up at half-time but I know how important clean-sheets are important to the lads and they’ll be disappointed to ship a goal like that.”

Despite their lead, Holmesdale weren’t at it during a disappointing slow tempo first half display.

Parker said: “We said, ‘we need more, we need more from you,’

“I said you’ve just given them a little sniff, they’ll be fired up, go out there and continue to punish chances when we get in the final third and to be fair to them, they did.  They came out, we got the ball under and played and we scored some good goals.”

Holmesdale produced an impressive sweeping move after only 194 seconds into the second half, an example of their excellent attacking play.

Farrell played the ball inside to Adenola in a central position and he played the ball along the deck to Palmer out on the right.  He held the ball up before playing the ball to right-back Daniel Carpenter, who had made a third-man run, in behind Callum Flynn and he put the ball on a plate for the unmarked Farrell, who hooked his volley across the keeper and agonisingly past the near post from 12-yards.

Parker said: “We’ve been really adventurous this year trying to link-up our front three with the talent they have and how we can support all over the pitch.

“Dan Carpenter has been outstanding, one of those options. He’s so energetic in his running and the quality he offers, left-foot, cuts back in and puts it in. Sham’s unlucky to put it wide. He’s a man in form and Dan Carpenter is also one of our players.”

Kent Football United offered very little in the final third but they did create an opening in the 52nd minute.

Holley took a touch before delivering a deep cross from the halfway line,  which was retrieved by Ita, who whipped in a cross towards Goodchild, who sliced his right-footed volley high and wide from 15-yards, much to his manager’s frustration.

“He should’ve stepped into it but he leaned back and you could see it all day long and it was one of them when he had to remove his standing foot and get above it and volley it and he chose to let it come down and strike it and it’s gone miles over the bar. It was a good chance.”

Holmesdale produced another slick attacking move as they raced into a 3-1 lead with nine minutes and 25 seconds on the clock.

It came from quick passing and movement as Palmer and Rabiu linked up in the final third and Rabiu played the ball in behind left-back Flynn and Palmer cut the ball back from the right by-line and Holley slid in to smash his attempted clearance into the roof of his own net from six-yards.

Parker said: “Bobby will be disappointed with that. A great guy, I know him well from last year and he’ll be disappointed with that but I thought he played well today.  I know he let in two own goals but I think he had a good game.”

Bradley said: “Same thing again, running in to his own goal, facing his own goal and he takes it right-foot again. Someone’s following it at the far post so you’ve got to try to get something on it. Maybe he could’ve let it go and block the shot but the players have got to make decisions in those areas.”

Holmesdale sealed their progress by scoring their fourth goal with 16 minutes and 42 seconds on the clock.

Farrell was released down the left and he charged into the penalty area and unselfishly squared the ball towards the unmarked Palmer, who watched the bobbling ball bounce on the half-volley before prodding the ball into the net from six-yards at the far post.

“Our front three are unselfish lads.  They know the importance in goals and our in-form front three are going to be causing problems all day,” warned Parker.

“Sham’s has scored four goals for the last three weeks. Nathan Palmer has bagged two now. It’s unselfish play and it’s important because we can’t be a one-man band here. We know we’ve got the talent up there and they’re all in the act.”

Bradley added: “They pulled us all across the pitch. The worst thing it started from a throw-in or something. It wasn’t even a good move built-up from the back.  In the final third it was a decent move and just a tap in.”

Holmesdale struck the post for the second time at the halfway mark when Farrell’s left-footed free-kick from 30-yards beat Northwood but bounced off the base of the right upright and behind for a corner, despite the keeper not getting a touch.

Parker added: “You can’t deny the man’s quality. It’s unfortunate. He dragged it slightly wide. I think they’ll feel fortunate it wasn’t more.”

Bradley added: “I think the keeper had it covered to be fair. Give credit to the keeper, he did have it covered but it was a decent free-kick.”

Holmesdale’s right-back Carpenter was forced into drilling a first-time shot (as he was challenged strongly by Tagg) which he tried to find the bottom left-hand corner from 35-yards, which was easily gathered by the debutant goalkeeper from Maidstone United.

Kent Football United grabbed a second goal with 27 minutes and 46 seconds on the clock.

Westerman delivered a high hanging free-kick from the left, which comes out to Ita, who put the ball back in from the other side of the pitch.  The ball was flicked on by Glover and an unmarked Tagg produced a finish of high-quality, hooking his left-footed volley screaming across Edwards into the left-hand corner from 16-yards.

Bradley said: “A good goal, a good goal. Charlie can do that as well. He’s a talented player. He’s a bit frustrated at the moment because he’s not been in the side in the last couple of weeks but he came on, done well and showed good mentality, good attitude and it was a nice finish there.”

Parker added: “I’ll be honest with you, I was dealing with something medically in the dug-out and I turned around and he’s hit a volley and what a finish!

“However, I’ll watch it back on our camera footage later as I’m a bit miffed how he was unmarked in the box but credit to the lad, he’s finished it off well.”

Diminutive like his father Steve, who kept goal for Cray Wanderers and Maidstone United among others, Northwood pulled off a brilliant double save inside the final 12 minutes.

Farrell’s left-wing free-kick was met by a bullet free-header at the near post by Rabiu, which forced Northwood to move high to his right to parry, before he swiftly recovered to push behind the follow-up shot from substitute midfielder Tom Austin, who latched onto the loose ball before anyone else and tried to smash the ball into the bottom near corner.

“Tom is one of our new players this year, superb pedigree. Unfortunately, he's in a competitive midfield six battle and he’s the only one to react and credit the keeper there, a young lad and he’s made a great double save,” said Parker.

Bradley added: “Oh yes, a great save, a great save from a young keeper, very brave, very brave. He threw his body on the line.

“We were very impressed with him today on his debut. I thought he played very well.  There’s not much you can do with all of the goals and we praised him afterwards.”

Holmesdale completely dominated the final exchanges as Kent Football United lacked the quality to change the outcome.

Substitute striker Leon Thomas, 18, who is on loan from National League South side Dulwich Hamlet, impressed during his late cameo for the Dalers.

He latched onto Palmer’s through ball and skipped past the goalkeeper but his shot was headed off the line by Kent Football United’s centre-half Joe Abbott.

Less than a minute later, Thomas swept his shot past the foot of the left-hand post.

“Leon’s an electric forward.  Leon’s electric at training, our boys are falling over themselves and we said go and enjoy yourself and he links up really well, a good player.  It was a great header from the centre-back. I’ll be proud of that if I was his coach,” said Parker.

It went end-to-end at the end with the hard-working Ita playing in Flynn but Edwards rushed to the edge of his box and used his left-leg to sweep the ball away.

The ball was immediately launched upfield and Thomas slipped in Palmer straight through the heart of the pitch but he lacked the finish, flicking his shot with the outside of his boot just over the Kent Football United crossbar.

Kent Football United were reduced to 10 men with 48:47 on the clock when Farrell was guilty of showboating down the right and a frustrated Tagg clipped his ankles and referee Damian Mirzadeh pulled out his second yellow card and then a red.

Bradley said: “Stupid, a bit of frustration there, I think, more than anything. When the guy is showboating, from our point of view if anyone was going to do it, it shouldn’t have been him because he was on a yellow card. It’s a bit naïve. His frustration got the better of him. It’s disappointing because it’s a red-card. The game didn’t warrant a red-card all day really.”

Parker added: “I think he was fortunate not to go earlier on the one he did earlier and he got away with one there.

“He’s just got a rush of blood, it happens, it does happen. Shameek attracts attention when he’s on the ball and unfortunately he’s brought  it and just paid the price.”

Both sides are back in league action next Saturday 26 September, with Holmesdale at home to Sutton Athletic, while Kent Football United host Meridian VP.

AFC Varndeanians are currently in seventh-place in the Southern Combination League First Division (same level as Holmesdale) and came away from bottom side Hailsham Town with a 3-0 win in The FA Vase today.

Playing at Withdean Stadium, the former ground of Brighton & Hove Albion, AFC Varndeanians stand in the way of Holmesdale reaching the First Round for the first time in 13 attempts.

Parker said: “I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know too much about them but that’s something we pride ourselves as a management team.  We are detailed in our approach to games.  We will do anything we can to get footage on them or go and see them.

“This is a great competition and we look to go further than we did last year and we’ll take the game as it comes and see what happens.

“I will back this bunch of lads against any team from this league or the league above from anywhere.  They’re a great bunch. They’ll admit they started slow today but we know what they can do and we’ll look forward to the challenge.”

Reflecting on Kent Football United’s miserable FA Vase record, Bradley said: “We knew that. We were hoping to cheer the chairman up but sadly not to be.

“I think it was a tough draw we got anyway to be fair, Holmesdale away. There are easier ties even at this early level.  There’s some good sides in there.  We played a side on form, free-scoring as well. Their forwards will always score. I still think they’ve got vulnerability at the back as a team but if they can outscore teams I don’t think they’ll be worried about that.”

Holmesdale:  Nathan Edwards, Daniel Carpenter, James Teodorescu, Rory Wood, Jordan Eels, James Shield, Shameek Farrell, Jake Britnell (Besfort Sadiku 77), Ola Rabiu (Leon Thomas 85), Nathan Palmer, Samuel Adenola (Tom Austin 71).
Subs: Omar Belazregue, Germaine Jeannoel, Soul Kader, Sam Green

Goals: Bobby Holley 30 (own goal), 55 (own goal), Shameek Farrell 45, Nathan Palmer 62

Booked: Jake Britnell 76, Nathan Palmer 90

Kent Football United: Liam Northwood, Bobby Holley, Callum Flynn, Simon Glover, Joe Abbott, George Paskins, Steven Ita, Terry Cohen, James Owolabi (Javlon Campbell 46), Jason Goodchild (Charlie Tagg 65), Daniel Westerman (Ryan Townrow 84).
Subs: Archie Valler, Emilio Regini-Moran

Goals: James Teodorescu 45 (own goal), Charlie Tagg 73

Booked: Jason Goodchild 64, Steven Ita 71, Charlie Tagg 75, Ryan Townrow 90

Sent Off: Charlie Tagg 90

Attendance: 42
Referee: Mr Damian Mirzadeh
Assistants: Mr Matthew Jennings & Ms Reanna Rhodes