Hythe Town 3-0 Chalfont St Peter - I thought it was a complete performance, they were a really hardworking side and they can make it difficult for you, says Hythe Town boss Steven Watt

Saturday 26th September 2020
Hythe Town 3 – 0 Chalfont St Peter
Location Reachfields Stadium, off Fort Road, Hythe, Kent CT21 6JS
Kickoff 26/09/2020 15:00

The Buildbase FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
Saturday 26 September 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Reachfields Stadium

HYTHE TOWN manager Steven Watt says he is looking forward to their local derby against Ashford United in the Second Qualifying Round of The FA Trophy after comfortably beating Chalfont St Peter.

A hat-trick from striker Frannie Collin, 33, settled a rather cagey encounter against the Isthmian League South Central Division side at Reachfields Stadium.

Finlay Johnson’s side beat Oxhey Jets 1-0 in The FA Cup Preliminary Round and Watt went to watch their 3-2 home defeat to Farnborough in the next round in midweek.

Chalfont St Peter kicked off their league campaign with a 1-0 home defeat to Ashford Town (Middlesex) seven days ago and Collin’s clinical hat-trick ensured there will be a lucrative Kent derby in the next round of The FA Trophy.

The Cannons kicked-off their campaign by losing 2-1 at home to South Park in The FA Cup but have bounced back with back-to-back wins having beat Burgess Hill Town 3-2 here on the opening day of the league season.

“I thought it was a complete performance,” said Watt.

“I went down to watch Chalfont on Tuesday night and I thought they were a really hardworking side and they can make it difficult for you and I thought they did that today.

“We turned up and it wasn’t given to us and I thought it was a complete performance.  I thought we defended really well, a couple of debutants as well who did really well today and I thought we deserved to go through.”

Hythe Town took the lead with seven minutes and 50 seconds, following their first of seven corners.

Central midfielder Darren Oldaker whipped in a great delivery from the left and Collin ran unopposed from inside the six-yard box to find a pocket of space at the near post some 16-yards from goal to flick his header over a crowd of players to find the far corner.

Watt said: “I thought it was a great ball with pace, whipped front post. We looked at it on Tuesday night and saw they can be quite vulnerable at that front post area and Frans done really well. He put on it what he could really and it’s a great finish, a great header in the far corner. 

“It was all down to the quality of the ball in. Frans know how in and around the box to know what the ball needed to direct it goalwards.”

Three games into the new season and Watt is already on his third goalkeeper of the campaign, following Ryan Nicholls and Patrick Lee was loan-signing from League One side Charlton Athletic Nathan Harvey, 18, who put in an impressive performance on his senior debut.

Harvey, formerly of West Ham United, was called into action halfway through the first half.

Chalfont St Peter striker Adam Roberts slipped the ball through to Owen Jones, who cut into the box from the left and danced past two defenders before his low angled shot was pushed away towards safety by Harvey, diving low to his left.

“Good play from them in the final third.  We try to control those situations if they do break our lines. We can force them into wide areas and try to get them to shoot from angles,” said Watt.

“Good play from Chalfont there, you have to give them credit for that but it was a situation I felt we controlled because we kept them in wide areas from our goal and didn’t let them through centrally.”

Hythe Town’s holding midfielder James Rogers played a diagonal pass out to Charlie Webster, who cut the ball back to Liam Smith.  The right-back fed Webster and his cross was cleared back to Smith, who powered his header straight into the hands of visiting keeper Andy McCorkell.

McCorkell’s outstretched finger-tips thwarted the home side on the half-hour mark, following their third corner.

Oldaker swung the ball in from the right, McCorkell stretched to flick the ball towards the far post and Tom Wynter ghosted in to steer his first-time shot past the near post from a tight angle.

Chalfont St Peter turned defence into attack and were to be denied an equaliser in the 33rd minute, thanks to a fine double save from Harvey.

Oldaker’s out-swinging corner from the right was cleared away by Kai Walters on the edge of the box and he played the ball up to James, who broke through the heart of the pitch.

He slipped the ball in behind Smith to put tall right-winger Sydney Ibie through on goal but Harvey dived to his right to make the block as the two-goal wideman tried to slot the ball into the bottom left-hand corner - and the keeper got a lucky break with a ricochet to flick Ibe’s second bite of the cherry away.

“It was poor defending from us really,” admitted Watt.

“We spoke about that at half-time. It was a situation we should’ve controlled. Liam tries to nick in front and doesn’t quite get there and then Kaka comes out and doesn’t quite get there and allows them an opportunity.

“Mistakes from us really in terms of defending, that they’ve created an opportunity but when Nathan’s called upon it’s two fantastic saves at a crucial point in the game.

“If they scored then maybe the game’s not as comfortable as it was. It’s a crucial point in the game and a crucial save.”

Watt was delighted with Harvey’s senior debut.

“I thought he was excellent! It’s his first experience of men’s football if you like and I thought he did really well. He made a couple of great saves at crucial points, particularly in the first half when they broke well from a corner and he produced a great save, an one-on-one-save.

“As I said to the boys, in terms of those chances created against us, it was all by our own doing. We were making silly mistakes in the build-ups to allow those chances but overall I thought we defended really well and when Nathan was called upon he was excellent.”

Hythe Town’s left-back Kaka Dembele played the ball up to Collin, who drilled a 40-yard diagonal cross into the penalty area which was met by Webster’s diving header from six-yards (after getting in behind centre-half Luke Elliott) which cleared the crossbar.

Harvey made another fine low save to prevent Chalfont St Peter grabbing an equaliser with 44 minutes and 28 seconds on the clock.

A big kick up field by keeper McCorkell wasn’t cut out by Smith and this mistake almost proved costly as James got in behind and cut into the box but his side-footed right-footed stroked angled drive was held by Harvey, low to his left.

“They’ve got some good players in forward areas and we knew that on Tuesday night,” said Watt.

“We saw they were quite lively and sharp up front so it was all about trying to control their efforts and it’s very much that we got them in an areas where we tried to force them wide.  We allowed him inside, which was disappointing. Again Nathan was called upon and it was a fantastic save.”

It proved to be a key moment in the game as Hythe Town doubled their lead with 45 minutes and 31 seconds on the clock.

Nicki Dembele got in behind Chalfont St Peter’s right-back Geoff Kibaki to reach the by-line and his cross was cleared out by Elliott and Collin cracked a right-footed half-volley screaming into the left-hand corner from 25-yards.

Watt said: “It’s a great goal! Again, good play from Nick. It’s a good ball and it falls to Fran on the edge of the box. That’s what Frannie does, he gets a free shot there, he opens his body up and everyone thought he was going to go far corner. He just closes his foot and takes it front post.

“It was a fantastic finish but it’s what Fran has done his whole career. It’s something we spoke about to try to get more goals this season and he’s off to a great start. He got one last week and three today.”

Nicki Dembele was playing for Isthmian League Division One North side Cambridge City at the beginning of 2020.

“I thought he did well. I think it’s a little bit difficult for an outfield player coming in. He’s only been with us for a couple of weeks.  As a keeper coming in you know what your job is.  It’s always difficult for an outfield player particularly in high areas to come in to a side but I thought he did really well.

“I thought he was effective and he got us up the pitch well and he was a nice physical presence for us in the wide areas.”

Johnson made a tactical substitution at the break in a bid to bring his side back into the game.  James and Ibie made way and substitute Ashley Hunt joined Roberts up front and substitute Blake D’Arcy sat in behind the pair.

The Cannons were forced into making a change as centre-half striker Tom Walmsley picked up a calf injury, while centre-half Dean Beckwith suffered a broken nose just eight seconds into the second half and was replaced by Ross Ibbertson.

Smith partnered Wynter at the heart of defence with Kaka Dembele staying at left-back, while Ibbertson slotted in at right-back and the quartet were a lot more solid than they were in the first half.

When asked what he said to his players’ at the break, Watt replied: “Just manage the game! I thought the game was kind of done really. If we manage the game collectively and use that experience we’ve got there shouldn’t be any problems.

“I thought we did that in spells, not as well as I would’ve liked. When the game’s 2-0 up it’s a tricky situation to be in as a team where we’re quite comfortable. We’re on a hiding from nothing really. You go out for the second half and if you don’t make it four or five people may think ‘here we go again.’

“If you sit off and they get that crucial goal to make it 2-1 things can make it very, very difficult but we spoke about controlling the game and using that experience in the squad because we do have a lot of experience in there – and I thought we did that.

“We always know opportunities would present itself because they would have to change shape, which is what they did at half-time and it was all about utilising our assets against their new shape and I thought we did that and the opportunities came and we could’ve got a couple more goals.”

Both sides cancelled each other out during the second half but Chalfont St Peter produced a good move in the 18th minute.

Central midfielder Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway played the ball into D’Arcy who teed up Roberts, who lashed a poor left-footed drive over the crossbar from the edge of the D.

Hythe Town suffered similar fate following their sixth corner of the game.

The Cannons forced a corner with a good piece of attacking play as Smith’s long ball was flicked on by substitute Alex Brown (who played in behind Collin) and Webster got in behind the left-back Brandon Kalu to whip in a great cross, which was headed behind by centre-half Romario Jonas.

Oldaker’s right-wing corner wasn’t cleared and fell at Wynter’s right-boot and his first driven shot was blocked and his second effort with the same boot cleared the crossbar from 12-yards.

“We’re all sitting on the bench saying ‘if that’s anyone else’, if that falls to anyone else apposed to Tom Wynter, twice on his right-foot. If that’s even Liam Smith, whose got a great right-foot on him. If it falls to Liam on his right foot you’re talking about a different outcome.

“We work on set-pieces and I thought throughout the day we were dangerous from them. We always looked a threat. Unfortunately for Tom he’s not scored for the club yet but it would be good to get off the mark and that was a good opportunity then.”

Chalfont St Peter worked a good opening inside the final 15 minutes and once again Harvey was there to smother the ball.

D’Arcy played the ball inside to Alexander-Greenaway, who fed the ball back to D’Arcy, who fed Walters, who reached the left by-line before cutting the ball back to substitute striker Hunt, who was ready to pounce at the near post, only for Harvey to bravely smother the ball at his feet.

“You’ve got to give them credit, it’s good build-up play from them,” said Watt.

“They broke down our right-hand side and it’s a good cut back and when called upon Nathan did everything that was needed from him.  For a young kid at his age, he’s sitting in there and really pleased with how it went.  I’m happy. When he was called upon he bailed us out a few times when he needed to.”

Hythe Town sealed their passage into the next round by scoring their third goal just 59 seconds later, the goal being timed at 31 minutes and 55 seconds on the clock.

Brown twisted and turned his man down the left-channel, which made a yard of space to cut the ball onto his right-boot before whipping in a quality cross towards the near post where Collin got in behind Jonas and had time to take a touch on the corner of the six-yard box before drilling his shot into the bottom far corner.

“If anyone’s been really effected by the Covid situation it’s Alex Brown. He just got back to fitness last season after having a year out and then Covid happened and it’s another six months out and then pre-season starts and it’s the birth of his first child so he misses the start of pre-season so he’s playing catch-up,” revealed Watt.

“You can tell he hasn’t got his legs and his lungs back to where he needs to be but he’s got that quality when you get him in those type of areas and you get him on the ball. He knows he’s going to create and he’s going to create and score.

“It was a fantastic bit of skill, a fantastic cross and that’s what Fran does, if you give Fran time in the box he’s going to score goals. He was clinical.”

Collin scored eight goals for Hythe Town last season and Watt wants his number 10 to continue his goalscoring form.

He said: “I think last season he didn’t get the return he wanted but there were a lot of changes last year in terms of me coming in and I had to change the whole squad.  It was a bit stop-start but now he’s in a settled side with settled players and he’s getting used to the players around him and I think he’s benefiting from that and it was a crucial goal last week for us to get three points and today he’s got the three goals to see us over the line.”

Chalfont St Peter showed good character to keep plugging away and attacked Hythe during the closing stages of the game.

D’Arcy delivered a deep corner from the left which was met by a towering header from centre-half Elliott at the far post but the ball was controlled by Ibbertson at the near post before clearing his lines.

Elliott played the ball out to Kalu, who floated a deep cross into the Cannons’ box where Hunt rose on the penalty spot and planted his free header over the crossbar.

D’Arcy pinged a diagonal cross which released Kibaki down the right and his angled drive forced another smart save out of Harvey, rushing off his line and diving to his right to parry the shot before grabbing hold of the ball as it spun.

“That’s something I said to the boys, this team (Chalfont St Peter) will keep going until the bitter end, no matter what the score is and that’s credit to them,” said Watt.

“They did exactly the same on Tuesday night. I thought they were really unlucky against Farnborough not to get through. You could see there was a good spirit there and a good willingness to work for each other and we knew even if we were three or four up they’re not going to give up and they’ll keep going and they did that.

“I was really happy for Nathan and the back four that we managed to get a clean sheet as well as the win.”

Hythe Town were the only Kent side to participate in today’s FA Trophy First Qualifying Round ties and they return to Isthmian League South East Division action when Phoenix Sports visit Reachfields Stadium next Saturday 3 October (15:00).

Watt then takes his side to Sevenoaks Town (Tuesday 6 October), before hosting Herne Bay (Saturday 10 October) before a trip to Whitstable Town follows three days later.

The Cannons’ FA Trophy tie against Ashford United on Saturday 17 October here at Reachfields Stadium is expected to be an ALL-TICKET affair, with restrictions limited to 400 fans, although this fixture should attract double that.

“We had one eye on that. It’s a big local derby and it’s going to be a tough game but we’ll do what we can,” said Watt.

“Tommy Warrilow down there has got a fantastic squad. He’s always competitive no matter what team he has and what league he’s in. 

“It’s going to be a tough afternoon for us but it will be a good occasion for the boys to play against him.

“We owe them one for last year when we had a home game when we weren’t a settled side and we got easily beat so we’re looking forward to playing against him.

Hythe Town have collected £2,931 in FA Cup and FA Trophy prize money this season.

“The disappointing fact in the FA Cup because if we played like we did today in the FA Cup game it would’ve been a similar outcome. We let ourselves down, the club down, in The FA Cup game but it’s vital of what’s happened Covid wise, who knows what’s around the corner so in terms of getting money and the gate is really, really important and where we can progress in the competition is a good thing.”

Phoenix Sports went down to a 3-0 home defeat to Herne Bay in the league today and are in eleventh-place in the table with three points from two games, while Hythe Town are in seventh with three points from one league outing.

“Phoenix got off to a great start last week beating Ashford so it’s going to be a tricky game but no matter what games you come up against you try and do your best and win a game of football and it’ll be no different next week,” added Watt.

Hythe Town: Nathan Harvey, Liam Smith, Kaka Dembele, James Rogers, Dean Beckwith (Ross Ibbertson 52), Tom Wynter, Nicki Dembele, Darren Oldaker (Morgan Williamson 90), Tom Walmsley (Alex Brown 46), Frannie Collin, Charlie Webster.
Subs: Ryan Botley, Bradley Ihionvien, Jarred Tresparderne

Goals: Frannie Collin 8, 45, 77

Chalfont St Peter: Andy McCorkell, Geoff Kibaki, Brandon Kalu, Panny Boxer, Luke Elliott, Romario Jonas, Kai Walters, Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway (Kahlil Francis 77), Adam Roberts, Owen James (Blake D’Arcy 46), Sydney Ibie (Ashley Hunt 46).
Subs: Jon Munday, Adam Holder, James Evans, Andre Odetola

Booked: Sydney Ibie 37, Panny Boxer 90

Attendance: 178
Referee: Mr Lee Dyson
Assistants: Mr Joseph Dann-Pye & Mr Dan Blades