K Sports 2-2 Holmesdale - We were massively all over the place but we never give up, says K Sports boss Kris Browning

Wednesday 17th July 2019
K Sports 2 – 2 Holmesdale
Location Cobdown Sports & Social Club, Station Road, Ditton, Aylesford, Kent ME20 6AU
Kickoff 17/07/2019 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Wednesday 17 July 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Station Road

K SPORTS manager Kris Browning insists his side will never give up after scoring a last-gasp equaliser to get themselves out of jail.


The Paperboys finished their debut Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division campaign in 12th place last season, having collected 49 points from their 38 games, while Holmesdale finished in sixth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table, having banked 53 points from 34 league outings.

The Bromley based Holmesdale dominated the entire first-half and took only 38 seconds to take the lead through winger Dieko Folade before centre-half Tom Jewers planted a free-header into the roof of the net on the stroke of half-time.

Holmesdale rued missing some glorious chances to increase their lead during the second half but the artist formerly known as Aylesford Paper Mills pulled a goal back with 69 minutes on the clock through Jordan Eels’ near-post own-goal.

K Sports delivered a last-gasp equaliser through substitute Matt Gething, despite Holmesdale being vast superior for a good hour.

“A good run-out for us, a competitive game, which we needed really, giving some lads some minutes that needed it.  The objective was to give everyone minutes, which we did,” said Browning.

“We looked a bit lethargic. We trained Monday and we had a bit of a mixed game last night and we had a bit of tired legs out there for the first 10-15 minutes.”

Holmesdale manager Lee Roots said:  “A number of chances were created and chances missed, we could’ve scored, I’m not doing K Sports any disservice here whatsoever, seven or right goals.

“The most disappointing thing about the result and pre-season isn’t about results, the real chances that we created, over 10 fantastic chances, we could’ve won this game three or four times over.

“It’s frustrating in that regards because you’d like to see product in every game. It’s about creating chances at this point and we can work on finishing them. 

“It is a mentality thing. Of course, it’s frustrating when you’re in a period of dominance in a game to miss the chances but it’s something at this point into pre-season that we can work on.”

K Sports have opened their pre-season campaign with two defeats against full-time opposition in the shape of Ebbsfleet United (3-4) and Dover Athletic (0-6), whom both use the training facility at Cobdown.

Holmesdale lost 3-1 to Lordswood and beat Crawley Down Gatwick 5-3 and got off to a dream start within the artificial pitch caged venue.

Folade started the move from inside the K Sports half and sprayed the ball out wide to Dan Carpenter and he raced down the line before whipping in a low cross towards the near post, which was missed by Ryan Golding inside the six-yard box and the ball was prodded into Folade’s path, rifling a right-footed shot into the roof of the net from eight-yards out.

“It’s a good strike. We did set up the game to start it quite quick because of the surface, we wanted to get at them and get hold of the game,” said Roots.

“You never set up to score that early but we had worked on that pattern of play in training so that was quite nice to see.

“That’s the only time you’ll ever see Ryan Golding miss inside the six-yard box. He’s been ruthless since he’s come in and he’s a fantastic addition to the camp and Dieko’s got fantastic quality and has played at a good level and he’s wrapped his foot around it and it’s a good finish!”

Browning added: “They started off massively on the front foot, fair play to them, they came out on fire and they shocked us a little bit.

“The last two friendlies we’ve had a lot of the ball but they caught us on the cold. A little bit of inexperience, I’ve got two young full-backs in tonight and we just got caught on that one.  It was a great ball, a great goal.”

Holmesdale should have increased their lead inside the seventh minute when left-back Ryan Watts clipped a long ball over the top of Paperboys’ right-back Harry Sheridan to put Harry Gamble through on goal but he flicked his shot across the keeper and watched the ball trickle just past the foot of the far post.

“Another good chance,” added Roots.

“Gamble is new in as well, he’s a fantastic lad and he’s trained unbelievable for us. It was his first game for us today so we threw him in from the start. He’s a fantastic runner in behind. He’s a throwback of a player. He reminds me of an old school Gus Poyet, who for me was the original template of a Frank Lampard.

“It’s a fantastic run, the ball is brilliant. I think he just tries to put a toe on it rather than put a side-step in on the shot.  A lovely chance and unlucky but he’ll score them all season.”

K Sports were poor during the first half and lacked tempo as Holmesdale won the pressing battle all over the park and it took the home side 34 minutes to create their first opening.

Connor Pring swung in their second corner of the night, which sailed over Gary Cook’s head at the far post.  The ball was recycled back into the box by striker Sam Stace and came out to Regan Corke, who drilled his right-footed shot high over the fencing towards the Kent Football Association offices.

They did much better with their first real chance just 74 seconds later when Cook launched a free-kick towards the edge of the Holmesdale box, Charlie Smith won his first header and the ball was cleared back to him and his flicked shot sailed over the keeper’s right-shoulder and dropped just over the top of the far post.

Browning said: “It didn’t happen for us tonight in the final third. We were smashing at things so it just didn’t go our way if I’m honest in front of goal, we looked very lethargic.”

Roots added: “We’ve assessed it and it doesn’t seem they had many chances, we were  really happy with that.

“We worked a hell of a lot on shape with the ball and without the ball, being a real compact unit and a hard side to break down and being fluid and expressive with the ball.”

Jewers played a long diagonal pass to Golding, who was working the left-channel and he initially lost the ball but won it back before putting Alvin Turyatemba through on goal but a poor first touch took him too wide and Adam Highstead narrowed the angle to put the ball behind for a corner.

Callum O’Shea floated in the resulting corner from the left and K Sports defence switched off and Jewers planted his towering free-header into the roof of the net from eight-yards out, the goal timed at 43 minutes and 17 seconds.

Roots said: “I didn’t know Tom was in the build-up to the corner so he’ll take an assist for his goal.

“That is a goal we actually worked on last night. We ran over an hour on set-pieces and we asked them to implement it in the game.

“Tom is an absolutely fantastic player, he’s part of your core, he’s your wall player and fantastic in the air so he’s put a lovely ball in behind and when the ball’s come in he’s attacked it.

“That routine that we played there was a brand new routine. We only introduced it to the lads last night so it was nice to see Tom develop the space but you’ll see Tom score five or six of them all season.”

Browning said: “The centre-half has come in and held his hand straight up. It’s a free-header, it’s criminal and you can’t defend like that at this level and they deservedly went 2-0 up against us!”

It should have been three for dominant Holmesdale when winger Turyatemba held the ball up on the left-hand side of the penalty area and waited for Golding to make a cutting run towards the by-line before playing a short pass to the former Welling Town marksman.  Golding swept his shot across the keeper and watched the ball trickle against the base of the far post before Paperboys’ left-back Luke Snazel cleared the ball away.

“A very tight angle.  I think Golds worked really hard tonight off scraps,” said Roots.

“On Saturday he worked really well into his feet and triggered off that but I think tonight where they screened in front of him, he had to work off scraps, then he gets his chance after working so hard for the ball and it’s flicked off the post.

“Golds has only been here for a week, this is his second start. He’ll refine that and nine times out of 10 that will go in off the inside of the post.”

Browning admitted: “They were all over us. They came right out of the traps at us. We were a bit dis-jointed. They came here with a game plan that they’ve been working on and they’re a tight-knit group, which we knew.  We were massively all over the place!”

Both manager’s were asked their thoughts at half-time.

Browning said: “I just wanted the senior players to be a bit more vocal on the pitch.  I know it’s hard when you chuck a side together. We had four or five new lads in there tonight so see what they were like.

“You still have to show a bit of guidance out there so I was disappointed but I’m not ripping into them too much.  I just wanted to see a bit of desire!”

Roots said: “Really happy. I felt we applied ourselves well into the game with the game plan. I basically said to the lads, we felt a mistake would get them back into the game because our quality was probably slighter better than them, not slightly, it was!  We looked slightly, maybe a little bit drilled in and our quality of player was higher.”

K Sports took 54 minutes to create their first shot on target and it came through route-one football.

Highstead launched the ball straight down the middle of the pitch and Smith flicked the ball on and Ricky Gundry played the ball inside to Print, whose left-footed drive from 25-yards was comfortably held by Nathan Edwards, low to his right.

Browning said: “I think that’s our first shot of the game to be fair but the link-up play was quite good. That’s what we’ve been working on. The keeper’s made half a decent save there.”

Roots added: “We expected a reaction from them.  I’ve known Kris for a long time, we go way back and I’ve got a lot of time for Kris and we knew there would be a reaction coming into the half and we knew they’d look to turn us.

“Nathan Edwards is a fantastic keeper and still learning his trade but he’s very dependable and we rate him very highly here and it was a good low save.”

The turning point immediately came when Holmesdale missed a sitter just 63 seconds later by missing an open goal.

The lively Alex Arif split open the K Sports back-four to put Turyatemba through on goal and he rounded the keeper before drilling his shot past the right-hand post of an open goal for the Miss of the Season so far!

Roots said:  “We can sit here and talk about the chances, for me that one was the chance you must finish!

“Alex has been unbelievable this pre-season. He’s a player, for sure, is going to have a fantastic year and it’s a great ball.

“Alvin’s pace is electric and to round the goalkeeper and then miss the open goal – he’s scored three goals already in three games now.

“He’s so quick, he got there, he probably saw the goal before he put it in and to miss an open goal is criminal because that chance at that point, that’s the game killer there.”

Both teams then went substitution crazy, which killed the flow of the game but K Sports gave themselves a lifeline with 23 minutes and 28 seconds on the clock.

Playing with a front three, one of the strikers Stace, played the ball out wide to Corke, who charged down the line before whipping in a low cross from the right towards the near post.  Eels nipped in front of his goalkeeper and poked the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to score an own-goal.

Browning said: “I’m pleased with our front three.  They were starved of the ball tonight, which was wrong. They didn’t get the ball and we didn’t show much creativity from the back. We normally like the full-backs to push forward.

“I suppose we had a bit of luck there to be honest with you on that goal but there was good pressure from Sam Stace.”

Roots added: “We told them at half-time the only road back in would be through mistakes because we looked so good in our shape and in our quality. The first goal is an own-goal, which can happen, we needed a bit more communication.”

Holmesdale then missed a couple of glorious chances to win the game when Golding won the ball in the final third, drove straight down the middle and was denied by Highstead.

Golding then played in his strike partner Andy Constable, 40, who sprinted past the last-defender but Highstead saved his side’s bacon again, saving low to his right.

Browning admitted: “They could’ve easily went four or five one up had they taken their chances but it’s one of those things. It’s a friendly, so we’ll work on that but I think the young lads that came in playing against two players like Ryan Golding and Andy Constable, it’s a good experience for them. They’ve been round the block and everything else and it was hard for them but they did alright against them.”

Don’t be fooled by their lack of pace, Golding and Constable are expected to score 40 goals between them this season.

“Andy gives you guaranteed goals and Golding is just coming off being top goalscorer of the league winners (Welling Town), second top goalscorer of the league last year.

“We’ve set him a personal target and we believe in the two of them that they can bag a hell of a lot of goals, which is what you need to get up and get out of this league.

“They are the top go to guys, no doubt and they know they’ll be finishing each other’s dinners for most of the season but who else would you rather have in your team than those two.”

Another long ball over the top of the K Sports defence was met by a first time chip from Arif, which sailed over the keeper’s head and dropped just past the near post inside the final 10 minutes.

Yacine Gnahore had two bites of the cherry to shoot at goal and Highstead made a comfortable low save.

Wasteful Holmesdale struck the post for the second time with 19 seconds into stoppage time.

Left-back Ben Lockett’s long diagonal pass sailed over to an unmarked Germaine Jeannoel, who drilled his shot against the top of the near post when he only had Highstead to beat.

“Fantastic ball from Ben.  Ben is so under-rated at this level, he really is,” Roots said of his substitute left-back.

“He’s trained really well from the start of pre-season, it’s just unfortunate he’s been away for all of the games but he’s playing tomorrow night in an under 23s game.

“It’s another chance we should be finishing. Germaine’s tried to take the leather off the ball at the near post and he doesn’t need to. He can actually roll that in and that is the game killer. It was a good chance, must do better!”

Hands up if you knew K Sports would go up the other end and score?

It was inevitable that K Sports would grab an equaliser that they did not deserve as their get-out-of-jail card was played with 47 minutes and 6 seconds on the clock.

It was route-one football as goalkeeper Highstead launched a long ball straight down the middle of the pitch and Holmesdale centre-half Tamar Bilal was guilty of poor defending and failed to head the ball away and this let in Gething, who stroked his left-footed shot into the bottom left-hand corner.

Browning said: “I was pleased for Geth because he hasn’t had the best pre-season at the moment but he’s one of the lads from last year. He’s one of them who will keep going and going.

“As I started making the subs, I was just trying to get lads’ minutes and things like that. 

“He will never give up, he’s a bit like us, we never give up. We get last minute goals and last five minutes goals. We won’t give up there and we thought we’ll just mix it up tonight and put a long ball in.”

Holmesdale boss Roots added: “Tam’s just miss-read the flight of the ball. Tam is a top-drawer player and he’ll recover from that mistake. One man’s mistake doesn’t establish this team. We win and lose as a team but fair play to them, they put us under a bit of pressure.

“Tam will recover from that, no problem with that. I’ve got no problem with Tam. That was his second game with us because he’s been away but what can you do? It happens!

“We took a squad of 20, we got everyone in and we rotated in a period of 10 minutes a lot of players so you’re going to have that moment.”

Reflecting on his side throwing it away, Holmesdale boss Roots said: “The only thing I was disappointed with is where we were winning the game, in the latter stages to concede a goal and it became a draw, of course it’s a friendly and the result isn’t important but actually when you’re in any period of a game, friendly or not, when you’re ahead, it’s always important to do the correct things and manage the game.”

Reflecting on tonight’s game, Browning added: “I suppose that was a good friendly for us tonight in regards to finding out what players’ can do and can’t do and what system and everything else we can play.

“It was a really good friendly for us tonight, a really good run-out for us. It doesn’t matter the result.  There’s a lot of positives and a lot to learn.  I suppose the main thing is just learning from the lads’, what you’re going to get and what they can do, what they can’t do because when the season starts that’s when it all matters.”

K Sports open their Premier Division campaign with a trip to newly-promoted side Erith & Belvedere, while Holmesdale will travel to relegated Rusthall, also on the opening day of the season (3 August).

K Sports: Adam Highstead,  Harry Sheridan (Huw Mitchell 71), Luke Snazel (Beau Landau 71), Adam Hooper (Charlie Smith 71, Trialist 80)), Gary Cook (Grant McIlleron 46), Ashley Cooper (Ike Bignell 57), Regan Corke, Connor Pring (Harry Goldsmith 65), Sam Stace, Charlie Smith (Tom Woolridge 65), Ricky Gundry (Matt Gething 60).

Goals: Jordan Eels 69 (own goal), Matt Gething 90

Holmesdale: Nathan Edwards, Dan Carpenter (Germaine Jeannoel 84), Ryan Watts (Ben Lockett 51), Callum O’Shea (Andy Constable 64), Jordan Eels (Cameron Lovett 70), Tom Jewers (Tamar Bilal 60), Dieko Folade (Alex Arif 51), Harry Gamble (Yacine Gnahore 73), Ryan Golding, James Shields (Jamie Taylor 60), Alvin Turtatemba (Ishmail Ishmail 79).

Goals: Dieko Folade 1, Tom Jewers 44

Attendance: 40
Referee: Mr Chris Clarke (Ditton)
Assistants: Mr Ashley Rodi (Tunbridge Wells) & Mr George Head (Ashford)