Leatherhead 1-2 Faversham Town - We were outstanding, says Faversham assistant Clive Walker
LEATHERHEAD 1-2 FAVERSHAM TOWN
The FA Cup First Qualifying Round
Saturday 13th September 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Fetcham Grove
FAVERSHAM TOWN assistant manager Clive Walker hailed his team of brave grafters after they pulled off a FA Cup shock at Leatherhead.
The Lilywhites arrived at Fetcham Grove sitting in third-place in the Ryman League Division One South table having collected six wins from their eight league games.
Leatherhead, who clinched promotion from the same division after beating Folkestone Invicta on penalties in the play-off final, were in 12th place in the Ryman Premier League with three wins and four draws from their opening ten games.
Faversham Town got this First Qualifying Round tie off to a dream start when midfielder David Botterill headed home his third goal of the season after only 38 seconds.
The Kent side squandered a couple of one-on-ones before winger Vasieleious Karagiannis capped off an excellent display by also scoring his third of the season, with a free-kick millimetres from the penalty area, in off the post.
Leatherhead threw the kitchen sink at a resilient Faversham during the second half and the Lilywhites grabbed the victory through Jack Harris’ stunning volley on the break with eleven minutes remaining.
Faversham Town manager Ray Turner, a firefighter, had to make a quick getaway immediately after the game to make the 70 mile dash back to Canterbury for his nightshift, which was due to start at 18:00, so Walker kindly took the press conference after the game.
“Well I thought the lads really grafted,” said Walker, 68, afterwards.
“I’ve got to be honest, we were under a bit of pressure at times in the game, which is understandable when you come away from home to a club in a higher division, but I thought they took their goals well.
“We probably could have been two or three up by the first 20 minutes but that’s football, then it was a hard slog. They got back in it, put a lot of pressure on us.
“Great defending to be honest, top class defending in the areas that you have to defend, a bit of bravery in there. The keeper pulled a few saves off and that’s The FA Cup.”
Faversham attacked from the off, with impressive winger Josh Stanford winning an early corner, which Wayne Wilson swung in towards the near post where Botterill made space for himself to plant his header into the near corner from eight-yards.
“Which he’s done regularly,” added Walker on Botterill’s header.
“He does score a lot of goals, especially on that near post area. Fair play to Willo, he delivers a great dead ball. You’re hoping to get a goal from that anyway.”
Faversham Town dominated the opening 20 minutes and missed chances to put the game beyond Richard Brady’s side.
Sam Bewick whipped in a cross from the right into the centre of Leatherhead’s penalty area where Harris looped his header agonisingly over the crossbar and onto the roof of the net, with only one minute and 54 seconds on the clock.
Wilson, who expertly protected Faversham’s three central defenders of Aidan Sherlock, John Scarborough and Matthew Bourne, played the ball inside to Stanford, who was given time and space to drill a low shot from 25-yards, which forced former Dartford keeper Louis Wells to make a low save to his left.
Stanford, who will be best remembered for scoring Tunbridge Wells’ only goal in The FA Vase Final at Wembley Stadium in 2012, played a sublime through ball to put Dean Grant through on goal but Wells made an excellent low save to his left, grabbing hold of the ball to prevent it nestling into the bottom right-hand corner.
Walker added: “Grant got in a couple of times, at least the keeper’s made a save from it. He’s hit the target anyway so you can’t moan too much about it.
“The lad Stanford put two fantastic balls through to him and really another day he might put them away, but the keeper’s made the save.”
Leatherhead’s first chance, however, arrived in the nineteenth minute.
Kiernan Hughes-Mason cut in from the left and swept the ball inside to Paul Semakula whose initial shot was blocked and Karagiannis was denied by a smart near post block by Simon Overland.
Daniel King, who came in for Jamie Maxted at left-back, was forced off through a hip injury.
“He got a bang on his hip,” revealed Walker.
“He couldn’t move his leg too well so we had to put young Freeman (Rogers) on whose a centre half and he had to do a job at left-back – which he did!”
Stanford produced yet another sublime through ball to split open Leatherhead’s defence again, but Grant failed to take advantage and drilled his shot wide when he only had Wells to beat.
The unplayable Stanford then played the ball into Harris, whose right-footed shot took a slight deflection and looped up and was caught by the busy Leatherhead keeper.
However, Faversham Town skipper John Scarborough was penalised for a foul on former Welling United winger Hughes-Mason just on the very edge of the penalty area.
Scarborough admitted: “It was on the edge. It was one of those unfortunate things. We both missed the ball and it was afterwards. I suppose sometimes it’s given, sometimes it’s not and they’ve took the goal. It’s one of those things, great finish.”
Karagiannis produced a moment of quality when he clipped his left-footed free-kick over the wall and the ball bounced off the left-hand post before nestling into the back of Overland’s net.
Walker said: “Well, to be honest, he’s put it in the right place. It’s hit the post and gone in.
“I can be highly critical, he’s hitting the right place, he’s hitting the right target, I’m not sure whether Simon (could save it).
“It’s a damn good strike to be fair, let’s be honest. If we would have scored we’d be over the moon with it!
“They’ve got a whole load of top class players here, let’s be honest, some league players here, they’re no mugs!”
Speaking about Karagiannis, Scarborough added: “He was a good player. He’s very quick, very quick feet but I think Freeman (Rogers) our left-back done a very good job second half. I think he showed him onto the right side. He was a left-footed player playing on the right so it’s important you get your shape right.”
The goal spurred the Tanners on and their next chance arrived in the 39th minute.
Ryan Mahal progressed with the ball from right-back before he slipped the ball into Karagiannis’ feet, who swept the ball inside to midfielder Matt Smart, who strode forward before drilling a right-footed shot over the bar from 20-yards.
Ryan Cooper’s cross from the left was headed away by Scarborough’s diving header and the ball fell to Carl Rook inside the box but the former Tonbridge Angels striker curled his first time shot over the bar.
But Leatherhead were to be denied by a world-class save by Overland on the stroke of half-time.
Stacy Long, who was playing League Two football for AFC Wimbledon last season, hooked a right-footed volley towards the top corner from fifteen-yards but Overland’s full-length dive high to his left ensured he used a strong left hand to push the ball over the bar.
Walker said: “Simon played well today but when you come away from home you’re hoping your defenders and goalkeeper do pull something out. The few chances you get at least take one or two of them, which it happened today.”
When asked his thoughts at half-time, Walker said: “I thought we done alright first half. It was one-all. We done alright. It was an even Stephen game. It looked like it could go either way.
“It was very important the next 30 minutes after that we stayed in the game and actually we did.
“We took a lot of pressure but we stayed in the game and that’s what happens in football all through the divisions from Premiership right down.”
Leatherhead were the driving force for the majority of the second half but Faversham’s defence and goalkeeper held firm.
Rook was winning more balls with his head in the air and inside the opening three minutes of the second half his flick on was latched onto by Hughes-Mason, who drilled his right-footed shot into the side netting.
Overland was called into action again in the 53rd minute.
Jerry Nnamani’s free-kick was flicked on by Rook and Karagiannis teed up Ryan Mahal, whose left-footed drive was pushed around the post by Overland, who got his tall frame swiftly down low to his left to push the ball around his near post.
Mahal then clipped a long ball over the top to release Karagiannis down the right and after cutting inside his driven shot was pushed over by Overland’s strong right hand while he dived to his right.
Another long ball from Mahal was latched onto by Long, who beat the offside trap, but Overland capped off an excellent performance by rushing off his line to smother the ball off the former Ebbsfleet United favourite.
“He’s a good player, a top class player,” Walker said of Long.
“That’s what he’s paid for,” Walker said of Overland.
Faversham Town, however, weathered the storm and their first chance of the second half arrived in the 69th minute.
Stanford whipped in a cross from the right towards the near post where substitute Kieran Oliver beat his man to plant his header over the bar.
Hughes-Mason came close to scoring his sixth goal of the season when he drilled his right-footed angled drive screaming past the far post.
Leatherhead were denied a certain winner when Karagiannis played the ball inside to Semakula who floated in a cross towards the edge of the box where Long brought the ball under control before stroking his right-footed volley into Overland’s gloves from 25-yards.
Scarborough added: “Simon’s the best goalkeeper in the Ryman South by some distance. He comes for everything, he gives you loads of confidence at the back. It’s in his head really. He can go as high as he wants to. Today’s game is what we expect from him every week and he knows that.”
But Faversham Town grabbed the winner – against the run of play – with eleven minutes left.
A clearance sailed into the Surrey sky from within the Faversham half of the pitch hand Harris escaped from his marker and sprinted towards the penalty area.
What was to happen next will go down as the Goal of the Season scored by a Kent team this season.
Harris, who was denied permission by play in Faversham’s last-gasp 2-1 home win over Westfield in the last round two weeks ago, but was allowed to play today after his loan spell was extended by Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders, produced a moment of sheer class to win it for the Lilywhites.
Harris watched the ball drop over his right shoulder before cracking a world-class right-footed volley over the stranded Wells into the top far corner from 25-yards.
Walker said: “It caught them in between the two central defenders and the left-back if I remember it right and to be fair it’s bobbling up and we shouted “hit it!” as it’s coming down because when you hit it like that it does dip. He’s got no chance, the keeper!
“He loves playing here, doesn’t he, Harris? He scored two here last year for us. We had a 3-1 win here last year so he’s quite happy coming here and scoring a goal.
“A terrific strike. I’m glad for the lad as well. He’s worked hard the boy.
“It’s hard at these places. We’ve actually got a good record here believe it or not. I think the last three times we’ve won here. That’s the third win we’ve won here on the reel and it’s always a hard place to come.
“It’s a good football club, they’ve got good players. All fair play to them. We ended up with a few kids having to play with a few injuries. We’ve got quite a few players out. As long as they graft we’ve got a chance.”
Leatherhead continued to press for a second bite of the cherry but their last chance screamed wide.
Substitute Ryan Dolby twisted and turned down the left and whipped in a cross towards the far post which was headed away by Faversham’s substitute left-back Freeman Rogers and Long drilled his volley wide from sixteen-yards.
Faversham Town have banked a welcomed £4,925 in prize money and look forward to being in Monday’s draw for The FA Cup Second Qualifying Round, which takes place in fourteen days’ time.
Walker said: “Great! That’s what we’re in it for really. We’re not going to get to Wembley and win it so you win as many games as you can hopefully and build a bit of money in the pot and you can’t really do any more than that.
“We’ll see who we get in the next round and we’ll go from there.”
Faversham Town manager Turner texted that he was feeling “very proud of the team,”
Skipper Scarborough, meanwhile, admitted he was felling emotional after pulling off a FA Cup upset.
The 35-year-old, who lives in Gravesend, and was captain of Conference South side Maidenhead United when they took then League Two side Aldershot Town to a First Round Replay in 2011, said: “Great! I think we deserved it over the course of the 90 minutes.
“I think we were resolute in what we’ve done. I think we set our stall out. I know we got a bit frantic in the second half but I never really thought they were really, really threatening us with quite a few chances.
“But I always fancy our chances. We were still trying to score, trying to win the game.
“It was good. We said to the lads we’re flying, we’re doing well this season, we’re third in the league. We shouldn’t fear no-one in the division above and not to go out with fear but confidence and we’ve done that today.”
Scarborough admitted he had every faith in the former Tunbridge Wells striker scoring the winner.
“It’s a fantastic strike. That’s what The FA Cup is all about, isn’t it? It’s the moments.
“It’s funny, you see it drop and you actually think he’s going to score. You don’t think he’s going to put it over because it’s that sort of time in the game isn’t it
“You’ve had the kitchen sink thrown at you and you break at the other end and it always happens. I actually felt he was going to score, even though it’s a worldy goal but he’s a fantastic player.
“I’ve said to Jack ever since he was here last year, he’s just got to be playing. I know Jay (Saunders) sent him out here but he just needs to get games under his belt. He’s got great potential. His hold up play is good. His feet are good. He can get his goals here and send a message out to Jay and other teams how good he is.”
Faversham Town also reached the Second Qualifying Round last season, going down to a 3-0 defeat at Horsham, but their last time at that stage before that game was back in 1991 when they took Dover Athletic to a replay.
Scarborough said: “Over the years I’ve been used to coming in the Second Qualifying Round (having played for Conference South clubs). It’s been lovely for me. I got a bit emotional. I suppose when you get older and it ticks on you think it’s the last time in The FA Cup.
“You get asked who do you want? For me I just want to play in it and play as long as we can in it and go as far as we can.
“I think days like this are for the fans’ really. They love it. It’s a great day out. You’ve seen the emotional in there at the end and the rollercoaster. Even the Leatherhead fans behind the goal, they give you stick and you get used to it, but it’s lovely, it’s fantastic.”
Walker summed up the mood, by saying, "To me they were outstanding. They were real defenders.
"It's typical FA Cup, you see it all over the country."
Leatherhead: Louis Wells, Ryan Mahal (Ryan Dolby 72), Ryan Cooper, Matt Smart, Joe Bruce, Jerry Nnamani, Kiernan Hughes-Mason, Paul Semakula, Carl Rook, Stacy Long, Vasieleious Karagiannis.
Subs: Kev Terry, Laurence Ball, Richard Avery, Denzel Gayle
Goal: Vasieleious Karagiannis 28
Faversham Town: Simon Overland, Aidan Sherlock, Daniel King (Freeman Rogers 19), Sam Bewick (George Monger 70), Matthew Bourne, John Scarborough, Wayne Wilson, David Botterill, Jack Harris, Dean Grant (Kieran Oliver 56), Josh Stanford.
Subs: Ryan Perkins, Daniel Carrington, Wesley Miller
Goals: David Botterill 1, Jack Harris 79
Referee: Mr Louis Marks (Portsmouth, Hampshire)
Assistants: Mr Derek Hughes (Newport, Isle-of-Wight, Hampshire) & Mr Robert Ablitt (Fareham, Hampshire)