Lewisham Borough 0-1 Bridon Ropes - We'll turn it around, I'm still positive about it, says Lewisham Borough boss Justin Fevrier

Monday 15th October 2018
Lewisham Borough 0 – 1 Bridon Ropes
Location Ladywell Arena, Silvermere Road, Catford, London SE6 4QX
Kickoff 15/10/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Monday 15 October 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Ladywell Arena

LEWISHAM BOROUGH manager Justin Fevrier insists he can turn things around after losing all six of their home league games at the Ladywell Arena.

Charlton based side Bridon Ropes climbed up a couple of places into third in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 23 points from 13 games, while hosts Lewisham Borough remain in the bottom three with seven points from 11 games.

Lewisham Borough impressed during the first half under misty conditions, not helped by poor floodlighting, but they didn’t take their chances.

Lewisham Borough keeper Inam Kharel saved two second half penalties from Nathan Simpson and John Woodcock before winger Tyler Anderson-Parr, 19, kept his composure to score the only goal of the game in the final 25 minutes to put his club nine points adrift of big-spending league leaders Welling Town.

“It was a hard-fought win,” said Bridon Ropes manager James Doherty after extending their unbeaten run to three games.

“It’s the best Lewisham team that we’ve come up against since we joined the SCEFL.

“It’s a hard one, we’ve won and I’m happy but first half we weren’t great.  I felt sorry for Lewisham because I thought they deserved something out of the game.  I think they worked for 90 minutes, every single one of their players worked their socks off and that’s the most you can ask for really.

“My players worked their socks off second half, they battled. Missing two penalties and still winning game is a big thing for us.  A couple of weeks ago we’d probably have drawn that game or lost it so it’s a big three points for us.”

Fevrier saw his side win their second league game of the season at the weekend when they came away from Snodland Town with a 4-1 win but haven’t picked up any points at home.

“Bridon Ropes are a good team, they’re a very good team and we felt we was in that game,” said Fevrier.

“We rode our luck a bit. They had two penalties that they missed. It could’ve been worse but at the same time in the first half we had two very good chances, hitting the crossbar and Michael Daramola was shooting over the bar, which could’ve changed the dynamics of the game had they gone in like they did on Saturday.

“I thought the general game a draw would’ve been fair for us but it shows improvement.

“We didn’t hit the net today. On Saturday we could’ve had seven so today the boys were very, very tired. It was very tough. The physio was trying to work on the boys before the game. There were a few lates as well. It was tough for them but it was a positive performance and I’m proud of them and I think we’re moving forward.”

Lewisham Borough should have taken the lead in the 12th minute when left-winger Archie Todd swung in a free-kick from within the left-channel for Ola Williams to come up from the back to plant his free header over the crossbar from eight-yards out.

“Oh yes and that one as well! Right in front of goal. He’s got to hit the target,” admitted Fevrier.

“We created a lot of chances first half so the game could’ve been out of sight.”

Williams has been turning out for Sevenoaks Town in the Bostik South East Division and Fevrier explained the centre-halves situation.

“The arrangement was he came to us a couple of months ago and (Vanarama National League) Bromley preferred him to play for Sevenoaks because it was a bit higher for him and they (Sevenoaks) said to him he won’t get games anymore so he’s sticking around with us. I’m aware there’s a club sniffing around trying to take him but I think he’ll be with us for the upcoming games ahead.”

Bridon Ropes’ lone striker Simpson charged down the left before cutting the ball back from the by-line but Woodcock had to dig the ball out from under his feet and this allowed Kharel to smother the ball at his feet inside his penalty box.

Lewisham Borough striker Kelvin Adjei – who is on loan from Bostik South East Division side Three Bridges – skipped past a sliding tackle from Adam Smith, drove down the left, skipped past Matt Dennis and Luke Hewitt down the left-channel before Marcus Castano drilled his angled shot towards the near corner, only for the ball to be palmed behind for a corner by Alex Jones at his near post.

Fevrier said: “Two new recruits combining, very dynamic, dangerous on the break.  Again disappointed that we didn’t hit the target, it didn’t go in but on another day, like Saturday, they both scored so can’t really fault them.”

Doherty said: “That was Alex’s best game for the club, he was fantastic tonight. He’s kept us in it first half and second half, he’s been fantastic. His kicking, distribution, everything, was fantastic tonight and I was really pleased for him.”

Bridon Ropes won the corner-count by six-three and failed to hit the target following their second delivery in the 22nd minute.

Woodcock swung in the ball from the right and Sean Nicholls came up from the back to flick his shot across the keeper and past the far post.

“It’s a hard one really because the floodlights aren’t great here, even without the murk a few people were struggling,” said Doherty.

“I had to put a couple of cones out to help the linesman (Mark Jenkins) to know where the 18-yard and six-yard box was because a couple of lights were out.

“It was a half-chance really. I wasn’t expecting much really.  I think Lewisham were the better team in the first half.”

Woodcock delivers a good ball into the box from a dead-ball situation and his third corner was cleared out to Jacob Kalonda, who put the ball back in but Henry Dasofunjo planted his header over the crossbar from six-yards at the near post.

“We were putting quite a few balls in the box. We were getting to the by-line quite a lot and the final ball just wasn’t good enough,” admitted Doherty.

“We got to the by-line, it’s just another half-chance. Sometimes a half-chance pays off – it was one of those first halves for us.”

Lewisham Borough wasted a glorious chance on the half-hour mark when Todd’s sublime through ball split open Dennis and Nichols to put Michael Daramola through on goal but he lashed a woeful shot high over the crossbar from 22-yards.

“Yes, that’s the one! He’s blamed the pitch, we’ve gone with that but his foot went to be fair,” added Fevrier.

“It’s an excellent chance.  Archie was fantastic. He’s our vice-captain and he was captain today and was absolutely fantastic.  He was great on Saturday as well. For a 16-year-old boy out there doing that making passes like that as well, I’ve got to be proud of him.”

Lewisham Borough’s next effort – just 88 seconds later – was a lot nearer as Todd drove at the Bridon Ropes defence, played the ball inside to Adjei, who cut inside and curled a deflected shot against the outside of the far post from 25-yards, leaving vocal keeper Jones rooted to the spot as the ball looped over his left-shoulder.

Fevrier said: “Kelvin, 18-years-old, we’ve got him from Three Bridges. My mate (Three Bridges manager) Martin Dynan has sent him down to get games. He’s a bright boy with a lot of pace and he will hurt a lot of teams in this league. It’s just disappointing that it didn’t go in and he’s gutted as well that it didn’t go in but on another day it will.”

Doherty admitted: “We rode our luck first half. I think Lewisham had the better chances. I just needed to get them in at half-time and gave them a kick up the backside really because I think they needed it.”

Assistant referee Peter Agboola’s raised offside flag denied Bridon Ropes a headed goal in the 42nd minute.

Woodcock swung in a left-footed free-kick from within the right channel for Simpson to guide his header into the far corner but celebrations were put on hold.

“Never offside in a million years,” claimed Doherty.

“They had maybe five players in a line on the line and from what the linesman said Nathan wasn’t offside. Henry (Dasofunjo) was offside and he made a move to the ball.  I mean he must’ve been behind them!”

Fevrier agreed, saying: “I thought it’s a goal to be honest. We keep telling the boys to keep switched on for set-plays and play to the whistle. We thought it was a goal but fortunately it wasn’t.  That’s when I thought the game is going in our favour, we’re getting decisions and stuff.”

Lewisham Borough should have gone in to the break in the lead but they lacked someone who could put the ball in the back of the net.

Fevrier said: “More of the same! We know what hurts them. Let’s keep trying to work on that, stay positive, keep working hard and not to dwell on the chances we missed, we’ll get more.

“It was very relaxed in there. It was a lot different to what we’ve recently had in there. They felt we were going to come out and win the game. In the end the game on Saturday to its toll and we just couldn’t find that extra gear to get across the line.”

“I just said we’ve got another level to give.  We never really got going and it was the same down at Lydd on Saturday. We never really got going in the first half and second half we picked it up and that’s what it was,” said Doherty, whose side won 4-0 at Lydd.

“I said to them we were lucky that it is 0-0! You’ve just got to improve.  I thought they wanted it a little bit more than us so it was just a cause of we’ve got 10 minutes to do something or show me that you want to get something out of this game or I’m going to make changes.”

Lewisham Borough had another glorious chance to score in the 50th minute.

Adjei broke from  inside his own half, crossed the half-way line and sped past Hewitt to sprint into the penalty area and his dinked shot was blocked by Jones as he swiftly rushed off his line.

Fevrier said: “Yet again, his pace is absolutely frightening and he was doing that at Snodland on Saturday and he will do that to a lot more teams in the future. I’m really happy to have him. He’s a bright lad, he loves his football, his very, very positive and he loves to score so long may that continue.”

Doherty said: “I think the first goal was so important tonight and it’s a great save.  I’m a bit disappointed that he’s run 60-yards without a challenge. I’m all for letting players play but sometimes you’ve got to do a tactical foul. Someone needs to bring him down there because if we had conceded I wouldn’t have been happy but luckily enough Alex was on top form tonight.”

Jones then launched a big kick up field and Woodcock – who started in a central position before moving out wide on the right – dragged his shot from a central position past the far post just 15 seconds later.

Bridon Ropes were awarded the first of their two penalties when Daramola released Adjei who was given space to cut into the box and was tripped by onrushing keeper Jones.

Referee Douglas Osborne waited for the ball to trickle across the face of goal before awarding a penalty, which was missed with six and a half minutes on the clock.

Seven-goal Simpson stepped up and stroked his right-footed penalty, forcing Kharel to dive to his left to push the ball around the post for a corner.

“I think it was a hard one because the keeper slid in as well as one of their players and Johno when he had the shot from where I was I couldn’t really see but I could see why the ref gave it,” said Doherty.

“Nathan’s the best finisher in our team so it’s one of those ones where you put your house on him to score. He’s gutted in there. I took him off and he was gutted because he wanted to make up for his error and that’s the sort of bloke he is. He’ll run for days for his team-mates. If people earning 100 grand a week miss penalties how can I hold it against anyone who’s got the bottle to step up.”

Fevrier added: “Excellent save, absolutely excellent save!  It’s well documented we’ve had a lot of goalkeeping issues this season. It’s either five or six but it’s settled down now. We’ve just signed a sixteen-year-old from Bromley (Ryan Curran).  Jason Arday broke a rib against Lydd so Inam’s come in, he’s a very strong goalkeeper and he showed that with his penalty saves today.”

Lewisham Borough were awarded a free-kick within the right-channel, which was swung in left-footed by Castano but Josh Owen – a recent signing from SCEFL Premier Division leaders Beckenham Town – saw his glancing header which was aiming towards the top far corner clawed towards safety by Jones, diving high to his right.

The Lewisham keeper saved his second penalty of the night with 13 minutes and 35 seconds on the clock.

Bridon Ropes’ left-back Jordan Downes played the ball into Kalonda, who was tripped by Troy Ferguson and an eagle-eyed referee deemed the challenge to be just inside the box.

This time it was Woodcock that stepped up but left-footed players always seem to miss from 12-yards.  His penalty was smothered low to his left by Kharel and Lewisham Borough survived again.

Fevrier said: “They’re debating this one saying it was no where near the box.  I think the mist got in the way of the ref’s vision and he’s given something that wasn’t there – but justice was there and Inam’s pulled off another worldie of a save and I just can’t believe it really.”

Doherty added: “Nathan missed the first one so I know Johno had the confidence to step up and it’s the same thing.  He takes a lovely set-piece and stuff like that so it’s just one of those things.  You just think he’s naturally going to score – he hasn’t!

“John’s been fantastic for the last few weeks.  We’ve sort of changed formation and I’ve been playing him more centrally and he’s a natural winger and he’s just taken to it.  His work-rate is outstanding so I can’t really hold anything against him for missing. He had the bottle to step up.”

Doherty made an inspired substitution as Tapiwa Pama entered the field with 17 minutes and 33 seconds on the clock to play in behind Simpson and he was involved in the winning goal, which was timed at 19 minutes and 21 seconds.

Pama was inside the Lewisham half when he fed the ball into Kalonda and his precise through ball split open centre-half Adam Thompson and Anderson-Parr kept composed to slot his right-footed shot past the flat-footed keeper to find the bottom left-hand corner.

“I went to a 4-4-2 formation and I brought Tulz (Pama’s nickname) on to help Nathan up top because he’s put a massive shift in up there by himself so we went to 4-4-2 and he was getting in between the defence and the midfield and he changed it a little bit. He was getting on the ball and he done well when he came on.”

Reflecting on Parr’s second goal of the season, Doherty added: “It’s what he deserved really. I’m running out of words to say about the kid. In my eyes, he can’t do no wrong.  He knows he needs to work on things.  He rings me up asking what he can improve on and it ain’t much, it’s just finishing and tonight he was composed and he’s got us the winning goal.

“His work-rate all the way up to the last minute was just second to none. He had (Premier League) Southampton here tonight looking at him.  He’s had (League One) Charlton looking at him but we haven’t really heard anything. I just hope one of these teams give him a chance because he’s never been coached, he’s raw, just give him a chance because he’s a sponge, he’s willing to learn and he deserves it.”

Fevrier added: “He (Pama) made the difference, changed the game for them. He turned it on there. He was very lively and made a difference and he made an impact when he came on. He was a very good player. It was a good move and I think it was a well-worked goal and they deserved that.”

Williams drove forward with the ball before playing the ball into substitute striker Jay Jones, who dug the ball out from under his feet to put a chance on a plate for Adjei, who drilled a low shot straight into the legs of the advancing and outstanding visiting keeper.

Fevrier said: “Those are the ones that normally go in don’t they and they flick off the ankle and hit the net and it didn’t today for us. On another day it does.  It was a good build-up. We kept saying to the boys keep trying to play. If we keep playing it will come, we will get another chance. It came but unfortunately it didn’t go in.”

“Alex has been fantastic. It was his best game for the club tonight,” emphasised Doherty.

“Alex is the self-proclaimed hardest worker within the team at training. He puts a shift in and he lets us know about it!”

Bridon Ropes used their game management skills to see the game out but they did create three further chances to add to their tally.

Anderson-Parr fed Pama, who hooked a low 40-yard crossfield pass to Kalonda, who scuffed a left-footed shot towards goal from 30-yards, which was comfortably held by Kharel.

Simpson stung Kharel’s fingers after drilling a left-footed shot from 22-yards, which was gathered at the second attempt by the Lewisham stopper.

Bridon should have added another goal inside the final nine minutes.  Simpson swept the ball over to an unmarked Pama, who drilled his right-footed shot over the top of the right-hand post.

“Tulz has come in, he’ll get goals for us, as long as he works hard we’re going to be happy with him,” added Doherty.

“Jacob scored a screamer on Saturday so he’s probably fancying his chances again as I was screaming ‘don’t shoot!’ and it sort of went in the roof of the net so he’s probably thought ‘I’ll show him again,’ but it just about reached the goal this time.

“Jacob’s been an exceptional signing for us (from Welling Town).  This is his third game for us. He’s just given us a lot of nastiness. His mouth does a lot of talking. He gets under people’s skin and I’ve always thought since I’ve taken over that we’re too nice.  We’ve been to games against Stansfeld and Lydd where we get bullied a little bit so he’s just given us a bit of spite and he gets under other teams skin.”

Both managers reflected on their league position tonight.

Doherty, whose side host eleventh-placed side Forest Hill Park in the League on Saturday, believes Welling Town can be caught.

“I thought we could compete this year, I really did with the players we had,” he said.

“We’re more than capable of getting a winning run together with seven, eight or nine or ten games, we did it last season and that just makes teams think about us then, that’s all we can do now.

“If we can get in and around it and get a winning run together – that’s three unbeaten now – it’s just about getting runs together.

“Welling Town, they’re doing it.  Welling have got to play us twice. We can beat anyone on our day, we know that.  I think the league’s a lot tighter this year. I think teams can beat anyone. They can be caught. It ‘s a long season, we’re not even at Christmas yet.”

But on tonight’s decent performance, Lewisham Borough just need to tweak a couple of positions  – finding a goalscorer who wants to play for no financial gain  – to start their climb out of the bottom three.

“The new boys coming in have made a difference and I feel that we’ll start to pick up the points and move forward but it’s definitely positive,” said Fevrier, whose side host second-placed Holmesdale in the Kent Senior Trophy First Round here on Saturday.

“We play good football and we try to play and we will only get stronger. I generally believe that we’re going to shock a lot of people this season.  It’s still early, we’re not panicking at all. It’s still early days. We’ll go on a run eventually and it will catch up.

“We’ll turn it around, I’m still positive about it. We’ve identified areas that weren’t working and we’ve changed it. We’ve brought in new personnel and they’re positive and believe in what we’re trying to do and everyone’s behind it, so we will turn it around.”

Lewisham Borough: Inam Kharel, Tyrelle Thomas, Marvin Farrell, Troy Ferguson (Kyle Stevenson 79), Adam Thompson, Ola Williams, Marcus Castano (Jay Jones 66), Josh Owen, Kelvin Adjei, Michael Daramola (Sean Agun 83), Archie Todd.
Subs: Tom Kember, Ryan Curran

Booked: Ola Williams 42, Josh Owen 58

Bridon Ropes: Alex Jones, Luke Hewitt (Finlay Chambers 82), Jordan Downes, Jacob Kalonda, Sean Nicholls, Matt Dennis, Tyler Anderson-Parr, Adam Smith, Nathan Simpson (Sam Cassell 84), John Woodcock, Henry Dasofunjo (Tapiwa Pama 63).
Subs: James Doherty, Oluwatimilehin Olaoye

Goal: Tyler Anderson-Parr 65

Booked: Jordan Downes 35, Jacob Kalonda 72

Attendance: 132
Referee: Mr Douglas Osborne (Belvedere)
Assistants: Mr Mark Jenkins (Welling) & Mr Peter Agboola (Walworth, London SE17)