Lewisham Borough 1-4 Sporting Club Thamesmead - If we don't get a win on Saturday we should start to look at ourselves internally and see what we can do to make it better, says Justin Fevrier

Monday 20th August 2018
Lewisham Borough 1 – 4 Sporting Club Thamesmead
Location Ladywell Arena, Silvermere Road, Catford, London SE6 4QX
Kickoff 20/08/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Monday 20 August 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Ladywell Arena

LEWISHAM BOROUGH manager Justin Fevrier says he takes full responsibility for their heavy defeat to Sporting Club Thamesmead.

Christian Borcheschu and Josh Patrick rattled in goals inside the opening 18 minutes before goalkeeper Argert Lleshi was substituted for dropped striker Fellippo di Bonito, who let in further goals from Patrick and a 35-yarder from the impressive Merrick Simms.

Lewisham Borough striker Damarli Morrison headed in his fourth goal of the season for a late consolation as Lewisham Borough lost their third league game in four outings and are now in the bottom six on three points, while Sporting Club Thamesmead rose to third with 9 points from four games, three points behind leaders Welling Town.

“Disappointing game, disappointing game,” said Fevrier, who has now lost 10 players through injuries.

“We’re struggling at the moment with injuries.  We had a new goalkeeper, who we haven’t seen before and yes it wasn’t a good start from him so we had to change it early on in the game and put Fellippo di Bonito in, whose done a bit on a Sunday with his mates and he’s dug us out in that sense but the game was already lost at that point.

“We were fighting to come back into it. Fair play to Thamesmead though, they’re a very good team and they were a on it from the first minute.

They were peppering his goal and got their rewards from it so well done to them.  I can’t take much away from them, they were up for it tonight.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead manager Joe Ford said: “I thought the boys were exceptional tonight to be fair. We had a game plan, when we came here we looked at the pitch and we realised we wouldn’t be able to play like we like to do and set-up to do.  We had to go a little bit more direct tonight and played with two high wingers, as opposed to two wingers who normally sit in a little bit more but I thought they stuck to the game plan really well and it paid off tonight.”

The game was played on a poorly maintained pitch.  Lewisham Borough had two makeshift centre halves in front of him in the shape of Justin Hemmings and Tyrelle Thomas.

Fevrier said: “We actually signed my goalkeeping coach (Lewin Craig-Corbett) to play today. I would rather started him.  He’s a UEFA B goalkeeper coach so we signed him for an emergency and today was an emergency but he didn’t react to that sooner so it’s one we have to swallow, I’m afraid.”

“We actually signed my goalkeeping coach (Lewin Craig-Corbett) to play today. I would rather started him.  He’s a UEFA B goalkeeper coach so we signed him for an emergency and today was an emergency but he didn’t react to that sooner so it’s one we have to swallow, I’m afraid.”

Lewisham Borough capitulated by leaking a couple of goals in only 147 seconds.

Wetherley drilled in a low cross from the right which wasn’t dealt with by the Lewisham back-line and Max Williams drove his low shot at a defender and Borcheschu’s half-volley nestled into the bottom right-hand corner from 10-yards, with the bloke in goal rooted to the spot.  The goal was timed at 15 minutes and 44 seconds.

“I’ve known Chris for a number of years. He used to play in the under 18s with me when I actually played for Thamesmead Town back in the day,” revealed Ford.

“He’s a phenomenal player, he’s got great feet as you saw tonight and it’s just a question of getting him fit. I’m sure the fitter he gets, the better he’ll get as well.

“I thought Steve Wetherley tonight was on a different planet.  When we got here we saw the surface etc and I realised we wouldn’t be able to play some of our more fluent players so we went with some of our more solid players and Steve was solid throughout the game tonight.  I thought he was composed in the right areas, some of his deliveries were superb and it’s a shame he didn’t score, he deserved a goal tonight.”

Favrier added: “Anything that they put on target was going in so they’re not much more I can actually say about that! All of their chances were well-worked goals.

“We’ve had four goalkeeper’s in the first four games. Our first goalkeeper Shawn Alfred tore his ACL against Welling Town in the warm-down and then Inam Kharel done his knee against Lydd Town.  Jason Arday, who played against Sutton, was actually on holiday and wasn’t here today so today we had to get another in so that’s four in four games for us.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead doubled their lead when Borcheschu played in a low cross from within the right-hand channel and Patrick held the ball up, turned and planted his low left-footed shot past Lleshi from 12-yards.

Ford said: “He scored two on Saturday, he scored another two today so hopefully that’s him off the mark now and he’ll continue to do that. He’s always a threat in the opposition’s half as you know.”

It appeared that Fevrier wasn’t aware of Patrick’s goalscoring exploits in front of goal, despite scoring 49 goals last season.

He said: “I don’t know much about Thamesmead other than the fact that they’re going to be a good side. They’ve had some good results so far and they looked bright from the off. 

“Their 11 (Merrick Simms) was pretty good and gave our right-back (Kember) a torrid time.”

Fevrier acted by replacing Lleshi with a dropped striker Felippo di Bonito.

“Other than the obvious, I felt that he wasn’t going to grew stronger into the game and I wanted to take him out of the firing line before it got worse,”

“I felt it might’ve been embarrassing for him to come off at that stage. He’ll learn from that and become stronger for it but rather leave him in there to make it worse, I thought it would be best to take him out of the firing line when I did.”

Ford said: “We gained confidence from it. Obviously they decided to do that early, so probably a little bit harsh to take him off but I think it was the dealing with the crosses and his positioning and things like that that they took into account before making the sub.  I don’t think it was just down to saves etc.

“From our point of view when they took him off early we just told the boys to keep doing the same thing.  I think they ended up putting a player in goal. The lad that came on, he was ok and done a good job in there.  His goal-kicks etc were a lot better than the other one. We did gain a little bit of confidence from the fact they made a sub but he probably made their team stronger.”

Lewisham Borough appeared to play much better with di Bonito in goal behind them and Austin Gacheru’s diagonal pass found Mario Quiassca and he teed up Archie Todd, whose low cross-shot was gathered by Charlie Martin in the Acre goal.

Sporting Club Thamesmead raced into a 3-0 lead with 28 minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Wetherley hit a 60-yard diagonal over to Merrick Simms on the left and his low cross picked out Patrick, who hooked his left-footed volley on the turn underneath the diving keeper to find the bottom left-hand corner.

“Another goal for Josh, they all count,” said Ford.

“A good finish. I think he’s taken it really well, hooked finish over the shoulder and that’s a hard skill to manoeuvre at any level and to be fair he done it perfectly and he’s seen it over the shoulder and a great finish into the corner.”

Fevrier added: “I told Fellippo when he was coming on, if they shoot on sight and they shoot and score, I’m not going to have any bones with him. He’s a striker. He dug me out there.  I’ve got no problem with him with his performance.  I thought he done quite well. I thought he was very good. He should actually feel a little bit disgruntled because he started on Saturday and did well but he was benched today and he had to go in goal, so he had a good attitude and he’s a team player.”

Patrick tried his luck from 30-yards and his shot screamed past the right-hand post.

Lewisham Borough will do well to keep their better players in the shape of striker Morrison, winger Quiassca and attacker Gacheru, especially on a poor nights like this one.

Todd played the ball in low from the right and the ball was then played into Gacheru, whose right-footed angled drive from 15-yards was held by Martin, clutching the ball as he dived low to his right.

“Austin is a good signing for us,” said Fevrier.

“He’s a very good player and I felt at that point when we changed Fellippo and we settled down. We’re 3-0 down, let’s give it a go and they got playing and they worked out a good chance and the keeper made a good save.”

Ford added: “Charlie’s had a really good start to the season. He’s been quite solid for us but what I will say, credit to Lewisham Borough. Their front four, I thought were superb tonight. They held a threat all night and I thought our defenders dealt with them quite well throughout the 90 minutes.”

Wetherley won possession out on the right and went for goal some 35-yards out but di Bonito grabbed hold of the ball before the ball sailed into the top corner.

Sporting Club Thamesmead’s two better players on the night, Merrick Simms and Wetherley combined for Wetherley to side-foot his hooked volley over the crossbar from 12-yards on the stroke of half-time.

Both manager’s were asked their thoughts at the break, with the contest dead and buried at 3-0.

Fevrier said: “First and foremost, I said look we’re 3-0 down, the goalkeeper was an issue for us so I’ll have to take responsibility for that.  I apologised to the players and I said look moving forward, the pitch isn’t great, we’re trying to play good football on a bad surface so we needed to be more cute with that so we went a bit more direct in the second half and just to win our individual battles and believe we could come back.”

Ford said: “Basically, I felt we could play round Lewisham a little bit more.  I thought we tried to play through them too much, which wasn’t the idea, so we just told the boys to have a little bit more quality in the final third and try to play the balls between the centre half and the full-backs for the wingers to run onto.

“I thought Merrick Simms was a constant threat out on the left.  If we can just manipulate and get the ball in those areas, I thought he’d cause them a lot of problems. As luck would have it, he came out and scored the fourth goal.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead created their first opening just 88 seconds into the second half when Borchescu clipped the ball onto Patrick’s head, Merrick Simms swept the ball out to Wetherley, who flashed his low angled drive across the keeper and past the far post from 22-yards.

Sloppy defending from the away side gave Lewisham Borough a chance but Gacheru clipped his shot sailing past the far post from 20-yards.

Three Lewisham defenders couldn’t prevent Patrick from driving a shot towards goal, which was comfortably gathered by di Bonito.

The introduction of right-winger Charlie Scrivener lifted Lewisham’s spirits as he put new energy levels into the team and he played the ball inside to Gacheru, who swept his right-footed shot wide from 30-yards.

Lewisham Borough really should have pulled a goal back in the 55th minute.

A big kick upfield from di Bonito saw Scrivener’s fine pass put Quiassca through on goal and with only Martin to beat he slotted his right-footed shot past the foot of the right-hand post from 16-yards.

“You’re going to get that with Charlie.  Charlie is one of the younger players that came through from last season and he’s another player that should be disgruntled with me bit he’s not. He’s got a good attitude and pushing for a start. He’s been a good player in pre-season, a hard-working player and he’ll do yards for the team.

“He’s played Mario through and on another day Mario would score but unfortunately today he scuffed it and it didn’t go in.”

The team sheet originally had Connor Dobson at right-back, Aaron Seales at centre-half but Ford revealed a late change of heart.

“Not that we had a makeshift defence because that would be harsh on Connor, who came in tonight and played centre half and done really well,” said Ford.

“We had to change things. Aaron Seales didn’t make it, he suffered a neck injury in a previous game and he done a fitness test before and we thought he’d be ok but he was struggling to move so we had to change things around.

“Connor was originally playing at right-back, we shuffled him in to play centre-half and young Elliott Rayment-Johnson came in and done a job at right-back and I thought both of them were superb in both positions that they were given tonight.”

Wetherley had a great game for Sporting Club Thamesmead on the right and he dominated Lewisham left-back Dwayne Morris.  Wetherley cut inside and his curling attempt only just missed the far post.

Lewisham Borough’s right-back Tom Kember was at fault for Sporting Club Thamesmead’s fourth goal when it arrived, 18 minutes and 59 seconds on the clock.

The ball bounced up off the hand grenade of a poor playing surface so Merrick Simms hit a left-footed half-volley from 35-yards from the left flank and watched as the ball sailed into the top left-hand corner.

“He struck it well. Some of the boys in the changing room are asking him if he meant it – and he’s sort of telling people he did,” added Ford.

“He struck across the ball so we’ll give him that one! It was a great strike. He deserved his goal. He throughout deserved it. I thought he worked hard, not only going forward tonight but coming back as well and he put in a real shift tonight.”

Fevrier said: “It was a very good goal technique wise, however, I felt my full-back sold himself a little bit by charging out to meet him and he got a bit too tight and he got around on the outside and a smashing finish though, you can’t take that away from him.

“It was a good finish. Fellippo isn’t going to effect that as a player filling in, in goal so I can’t get on top of him about that. 

“I’m a little bit disappointed that it happened because of the way it came about. If we defended it a little bit better it wouldn’t have come about.

“At that point looking around it was quite a busy ground today, the stand was full and we wanted to put on a performance.  I wanted to see their character. We’re at home, we’re losing, that’s not down to them.  I just wanted to see character from the boys, some heart and hunger to try to finish strongly and certainly saw that from a few of them.

“Mario was superb for us today, he was practically on one leg and he continued running and he was trying to make us tick and keep us going.

“I thought Damarli battled hard and Charlie Scrivener and Pascal Durr were bright as well. 

“I wanted character, hunger and willingness to try to come back into the game. We got our reward in the end by the corner that Damarli scored.”

Morrison caught Timi Osibodu as the left-back played the ball down the line and a poor back-pass from Hemmings let in Patrick but his right-footed angled drive from 15-yards rolled past the far post – before the talisman went close with a left-footed dipping drive that only just cleared the crossbar from 30-yards.

Fevrier’s depleted side showed some heart and desire for the final five minutes of the game.

Quiassca whipped in a great cross from the right which was brought under control by Morrison, but his shot was straight at Martin, who ensured the ball went behind for the home side’s only corner of the night.

It was swung in from the right by substitute Pascal Durr and Morrison planted his header into the roof of the net from 10-yards, with 41 minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.

Fevrier said:  “Indeed, at this point we’re growing in confidence now and we’re really trying to get a goal and the boys were trying to get something out of the game just to satisfy that we did come on strong in the second half.

“We were plugging away and it came in the end and we got our silent reward.

“That’s his fourth of the season, Damarli is a very good striker and he’ll get goals for us this season as will Mario and Austin.

“It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t get the win today because we prepared well with what we’ve got out there. We’ve got a lot of players’ playing out of position.  We have Tyrlle Thomas playing centre half with Justin Hemmings. We had no Richard Blackwell, our skipper, we had no Ben Jones, no Dorian Smith.  The keeper’s we mentioned before, no Hanif Boyle, so we’re working with what we’ve got to try to get through the games.”

Ford said: “We just had a quick chat there at the end with the back four, just said I felt tonight if Lewisham took some of their chances it would’ve been a lot closer. 

“I was disappointed with the number of times they did get in and threatened our goalmouth. When Charlie was called upon he done a job that he’s there to do and full credit to him, he had another good game tonight.”

Hemmings floated in a deep free-kick which was met by Morrison’s forehead from the edge of the penalty area, which was meat and drink for Martin, who comfortably saved to deny the powerfully built targetman.

Reflecting on his side’s start to the new season, Ford replied: “It’s not a bad start. If someone had offered me nine points out of 12 at the start of the season, I would’ve bit their hand off for it!

“It’s always going to take time for them to gel, they’re slowly getting there. We’re no way the finished article. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. I can’t argue with the start, they’ve done well.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead host ninth-placed Sutton Athletic at Bayliss Avenue next Saturday and travel to fourth-placed side Bridon Ropes on Bank Holiday Monday, 27 August, both games kicking off at 15:00.

“The next two games are crucial if they want to be taken seriously this year as title contenders, if they want to be taken seriously for a top four or a top six finish, then they’re the games where you have to go out there and perform in.  They’ve done well tonight, can they go again Saturday? That’s the ultimate question that I’m asking of them.”

Lewisham Borough play Greenways on Saturday, a side that are currently in eighth-place with a 50% record from four games.

Fevrier said: “I think Jason Arday is back on the weekend, if he’s not we’ll have to go with someone else again, which we don’t want to do.  I might look at a younger player from the Bostik League or Step Five on loan maybe to come and fill in for a game or so.

“I’m also speaking to a few centre halves about coming down as well. There’s one player in particular I spoke to today. He couldn’t come today, it was too soon. He’s played at Step Four and Three and he’s winding down so if we can get him in it will add a lot of quality to us.  It’s just about getting the boys back fit now.”

Lewisham Borough have now won one game in their last 24 games, including last season when they lost their last 20 outings.

“If we don’t get a win on Saturday we should start to look at ourselves internally and see what we can do to make it better,” revealed Fevrier.

“We were very confident coming into the season, we had our situation and we’ve gone on from that but we’re a little bit short in terms of pre-season prep and fitness but it’s still early for us to panic.

“We’re still going to have a good season and I still believe that we’re going to be up there at the end but we’re just having an unfortunate situation where injuries have come in so early four games in and it’s crippled us and once we get our situation under control in that sense we’ll kick on and start to gel and build relationships in our team and crack on.”

Lewisham Borough: Argert Lleshi (Felippo di Bonito 19), Tom Kember, Dwayne Morris, Kamuru Ogunkoya, Tyrelle Thomas, Justin Hemmings, Mario Quiassca, Clifford Edaferhoro (Pascal Durr 60), Damarli Morrison, Austin Gacheru, Archie Todd (Charlie Scrivener 52).

Subs: Jason Jones, Troy Ferguson

Goal:  Damarli Morrison 87

Booked: Kamuru Ogunkoya 63

Sporting Club Thamesmead: Charlie Martin, Elliott Rayment-Johnson, Timi Osibodu, Ben Williams, Mason Simms, Connor Dobson, Stephen Wetherley (Richard Morgan 76), Max Williams (Jamie Rawsthorne 46), Josh Patrick, Christian Borchescu (Jamie Williams 64), Merrick Simms.
Subs: Mo Conteh, Troy Abbey

Goals: Christian Borchescu 16, Josh Patrick 18, 29, Merrick Simms 65

Booked: Josh Patrick 73

Attendance: 127
Referee: Mr Michael Butcher (Eastchurch, Isle Of Sheppey)
Assistants: Mr Peter Agboola (Walworth, London SE17) & Ms Alison Wade (Abbey Wood, London SE2)

Editor's note:
I will like to apologise for the original match report and my comments.