Lewisham Athletic 1-3 Orpington Reserves - A good way to end the season, says relegated Orpington boss Steve Hall

Saturday 13th May 2017
Lewisham Athletic 1 – 3 Orpington
Location Warren Avenue Playing Fields, Warren Road, Bromley, Kent BR1 4BP
Kickoff 13/05/2017 14:45

Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division One West
Saturday 13th May 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Warren Avenue

TITLE-WINNING Lewisham Athletic manager Peter Lodge says it was really hard to get his players’ up for their final game of the season.


The Downham-based outfit needed a late goal to come back from being 2-0 down to beat Long Lane 3-2 on Tuesday evening, which saw the club leapfrog over Ricky Tompkins’ Otford United side with both clubs level on 58 points.

Orpington Reserves arrived at Warren Avenue sitting at the foot of the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division One West table with 13 points from their 23 league outings.

So for the O’s to complete their campaign with a 3-1 win over the champions was one of the shocks of the season.

Orpington Reserves grabbed the lead through striker Alvin Turyatemba’s
chip, before his strike partner James Hall slotted in a second following another piece of woeful defending from the home side.

Lewisham Athletic won the corner count 16-1 and they pulled a goal back from their penultimate corner which was buried at the far post by central defender Tom Reddington with time running out.

Man-of-the-match, O’s central defender Sam Bushell capped off a fine game by tucking away a late penalty.

“I thought we were in the game for a long time, catastrophic errors in the first half cost us dearly, 2-0 down,” said Lodge afterwards.

“Orpington were solid at the back but I thought we had a lot more of the possession. We moved the ball well. It was just on the day we couldn’t find the final touch.”

When asked if complacency had crept into the ranks, Lodge replied: “My boys? No! Not at all because when we played Orpington away they told me that they were going to bring their first team down to us today and that’s what you saw today.  We played their first team, which is another level up (Southern Counties East Football League First Division) so at the back their two centre halves were outstanding.  They denied us space and clean shots on target and that’s what you do when you go up a level.”

Orpington Reserve team manager is Steve Hall and he was delighted with his side’s sixth league win of the season.

“Very, very pleased. It’s been a tough season this year. We’ve had lots of injuries. We had a few boys coming back so very pleased with how the boys put in strong commitment, were well-organised and it’s difficult to break down two banks of four and we showed that today,” said Hall.

“To be honest, we’re bottom of the table but it has been very much about availability of players. We’ve had a lot of injuries.  We lost out key centre forward third game in with a broken leg.  We’ve had four boys back today who haven’t really been playing a full form, just given us a chance to pull things forward a bit.   The league position isn’t great but we could’ve been better this season.”

Six of Orpington’s 13 players had first team experience, collecting 67 appearances in total as they inflicted Lewisham Athletic’s fifth Kent County League defeat in 67 league games.

Lewisham Athletic fielded Rory Hill, a winger who helped Ashford United see off Crowborough Athletic to win the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title. Contracted players are banned from playing in the Kent County League but his contract expired at the end of Ashford’s season.

Lewisham Athletic’s central midfielder Chris Maginty pinged some sublime diagonal balls over the top of Orpington’s left-back Lee Cupit but right-winger Aaran Miller’s cross deflected off Cupit and dimulative keeper Terry Doyle easily gathered.

“Lee’s struggled a bit with that,” admitted Hall.

“He took a while to settle in and stop what they were doing but I think where we played better was they played out from the back far too often and they made a couple of mistakes and we nipped in.”

Orpington Reserves were almost gifted an eleventh minute lead through an own goal.

Bushell clipped a ball over the top to hit the channel and James Hall crossed from the left and Lewisham skipper Ben Joselyn breathed a huge sigh of relief after his volley crashed against his own-crossbar at the near post.

Hall said: “That’s been our season, we’ve hit the bar so many times this season! Luck just hasn’t worked for us.  It would’ve been lovely had it gone in but equally it would’ve been gutting for the lad from the opposition who would’ve put it in the back of the net because he did hit it hard!”

Lodge added: “Again, it’s what happens when you get turned. You get turned by a long ball and then anything can happen and that’s what did happen out there today.”

Lewisham Athletic bossed the possession stakes but failed to create many clear cut goalscoring chances.

Maginty’s corner from the right was hit deep towards the far post and Reddington came up to steer his downward header past the near post from eight-yards.

Orpington Reserves belied their league position at the foot of the table and they grabbed the lead, against the run of play, with 20 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock.

Central defender Max Turner clipped a long ball out of defence and Turyatemba
nipped in behind Chris Clemens and keeper Jon Roberts to chip the ball over the keeper’s head from 22-yards, the ball dropping into the back of an empty net.

Hall said: “The boys were told at the beginning of the game to use the channels and push the ball forward. We knew we were quick and they weren’t as fast and we saw that very early on.”

Lodge added: “Massive error! The keeper doesn’t have to come. He’s made a choice to come but the centre half was clearly with him and if the keeper stays he makes it hard, he’s beat himself.”

Hill had a chance to bring his side level just 58 seconds later, cutting the ball onto his right foot inside the Orpington box but his shot was spilt by Doyle, before the keeper pounced on the loose ball.

Lodge revealed: “He’s finished his season. Rory’s come right through the club with us at Lewisham Youth before it became Lewisham Athletic so once he’s finished his league season with Ashford he was able to come back and play. He’s a quality player. He done ok. We’ve played all season without him. Did he bring anything to us? Yes, he did in an attacking third but that weren’t where our problems were today.”

Hall added: “Terry’s had a cracking season. He’s not been available to play for us a great deal. He only got married two weeks ago, which was the reason why he wasn’t playing but he’s had a very good season. If he can get his fitness up, he’ll be first choice on a regular basis.”

Nothing was falling for Lewisham Athletic.  Maginty swung in another corner from the left, the ball was flicked on by striker Lewis James and dropped at Clemens feet, who produced a typical defenders finish by lashing his volley over the crossbar from eight-yards.

Embarrassing defending from Lewisham Athletic’s left-back Kit Southam gifted Orpington a second goal, timed at 27 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock.

He played the ball across the edge of his penalty area and Hall pounced on the loose ball and slotted his right-footed shot past Roberts, rolling the ball to the diving keepers left into the net.

Hall said: “We told the boys they were going to play it out from the back, to put them under pressure and James’ done really well with that.”

When asked what he was thinking being 2-0 up on the champions’ patch, the O’s manager said, laughing, “Hang on! I always expected them to come back strongly particularly in the second half.  Team talks can do a lot of damage to you but we dug in and we worked hard and we pushed on and to be fair I think they’ve had a tough season and I think they (Lewisham) were a bit tired.”

Lodge said: “Kit’s first game back, he’s missed the best part of three months with a calf strain. Again, it’s a poor decision, from where he hasn’t been playing.

“Two-nil down, you’re looking, I had to change the shape. I went from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 to try to affect them.  I think we had the majority of the possession in midfield but we couldn’t find our way through until right at the end.”

Orpington right-back Benjamin Hayes charged down the wing, played a low cross into Turyatemba who played a one-two with Hall before his shot from a tight angle sailed over the crossbar.

Maginty sprayed the ball out to Hill on the left and he looped his cross in towards the near post, which was hooked on by Reece Morgan and James’ flicked shot bounced across goal and Doyle easily gathered.

Orpington squandered an excellent chance to increase their lead in the 42nd minute.

A big kick from keeper Doyle bounced over Clemens head but Turyatemba powered his left-footed half-volley over the crossbar when he only had the keeper to beat.

Both teams stayed out on the pitch during the half-time interval.

“It’s really, really hard when you’ve crossed the line and you’ve already won the league to then psychologically to get them up for a fight because that’s what it is,” explained Lodge.

“When you’re living on scraps in and around the top third you’ve got to really get at them. We sent them out to a different game plan to affect them and I thought we did in the second half.”

Hall added: “I expected more shots, expected more penetrating moves from them but they tried to play it over the top a bit too easy.

“I said keep going, keep tight.  We wanted to keep our shape, we wanted to keep our discipline and to dig in and to work hard and the last word I said to them was commitment.”

Lewisham Athletic’s fifth corner of the game was swung in by Morgan down the left, the ball was knocked down but Hill guided his header straight at Doyle inside the opening four minutes.

Orpington were a threat with their pacy forward line and Hall and Tom Kember linked up in midfield on the break and Turyatemba broke through the heart of the pitch but rolled his shot from 20-yards into Jonathan Roberts’ hands for a comfortable save.

“They had the tall fella (Hall) playing straight down the middle and two runners off him picking up the scraps and that’s always going to give you pace at this level and it’s always going to give you problems,” said Lodge.

Lewisham Athletic’s frustrations continued when James smashed his first time volley over the bar from 25-yards.

Lewisham Athletic started to get frustrated as the hour-mark approached, while Turner and Bushell were outstanding in Orpington’s defence and Hall, Turyatemba and Akinlade posed a threat with their pace on the counter-attack.

Hall said: “We told them to run! First half I thought they held off a little bit too much but when they ran at them, we put them under real pressure.”

James Hall’s direct run through the centre of the pitch resulted in his low shot from 18-yards being comfortably saved by Roberts.

With 20 minutes remaining, Morgan’s free-kick was blocked by the wall and Hill turned inside the box and his deflected shot sailed just past the right-hand post.

Miller cut into the box and shrugged off his marker to cut the ball back for Maginty, who sliced his shot harmlessly wide of the far post from 18-yards as Lewisham Athletic’s frustrations increased in front of goal.

But they started to up their desire levels inside the final 15 minutes.

Maginty chipped another ball over the top of Orpington’s defence but Miller produced a poor touch inside the box when through on goal and his left-footed angled drive forced Doyle to dive to his right to push the ball around his near post.

Lewisham Athletic’s 11th corner of the game was taken by Maginty on the left, which was hit deep and Reddington’s looping header from 12-yards dropped just over the crossbar.

Lodge added: “Tom’s a good player, he’s scored us some vital goals this year, especially in the London Junior Cup Final, which was a tremendous strike for a centre half but unfortunately although he did get on the scoresheet, it wasn’t his day today.”

Hall admitted: “With two big lads at centre back, I would’ve have expected that to happen but they were told about it.”

James cut the ball back from the right-hand side of the penalty area but Morgan dragged his shot across the keeper and past the far post.

Joselyn stood with both of his hands on his hips before seeing his right-footed deflected free-kick from 23-yards being held by Doyle, who stepped to his right to make a comfortable save as the game reached the 80th minute mark.

Lewisham Athletic finally scored from a corner – their 15th of the game – with 43 minutes and 3 seconds on the clock.

James played a diagonal over Hayes and Miller cut inside and cracked a right-footed drive towards the top near corner from 25-yards, which was pushed over the bar by the left hand of a diving Doyle.

Lodge said: “Tremendous save from the keeper. I was right behind that and it was in all day long! Unfortunately, Aaran never had the pace on the ball to beat the keeper and it just dropped enough for the keeper to get something on it. That said, it was a good spring from the keeper and a good top hand to turn it over.”

Morgan swung in the resulting corner from the right, deep towards the far post and Reddington powered his free header into the top left hand corner from 10-yards.

Lodge said: “If you looked at Orpington setting up – we spoke about it at half-time – they were setting up half zonal and half man-for-man and with zonal you always get the two men on the post and one denying the space on the front post. We spoke about the deliveries and all of them we were hitting to the front post for that reason.”

When asked about dominating the corner count by 16-1, Lodge replied: “I think that goes to tell you everything about the game! Possession wise and attacking wise we were there.  Their defenders denied us the space and they put their bodies on the line and protected their keeper really well I thought today.”

Hall said: “Again, Terry’s there, he’s a good shot-stopper. I prefer him for his catching of the ball but he can push the ball away when he needs to.

“We let him come, almost a free header. We’ve paid for that over the season a lot, disappointed today on that one.

“It looked scary. When we got another one back it made me feel a lot better but it did look a little bit tense for a couple of minutes and it felt like the ref was playing time after time (with exactly seven minutes of stoppage time played).”

Orpington went close from a set-piece of their own, a free-kick swung in from the left by Oliver Lacy, a central midfielder with the most first team appearances (27) in the side but Bushell (surprisingly without any) went up from the back to glance his header across goal and past the far post.

But Orpington claimed a shock win by scoring their third goal,  three minutes and 59 seconds into time added on.

Akinlade was tripped as he cut across Lewisham’s right-back Simon Read and Bushell stepped up to send Roberts the wrong way with a driven right-footed penalty, straight down the middle.

“He doesn’t tend to miss those chances,” Hall said of Bushell, who on this performance should be in a first team much higher than this.

“Christian has been playing wonderfully well but he tends to ride too many of those tackles in the box far too often. He’s got such a low centre of gravity. He just keeps going and we’ve lost that a number of times but it was clearly a penalty and a good shot from Sam.

“Sam’s solid, steady, it’s good having him back from injury, very good indeed. He’s a young lad, 20-21 and he’s got a good season ahead of him.”

Lodge added: “It was tired legs at that time. We put so much in to try to get back level and they got past our left-back too easily really, he stuck a leg out, the kid’s gone over and that’s it at the end of the day.  It was lucky then the keeper done well to get out of the way of it, I think.”

Joselyn swept another free-kick into Orpington box, Hill got in behind, chipped the ball over the keeper’s head but an outstanding Bushell got back on his line to hook the ball off the line.

“We played their reserve team in the division and totally outclassed them (5-0 on 15 April) whereas this time they put their first team out and that’s the difference in the level,” Lodge said after his side’s fourth league defeat of the season.

Despite their League title winning campaign, there was no trophy presentation, nor Kent County League officials at the game.

“It’s their eighth promotion on the trot and they’ve come right the way through the South London Alliance, now they’ve gone all the way through to the Premier in the Kent County and we’re really looking forward to next season,” said Lodge.

“The challenges are new, teams are new and they have to step up now. It’s a tremendous achievement. The South London Alliance, as it was then, was a massive leap. They’ve gone right through that started in the bottom division and gone up and won the Prem at a canter, gaining promotion into the Kent County League and they’ve done really well to come through that every season and win the Shields along the way as well.”

Reflecting on their shock win, Orpington boss Hall said: “Happy days, happy days. A good way to end the season. We’ve got our presentation evening next week. The boys will go into that with good spirits and with some good morale.

“You look at this league and you look at the fixtures all the way through the season and the last two or three weeks there’s been some shock results right the way through and even for the best teams comes down to who is available on the day and what they do.”

Orpington’s Reserves look likely to be relegated but Hall hopes Tudor Sports and AFC Morzinga pulling out will do them a massive favour.

“The League have not confirmed anything. We’ve had two teams withdraw. Tudor Sports dropped out before Christmas. Whether they take those into consideration in terms of relegation, we’ll have to see.

“It’s a sad move for the boys because we’ve had progression in the leagues the last two seasons, one after the other, promotion each year. It will be difficult but we’ll build and we’ll come back.”

Lewisham Athletic:  Jonathan Roberts, Simon Read, Kit Southam, Ben Joselyn, Tom Reddington, Chris Clemens (Nick Whitmere 76), Aaran Miller, Chris Maginty, Lewis James, Reece Morgan, Rory Hill.
Subs: James Mclnerney, Lewis Morgan, Sean Kelly

Goal: Tom Reddington 89

Orpington Reserves: Terry Doyle, Benjamin Hayes, Lee Cupit (Ronnie Lynch 83), Oliver Lacey, Max Turner, Sam Bushell, Tom Kember, Ashley Fryer, James Hall, Alvin Turyatemba, Christian Akinlade.

Goals:  Alvin Turyatemba 21, James Hall 28, Sam Bushell 90 (penalty)

Attendance: 16
Referee: Mr Mark Bellamy (Welling)

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