Metrogas Reserves 1-2 Lewisham Athletic - We want to keep moving forward, says Lewisham Athletic boss Steve Cormack

Monday 20th April 2015
Metrogas 1 – 2 Lewisham Athletic
Location Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5BX
Kickoff 21/04/2015 19:30

Barry Bundock West Kent Challenge Shield Final
Tuesday 21st April 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park

LEWISHAM ATHLETIC manager Steve Cormack says he is buzzing after guiding the club to their first honour towards the end of their first season in the NRG Gym Kent County League.


The Downham-based club claimed the Barry Bundock West Kent Challenge Shield for the first time after coming from behind to deservedly beat Metrogas’ reserve side at Sevenoaks Town’s Greatness Park.

SHIELD SUCCESS: Lewisham Athletic win the West Kent Challenge Shield in their first season in the Kent County League.
Photo: Julie Hoare

It proved to be a mixed night for New Eltham based outfit Metrogas as first team manager Roy Davies guided them to the NRG Gym Kent County League Premier Division title with a 2-0 win at Erith 147 Sports tonight.

Metrogas’ reserve side went into this Final sitting in second-place in the Division Three West table with 48 points, with games against Orpington Reserves (home) and Kingfisher Glory (away) still to play.

Lewisham Athletic are in third-place with 47 points and have four games left to play, starting with a trip to leaders Johnson & Phillips on Saturday, a side that moved on to 54 points following their 4-2 home win over Kingfisher Glory tonight.

Back in September, 24 teams from the Western Section Divisions Two and Three of the Kent County League set out to lift the Shield tonight.

Metrogas defeated Kingfisher Glory (1-0); Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey Club Reserves (2-0); Fleetdown United Reserves (2-0); before knocking out Club Langley 3-1 on penalties after a 2-2 draw after extra time in the Semi-Finals.

Lewisham Athletic got past Halls Reserves (7-0); Oaks & Junior Reds (2-1); Crayford Arrows (4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw after extra time), before knocking out holders FC Elmstead 2-1 in the Semi-Finals.

Lewisham Athletic fully deserved their victory in front of 140 fans at Greatness Park.

Metrogas grabbed the lead through Danny Childs’ 34th goal of the season early in the second half, before Lewisham Borough claimed their first major honour courtesy of Simon Read and man-of-the-match John James.

“The boys’ played well. It was difficult when we went one down. I was looking for a reaction and I was pleased with the reaction we got from the boys. We were really good,” said Cormack, 34, afterwards.

“It’s the first time in the Kent County this year. We’ve had a really good season. We’ve had a little bit of a wobble in one fixture, we’ve lost one fixture this year. Other than that we’re looking good for the league.

“We’ve got a big game at the weekend. It’s a great night for the boys and the boys deserve credit but we’ll go into the weekend and go again.”

Metrogas squandered an excellent chance to take the lead following their first attempt inside the opening five minutes.

Alex Tarrant delivered a free-kick in from the left, which skimmed off the head of Lewisham Athletic’s central defender Ben Joselyn but James Malcher’s free header went straight at home-grown Lewisham keeper Jonathan Roberts, who made a comfortable catch.

“Jonathan is a fantastic goalie. He pulls off good saves. He gives us a lot of confidence all the time,” said Cormack.

“We’re very proud that he’s come through from all the way through the club.  There were three or four out there today that have played through Lewisham youth and worked their way into the first team. They’ve been at the club since they were seven, eight or nine-years-old.”

Lewisham Athletic created two decent chances by the time the game entered the eighth minute.

Set-piece specialist, Lewis Morgan, swept in a right-footed free-kick into the box where Chris Diamond looped his free header over the bar.

“Again, Diamond’s been knocking on the door all day really,” said Cormack.

“He’s been looking to get on the end of crosses. Another day, a little bit of luck, either side of the keeper, it’s a goal.”

Lewisham Athletic then produced a fine move down the right where winger Reece Morgan played the ball inside to Dan Lambert, who played the ball inside to striker Lewis Morgan, but his first time drive looped just over the top of the right-hand post.

Metrogas almost broke the stalemate after fourteen minutes when Stuart Barnes released Tarrant down the left and Barnes was found on the overlap.

His cross found right-back George Healy at the far post, who headed the ball across goal, beating the keeper, but Read covered the line to hack clear.

Lewisham Athletic hit Gas on the break when Billy Manning played the ball forward to release Lewis James down the left but after beating his man dragged his left-footed angled shot harmlessly past the far post from sixteen-yards.

Lewis Morgan then clipped the ball forward but Metrogas keeper Nick Rose got to the ball before Lewis James, smashing the ball into the onrushing striker’s face, the ball sailing wide of the post.

Metrogas’ striker Baba Adeniran played a fine pass to release Joe Childs down the right, but the striker did well to hold the ball up as he waited for support but he stung Roberts’ fingers, who caught the ball at the second attempt at his near post.

Lewisham Athletic created a couple of late first half chances.

Lewis Morgan swung in a corner from the right but Lewis James directed his free-header over the crossbar.

But Lewisham Athletic really should have broken the stalemate when Lewis Morgan floated in a cross but Diamond’s free header was comfortably caught by Rose, stepping to his right.

Cormack said: “I think Diamond’s always a threat in there as well. We’ve got a couple of boys in there, they’re not the biggest lads but they’re really good in the air.

“I’m pleased with everyone’s performance really. A couple went close with a couple of headers. I thought one of them was going to go in eventually.”

When asked his thoughts at half-time, the Lewisham Athletic manager added: “I thought we were the stronger side. We played most of the half on the front foot. I thought we had the better chances.

“The pitch is on a bit of a slope as well so we thought when we turned round, the ones that went just over the bar, the goals a foot lower this end (the boardroom end) because of the hill. I thought it played to our strengths in the second half.”

Lewisham Athletic squandered an excellent chance to take a deserve lead with only 190 seconds on the second half clock.

Lewis Morgan played a fine pass to put Lewis James through on goal, who cut into the box before stroking his left-footed shot past the diving keeper and agonisingly past the far post from sixteen-yards.

But Metrogas – whose first team won the Kent Intermediate Challenge Shield this month – grabbed a 54th minute lead.

Tarrant did brilliantly well to beat his marker along the right by-line to cut along the line before cutting the ball back to Danny Childs, who poked his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from four-yards to add to his impressive goalscoring tally.

Cormack said: “It’s always difficult at that point, emotions going. We tried to get on to the boys to keep calm.

“We had the majority of the chances. I felt we knew we’d get the chance to score. We just had to make sure when it came we took it.”

But Lewisham Athletic showed character to come back from that set-back to level in the 61st minute.

Lewis Morgan clipped a free-kick into the penalty area and Metrogas keeper Rose didn’t cover himself in glory as he attempted to catch the ball with a team-mate jumping close by him.

The ball was retrieved by Lewis James, who cut the ball back for Read to rifle his left-footed shot into the top left-hand corner of the net from three-yards.

“I think at that point it gave us a chance to get back into the game,” said Cormack.

“It’s one of those moments when you score a goal like that, in a big game, the next four or five minutes after that it just settles the boys down again, go back to business. We still had to get the second goal to get the result.”

Lewisham Athletic’s next chance to score arrived near the halfway mark when Lewis Morgan’s sixth of seven corners was met by John James, whose downward header went past the post.

There was controversy when John James played a sublime through ball to put Lewis James through on goal, who slotted the ball past the advancing goalkeeper, only for the offside flag to be raised.

But Lewisham Athletic claimed a deserved win when the impressive John James popped up to score his 22nd goal of the season with five minues left.

Joselyn played the ball out of Lewisham’s defence and found Diamond, who released the busy midfielder, who kept his composure to roll his right-footed shot across the advancing Rose to find the bottom far corner.

“That’s what John does, he does that week in week out for us,” said Cormack.

“He plays in the central midfield position, 20 plus goals this season. He’s been one of the stand out performers all season and time and time again he comes up with the goals for us. It’s not the first time that he’s grabbed a late winner for us this year.

“Hopefully with the games coming up, he’ll grab a couple more. I’m really pleased with his performance and efforts every week.”

Cormack was delighted that his defence kept Metrogas quiet during the second half.

He said: “I thought we won it first half really. I think we run them hard second half. We could see they were tiring a bit and when we turned round for the second half I kinda felt things were going to come to us as the game wore on.

“We were coming strong late on. They had a few players a bit older than ours as well.”

This has been the biggest week in the Warren Avenue outfit’s 11 year history as they travel to Johnson & Phillips on Saturday with one eye on the double.

Cormack said: “I’m buzzing tonight. We’re in the Kent County League for the first time this year. We’re fighting a lot of pressure at the moment. We’ve got a big game again on Saturday, the league leaders.

“If they win on Saturday, we can’t win the league. If we win on Saturday, it’s their last game.  We know exactly what we need to do. If we get the win the double could be on. It’s all down to win and it’s all there for us to lose as well. Jone one done and we go again on Saturday.

“We’ve put them (Johnson & Phillips) under pressure all year. We’ve been behind our fixtures and we’re slowly catching up. We’ve been targeting that position all year really.

“Hopefully we get the result we deserve at the weekend. We know exactly what we need to get out of the last four games.”

When asked what the club’s aspirations are, the Lewisham Athletic manager replied: “We want to keep moving forward.  We’ve got the boys’ coming through from the youth and there’s a couple of youngsters on the bench that play in our under 17s.

“It’s promising to see that we want to set our sights on rising through the (Kent County League) divisions. The team that won this division last year (Stansfeld Oxford & Bermondsey Club Reserves) is now winning Division Two and we see no reason why we can’t be doing the same.”

Skipper Read held aloft the Shield and Cormack was delighted.

CHAMPIONS: Lewisham Athletic captain Simon Read lifts up the West Kent Challenge Shield
Photo: Julie Hoare

“He’s been captain since I’ve been running the team for the last six years.”

Metrogas’ manager Richard Ankhar declined to comment on the game but club secretary Tim Morgan was happy to step in.

“He’s (Ankhar) come into the club this year, he’s done a fantastic job in building the team, getting the team to where we are. We’re still in the hunt for the Division Three West title and narrowly lost out tonight so yes, I think he’s very disappointed.

“We’ve won the Kent County Premier title this evening. The first team won 2-0 so we’ve won that. It’s a little bit of a damper this result. It’s overshadowed the fact that we have won the title.

“The last four or five years, the time I’ve been involved, we’ve looked to build a successful first team. Roy (Davies) has done a brilliant job there and we have retained that title and Matt (Drysdale) and Richard have come in this year and all I have to try to do each season as secretary is how can I better the club?

“It was looking at the reserves and ensuring the reserves have a good season and I think we’ve done that. We’re still fighting for promotion and we’ve got to a cup final tonight.”

Metrogas will be pleased to see the back of Lewisham Athletic, having lost both league games.

Metrogas Reserves: Nick Rose, George Healy, Sam Chaney, Adam Lane, Stuart Barnes (Karl Williams 63), James Malcher (Jordan Downes 77, Danny Childs 90)), Ryan Gateson (Baba Adeniran 89), Danny Childs, Baba Adeniran (Matt Knuckey 32, Alex Tarrant 90), Joe Childs, Alex Tarrant (Matt Knuckey 90).
Sub: James Chaney, Joe Schofield

Goal: Danny Childs 54

Booked: Danny Childs 43, George Healy 72

Lewisham Athletic: Jonathan Roberts, Simon Read, Kit Southam, Ben Joselyn, Dan Lambert, Billy Manning, Reece Morgan, John James, Lewis Morgan (Sam Morgan 90), Lewis James, Chris Diamond (Ben Miller 90).
Subs: Dave James, Clay Powell, Frankie Winter

Goals: Simon Read 61, John James 85

Booked: Ben Joselyn 29, Reece Morgan 82, Chris Diamond 90

Attendance: 140
Referee: Mr Lee Culpeck (Gravesend)
Assistants: Mr Tony Woods (Bexleyheath) & Mr John French (Swanscombe)
Fourth Official: Mr Steven Luke (Pembury)