AFC Mottingham 1-1 Halls Athletic - We need to get a win out of the next two games to make sure that it's in our hands, says AFC Mottingham boss Michael Walsh

Tuesday 18th April 2017
AFC Mottingham 1 – 1 Halls Athletic
Location Green Court Road, Crockenhill, Swanley, Kent BR8 8HF
Kickoff 18/04/2017 18:30

Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division One West
Tuesday 18th April 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Green Court Road

AFC MOTTINGHAM manager Michael Walsh believes his side can beat the drop in their last couple of games if they show the same desire that his players’ had tonight.


The club remain in the bottom three in the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Division One West table having collected their sixteenth point of the season and they have two home games left against third-placed Lewisham Athletic and the side immediately above them in the table, Stansfeld Reserves.

Halls Athletic, meanwhile, completed their campaign tonight in seventh-place in the table on 32 points from their 24 league outings.

The Dartford-based outfit struggled to get their players to Crockenhill on time and only just scraped 11 players on to the pitch before referee Ian Cowell, who left his place of work in Basildon, Essex at four o’clock, blew his first whistle.

But Halls Athletic grabbed the lead against the run of play through Joe Tristram, one of three 18-year-old brothers in their side.

AFC Mottingham were reduced to ten-men when central midfielder Anthony Wastall collected his second yellow card on the stroke of half-time but they grabbed a point courtesy of only their 14th league goal of the season, converted by striker Gareth Jones.

“I thought it was a good game,” said Walsh after his side moved four points clear of Orpington Reserves, who finish the season with two away games, at Stansfeld Reserves and Lewisham Athletic.

“You can’t argue with the red card if I’m honest.  The first time he received the yellow card and the second one I don’t think he meant it but it was a clumsy tackle when the guy’s nicked it away and he’s going to get booked for that.

“But the effort in the second half from the guys was unbelievable. The desire was great. 

“I think overall it was a fair result. We needed the three points badly really so we’re disappointed. I think the effort levels from the guys in the second half was great and I thought we done ok in the first half as well.”

Halls Athletic player-manager Ross Copley, 32, featured for the first half and said: “Fairly even game overall. We probably played better in the first half.  I felt as though the openings were there in the second half on the counter attack.  Three or four times certainly in the last 15 minutes or so I felt as though if our decision making would’ve been better going forward maybe choosing to carry the ball instead of releasing at certain times and visa-versa at other moments perhaps we could’ve nicked the second goal but overall it was probably the balanced result.”

Walsh’s players got to their ground in plenty of time, while Halls’ players drifted in when they wanted and their preparation was poor.

“They all made a great effort to get here on time,” said the AFC Mottingham manager.

“We said you need to be here by a quarter-to-six. It’s difficult with guys working up in the city or even locally, the traffic the way it is. 

“It helped us a bit because the first 10 or 15 we pretty much were on top whereas they didn’t get much of a preparation so it helped us a bit. We didn’t take advantage of it.”

Halls’ boss Copley admitted: “Preparation wasn’t ideal, it must be said. Such is the nature of this standard of football I suppose players aren’t training twice a week as they would be the tier above. As a result dedication isn’t always as complete as it could be perhaps. We struggled to get 11 players out for kick-kick.

“I keep my hand in from time to time but I’m really the manager, sometimes you’ve got to step in.”

Such was Halls’ poor preparation for the game, it was no surprise when AFC Mottingham started the game on the front foot.

Copley admitted: “I thought the first 10 minutes was there’s really.”

Jamie Chattreton’s corner from the left was flicked on ate the near post by Barry Langford and Callum Hill put in a cross from the right for Ben Cotter to hook his shot over the bar with only three minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Watall took a whack from an opponent after hitting a speculative 30-yard shot, which bounced into the hands of visiting keeper Raymond Marshall.

Chattreton released striker Ceirron Lewis down the right and his 25-yard drive screamed straight down Marshall’s throat.

“It’s been tough. We’ve basically lost pretty much all of our attackers after our second game of the season,” revealed Walsh, when asked about his poor goalscoring record this season.

“Some of the guys today have been called away through work commitments so they were unable to play during the season so it actually helped us out having a Tuesday night game. It meant we could have some more attacking threat, which we didn’t put the ball away when we should have.

“But you could see if kind of gave Halls’ a problem on their hands when we did get the ball and the pace that we had up top.”

Copley added: “He pulled off a great save the back end of the second half Ray, pulled off another couple of fantastic saves.  He’s had a good season this year, perhaps in past years he’s struggled for concentration and focus but certainly this season he’s been far more solid and today was a demonstration of that I felt.”

Halls Athletic grabbed the lead, against the run of play, with 20 minutes and 9 seconds on the clock.

Lewis Trimstram was released down the left and he played a low centre into his manager Copley, who poked the ball on the outside for Joe Trimstram to place his left-footed shot across the keeper into the bottom right-hand corner from eight-yards.

“It was a nicely worked goal. We probably had two or three passages of play like that in the first half. If it’s been five or six of them perhaps we could’ve created more and scored more in the first half,” said Copley.

“At times we didn’t re-produce that sort of football enough really in the second half.  Like I say, one-all is a fair result.”

Walsh added: “I was disappointed in that from our perspective because I felt our centre halves got dragged out really well but they pulled together, probably the first time they got on the ball.  They produced a nice move down the left, four or five passes were put together and a good calm finish.  Some of the defence shouldn’t have got dragged out and one of the two holding midfielders should really got in to help a bit more as well.”

Mottingham were keen to try to clip the balls over the top of Halls’ two central defenders Eddie Walker and David Stevens and on one occasion, Lewis’ left-footed chip from 30-yards dropped just over the crossbar.

Walsh added: “I know what those guys’ strengths are, their full-backs are pretty quick. You can get through their centre halves a bit more and that was the aim, to try to work on through balls and we actually worked on that in training as well. Just get that run in behind because we knew we had the pace available tonight. Unfortunately, that one has just gone an inch over the bar.

“Ceirron wasn’t playing Saturday football. I’ve managed to get him to come in and he’s helped out.  I think his work rate is magnificent, he’s very quick, he never gives up and he helps to keep the defenders on the back foot so we’re very happy to have him.”

Lewis fed the ball into Hill, who skipped past his man to play the ball into Jones’ feet and his right-footed drive was caught by Marshall from 15-yards.

“It’s a decent move, Gareth should’ve worked the keeper a little bit harder than that,” felt Walsh.

“It’s gone pretty much straight at him but the keeper’s done well to hold onto it. It’s a good strike, just unfortunately straight at him. A yard and a half either side he’s probably got no chance.”

Halls created a couple of late chances with shots from outside the box.  Russell Allen’s right-footed drive from 30-yards drifted narrowly over the top of the far post from the left, before Matthew Skopila’s dipping drive from 30-yards sailed just over.

Copley admitted: “We probably didn’t get motoring too much after the first goal. I think the nature of the first half was slightly more scrappy than the second. Perhaps the ball bounced around a lot more, everything was sort of 50-50’s.”

AFC Mottingham shot themselves in the foot on the stroke of half-time when Dartford-based referee Ian Cowell pulled out a yellow and then a red card to Wastall after he kicked out at Walker in the centre circle.

Walsh said: “We had to get into half-time, try to keep it 1-0.  We couldn’t afford to go defensive because we needed to win today so we were pretty much playing 3-3-3 in the second half so that was pretty brave but it took a lot of effort from the guys and they pulled it off.

“I was aware that Anthony was on a yellow when he made the tackle I thought he was going to get sent off.  I said it was off straight away to the guys next to me.  I can’t argue with it at all. The ref’s got that decision right.

“I thought Anthony’s been a little but conned early on. Some experience and nudging him and it’s got into him a little bit and he’s got sucked into it. He’ll need to learn. Some of our boys are pretty young and they’ll need to learn when you play against some of these experienced guys they know how to get into your head.  If they can put you off and have you arguing with them instead of focusing on your game, then they’re doing their job because that’s exactly what they want. That’s what I will do, I’ll try to get in their head and mess them up because you want to put them off.”

When asked his thoughts on Wastall’s departure, Copley replied: “We got under their skin in certain moments, probably led to their centre midfielder getting sent off at the time he did.  I think all players at this level need to maintain a certain level of composure, sort of tackling and hassling for the ball and perhaps he let his composure fail him really.

“I think it was the third or fourth legitimate offence. I think the referee managed the game really well today, fair play to him. He got that right. No one likes to see any team reduced to ten men, sometimes it has to be done.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts during the five minute team-talk out on the pitch.

The AFC Mottingham manager said: “Change formation. I think it really helped us today, the fact that we had the full compliment on the bench. The fact that we could rotate players it really did mean we could put the effort in and just go at it so we went 3-3-3 basically.

“We needed to win. Halls aren’t going to expect us to come at it that aggressively. The first five minutes we struggled a little bit. They had plenty of the ball, switched it but once we got a couple of breaks, they had to sit back a little bit more to start to worry about our threat once they realised we had three guys up there despite having 10 men.”

The Halls manager added: “Well due to a lack of floodlights at the facility, it was a case of quick turnaround, make substitutions I felt necessarily and that was pretty much it to be honest with you!”

The referee finally asked the spectators whom were watching the first half from within and around both technical areas to stand behind the white barrier for the rest of the game.

Halls produced a good move and could have doubled their lead after only 64 seconds. 

Skopila cut the ball back to left-back Ryan Trimstram, who whipped in a first time cross towards the near post where defender turned striker Stevens stooped to send his header past the post from six-yards.

The Trimstram trio put in an impressive performance and could all play at a higher level of football going on today’s game.

“They’re fantastic little players, lovely tactical players, 18-year-old,” said Copley.

“Under my time as manager I’ve drafted them all in sort of separately, sort of periodically, when I felt the time was right.  Ryan (left-back) was first last season and then Lewis (left-winger) at the start of this season and Joe (right-winger) more so over the last few weeks. Oh to be 18 again and to be able to move around the pitch and have those sort of ball skills like they have because they maintain possession incredibly well. They draw tackles, win fouls and they’re normally involved with everything good that happens going forward nine times out of 10 times.”

Ryan Trimstram was allowed to travel before cracking a dipping left-footed drive from 35-yards, which was tipped over by James Perkin’s outstretched right-hand.

Walsh added: “That was a good save. The other one was an unbelievable save.”

Copley added: “It was a great save, certainly a great save, yes.”

Ryan Trimstram trotted over to the right-hand side to take his side’s second and last corner but Russell Allen rose like a salmon at the far post to loop his header over the crossbar from six-yards.

AFC Mottingham were to be denied an equaliser halfway through the second half through a brilliant save from Marshall.

Central defender Ben Cotter sent in a free-kick from the right and substitute Billy Alton planted his header towards goal from 12-yards, which was brilliantly tipped around the post, high to his left by Marshall.

“I thought it was a good save by the goalkeeper,” said Walsh.

“A good connection from the header, it’s difficult from the touchline exactly where in the goal it’s going.  Billy thought he scored with what he said to me. He hasn’t said he’s hit it straight at the goalkeeper, he said the keeper’s made a great save. Billy’s very honest so I’m presuming that wasn’t straight at him. The keeper’s produced a very good save.”

When asked whether he felt the game was won after that save, Copley replied: “No, no I didn’t. I don’t think 1-0s ever a safe scoreline. You always need to get a second. We were 1-0 up at half-time. I’ve found this season if you haven’t scored the second in the first 10-15 minutes of that second half then you really leave yourself open to dropping points really.”

The chance galvanised the home side and they equalised with 24 minutes and 42 seconds on the clock, as their front three combined.

Lewis played substitute striker Tugay Ali in behind the Halls defence and he swept his shot across the keeper, which Marshall parried whilst diving low to his right and Jones pounced on the loose ball to steer the ball into the centre of the goal from six-yards.

Reflecting on Jones’ fourth goal of the season, Walsh said: “I think Gareth is a big threat, especially when he’s direct. He doesn’t dither on the ball. He really looks dangerous and that one there with the three up top at that time. Ceirron’s put a great ball in to Tugay, he’s made a good run in behind, hit it across the goal. The keeper’s made a decent save and Gareth was on hand to tuck it away so we were very happy with that.”

Copley said: “They deserved that at that point of the game, definitely. 

“The form we’ve shown in the last two months that’s probably certainly two points dropped. We’ve performed well against sides in the top four in the last three or four games and prior to that we went on a run of I think five wins on the spin.  I’m slightly disappointed with the final two games of the season, given how it went for two months prior to that.”

Halls Athletic were to be denied the winner by a world-class save and an offside flag in the final 10 minutes.

Joe Trimstram played a one-two with Allen before cracking a left-footed drive towards goal from 25-yards.  The ball screamed towards the roof of the net but Perkins tipped the shot against the crossbar and the offside flag went up as Stevens drove his shot into the bottom left-hand corner.

Copley said: “It’s hard to see whether that was from where I was standing whether that was offside or not really. Certainly the save onto the crossbar was top drawer really, a fantastic effort form Joe.”

“That’s probably one of the better saves I’ve seen this season, I think,” added Walsh.

“It looked in all the way, it’s great. I’m not sure which one of their players did it, probably one of the little twins because they’re brilliant. They’re great players. It’s a good little run, a great shot. James has produced a magnificent save, at any level of football.

“He’s played at higher levels, I think he’s 42 now, he won’t thank me for saying that!

“His dad was manager at Southport, his brother Steve Perkins played for Welling so he’s got a good footballing history, but when you put him on the pitch he is one of the better players as well.”

When asked about the offside decision, Walsh replied: “The goal was disallowed. I’m not sure. I couldn’t see from where I was but the linesman’s given offside The guy was his team-mate so I guess it probably was.”

Joe Trimstram fed substitute midfielder Vincenzo Mazzone, who cut the ball back via a defender to Stevens, but all he could do was poke the ball into Perkins’ hands.

There was enough light to complete the game and Mottingham created a couple of late chances.

Roll-on-roll-off subs Keegan Robinson released Hill through on goal but Marshall came off his line to smother at his feet.

Hill then played the ball through the heart of the pitch to put Ali through but as the ball bounced up off the rock hard pitch, the striker hit his right-footed half-volley chip over the bar from 30-yards.

Walsh said: “He’s probably taken it a little too early to be honest but he was fully aware that time was running out so he’s tried to get a shot off.  He looked quite lively when he came on.  We need to get our forwards into the box a bit more but he’s done well when he came on.”

Walsh knows his side are in for a tough game when title-chasing Lewisham Athletic visit Green Court Road next Tuesday evening.

“Lewisham are going for the title. I haven’t seen them play because I was away when we played them, it’s one game that I missed,” said Walsh.

“They’re doing magnificently well from what I hear. They’ve got a great desire, they’re a unified team so we need to focus on ourselves. They’re trying to win the title so we need to make sure we get a win out of the next two games to make sure that it’s in our own hands. What happens in terms of relegation, I’m not sure.

“This season has been really tough with the lack of attacking threat that we’ve got. I think trying to find a goalscorer, which makes a massive difference in this division, in fact any division. If you look at the teams doing well they’ve got someone that just knows where the back of the net is.  All the teams that are up there have got someone to do it.”

Halls Athletic have now completed their campaign and their manager said: “We finished sixth last season. I was hoping we’d at least maintain that position. I think we’re going to finish up seventh or eighth, maybe. It’s not ideal but this standard of football there’s more to life isn’t there?

“Am I happy with that? I think the performance levels of the players in this side certainly since Christmas deserves more than that. The first half of the season was relatively disastrous for one reason or another. It was quite disruptive. Certainly if the first couple of months you need to have bodies around the management set-up really to make it truly buzz. 

“I think we’ve made the best of what we’ve had really this season.”

AFC Mottingham: James Perkins, Bradley Ashby (Gavin Walker 46), Keegan Robinson (Tugay Ali 55), Anthony Wastall, Harry Ormonde, Ben Cotter, Callum Hill (John Littles 46), Jamie Chattreton (Joe Hills 46), Ceirron Lewis (Callun Hill 83), Barry Langford (Billy Alton 46), Gareth Jones (Keegan Robinson 75)

Goal: Gareth Jones 70

Booked: Anthony Wastall 7, Billy Alton 50

Sent off: Anthony Wastall 45

Halls Athletic: Raymond Marshall, Billy Judd, Ryan Trimstram, Russell Allen, David Stevens, Eddie Walker, Luca Fortunnelli (Vincenzo Mazzone 46), Matthew Skopila, Ross Copley (Steven Vanstone 46), Joe Trinstram, Lewis Trimstram.

Goal: Joe Trimstram 21

Attendance: 33
Referee: Mr Ian Cowell (Dartford)

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