Risborough Rangers 0-0 Erith & Belvedere - We’ve created a lot but our finishing has let us down and our finishing has let us down in the shoot-out as well, admits Erith & Belvedere boss Del Oldfield

Tuesday 03rd November 2020
Risborough Rangers 0 – 0 Erith & Belvedere
Location Horsenden Lane, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 9NE
Kickoff 03/11/2020 19:30

(Risborough Rangers win 4-2 on penalties)

The Buildbase FA Vase First Round
Tuesday 3 November 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Horsenden Lane

ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Del Oldfield says his side’s finishing let them down after crashing out of The FA Vase to lower-league opposition.

Risborough Rangers booked their place in the Second Round for the first time in their history after winning 4-2 on penalties after the game finished in a goal-less stalemate after 90 minutes at Horsenden Lane in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.

Risborough Rangers’ goalkeeper Jack Brooker saved from Jamie Taylor and Kameiko Pope-Campbell in the shoot-out as Mark Eaton’s side held their nerve from the spot to seal a trip to Cobham in the next round, post the second national Lockdown called by the UK Government due to the Covid-19 outbreak, which has a survival rate of 99% of the entire UK population.

“My initial thoughts are how have we dominate a game and come away with nothing?,” said Oldfield, the first side to prevent Risborough Rangers from scoring a goal in a game – and becoming the first side to avoid a defeat here.

“I don’t remember them having one single chance until late in the second half, which was sort of a half-chance that was just pumped at goal.

“We’ve created a lot but our finishing has let us down and our finishing has let us down in the shoot-out as well.”

When asked if his side deserved to lose this game, Oldfield replied: “No. If you look on possession, chances, no we didn’t but if you’re not going to convert those chances and you’re not going to convert penalties then maybe you don’t deserve it.”

Risborough Rangers went into this tie on impressive form, winning all but one of their 13 games in all competitions and sitting in third-place in the Hellenic League Division One East table with 15 points from five league games, two points adrift of leaders Wokingham & Emmbrook but with two games in hand.

The hosts defeated Winslow United (3-0) and Raunds Town (4-1) to reach this stage of the competition, while Erith & Belvedere beat Loxwood (1-0) and Colliers Wood United (3-0) and exit the competition without conceding a goal.

Risborough Rangers created their first opening after only 78 seconds when Marcus Wylie – playing wide left of a three man attack – easily cut inside Henry Dasofunjo before cracking a right-footed angled drive sailing over the crossbar from 25-yards, without anyone in a blue or white shirt pressing him.

However, Erith & Belvedere started to dominate proceedings and missed some glorious chances to change the outcome of the game.

Akeeb Adeyemo threw the ball in from the right and Taylor and George Humber linked up outside the box before the ball was worked out to an unmarked James Hawkins, the left-wing-back cracking a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which was pushed over the bar by the outstanding Brooker – after only two minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Holding midfielder Marlon Patterson swung in the resulting corner from the left, which was pushed away by Brooker, who rushed off his line to ensure Humber lashed his shot over the crossbar from 12-yards.

Erith & Belvedere targetman Tim Beckford then drove at the home sides defence and after cutting past centre-half Alexander Sethi he lashed his shot over the crossbar from 25-yards.

The away side squandered another chance with only five minutes and 39 seconds on the clock, following a well-worked move.

Right-centre-back Adeyemo played the ball up to Humber, who worked the ball over to Hawkins in acres of space on the other side of the penalty area and he took a touch before drilling his left-footed angled drive into the top of the side-netting from 12-yards.

Oldfield said: “it was a great start.  I said that to the boys in there that the first 5-10 minutes we should’ve been 3-0 up when we had those sort of chances.  It was either poor decision making or poor execution that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game, unfortunately.

“I think we needed that early goal. We’re missing our top goalscorer Jamie Humphries tonight because he’s cup-tied. It’s a shame he’s not here because I think if some of those chances had fallen to him, we’re comfortable, we’re home and dry and it’s comfortable and then they have to come at us, which would have opened the game up more for us even more so.”

Risborough Rangers were a direct outfit with often long-balls aiming for big target-man Brian Haule, although he was kept in the pocket of Erith & Belvedere centre-half Rob Curtis for most of the game.

Taylor played the ball into disappointing winger Dasofunjo, who cut inside before he fed Klaudio Krasinqi (who played behind the front two of Beckford and Humber) and he cut the ball onto his right-foot before his shot from 25-yards bounced into the hands of Brooker, the busier of the two goalkeepers.

Erith & Belvedere lost their attacking threat on the half-hour mark when Humber was withdrawn through injury and was replaced by Harry Smith.

Oldfield said: “Humber is a funny one. He’s had a long time out of football so his body isn’t conditioned for football 100% at the moment.  We’re trying to nurse him through that, obviously he’s got a month (of Lockdown) to get himself right.  It’s bad luck with him really more than anything.”

When Humber went off, left-wing-back Hawkins was a lot more quieter as he was dominated by Risborough Rangers’ right-back Bertie Squire-Adams.

“I don’t think he’s had one of his better games but he’s always a threat, anything from deliveries and things like that and obviously from penalties so it’s a shame to lose him that late but we couldn’t even risk him with a penalty because if he really hurts himself, he’s out for longer,” Oldfield said of Hawkins, who was withdrawn 128 seconds into stoppage time at the end of the game.

The home side then finished the half on the front foot and created chances to grab the lead.

Squire-Adams cut the ball on his left foot down the right-hand side and drilled in a low cross for centre-half Josh Urquart, who flicked the ball on at the near post with his boot and watched the ball roll into the hands of Rilwan Anibaba at his near post.

Wylie stroked a right-footed free-kick towards the bottom near corner from 30-yards, which forced Anibaba to get down low to his right to push towards safety.

At the other end, Hawkins whipped in a cross from the left and Krasinqi teed up Taylor, who dragged his right-footed shot harmlessly wide.

However, Risborough Rangers were to be thwarted by the woodwork with 43:29 on the clock.

A big kick upfield by Brooker was flicked on by the towering Haule and this put wide right-striker Sam Pekun through on goal.

Anibaba stepped to his right as soon as Pekun drove his shot towards the bottom corner, only for the ball to clip the outside of the near post from 10-yards, which was a massive let off for Erith & Belvedere.

“To be honest, that was the one lapse in concentration from our back three tonight, who I think were good, obviously keeping a clean-sheet and Rilwan Anibaba for that matter,” said Oldfield.

“I said to them at half-time that could’ve made the difference, luckily it never but just one lapse of concentration, that’s all, as a back three and a goalkeeper tonight, I thought they were excellent.”

Risborough Rangers were full of confidence going into the interval and created another decent chance.

Asher Yearwood played the ball inside to his central midfielder partner Lawrence Clarke, who shifted the ball over to the left and to an unmarked Wylie, who swept his first time shot straight at Anibaba to make a comfortable save.

“I said at half-time, literally keep doing what we’re doing but score! That was it, that was the only thing that was missing,” revealed Oldfield.

“I don’t know how we have created so many chances and not scored a goal.”

Erith & Belvedere created their first opening of the second half just 42 seconds in.

Hawkins swung in a corner from the right with his left boot towards the far post but Beckford planted his header over the crossbar.

A poor clearance from Erith & Belvedere’s centre-half Reece Barrett was hit straight to Haule but his angled drive bounced into Anibaba’s hands for a comfortable save.

Wylie then cut in from the left but his 30-yard drive lacked power and rolled into the hands of the visiting keeper in the ninth minute as the home side continued to play on the front foot.

Anibaba’s free-kick was hit down the touchline and was flicked on by Dasofunjo, which released substitute striker Smith down the right channel and he played the ball square to Krasinqi, who cut into the middle of the pitch and curled his left-footed shot over the top of the far post from 25-yards.

“I can see what he’s trying to do because we were right behind it. He’s trying to curl it into the top corner but again we had so many like that where we just have to hit the target, but we were just poor in front of goal tonight,” admitted Oldfield.

Risborough Rangers were continuing to dictate play and there was no difference between the levels of Hellenic League and the much stronger Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division.

Erith & Belvedere weathered the storm and the game went into a 10 minute stalemate before both sides created – and missed – chances to win it inside the final 15 minutes.

Barrett hit a long ball up to Smith, who laid the ball off to substitute striker Pope-Campbell, but his shot was charged down by the pressing Urquart and sailed just over the top of the far post and behind for a corner.

Hawkins swung in the away side’s fourth and final corner and the ball was met at the far post by Smith, who planted his free-header sailing just over the crossbar.

Risborough Rangers created an opening when Wylie played the ball in from the left and Yearwood dug the ball out from under his feet on the edge of the box and slipped over as the ball rolled into Anibaba’s hands for yet another comfortable pick-up.

Risborough Rangers could have snatched the victory with 36:20 on the clock, but for Anibaba’s outstretched fingertips.

Wylie played the ball to Clarke, who went down the outside of Barrett before substitute winger Martin Griggs got involved to whip in a cross towards the middle where Haule jumped out of Curtis’ pocket and planted his header towards goal from six-yards out, which was tipped over the bar by the goalkeeper, high to his right.

Oldfield said: “I didn’t think Haule was a threat at all. I thought we coped with him extremely well.  I don’t remember him, apart from that little flick on, I don’t think he done anything. Again, the back three and the goalkeeper marshalled him extremely well.”

Erith & Belvedere wasted a couple of chances inside the final couple of minutes to claim the victory.

Smith drove forward down the left and played in a low cross from the left which flashed across the face of the goal and was retrieved by Pope-Campbell on the right-hand side, who teed up Dasofunjo, whose drilled shot was superbly tipped over the bar by the left-arm of the diving Brooker.

“Again, their goalkeeper’s pulled off two or three really good saves to keep them in the game but we’ve got to do that more, we’ve got to make the goalkeeper make saves,” said a frustrated Oldfield.

“I know it sounds easier said than done.  I think one of our biggest problems is not understanding the game properly in a sense if you’re playing against a six-foot-three goalkeeper why are we hitting shots high?

“It doesn’t make sense. We’ve got to hit them in and around him low around his ankles and make him work for it but this is all part of the learning for the boys. It’s not a criticism. It’s just something that we’ve got to get better at, a little bit of game understanding.”

Barrett played the ball up to Smith, who slipped the ball forward to release Pope-Campbell in behind Sethi but he lacked composure and hit his shot over the crossbar, lacking composure when he only had Brooker to beat.

“Harry Smith done extremely well to get into that position in the first place and then he puts a lovely ball across the face of goal. It just needs a touch.  Again, that sort of willingness to die in front of goal has just been lacking, it’s disappointing but there you go.”

Risborough Rangers took the first penalty and Clarke drilled his right-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, despite Anibaba diving the same way.

Erith & Belvedere captain Patterson stepped up and found the bottom right-hand corner with his left-footed spot-kick, the keeper guessing the right way.

Urquart – the weak link at the heart of the Risborough Rangers back four with a lack of pace – saw his right-footed penalty saved by Anibaba, who dived to his left to make the save.

However, Taylor failed to take advantage as his right-footed penalty was saved by Brooker, who dived to his right to push the ball away.

Risborough Rangers went 2-1 up when substitute Martin Griggs drilled his right-footed penalty into the bottom left-hand corner after a long run-up, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Dasofunjo had two bites of the cherry from the spot.  His right-footed penalty was straight down the middle but an assistant referee spotted Brooker had moved off his line as he made the save to his left and the referee ordered a retake.

Dasofunjo’s second attempt nestled into the right-corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Haule put Risborough Rangers back in the driving seat, making it 3-2, lashing his right-footed penalty into the top-left-hand corner, as the keeper went low to his left.

Pope-Campbell missed the vital penalty for Erith & Belvedere as Brooker dived to his right to push the ball away to deny the right-footer.

Risborough Rangers sealed the 4-2 win when substitute Justin Gordon – who came on to the field 71 seconds into stoppage time at the end of the game – drilled his left-footed shot straight down the middle as Anibaba dived to his right.

When asked if his side have been practicing penalties, Oldfield replied: “to be honest, you can practice penalties all you like, it’s just on the day.”

I take that as a no then?

“If you look at the size of their goalkeeper compared to our goalkeeper he fills the goal and no matter where he dives the ball has got to be accurate but again it’s knowing what you’re up against and being sensible.  Again, the execution wasn’t great.

“It’s a horrible way to go out of a competition but we deserved to go through with the way we played and the opportunities that we’ve created but then maybe we don’t because we’re not converted them and then we’ve missed our penalties.  It all depends on your outlook.”

Erith & Belvedere go into Lockdown sitting in the bottom five in the Premier Division table with nine points from 11 games and Oldfield wants his players’ to improve their fitness during the four-week break.

He said: “For us it’s going to give us, I wouldn’t say it’s a good time but for us having to nurse so many injuries, it’s certainly going to give us an opportunity to get a number of our players back fit, whether they’ll be physically fit and ready to go at the beginning of December is another thing but at least they’ll might be injury free, which will give us a lot more options when it comes to choosing squads and starting eleven’s.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do, we’ll think of something.  We’ve got to do something to try to keep the boys ticking over because we’re not struggling in the league but we need that momentum from our league games that we’ve got at the moment, two wins out of three.

“We need to stick that momentum going into December and just secure our status, that’s all about this season, just making sure we stay where we are and go again next year.”

Risborough Rangers: Jack Brooker, Bertie Squire-Adams, Joel Read (Joshua Fox 70), Asher Yearwood (Justin Gordon 90), Josh Urquart, Alexander Sethi, Lawrence Clarke, Gary Rymer, Brian Haule, Marcus Wylie, Sam Pekun (Martin Griggs 80).
Subs: Chitepo Tarapafadzwa, Madison Wilkin, Louis Fountain, Freddy Rogers

Booked: Lawrence Clarke 85

Erith & Belvedere: Rilwan Anibaba, Akeeb Adeyemo, James Hawkins (Tyler Anderson-Parr 90), Marlon Patterson, Rob Curtis, Reece Barrett, George Humber (Harry Smith 30), Jamie Taylor, Tim Beckford (Kameiko Pope-Campbell 73), Klaudio Krasinqi, Henry Dasofunjo.
Subs: George Oldfield, Steve Springett

Booked: Marlon Patterson 18, Tim Beckford 49, Rilwan Anibaba 86

Attendance: 170
Referee: Mr Adam Jackson
Assistants: Mr Simon Parberry & James Bird