Rochester United 1-4 Newhaven - We had the opportunities throughout that game to actually win it and we didn't, says Rochester United boss Matt Hume

Wednesday 10th August 2016
Rochester United 1 – 4 Newhaven
Location Rede Court Road, Strood, Rochester, Kent ME2 3TU
Kickoff 10/08/2016 19:45

(after extra time)
The Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Replay
Wednesday 10th August 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Rede Court Road

ROCHESTER UNITED manager Matt Hume says he was feeling really frustrated after his side missed the chance to progress through to the FA Cup Preliminary Round.

They came away from The Trafalgar Ground with a goal-less draw on Saturday on their opening game of the season and grabbed the lead against the run of play when Vince Collis hooked his volley into the top corner of the net at Rede Court Road tonight.

Newhaven bossed the first half but they had to wait 12 minutes before the end of normal time to equalise, through Callum Connor’s breakaway goal.

Newhaven took the lead in the first period of extra-time through Lee Robinson’s penalty, before substitute Ian Robinson added a third and Lee Robinson’s 200th career goal for Newhaven wrapped it up with a flattering fourth at the end.

“Just like I explained to the lads in there, I thought it was a very even game over the 90 minutes. They definitely had the better of the first half, I thought we had the better in the second half and the difference in games like this is finishing your chances,” said Hume after the club’s sixth FA Cup tie in their history.

“We had some cracking chances to finish them off in the second half.  You’d argue they probably felt disappointed with that but at the end of 90 minutes I thought it was an even game.

“The second half (of extra-time), we talked about it in there, they got their chances and scored them and killed us.  They’re sitting in there moaning about the ref but I said to them you can’t look at that. We had the opportunities throughout that game to actually win it – and we didn’t!”

The Dockers bossed the first half, creating their first opening with just 178 seconds on the clock.

Central defender Adam Kneller, who was later to suffer from a calf strain and cramp, clipped a diagonal ball out of Newhaven’s defence up to Seb Saunders, who cut in and his left-footed drive from 22-yards was palmed behind by Michel Elder, high to his left.

“I thought in the first half they were definitely better than us,” admitted an honest Hume.

“Considering how well we played against them on Saturday, I was very disappointed with our first half performance.  We changed at few responsibility roles at half-time and I think our shape in the second half, we came out a different side.”

James Rhodes’ inswinging free-kick from down the right channel was headed out to Saunders, who hooked his shot past the post.

But Rochester United grabbed the lead – totally against the run of play – with 10 minutes and 56 seconds on the clock.

Rob Alderman released striker Dan Gonzalez-Bello down the right and he whipped in a cross, which was headed away by Kneller, only as far as Collis, who took a touch to hook his volley screaming across the keeper to find the top far corner from 20-yards.

There was no glossing over just how poor Rochester United were at this point.

Hume agreed, saying, “Great goal, you’re right, against the run of play. We didn’t deserve to be in the lead then and we didn’t play well after that either.

“A great finish by Vince, a real good goal but we can see from where we were that we weren’t at all in the game as far as playing against them and we needed to up our game a lot but it took us until half-time to change that.”

A poor clearance from Rochester’s right-back Dan Nash ricochet into the path of Connor, who bent his shot just around the far post from the left-hand side of the penalty area.

But Rochester United squandered a brilliant chance to double their lead in the 22nd minute.

Alderman shrugged off the attention of Ryan Walton in midfield and slipped the ball through for Gonzalez-Bello, who was denied by the legs of keeper Jake Buss.

Despite it being a big first half chance for Rochester, Hume said: “The one you mentioned, I can’t really remember now because there were so many!

“Both sides had an awful lot of half chances and good chances all game.”

And exactly 60 seconds later, Rochester keeper Elder used his legs to block from Lee Robinson, who stole the ball as Tom Box dwelled on the ball on the edge of his own penalty area.

Newhaven’s pacy striker Lee Robinson easily cut past Rochester’s left-back Matt McHugh, but his right-footed angled drive towards the bottom near corner forced Elder to get down low to tip the ball around the post.

“Mike’s been fantastic. He’s new to us this year. He was excellent on Saturday and I think tonight he was superb,” said Hume.

“I was really pleased with his performances in a very evenly matched game on Saturday.  I thought we dominated and he had to pull off a really good save on Saturday to earn a replay.  Today, I don’t think he’s put much wrong at all.”

Rhodes swung in the corner from the right but Walton’s sent his towering header over the bar from four-yards out.

Newhaven produced a good move on the half-hour mark. 

Saunders released left-back Freddy Beale on the overlap, he whipped in a quality cross but Connor nodded wide of the near post from four-yards.

Connor then cut the ball back for Rhodes to float in another cross into Rochester’s box but Walton powered his free-header over from eight-yards.

The last moments of Newhaven’s dominant first half saw Rhodes float in another free-kick, this time to the far post for Ryan Knight to come up the back for Elder to catch his deflected header comfortably.

Visiting keeper Buss then got his body behind pacy Alderman’s speculative cross-come-shot from 35-yards.

Hume revealed he gave his side some strong words during the half-time interval and it clearly worked as Rochester United came out vastly improved.

He said: “It wasn’t pleasant in the changing room, that’s for sure! We let them know what we thought of their performances and what I love about our side – and I said to them after – it’s not the lack of want to work hard and doing the right things, it was just not doing fundamental things correctly at different stages of the game, picking up the right players when we haven’t got the ball.

“They listened at half-time, we did have a lot of strong words but they reacted in the right way and I thought second half the performance proved it.”

Alderman released Gonzalez-Bello, who played the ball across the face of goal but Buss smothered the ball at Alderman’s feet inside the Newhaven penalty area.

But Rochester United missed a glaring miss in the 55th minute.

Tom Carr threw the ball to Pierce, who cut the ball back to left-back McHugh, who floated in a cross for Alderman to head the ball back across goal, clipping the crossbar and Carr lashed his left-footed shot over the bar, frustrating Hume once more.

“Did he hit the bar Rob? How he done that he was literally on the goal-line and that was after a little bit of pressure when we’ve been doing quite well. If that had gone in, we’d have possibly gone on and won it.”

Collis’ corner from the right was met by Pierce’s downward header, which was straight at Buss, the Newhaven keeper making a routine save.

Rochester United missed another great chance in the 63rd minute.

Box released Gonzales-Bello in behind the Newhaven defence (Kneller) and flashed his cross across the face of goal and Alderman steered his shot across the face of goal and agonisingly past the foot of the far post.

Hume added: “The one that stood out from my mind was in the second half when Rob Alderman was a yard out. It was harder to miss the goal than it was to put it in the back of the net!”

Newhaven keeper Buss made a comfortable low save to his right to prevent Box scoring from 20-yards as the game entered the 70th minute.

Having lost Ricki Holmes to injury, former Cray Valley player-manager Paul Gross slotted beside Pierce at the heart of Rochester’s defence from the 50th mark and his calmness kept Newhaven at bay.

“I thought he done fantastic to be fair,” said Hume.  “Knowing that Paul Gross is a forward, we are really aware that his experience is valuable and even at the back and I thought when he came on, it’s really hard to change the back four and bring people in, I thought he done fantastically.”

But the game turned on its head in the space of 29 seconds.

Rochester United were to be denied by a cruel twist of fate as Box’s deflected drive from 30-yards left Buss rooted to the spot and the ball agonisingly clipped the crossbar.

Newhaven broke in devastating fashion and diminutive left-winger, substitute Kyle Woolven, cut into the penalty area, his low shot bounced off the foot of the near post and Connor poked his shot into the bottom left-hand corner to equalise in the 78th minute.

“We was devastated with that but that’s football, that’s how it can be like,” said Hume.

“If you don’t finish your chances, they’ll have the chance to do it and if they’re clinical enough you’re going to lose the game, which is what happened to us.

“You’re just really frustrated, I’m sure the players are but from the side line when you can’t do anything about it, it’s really frustrating and with the scoreline at the end of it, people that watched the game saw how tight it was.  Little things like that turn the game into a completely one-sided game eventually, which is how it turned out to be.”

Newhaven finished normal time on the front foot.  Woolven’s inswinging free-kick from the left-channel was whipped in and forced Elder to palm the ball away high over his left shoulder.

Lee Robinson flashed his angled drive past the foot of the far post from 12-yards and Rochester could have grabbed victory late on too.

Winger Alex Kendall raced down the right and whipped in a great cross for Gonzalez-Bello, his header sailing agonisingly wide of the far post.

Reflecting on the position of the match on 90 minutes, Hume replied: “I felt it was overall an even game. We had the better of the second half, I thought they had the better of the first half.

“You’d argue when you get the better of the second half that you’ll finish it and if we’d finished we’d have won it.  We had enough chances to finish it in 90 minutes.”

Newhaven had the first chance of extra-time, Lee Robinson’s header being saved by Elder after Woolven’s left-wing cross after only 58 seconds, before an unmarked Saunders flashed his right-footed drive just past the post with Elder rooted to the spot.

But Newhaven took the lead with four minutes and 21 seconds into extra-time when referee James Hurst pointed to the spot when Nash was penalised for bringing down Woolven.

Lee Robinson sent Elder the wrong way to score an emphatic right-footed penalty into the left-corner of the net.

“When we went out for the first period of the extra-time, we conceded early on, which was bad for us,” admitted Hume, whose brother Lloyd managed Maidstone United to the Kent League and Ryman League Division One South title.

“I think that’s when possibly the belief we could possibly win it, went.”

Hume added: “From where I looked, it looked like a penalty but from all the lads they said he didn’t even touch him and he went down before it actually happened.

“But from where I was standing, I weren’t arguing with it, I actually thought it was a penalty but from all accounts he didn’t touch him but that was a huge turning point in the game.”

There was just one further chance in the first period, as Woolven played the ball inside to Connor, his right-footed drive from 20-yards deflected just past the foot of the left-hand post.

Hume threw Gross up top for the second period and played with three men at the back.

Long-throw specialist Carr launched the ball into the penalty area, the ball was flicked on by Pierce and Gross but Gonzalez-Bello’s header at the far post was saved by Buss.

Newhaven sub Ian Robinson was played in behind the Rochester back three but shanked his chip harmlessly wide when he only had Elder to beat.

But it all went horribly wrong for Rochester United, as Newhaven twice hit them on the break in clinical fashion.

Saunders released Lee Robinson down the left, he shrugged off the last man, to cut the ball back for Ian Robinson to roll the ball into the back of the net – the goal coming in the 117th minute.

“The scoreline isn’t a reflection of the game,” said Hume.

“We gambled a bit in extra-time, we went man-for-man at the back, we put another player up front. We were trying to put a bit of pressure but when things break down we was always going to be vulnerable to another goal.  You have got to try to win the game, there’s no point trying to get a draw out of it.  We had to try to win it and that’s what we tried to do.”

And inside injury-time, Ian Robinson put Lee Robinson through on goal and placed his shot into the bottom near corner past Elder in a one-on-one.

Newhaven will now travel to Eastbourne United, who needed a replay to beat Tunbridge Wells 2-1 on Tuesday night, on 20 August.

Hume added: “I think the game had gone by then, It was a stage in the game that was likely to happen.”

Hume takes his side to Fisher on Saturday, whose manager Gary Abbott was in the stand tonight, as both sides open their Southern Counties East Football League campaigns.

“It’s going to be an interesting one. We don’t know what they’re like. I know Gary, he’s a great lad, he’s a local lad to us. He’s just taken the job, it will be interesting, I’m looking forward to going down there.”

Rochester finished in the bottom four last season and Hume spelt out his club’s aspirations this term.

“To do better than last year! We’re a better side in my opinion than last year, a lot better.  We’re a lot better in strength-in-depth so to finish a better position in the league in what I would argue is going to be a stronger league than last year is going to be a good season for us.

“It will be really unwise of me to say where we’re going to get, but knowing we’re stronger than last year, let’s see if we can improve on our position.  We do not want to get involved in a relegation battle, we’ve done a lot of work at the club on and off the pitch to make things better here. We’re in a lot better shape so it’s to become a good side, which I believe we are and make sure we stay in the league.”

Rochester United: Michael Elder, Dan Nash, Matt McHugh, Tony Whitaker, Andy Pierce, Ricki Holmes (Paul Gross 50), Rob Alderman, Tom Carr, Dan Gonzales-Bello (David Baranoski 113), Tom Box (Alex Kendall 85), Vince Collis.
Subs: Jack Hayes, Jonathan Funnell, Craig Lawrence

Goal: Vince Collis 11

Booked: Andy Pierce 73, Tony Whitaker 103

Newhaven: Jake Buss, Daniel Murphy (Ben Earle 65), Freddy Beale, Jayson Sowter, Ryan Knight, Adam Kneller, Seb Saunders, James Rhodes (Ian Robinson 85), Lee Robinson, Ryan Walton (Kyle Woolven 65), Callum Connor.
Subs: Shaun Skipper, Paul Woods, Sean Breach

Goals: Callum Connor 78, Lee Robinson 95 (penalty), 120, Ian Robinson 117

Booked: James Rhodes 41, Lee Robinson 115

Attendance: 99
Referee: Mr James Hurst (Peckham, London SE15)
Assistants: Mr Nick Fruin (Hayes) & Mr Chris Price (Bromley)

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