Rusthall 0-1 Chatham Town - When you play a team like Chatham you do need it to be a bit boring and you need to do all the hard stuff and the horrible stuff and I felt we did that really well today, says Rusthall boss Jimmy Anderson

Thursday 11th July 2019
Rusthall 0 – 1 Chatham Town
Location Jockey Farm Stadium, Nellington Road, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8SH
Kickoff 11/07/2019 19:45

Pre-Season Friendly
Thursday 11 July 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Jockey Farm Stadium

CHATHAM TOWN manager James Collins says he was pleased with his side’s defensive shape after extending their unbeaten run to three pre-season games.

Collins gave 22 players a run out against a Rusthall side that are preparing for life back in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division after suffering the drop alongside Croydon, while Chatham Town finished in the top four in the Premier Division and also claimed the Kent Senior Trophy and Challenge Cup.

Central midfielder Jack Evans scored the only goal of an uninspiring game, which was watched by 84 on a muggy Thursday evening at Jockey Farm Stadium.

Chatham Town were without Matt Bodkin (calf) and striker Joe Vines (groin) for the game, which proved to be a very comfortable outing for the higher division side.

“A really good work out for us, we got everything out what we wanted really,” said Collins, whose seen his side beat Sporting Club Thamesmead 5-0 and draw Phoenix Sports 1-1 so far this summer.

“I said to the boys before the game, I’m not interested how many goals we scored.  I know what I’ve got and I know we’ve got goals in us.

“We need to start working a little bit on not conceding goals. We conceded too many goals last season. We’ve done a whole session on defensive play the other night and everybody could see we tried to keep our shape.

“We were very wasteful in the final third.  I would like us to be a little bit better but I’ve got no worries about that.  I know I’ve got good players in there. I was more worried about our shape. I don’t think they had a shot. I don’t think our goalkeeper has made a save in the whole game.”

Jimmy Anderson was in charge of 20 games last season and suffered losing half of them as he failed to keep Rusthall in the Premier Division for a third season.

“A good work-out for the team. A lot of boys run themselves into the ground,” said Anderson, who was managing Corinthian’s Suburban League side before his switch.

“Obviously Chatham are a great side, that’s why we got the friendly with them and I’m good friends with James Collins, so it was a really good work-out for us.”

Rusthall kept giving possession away during the first half as they lost composure almost every time that Chatham Town’s players pressed.

Anderson said: “It was a bit lively in the first half, for a friendly as well and probably it was a fair result at half-time, one-nil.

“We didn’t really create much throughout the whole game unfortunately but against a good team like that we didn’t want to get beat five or six nil with confidence in pre-season.

“I’m pleased, we got what we wanted out of it. It was a good work-out for the boys. We’re trying to build a good squad here.”

Collins said: “We’ve worked them really hard in pre-season and we’ve said about us keeping clean sheets. We’ve had three games now and kept two clean-sheets, conceded a worldie goal against Phoenix.

“We’ve got four games in five days next week and we’ll split the squads up in half and it will be a bit more about marrying up the attacking side of our game to the defensive but tonight was about 22 players working on our shape, which I’m delighted with.”

Chatham Town started the game on the front foot and striker Luis Dos Santos started the game in a lively manner, driving straight down the heart of the pitch before stroking his left-footed drive from 20-yards, which was comfortably saved by Aaron McGuigan after only 185 seconds.

The best Rusthall – starting the game with three at the back – could muster came in the 19th minute when wing-back Brad Large played a one-two with Reuel Powell-Downey and got in behind Joe Kane but striker Cameron Gyeabour failed to make the run into the box and Chatham left-back Josh McIIeron was able to clear the ball away.

“Strangely enough we started off with two strikers (Cameron Gyeabour and Luke Adams) and we managed to get in down the left hand side and it was a shot across the six-yard box and no-one was in the box strangely enough, so we have to work on things in pre-season. Obviously fitness, work-rate, we’re working on that,” said Anderson.

Chatham Town broke down the left and Harry Harding and Dos Santos linked up well and the ball was cut back to Michael Hagan, whose low right-footed drive from 16-yards brought a comfortable save by McGuigan, getting down low to his right.

“Aaron’s come in and done really well for us. He made some really good saves in the first half and then he made three good saves on the bounce in the second half so I can’t really fault him,” said Anderson.

“He’s good with his feet, at times he’s a little bit too confident and we try to play out from the back so it works well for us.”

Hagan was terrorising the Rusthall defence with his runs down the left and he slipped the ball through to Dos Santos but the angle was too tight to beat McGuigan at his near post at the halfway mark.

The first half was a frenetic affair with Rusthall failing to string many passes together and Chatham Town wasteful in front of goal.

Evans floated in their first of five corners and centre-half Leon Smith saw his diving header sail just past the near post from 12-yards.

Chatham Town claimed the deserved victory by scoring their only goal with 38 minutes and 19 seconds on the clock.

Harding, who scored a club record 45 goals for Erith & Belvedere in the First Division last season, sprayed the ball out wide to Kane, who played the ball back inside to Harding, who teed up Evans. 

Evans controlled the ball before stroking a right-footed drive towards the bottom right-hand corner from 20-yards.  The ball deflected off Ryan Styles – who played at the heart of the Rustics’ back three – and the ball kissed the base of the right-hand post before nestling into the opposite corner of the goal.

Collins said:  “It was a well-worked goal that one. We wanted to be patient, our build-up play needed to be a bit patient.

“It was a good goal. I don’t want to be the one who feels we should’ve scored more or whatever but I thought it was a comfortable 1-0 and we probably should’ve scored a few more goals and it was nice to win the game but pleased with the clean-sheet.”

Anderson added: “I believe it come of one of my defenders. He said it came off his toe and obviously the deflection put it on the post and it came off the post and went in.

“I thought both teams were quite organised. We started off with a back three, which is something that we don’t usually do and they basically punished us pretty quick so I changed my formation and went to a back four.

“There were good spells at times for us. We’re a ball passing team. I’ve got a philosophy that I want to get the ball down and play and every player in the team has to have confidence on the ball.

“Chatham are going to be up there and challenging for the league for sure and they’ve got some really good players.”

The half-time whistle saw Chatham Town’s starting 11 warm-down by running up and down the pitch while Collins gave his second half squad some instructions out on the pitch.

“The thing is like anything when you play two teams, at half-time obviously my boys are going to get more tired and they (Chatham) looked a little bit more fresher,” said Anderson.

Chatham Town’s performance was better during the first half than the second half, although Rusthall’s performance vastly improved after the hour-mark but the game certainly had a pre-season feel to it for most parts.

Chatham’s new front two of Josh Beadle an Eitel Goueth linked up well in the sixth minute, with McGuigan making a low save to his left to deny Beadle.

Right-winger Jon Pilbeam then played a low ball in from the wing to Goueth, who flashed a left-footed drive just past the foot of the right-hand post from 25-yards just 18 seconds later.

Former Corinthian striker Cameron Gyeabour endured a frustrating 90 minutes and he was held by Chatham Town centre-half Justyn Roberts but referee Matt Charles waved play on and Lorenzo Cuozzo had Rusthall’s first shot on goal, which sailed over the crossbar in the 58th minute.

Former Gillingham winger George Sheminant swung in Chatham’s fourth corner of the night, which was cleared out to Pilbeam, who hooked his drive through and across a crowded penalty area and flashing just past the foot of the far post.

Rusthall keeper McGuigan was one of four players whom got through 90 minutes and he pulled off a fantastic triple save to frustrate Chatham Town inside the final 15 minutes.

Right-back Zak Wells drove in a shot from the right which was parried by McGuigan, who got up to punch away Goueth’s follow-up attempt before the keeper tipped over Wells’ left-footed hooked angled drive.

Anderson said: “We’re pleased with Aaron. He’s got a lot to work on, like every player in the team. He’s come in and done a really good job.  I’ve got a young team, I’ve pretty much got an under 23 side here and he’s kind of one of the more experienced lads and he’s leading by example.”

Collins said: “We should’ve scored that, those need to be goals!

“It’s still very early, it’s still pre-season. People haven’t played for a while. We’ve run them into the ground so they even may even be a little bit leggy.  I’m not too fussed about that. If it’s a league game, you win 1-0 and it’s job done and we’ve said if you keep clean sheets, you can’t lose games.”

Having used all of their six substitutions, the Rusthall manager threw Large and combative midfielder Luke Adams back into the action having earlier been substituted.

Rusthall waited until the 77th minute to create their first chance on target.  The referee allowed right-back Wells get away with a handball and this gave Large the chance to hit a right-footed shot on the turn from just outside the box and the ball was comfortably saved by Jordan Carey.

“It’s a little bit disappointing when we say we created one chance but we’re up against a really good team,” admitted Anderson.

“Fitness is the thing so minutes is really good for the boys. I’ve got a lot of boys in there with heavy legs. We’ve got another game at home to Eastbourne Town on Saturday.”

Dan Ellis had nothing to do during the first half and remains Collins number one.

“Jordan has come in. When I had Jordan at Cray Valley, Tony (Russell, the Cray Wanderers manager) was really brilliant with him and helped him out and he’s been at Brentford under 18s and he’s a very good goalkeeper.

“I’ve got all the time in the world for him and he left and decided to go to Sheppey and he’s just someone who needs to find a club and settle down.

“Dan was brilliant for us last season, he’s our number one. Jordan has come in and he’s going to train with us and play in pre-season. We’ve got a lot of games.

“Dan Ellis is number one at the moment but if Dan doesn’t apply himself right that could quickly change and Jordan knows that.

“We’re sort of helping each other out at the moment. He’s come in and training with us and playing in pre-season games and putting pressure on Dan but Dan is my number one.”

Goueth and Beadle done themselves no harm with their link-up play during the second half and Beadle brought the ball under control at the near post and tried to score from a tight angle, only for the Rusthall keeper to get down low at his near post to push the ball away.

Reflecting on the result, Collins said: “I thought Rusthall were good as well. I thought they were very physical, very fair, they knocked the ball around, they were energetic and gave us a good work-out and we got everything we wanted out of it. You’d like to be a little bit more clinical but third game in, more than happy!”

Anderson saw his side beat Peacehaven & Telscombe 3-0 here on Saturday and reflected on tonight’s outing.

“I’m really happy. We got what we wanted out of it against a really good team, a really good organised team.  They’ve got a really good squad and we put ourselves up against it.

“When I came here after Christmas we went to Chatham and we managed to get a 0-0. A lot of people said it was a boring game but at times when you play a team like Chatham you do need it to be a bit boring and you need to do all the hard stuff and the horrible stuff and I felt we did that really well today.”

Rusthall: Aaron McGuigan, Brad Large (Jaydn Gildea 46), Reuel Powell-Downey (Delayne Pryce 55), Ryan Styles, Jake Hampson (Louis Anderson 46), Robbie Bissett (Brad Large 71), Ryan Waterman (Ryan Hinkson 55), Paul Butler (Callum Gallie 46), Cameron Gyeabour, Luke Adams (Eddie Jonas 46), Lorenzo Cuozzo (Luke Adams 71).

Booked: Paul Butler 26

Chatham Town: Dan Ellis (Jordan Carey 46), Joe Kane (Zak Wells 46), Josh McIIeron (Reece Butler 46), Pat Geddis (Josh Regan 46), Leon Smith (Fikayo Adjayi 46), Danny Fitzsimons (Justyn Roberts 46), Harvey Brown (Jon Pilbeam 46), Jack Evans (Jude Athurs 46), Luis Dos Santos (Josh Beadle 46), Harry Harding (Eitel Goueth 46), Michael Hagan (George Sheminant 46).

Goal: Jack Evans 39

Attendance: 84
Referee: Mr Matt Charles
Assistants: Mr Mike Donnelley & Mr Pawel Prokopowicz