Sevenoaks Town 1-2 Erith Town - That’s the rocket up our backside that we may need so let’s see how we react Saturday, says Sevenoaks Town boss Micky Collins

Tuesday 13th February 2018
Sevenoaks Town 1 – 2 Erith Town
Location Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5BX
Kickoff 13/02/2018 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Tuesday 13 February 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins says this shock home defeat to out-of-form Erith Town was the rocket up the backside that they might need to recover from only their second league defeat of the season.

The Oaks suffered their first home league defeat of the season to an Erith Town side that arrived at Greatness Park in fifteenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with 28 points in the bag from 24 games, losing their last five games.

League leaders Sevenoaks Town made three changes to the side that came away from Bearsted with a 5-0 win at the weekend.

Former Hastings United striker Kenny Pogue scored his fourth goal for the club to give Sevenoaks a first half lead.

Pogue was forced off with an ankle injury early in the second half when he set-up a chance for his strike partner Frankie Sawyer to hit the post and this galvanised Adam Woodward’s young passing side, who won the game thanks to two goals in the space of four minutes.

Former Dulwich Hamlet youngster Osman Proni hit a stunning drive into the top bins to equalise before Erith Town won it with 16 minutes left courtesy of 18-year-old striker Sidney Warden, who scored his ninth goal of the season for the Dockers while on dual-registration from Margate’s under 23’s.

“Disappointed, obviously, but sometimes you just have to look at the other team and say on the night the better team won, simple as that for me,” said Collins.

“I thought they passed the ball better than us and were the better side so sometimes you have to look at that. We had spells but we didn’t kill the game off when we had the best spells and we’ve been sloppy in certain areas and they’ve scored two good goals.

“It’s disappointing, it’s one of those. It’s frustrating for all of us but you have to take it on the chin and move on.”

When asked about making three changes from their last game, Collins explained: “We’re aware that we’re playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday for the next four or five weeks so for me we needed to make sure we freshen it up all the time and to be honest, it’s no excuses.

“We have a big squad so normally if I can call upon that big squad I would’ve used it even more tonight but we haven’t.  There’s three or four missing so we couldn’t call on them but there’s no excuses.  The team we put out there tonight and the three subs that came on should be good enough to win a game of football and they haven’t delivered it.

“We have to look at that internally and we weren’t good enough tonight!”

“I’m more than happy,” said Timmy Warden, Erith Town’s assistant manager who was sent out by Woodward for media duties.

“We’ve gone through a little bit of a sticky patch in the last few games but it weren’t for the lack of trying and the lack of ability.  I just think the luck hasn’t really been with us and as you know when you’re struggling down that part of the league the luck you get is normally bad luck.

“Today, I thought we worked tirelessly again and that’s what you get with young boys, they might make mistakes here and there but they will work their socks off and they’ve worked tirelessly.”

Erith Town created the game’s opening chance after only 72 seconds.

Warden swung in a free-kick from within the left-channel and Jack Duffy came up from the back to nip in front of the keeper at the near post to loop his header over the crossbar.

Sevenoaks Town’s first opportunity arrived in the 11th minute.

Sawyer played the ball inside to Lee Carey who played the ball into Pogue’s feet, who sliced his right-footed drive harmlessly past the far post from 30-yards.

Erith Town went close to opening the scoring when Oaks’ central defender Corey Holder was pressed by Ollie Milton inside the box, who retrieved the loose ball before cutting the ball back to winger Steven Ita, who flashed his low angled drive across the keeper and past the far post from 18-yards.

“Steven’s come in and he’s been in for the last couple of weeks and he brings a little bit of quality and maturity in to the changing room,” said Warden.

“It’s one of them. He has that shot five or six times and it will either go row Z or in the bottom corner. Unfortunately for Steven it goes just wide but that was a little flash of things that were going to materialise because we were working hard and pressing well.”

Sevenoaks Town’s right-back Chris Edwards hit a long ball down the right channel which was chased by Sawyer, who cut the ball inside to Carey, who hit a first time dipping right-footed drive just over from 20-yards in the 18th minute.

But Sevenoaks Town grabbed the lead with 24 minutes and 44 seconds on the clock through clinical Pogue.

Edwards clipped a long ball out of defence towards the edge of the box, winger Harrison Carnegie teed up Pogue, who drilled his right-footed shot into the bottom near corner from 16-yards.

“Ken’s good at that. He gets the ball out of his feet and shoots. He’s a striker and I think when he went off he caused us a problem,” admitted Collins.

“We’ve been relying on him in the last few games and then he went off and all off a sudden we were all sixes and sevens for 10-15 minutes. 

“He rolled his ankle, we don’t know how serious it is. I don’t think it’s as serious as we first thought but he’s doubtful for Saturday.

“He’s a great signing. It’s just disappointing and I could tell from everyone’s faces when he went down because he has brought something to the table but again you can’t rely on one man so without him playing we have got to deliver and we haven’t!”

Warden added: “To be fair Osman lost a little bit in the light there. It’s hard when you’re playing night games when the ball’s been put up there in the air that high and you follow the ball and sometimes you get a bit blinded.

“I think he could’ve been helped out by players around him taking charge but it’s one of those things.

“He lays it off and the quality that they’ve got up top, I thought it was a great finish!  It was a great strike from them and when you’ve got quality like they have, when they get half a chance, they finish it!”

The Dockers almost hit back immediately when Proni whipped in a free-kick towards the far post and Ben Fitchett came up from the back to guide his downward header past the near post from 18-yards.

Warden added: “That’s a chance gone begging from someone like Ben.  I thought he was dominant.  He’s one of our young boys and to have a game like that, that would’ve capped it off to be honest if he had finished his chances but it wasn’t to be.”

Erith Town goalkeeper Adam Molloy was called into making a comfortable save in the 31st minute.

Edwards stroked his right-footed free-kick from 22-yards over the wall but the shot was too close to the Molloy’s head, using his right-hand to palm the ball over his crossbar.

Collins said: “It was a good hit from Chris but it was a comfortable save. It was over his head. I think if it was either side of him it might’ve caused him a problem.”

Warden added: “With Molloy’s experience, I don’t like to say this, but should he be playing at this level? Probably not! But he does me and Woody a favour. 

“I know he’s one of our older players but he’s here to develop the young boys and he’s different class.  I’d say if it went to player-of-the-season at the moment you’d be hard to argue if it weren’t Molloy who was going to win it because he’s been outstanding all season!”

Eighty-one seconds later, Carnegie cut inside from the right flank to fizz a shot along the deck from 25-yards, which was saved comfortably by Molloy, who dropped to his knees to make the save.

Erith Town wasted a couple of headed chances just before half-time.

Proni floated in a cross from the right towards the edge of the box but Warden steered his header past the right-hand post from a good position.

The Dockers then wasted a glorious chance when a good move resulted in winger Steven Ita to deliver a deep cross from the left but their unmarked right-back Lewis Scotter got underneath the header to plant the ball over the bar from six-yards.

Warden said: “Lewis has been with me for the last three years. There the sort of chances he buries!

“As the ball went to the back post I thought it was Sidney at the back post and I weren’t too happy, being a smaller lad, he’s not decent in the air, he’s decent in the air, but with Lewis, that’s part of his game dominating in the air like that and to be fair he got underneath it and it went over but it was great positioning from him.

“When the delivery comes in to the back post we ask them to attack that back post and I thought he did exactly what we asked him to do, just the final result wasn’t in our favour really.”

Collins felt Erith Town’s young players excelled playing on the artificial pitch.

He said: “Do you know what? They’re really good at it. The thing is young kids are used to playing on this stuff because they’ve brought up with it and it suits them and you can see they pass the ball fantastic and you look at the kids developing and coming through and you look at them and what’s coming through for them and that’s great! That’s how it should be really. At times second half they gave us a football lesson!”

Both were asked their thoughts at the break.

Collins said: “We wanted to be more compact.  I wasn’t too happy with the game being stretched so we compacted it and I thought when we came out of the blocks second half I thought we were on it. I thought we were on the money for 10-20 minutes and we’ve got to go on and score the second goal, which we didn’t do.”

Warden added: “Woody normally does the rallying of the troops and I normally do the tactical side of it.

“Woody said things first and tactically there wasn’t a lot of change.  I think we were more than in the game. It was 1-0 but it was fairly even with the chances that we had.  I don’t think there was a lot to change, that’s why we didn’t make any tactical or personnel changes so we were looking forward to the second half and the first 10 minutes of the second half was critical really.”

Sevenoaks Town created a couple of early second half chances to kill off Erith Town.

Carey played the ball into Pogue, who cut the ball to left-winger Greg Benbow, who cut into the box to cross low to Pogue, who teed up Jason Thompson, who curled his first time shot over the crossbar from just inside the Dockers penalty area.

Erith Town went close when Warden played a low centre in from the right to Andres Felipe Losado Tobon, who curled his 30-yarder around the keeper and around the far post.

The game should have been dead and buried but Sevenoaks striker Sawyer struck the post in the 51st minute.

Pogue was released down the left-channel, he played an inside pass along the deck to Sawyer, who swept his first time shot from 12-yards across Molloy, only for the ball to kiss the far post and was grabbed by Molloy as he was on the floor.

Collins said: “Frankie, for me, has got to score the one off the post and Kenny puts it on a plate and he doesn’t finish it!  At 2-0, I think it’s a different game but we haven’t taken our chance.

“It was a massive moment because Kenny goes down injured after doing it and Frankie hasn’t put the chance away, unfortunately. He’s in the right place but he hasn’t put it away. He put one away very similar on Saturday and that’s the difference. If that goes in it could’ve been a completely different game.”

“When you’re down the bottom half of the table you do get luck but it’s always bad and maybe tonight was the turning point that we needed, a little bit of luck on our side,” said Warden.

“Don’t take nothing away from Lordswood on Saturday, their three goals were deflections.  As we know sometimes deflections can go one way or another. Unluckily for us it went against us on Saturday and tonight it’s swings and roundabouts, we got a little bit of fortune, a little bit of luck there.

“If that goes in it’s 2-0. It’s a lot of difference.  At 1-1 our tails are up, that next goal is always a pointer of which way it’s going to go. Hitting the post puts our tails up and then we went on the front foot and never looked to step back!”

Oaks’ left-back Ben Wilson floated in a long free-kick from within the centre circle but central defender Tom Ripley planted his header past the near post from a tight-angle.

Edwards hit a long diagonal pass towards Benbow, who teed up Sawyer, whose left-footed angled drive was beaten away by Molloy at his near post in the 64th minute.

Collins said: “They’re the times when you’re in these games and it’s tight and it’s nip and tuck, you’ve got to put those chances away and you’ve got to go 2-0 and then see what the other team are about and then you hope they’re a bit disillusioned but that’s not the case, they’re young lad and they’re a credit to them and they kept plugging away and got their chances.”

Edwards then swung in a left-footed free-kick from the left-wing but Ripley’s near-post header looped into the arms of Molloy.

Thompson and Carnegie linked up well down the right and Edwards’ first time cross was punched away by Molloy.  Carey swept a first time pass back into the box and a shot on the turn from substitute striker Mark Jones was held by Molloy at his near post.

Erith Town grabbed an high-quality equaliser when it came with 24 minutes and 35 seconds on the clock.

Tobon played a low pass in from the right flank to Proni, who powered a quality left-footed angled drive across the keeper and sailing into the top far corner from 22-yards.

Warden said: “I was standing right behind it! Osman is a great football player. When we do the five-a-sides he’s exceptional! Sometimes in the SCEFL you need to move the ball quickly and I’ve been on his case quite a lot and he knows it and he takes it the way he should do.

“I was right behind it and I said shoot! Shoot! Shoot! And I think I might have to take an assist for that really because I’ve told him that many times to shoot!

“What a finish! I was right behind it. He could hit it no sweeter and the quality they’ve got in goal you have to hit strikes like that and as soon as it left his boot I thought we’ve got half chance here and it was a great strike!”

Collins added: “That’s a good hit! That’s a great shot, left foot.

“I think if I’m going to be critical with us, we gave him too much time but he’s pulled it out, left-foot, straight in the top corner. It’s a great goal!

“I was right behind it, as soon as it left his foot, I knew it was in. Jack’s got no chance with that! He’s never going to get across to that and plus he’s unsighted with two people in front of him. 

“I don’t think we put enough pressure on the ball there. I think for me we’ve got to deal with that and we haven’t but credit to the kid, that’s a good hit!”

Sevenoaks keeper Jack Bradshaw pushed away a long-range cross-come-shot from Scotter - but he was beaten for a second time with 28 minutes and 34 seconds on the clock.

Erith Town winger Ita played a clever pass to put Milton in behind, he turned Edwards inside the box and put in a cross which was met by a cushioned volley by Warden from a couple of yards out. Bradshaw stood tall to make the block from point-blank-range but Warden stabbed the ball over the line from the rebound.

“Sid’s on a decent vein of form at the moment. He’s one of those players that when he gets a chance, even the second bite of the cherry, he normally finishes it,” said his proud father.

“I was disappointed with the first one because normally you don’t get a second bite of the cherry but it came back out and he done what he had to do to hit it in the back of the onion so you’ve got to be happy about that.”

Collins added: “I think Jack’s done well to block the first one really and we haven’t reacted to clear the ball away and it summed up our night really.

“On the balance of play, at that moment, you’ve got to hold your hands up and say they deserved it so that’s football.

“But how do you react? Do you roll over and go that’s it and you go and lose three or four one or do you come back and have a go? We had a go! There’s two ways around that. We had a go and it’s one of the chances we have come off then it’s 2-2 and maybe it’s game on and they showed resilience and done well.”

Shell-shocked Sevenoaks Town upped their tempo and desire levels as they went in search for an equaliser as their 19 league match unbeaten run was about to come to an end.

With Erith Town defending brilliantly, the home side only created one more chance.  Holder’s long ball was controlled by now Ripley (now playing as a target-man), Carey clipped in a cross and Ripley glanced his header wide from just inside the Dockers penalty area.

Erith Town have climbed up a place to fourteenth with 31 points on the board from 25 games and their players were singing and banging on the dressing room walls as they celebrated this massive scalp.

Warden, who takes his side to third-from-bottom side Rusthall on Saturday, said: “You can see our team spirit is second to none. When you’re in a position that Erith are in financially, that team spirit gets you winning against the team at the top of the league and it’s not what no one predicted but me and Adam predicted it because we know what we’ve got in that dressing room. We’ve got desire and the ability and I thought we showed that.

“Any win, a win here is always good but any win is good, especially when you’re in the position that we’re in, scrambling for points.  A win’s great, no matter where it is but is it a little bit sweeter? It probably is!

“Take nothing away from them, they’re a good outfit and the reason why you’re happy with it is because your young boys are up against seasoned players that have played in this league and in leagues above and to credit themselves with not only a win but a good display.

“I’d like to ask the neutrals – I don’t think there were that many – but I’d like to ask them if we deserved it?  I thought we did!  Alright, they hit the post, we rode our luck once but other than that I don’t think there were a lot of difference and that’s all credit to our side.”

Sevenoaks Town remain top with 50 points form 22 games and Beckenham Town’s 4-2 win at ten-man Sheppey United has put Jason Huntley’s side in second-place on 50 points but having played a couple of games more.

“Press the panic button! We’re a rubbish side overnight! It’s not like that is it?” said Collins.

“It's football but we’ve got a tough run at the moment. We’ve got a lot of games piling up and we’ve got to be a bit more resilient than that when we’re playing midweek games.  It’s something that we’ve got to look at and we’ll look at that on Saturday (at home to Deal Town ) and when we go away (to Corinthian) next Tuesday.

“We need to be a little bit more resilient in playing two games a week and I don’t think we were and I think we got what we deserved, nothing!

“The little blip with the three draws didn’t help us and if we got two wins out of them then we might’ve been away with that. That’s not the case and we knew we’d get reigned in at some point.

“We’ve been up there for so long, it’s how we react now. We’ve got to come here Saturday and get a result! It’s unusual, Sevenoaks don’t lose for 19 league games so something that people aren’t used to at the moment so we need to react quickly and go about our business on Saturday.

“We’ve got the added bonus of losing tdayl really and that’s a rocket for them and our boys know that. That’s the rocket up our backside that we may need so let’s see how we react Saturday.

“When you’re top of the league, everybody wants to beat you!

“It’s a great scalp for Erith Town tonight. They deserved it and they knocked us out of the League Cup as well so they’ve done the double over us and that’s great.  In both games, in my opinion, they’ve deserved it. Sometimes you can make excuses about your team but give credit to the team you play against!”

Sevenoaks Town: Jack Bradshaw, Chris Edwards, Ben Wilson, Lee Carey, Tom Ripley, Corey Holder, Harrison Carnegie (Tom Youngs 78), Jason Thompson (Paul Springett 75), Kenny Pogue (Mark Jones 53), Frankie Sawyer, Greg Benbow.
Subs: Byron Walker, Jack Miles

Goal: Kenny Pogue 25

Booked: Mark Jones 82

Erith Town: Adam Molloy, Lewis Scotter, Dan Palfrey, James Day, Ben Fitchett, Jack Duffy, Andres Felipe Losado Tobon (Ken Charles 85), Osman Proni, Ollie Milton, Sidney Warden, Steven Ita.
Subs: Lewis Risk, Cameron Lovatt, Adam Woodward

Goals: Osman Proni 70, Sidney Warden 74

Booked: Osman Proni 66, Steven Ita 80

Attendance: 127
Referee: Mr Andrea Timpani (Ashford)
Assistants: Mr Ryan Andrew (Gillingham) & Mr Max Sollis (Tonbridge)

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