Seven Acre & Sidcup 2-2 Orpington - I think we've got something good going here, says Orpington manager Marc Bentz

Wednesday 18th November 2015
Seven Acre & Sidcup 2 – 2 Orpington
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 18/11/2015 19:45

Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League
Wednesday 18th November 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

ORPINGTON manager Marc Bentz says he is really pleased with his players’ attitudes after claiming a point at Seven Acre & Sidcup.

This was an end-to-end entertaining Pain & Glory Sports Kent Invicta League clash for the crowd of 54 at a windy Bayliss Avenue, between two sides in the bottom six.

Seven Acre & Sidcup went into the game sitting in 15th place in the table, having won six and lost six of their games, while Orpington reached 18 points through winning five and drawing three of their 12 league outings.

Seven Acre & Sidcup were 2-0 up inside 25 minute through strikers Anthony Fenech and Josh Patrick – who have now both scored 12 goals each this term.

Orpington pulled a goal back through Kieran McMahon’s close range finish before the striker scored his second goal of the season with a stunning strike more accustomed to a higher level of football in the second half.

Both sides created 30 chances between them, neither side could find the breakthrough that would have propelled the victors into the top eight, such is the tight nature of the league table where only 10 points separate third-placed Sutton Athletic and fourth-from-bottom FC Elmstead.

“These midweek away games are quite difficult. We don’t pay the boys so we can’t ask the boys to get off work early so to get them down here for 6:30 is a mean task,” said Bentz after his fourth game in charge.

“We’re really happy with the result, not so much the manner that it happened but to come from 2-0 down to come back to two-all, I’m happy with that.

“But two disappointing goals for me really. I was expecting to take three points today but these things will come.

“It was end-to-end stuff, lots of chances both ends. Unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise on them a bit more, if we had it would’ve been a different story today.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup’s assistant manager Steve Arnold admitted he was disappointed with the draw.

“We’re disappointed from being 2-0 up, if I’m honest. That sort of typifies our season so far really after the early doors of the season with the FA Cup runs that we had when the boys played really well.

“It’s been up and down really so it’s been a little bit disappointing really,” added Lee Hill’s number two.

Orpington started the game on the front foot, but Seven Acre & Sidcup created the first chance of the game inside eight minutes.

Orpington went to sleep from Anthony Collins’ throw-in and Patrick’s knock down was hit first time by Fenech, the big target man hitting his shot harmlessly wide from 25-yards.

Orpington’s left-back Cameron Shields took all of their nine corners and free-kicks and he noticed that Seven Acre & Sidcup keeper Jack Kelly had left a gaping great big hole at the near post, but his 35-yard free-kick drifted past the near post.

But the first real chance of the game fell Orpington’s way in the 12th minute.

Kieran Hughes’ threw the ball from the right and central midfielder Bradley Coombs let the ball run across him before cracking a left-footed drive from 25-yards, which was palmed over by Jack Kelly’s left-hand, high above his head.

Bentz said: “I’ve known Bradley for a couple of years now. Unfortunately today I had to drop him a little bit deeper because he didn’t play in the advanced position they wanted.

“I was really happy with his performance today because he played out of position.”

Arnold added: “To be fair, Jack’s come in and he’s kept us in the game in more than just one game. Shot stopping wise he’s phenomenal really. Again these sort of saves, he’s been doing week in week out. For us he’s been a great acquisition for the team.”

A flicked header by Orpington’s Samson Docherty was latched on by McMahon, who poked the ball past the advancing keeper, the ball rolling just past the foot of the right-hand post.

Seven Acre & Sidcup’s first real chance came when central defender Tony Hill clipped the ball in behind Orpington’s left-back and Fenech put over a cross from the left channel, which was knocked down by Patrick and George Horne smacked his volley straight at the grateful Jack Rankin.

Arnold said: “It’s gone straight at him, he’s hit the ball well but again we could put that down as a missed chance really.

“We created enough chances to win several games probably. We rode our luck on occasions but it’s all about taking your chances.”

Bentz added: “Straight at him really. If it had gone anywhere else, probably made it a lot more difficult for him but he’s a great keeper Jack.  We’re glad to keep hold of him as well.”

But Orpington keeper Rankin gave Seven Acre & Sidcup a gift of an opening gal with 19 minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Patrick’s clever pass put Fenech in through on goal and he only had the keeper to beat. The big target man powered his left-footed angled drive towards the bottom far corner from 20-yards.

Rankin dived to his left and appeared to have had the shot under control but he allowed the ball to bounce underneath him and roll apologetically into the bottom far corner of the net.

Arnold said: “There the ones when you just say yes alright, we’ll take that!

“The first 15-20 minutes, to be fair to them, they came out and they played and settled into the game a lot better than we did.

“As the half went on the goals helped us but we did end up settling into the game a lot better after the first 20 minutes.  Again, disappointing for us to take that long to actually get into the game but back to Fenech’s goal, he’ll take that all day won’t he? It must’ve bounced about four or five times before it’s gone over the line. Unfortunate for the goalkeeper but we’ll take that. It still counts!”

Bentz refused to blame his goalkeeper for the blunder goal

He said: “First time I’ve seen him do that to be honest! It’s football, these things happen but we can’t go on about it too much because he made some fantastic stops as well so he’s done his job and probably saved us a few goals as well as that one.

“But he knows he made a mistake there and he’s not happy about it because he’s a better player.”

But Orpington’s manager revealed the goalkeeper was playing with a dislocated thumb for the rest of the game.

He said: “After the first goal he actually dislocated his thump and our physio had to pop it back in at half time.

“I’m really happy with his attitude today. I asked him if he wanted to play on and he said he wanted to play on so I said if he’s going to be doing that the rest of you need to bleed for the team as well today, so I was happy with his performance today.”

Horne hit a right-footed shot on the turn just past the near post from 25-yards, before Orpington were to be denied an equaliser through a world-class save from Acre keeper Kelly.

Orpington won themselves a free-kick on the edge of the D and set-piece specialist Shields stepped up and stroked his left-footed shot towards the top left-hand corner.

But Kelly dived high to his right and used a strong left hand to tip the ball over the crossbar.

That proved to be a vital save as Seven Acre & Sidcup went up the other end to double their lead with 24 minute and 55 seconds on the clock.

Left-winger Michael Samoi played a delicious pass which cut open Hughes and Matt Gardiner to put Patrick through on goal and he stroked his left-footed shot from 12-yards across Rankin, the ball nestling into the bottom far corner of the net.

Arnold said: “That’s what Josh’s capable off, you’ve seen yourself for the early games.

“Josh has had a dip in form, the same as the rest of the team. He scores great goals like that, he misses chances, probably on another day he should take, but then again that’s the nature of the beast isn’t it.”

Bentz added: “Great, great ball, split the defence. I think we probably got it wrong defending that, rather than anything else.

“The right-back (Hughes) today is actually a left-back by trade so he was a little uncomfortable playing there but again he did a fantastic job in my eyes but you’ve just got to learn the position a little bit better if he’s filling in.”

It should have been three when Horne found himself down the right to deliver a precise cross straight onto Fenech’s head but his free header sailed straight into Rankin’s hands.

But Orpington gave themselves a lifeline, pulling a goal back with 33 minutes and 45 seconds on the clock, following their sixth corner of the game.

Shields swung in the ball from the left towards the near post and the unmarked Gardiner planted his header towards goal.  The ball was clawed out by keeper Kelly and the ball fell at McMahon’s feet, who stabbed his shot into the bottom right-hand corner from four-yards.

Bentz was delighted that his striker bagged his first goals of the season for the club.

“Kieran’s been absolutely brilliant for us, he’s worked so hard this year and he’s created quite a lot of opportunities for himself,” said Bentz.

“We kept saying to him it’s only a matter of time before he nicks a goal. Today I’m really happy because he got two.”

Shields’ deliveries into the box were excellent.

Bentz said: “Normally we have two (to take the set-pieces), but we had to start with the team that were here at the time. We just let him take everything today and his deliveries are normally spot on.

“I was quite happy. We have worked on them a bit in training but obviously the squad’s changed in the last few weeks so it’s a bit hard to get the new players in with what we’ve done previously, but that was one of the areas we sort of highlighted where we could have some joy as well.

“We were getting so many of them and they didn’t look too comfortable defending them but we weren’t doing well enough attacking them.”

Arnold added: “Their set-pieces were really dangerous. We were quite happy, we dealt with them on the whole quite well but they were quality deliveries.

“From the first one we didn’t deal with properly and we got punished. Deliveries all night have been good from free-kicks and corners. The boys at the back had done well up until then. First time we made a mistake, it gets punished.”

Coombs hit a dipping angled drive just over the crossbar from sixteen-yards from the left hand side of the penalty area after the ball came back to him after Shields whipped in another excellent delivery, this time from the right.

Patrick hit another shot from outside the penalty area which flashed past the near post, before a strong gust of wind helped Shields’ 45-yard free-kick drift past the near post.

And on the stroke of half-time Samoi played a lovely diagonal pass to put Patrick through on goal but his left-footed shot from 25-yards appeared to be turned around the post by Rankin, a goal-kick awarded by referee Kenan Dogan.

Both were asked their thoughts at the break.

Arnold said: “Two-one is never a nice score. I said to them at half-time 2-1 is a horrible scoreline because you’re holding on to a one goal lead. Their tails are up and they get another goal then they’re right back in it them.

“At half-time that’s exactly where we’re at, trying to just calm things down and telling the boys to go back to basics really and not to rush into things.”

Bentz said: “I felt we had the better half, played the better football but as I keep telling them, the mistakes can be costly and we got punished for two mistakes today.

“I said we’ll create more chances, that’s guaranteed, because there’s not a problem with that.”

Bentz was delighted with Henry Kufour’s debut, coming on as a half-time substitute to partner Gardiner at the heart of Orpington’s defence.

“We sorted out our back four, looked more solid in the second half. I gave a debut to Henry. I managed to get him from Lingfield last week. I don’t really like to bring players in that soon into the team but he done a job and I was really pleased with that.”

The second half came to life after nine minutes when Patrick broke down the left for the home side and swept the ball wide to Samoi, whose shot was blocked.  The ball came out to Fenech, whose right-footed 30-yarder looped into the keeper’s hands.

Horne clipped a ball over the top of Orpington’s penalty area but Patrick gave him the thumbs up after nearly connecting to the ball after it dropped over his right shoulder, keeper Rankin grabbing hold of the ball.

Seven Acre & Sidcup keeper Kelly made a comfortable save to his left to prevent Shields’ 35-yard left-footed free-kick sailing into the net.

But Orpington equalised in the 61st minute through a quality finish from McMahon.

Gardiner clipped a long ball out of defence which released McMahon down the right and he drilled a stunning right-footed angled drive across the keeper to find the bottom far corner of the net from 20-yards.

Bentz hailed the great strike by saying, “He’s definitely got that in him. He’s had a few clubs come in for him in pre-season but again I’ve known him since he was 16 and worked with him previously and he’s decided to come down with me.

“He’s had so many chances in previous games and they’ve not come off so I’m really happy to see him on the scoresheet finally. It was such a great goal as well. It was really nice for him.”

Arnold held his hands up and admitted: “At the end of the day he’s taken it well. It’s one ball over the top again. He’s left him on the edge of the box with a player inside of him and just the goalkeeper in front of him really and he’s taken his chance really well.

“You can’t really argue about that, it’s one of those things. You just have to stand back and give credit where credits due.

“We’ve got ourselves in front in games and then slowly the other teams clawed back into it because of our mistakes.

“On the whole we’re disappointed with the end result because we’re 2-0 up and we shouldn’t be losing that sort of advantage in a game. It’s a learning curve for the boys.”

Orpington skipper Haines then hit a low drive on the turn which forced Kelly to make a low save to his left.

Samoi played the ball into Tony Ecuyer, who released Orelaja down the left but good keeping from Rankin saw the Orpington stopper rush off his line to smother the ball at the winger’s feet.

Seven Acre & Sidcup right-back Stephen Wickes played the ball into Orelaja, who cut inside and hit a right-footed angled drive from outside the penalty box which was saved low down by Rankin at the second attempt.

Both sides had chances to claim the victory inside the final 20 minutes of an entertaining game.

Docherty cut in from the right for Orpington and his angled drive was beaten away by the Seven Acre & Sidcup keeper at his near post.

But Orpington wished their best chance following the equaliser didn’t fall to a right-back.

Once again, Shields floated in another precise free-kick into the penalty area from 35-yards and Hughes glanced his free header across goal and past the far post from six-yards.

“He just didn’t get the right head on it to be honest, it sort of glanced wide,” said Bentz.

“If he got more of a head on it, put his head through it, it could’ve been a third.”

Orpington created another headed chance, which this time fell to striker Lekan Bakare.

Inevitably, Shields swing in a corner from the left which was headed back to him by Gardiner.  Shields whipped in the cross towards the near post and Bakare directed his header straight at Kelly.

Bentz added: “Straight at the keeper. We seemed to be getting a lot of joy from corners.”

Arnold admitted: “The first incident you’re talking about the guy should’ve finished really. It was a right-back but he was sort of four or five yards from goal with not a lot in front of him.

“From their point of view they’ve looked at it and probably had enough chances to get the three points.

“From our point of view I think we had more than enough chances to win two or three games in the second half.”

Acre midfielder Ecuyer drilled a first time drive past the right-hand post from 22-yards after his initial free-kick came back out to him and the home side created the last chance as the game reached the climax.

Winger Orelaja was released down the left and he cut the ball back to Patrick, but his left-footed deflected shot from 20-yards went just over the crossbar.

“Josh had a couple. We’ve had a couple of shots where we should’ve done better with from the edge of the box,” admitted Arnold.

“It’s one of those things. They either go straight in or they end up in the car park. We’ve lost three or four balls tonight, that typifies our evening.

“If we’re being a bit more clinical with the chances we’re creating, but we can now look at converting more of these chances into goals.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup have climbed up to eleventh place following the game, while Orpington  are one place below them as the pair are joined below them by Crockenhill, Kent Football United, Bridon Ropes and Meridian VP on 19 points.

“At the moment we’re frustrated more than anything else because we get one good game and we get one bad game,” said Arnold.

“Not so long ago we had Sutton here and we beat them 4-1, they were second in the league and they didn’t get near us. If we’re honest, we didn’t play very well that game.

“From our point of view we’re underachieving. We had Cup games against the higher teams (Sevenoaks Town and Sittingbourne) – that’s what the lads are capable off – they need to get back to performing week in week out. It’s consistency. It’s not that they can’t. It’s just that they’re not, which from our point of view is frustrating.”

Bentz is seeing some good early signs despite not winning any of his four games in charge since Byron Beard left the club to take over Southern Counties East Football League strugglers Holmesdale on 3 October.

He said: “We’ve had an unfortunate run at the moment. We’ve had the last four games called off or abandoned so that’s the first time we’ve played the new look squad. A little but rustiness of not playing so long but really pleased with the attitude and the ability out there. I think we’ve got something good going here and move up the table.”

Seven Acre & Sidcup: Jack Kelly, Stephen Wickes, Anthony Collins, Tony Ecuyer Ricky Hardie, Tony Hill, Magnus Orelaja, George Horne, Anthony Fenech (Craig Hewitt 81), Josh Patrick, Michael Samoi (Harry Tancred 81).
Subs: Dan Bransbury, Jordan Muyira, Damilola Olusesi

Goals: Anthony Fenech 20, Josh Patrick 25

Orpington: Jack Rankin, Kieran Hughes, Cameron Shields, Robbie Haines, Matt Gardiner, Ben Imre (Henry Kufour 46), Samson Docherty, Bradley Coombs, Lekan Bakare, Kieran McMahon (Leigh Wise 88), Alvin Turyatemba (Antar Adams 73).
Sub: Casey Tucker

Goals: Kieran McMahon 34, 61

Booked: Lekan Bakare 59

Attendance: 54
Referee: Mr Kenan Dogan (Dartford)
Assistants: Mr Tony Woods (Bexleyheath) & Mr Jason Taylor (Erith)