Sevenoaks Town 0-3 Erith & Belvedere - It's going to take a litlte bit of time, admits Erith & Belvedere boss Matt Longhurst

Wednesday 26th August 2015
Sevenoaks Town 0 – 3 Erith & Belvedere
Location Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Seal Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 5BX
Kickoff 26/08/2015 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League
Wednesday 26th August 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park

ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Matt Longhurst says his side are now clicking into gear.

The Deres arrived at Greatness Park sitting in the bottom three in the Southern Counties East Football League, but second half goals from attackers Byron Walker, Goldy Capela and Alfie May saw the club rise up to seventh-place on six points from four games.

Sevenoaks Town squandered a chance to climb from sixth-place to second and slipped down to ninth with the same number of points.

“First half, not very good, the second half was a lot better,” admitted Longhurst afterwards.

“I thought we deserved to win the game second half in fairness although our goalkeeper has made a couple of decent saves at 1-0, but it’s slowly coming.

“We had to re-group. We had to start again really. We started the first two games and we were awful! We had a lot of injuries, we had nine missing.

“We looked at what we were doing, scrapped it and started again. Since we’ve done that we got back on the training pitch and we’ve kept three clean sheets in a row and we’ve scored 8 goals in three games and it’s been better.

“There’s a long way to go but it’s early in the season. It looks a little bit bitty but it’s slowly coming now.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time but we’ve made a lot of changes even in pre-season but we’ve spent the last couple of weeks working really hard on the training ground and brought some new players in and the group’s now settled down and they’re slowing coming.”

Sevenoaks Town manager Micky Collins admitted he was not happy, after losing to his former club.

He said: “Poor second half from us. I thought we competed first half.  I thought we held our own, had a couple of good chances and second half, we never came out.”

Erith & Belvedere created the first chance of the game after only 96 seconds when Walker released Capela but his dinked shot deflected past the left-hand post.

Sevenoaks Town’s first opening arrived inside eight minutes.

Right-back Jack Miles was granted time and space to float in a cross into the Erith & Belvedere box, the ball was flicked on by Adrian Stone and Reece Butler’s hooked shot was sliced into Rilwan Anibaba’s hands.

Walker found himself down the right channel and he cut the ball back to Deres’ right-back Marvin Okundaliye, who whipped in a cross and Colin Richmond’s looping header over the bar came off a defender.

But Sevenoaks Town were denied a 12th minute breakthrough, courtesy of a smart diving save from Anibaba.

Gary Stock released winger Frank Griffin down the right and his cross was hit first time by striker Austin Gacheru on the turn from the edge of the box, forcing Anibaba to dive low to his left to hold onto the ball on his line beside the post.

Collins said: “We worked our way in and Austin got a shot off, comfortable save to be fair.”

Longhurst added: “They were better than us, they were brighter than us. We just didn’t play enough, we didn’t play at all.

“I said to the centre halves (George Mitchell and George Benner) at half-time, we’ve got to be braver, to get on the ball and we didn’t do that.

“Rilwan’s done well. He’s played well. We’ve brought him in and he’s kept three clean sheets in a row. He kicks it well, he’s made a couple of decent saves and he’s a brave boy, so I’m pleased for him.”

The game then settled down and Erith & Belvedere created the next chance at the half-way point.

May cut the ball back from the right by-line into Walker, but his shot was charged down by Tom Ripley and Richard Stroud gathered the bouncing ball.

Erith & Belvedere left-back Ryan Khaynye advanced down the line to whip in a cross into the Sevenoaks box, Capela attempting an acrobatic overhead kick which flashed across the keeper and past the far post.

Erith & Belvedere linked up well just outside Sevenoaks box in the 35th minute through Ryan Johnson, Jamie Taylor and Okundaliye but Capela dragged a poor shot harmlessly wide of the far post.

But the Deres called Stroud into making a couple of fine saves in the space of 40 seconds.

Skipper Richmond played the ball out to May, who cut in from the left and unleashed a right-footed angled drive from 16-yards, which forced Stroud to make a full-length diving save to his left.

May then curled a shot in from the left-hand side which was palmed away by Stroud, high to his left at his near post.

Longhurst said: “Alfie’s a good player, we missed him on Saturday, when he was suspended at Deal.  He’s got a goal in the second half tonight so I think he’s got four in the last three games now for us, which is good. He’s just clicking into gear.  He’s had a couple of different strike partners but he’s a good player, he’s always going to cause a threat so that’s what he did.”

Walker rolled the ball inside to Capela, who cracked his left-footed drive sailing over the bar for the last chance of the first half.

Both managers were asked their thoughts at half-time.

Collins said: “It was even, very even. They had a few chances, we huffed and puffed and they had a few but we were very organised. It could have gone either way. Someone could’ve scored, they could’ve, and we could’ve.

“It was a very even game first half and then second half they’ve come out and I don’t think we’ve turned up second half at all”

Longhurst said: “I just said we’ve got to be braver on the ball. We’ve got to try and play. The goalkeeper’s got the ball in his hands and the two centre halves and the full-backs just walked up the pitch and that’s not us! That’s now what we do, but we’ve started again, re-grouped and there’s still a lot to do on the training pitch.

“I was pleased because what I asked them to do in the second half was create some room for us to play in by the two centre halves splitting and the two full-backs pushing on a bit.

“That created a bit more room and gave us a little bit to think about and then the game stretched and I think at times we had quite a lot of possession in the second half, which was better.”

Erith & Belvedere turned it on during the second half, while Sevenoaks Town failed to impress.

Erith & Belvedere created the first chance when May rolled a ball into Capela’s feet, who stroked his left-footed shot on the turn towards goal from 35-yards, which bobbled just past the foot of the far post.

Erith & Belvedere swiftly opened the scoring in the 52nd minute.

Capela powered a left-footed angled drive from the right which Stroud did well to parry at his near post and Walker pounced on the loose ball to turn the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from six-yards.

Longhurst said: “Byron and Marvin (Okundaliye) came in right at the end of pre-season, they weren’t quite ready so we left Marvin out in the first two games – he was actually away for the first game and he’s come back.

“Byron’s been building up and he’s looked good in training so we decided to go with him today. It was pleasing for him (to score).”

Collins said: “it got knocked around the box a little bit and we huffed and puffed but we didn’t stick our toe through it and if you don’t stick your foot through it, you always run the risk of them getting the ball over the line and that’s what happened.

“Stroudy’s made two good saves but we’ve had a great centre half pairing this year (Lord and Ripley) and unfortunately between them at the back they haven’t switched on and got the ball away.”

There was controversy in the 55th minute when Sevenoaks Town were denied an equaliser by a blunder from assistant referee Andrew Butler.

Butler swung in a corner from the right and Ripley rose through a crowd to plant his towering header towards the left-hand corner.  Anibaba dived to his left to claw the ball away but Collins insisted the ball was over the line!

A furious Collins barked: “Everyone (at that end of the ground) have said it went over the line and the goalie was in the back of the net when he pushed it out.

“It’s over the line by a mile. He (the referee) gives that call and it’s one-all and it’s a different ball game then. We get our tails up a little bit and maybe it’s a different outcome.”

The decision enraged Collins and referee Sikiru Idris asked the manager to leave his technical area in the 59th minute.  Collins was heard shouting out an offensive word at the referee, over the positioning of a Sevenoaks free-kick after an offside decision went in his sides’ favour.

Collins said: “They gave an offside against one of their players so the linesman stood in his position where he tells our goalkeeper to take it from so our goalkeeper puts it exactly in line where the linesman wanted to take it from.

“The referee decides it should be further backwards so we confer with the lineman and say are you happy where it is? He says ‘he’s happy’, he tells the referee.

“The referee overrules even though he’s not in line with it and sends him back five yards back and the referee declines his information and tells him to move it back so I’ve called him a name and I get sent off for it.

“You can’t blame referees for performances, it’s not the referee’s fault that we lost. It was our inefficacies tonight that cost us three points.”

Sevenoaks Town were to be denied an equaliser, courtesy of a brilliant diving save by Anibaba with 20 minutes left.

Substitute Damian Ramsamy whipped in a great cross from the right for Gacheru to plant his header towards goal, but Anibaba dived to his left to claw the ball towards safety.

Longhurst said: “Decent save and that’s a massive point in the game to be fair. I don’t think they overly created loads in the second half.”

Collins said: “Their goalkeeper’s made a fantastic save from a header from Austin, an absolutely fantastic save that one, an absolutely brilliant save and it was this side of the line that time!

“Again, at one end where we’ve not reacted and cleared it, our forwards have not followed up the knock down and put it in the net.”

Erith & Belvedere doubled their lead in the 72nd minute.

Johnson, May and Walker linked up well outside the Sevenoaks box and May’s angled drive was parried by Stroud again and Capela hit his shot into the ground, the ball looped up over a man on the line, dropping into the top left-hand corner.

Longhurst was delighted that Capela opened his account for the club.

He said:” He’s worked really hard tonight. He didn’t have great service in the first half. In the first three games he’s played he done really well.

“He didn’t do great on Saturday (1-0 win over Deal Town), but he’s only 19. We’re teaching him there’s two sides to the game you’ve got to do, the crap stuff and that’s what I said to him. 

“It’s a little bit lucky, the finish to be fair. It’s bounced up, he’s hit it into the ground but you’ve got to do the ugly side of it and he’s got a little bit of luck there but he’s done alright tonight and he’s found himself in the box, Alfie’s had a shot, the keeper’s saved it and he’s put it in.”

Collins added: “Stroudy’s done well. He’s stood big, made a good save and we’ve got to clear our lines and we haven’t and we haven’t reacted and they put their body in their first and got a shot off and got the goal.”

Sevenoaks Town created an opening through Ramsamy, who played the ball inside to Giffin, whose poor right-footed shot rolled into Anibaba’s hands.

Erith & Belvedere substitute Denzel Gayle reached the right by-line and he cut the ball back towards the edge of the box for fellow sub Joe Minter to sweep his shot straight at Stroud, who was often shouting out his frustrations at his team mates at the other end of the pitch.

May was released through on goal and Stroud came off his line to make a low save to his left, before May scored his fourth goal of the season 59 seconds into stoppage time.

Collins said: “Fair play to Alf because he’s done well and he’s running in an area and he’s got his shot off and it’s taken a big deflection and Stroudy’s slightly wrong-footed. It sums our night off really.”

Longhurst said of May’s saved effort, “I think he’s had two chances before he’s scored that he should score but at the same time he’s got his goal tonight. He’s worked really hard and he works hard off the ball and all the time centre forwards do that they’re going to get chances.

“We know he’s going to score goals, that’s why we kept him here this year, there’s no doubt about that!”

May took 49 seconds to hit the back of the net!

May cut in from the left wing and stroked a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which deflected off John Lord inside the box, which flat-footed Stroud and the ball spun over the line despite the keeper trying to grasp the ball to his left.

Longhurst said: “He’s earned the right for that. Sometimes he gets disappointed if he doesn’t score. He’ll miss a chance and for 10 minutes he almost goes out of the game and he can’t afford to do that! So when he scored he came over and I said ‘don’t worry about disappointment, you’ve got to get over it out of your mind quickly.

“He’s hit another shot. If you keep getting shots off, that’s when you get your reward.”

Sevenoaks Town created the last chance of the night but Chan Quan blazed his right-footed free-kick over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Longhurst said was delighted with the clean sheet after losing their first two games of the season before tonight extended their winning run to three games.

“We let six goals in in the first two games and you can’t afford to do that, you’re going to make it easy for other teams and you’re liable to lose games, so we just changed the have and we’ve just made ourselves a little bit more difficult to deal with.”

Collins admitted he was disappointed that his side lost in front of their largest home crowd of the season.

“It’s a shame, they’ve come down and seen us lose but you know on the night overall, 90 minutes, I think Erith thoroughly deserved it.

“We’ve got to go again and try to sort ourselves out.  We’re training Saturday, which we haven’t done for ages. We’ve got Crowborough (at home) on Monday and a big Vase game (at home to Horley Town) the following Saturday.”

Sevenoaks Town: Richard Stroud, Jack Miles, Alfie Kitt, Gary Stock, John Lord, Tom Ripley, Reece Butler (Damian Ramsamy 59), Chan Quan, Adrian Stone, Austin Gacheru (Michael Fahm 73), Frank Griffin.
Subs: Chris Stoate, Steve Camacho, Alim Sesay

Booked: Gary Stock 44

Sent Off: Micky Collins (manager) 59

Erith & Belvedere: Rilwan Anibaba, Marvin Okundaliye, Ryan Khaynye, Colin Richmond (Joe Minter 76), George Mitchell, George Benner, Jamie Taylor (Mikey Dalton 46), Ryan Johnson, Alfie May, Goldy Capela, Byron Walker (Denzel Gayle 73).
Subs: Joe Jackson, Ben Wilson

Goals: Byron Walker 53, Goldy Capela 72, Alfie May 90

Booked: Ryan Johnson 86

Attendance: 112
Referee: Mr Sikiru Idris (Camberwell, London SE5)
Assistants: Mr Matt Pollington (Maidstone) & Mr Andrew Butler (Maidstone)