Sporting Club Thamesmead 2-2 Kennington - I didn't want to give up my Friday night to come all this way and not win, says Kennington boss Dan Scorer

Friday 22nd November 2019
Sporting Club Thamesmead 2 – 2 Kennington
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 22/11/2019 19:45

(after extra time – Kennington win 4-3 on penalties)
Kent Senior Trophy Second Round
Friday 22 November 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

KENNINGTON manager Dan Scorer says it means a lot to reach the Kent Senior Trophy Quarter-Finals for the first time.

The Ashford based side came away from Bayliss Avenue with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win after sharing four goals after extra-time.

Kennington took a sixth minute lead through Dale Horton’s header, in a game dominated by set-pieces as Kennington won the corner count 15-10 after 120 minutes of football.

Kennington were the better side during the first half but couldn’t find second goal before Sporting Club Thamesmead dominated proceedings after an hour-mark and deservedly equalised with 10 minutes of normal time remaining through Reion McFarlane scoring directly from a free-kick from a wide position.

Kennington grabbed the lead inside the opening three minutes of the second period of extra-time through Joe Fisher’s sublime free-kick but Sporting Club Thamesmead forced extra-time through substitute Harvey Browne’s fine finish just five minutes later.

Kennington goalkeeper Tom Barnes pulled off saves from Chris Hubbard and Browne in the shoot-out as Kennington scored all four of theirs as a nine penalty shoot-out saw Kennington progress through to the last eight.

“I think overall deserved. I thought it was a fantastic game,” said Scorer.

“First half was one of our better performances. We’ve carried that on from in recent weeks where we’ve been really, really strong and composed and on the balance of things at half-time we were certainly on top.

“Second half we were at sixes and sevens in all honesty for the first half-hour. We got to give credit to Thamesmead because they put themselves back into the game and one-all was very fair after 90 minutes.

“Going into extra-time we felt if we could relax a little bit, stop panicking in the final third that we would get opportunities. It was a great finish from Fisher but they came back again.

“I was very, very confident going into extra-time, if it goes to penalties we’d go through because Tom’s saved three or four last year and all four of the penalty takers I’d have taking a penalty in any game so I was feeling good.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead manager Jason Long added: “Obviously disappointed we didn’t win the game because I thought we were the better team but we showed a lot of character to come back from a goal down at half-time and to get back in the game and get back to one-all.

“We had some great chances, a few one-on-ones and a few in the box scrambles that you’d like to think we’d score from but not able to convert but we are creating chances, which is very positive.

“We didn’t lose in 90 minutes or 120 minutes so that’s good momentum. It’s a good, positive performance and result in that respect but when you get to penalties it’s a bit of a flick of a coin but you do want to go through and it’s a Quarter-Final next round so it’s unlucky and a shame that the boys couldn’t get there.

“But credit to them they’ve come back from a goal down and 2-1 down and there’s a bit of character building and that’s something that we didn’t have at the start of the season so it’s a big journey to where we’re going, we’re definitely growing each game.”

Kennington, who played with three central defenders and two wing-backs, created their first opening after only 180 seconds.

Midfielder Charlie Owen split open the Acre defence to put Horton through on goal but he lacked composure and drilled his shot over the crossbar from 15-yards.

Barnes had an excellent night in goal for Kennington and he pulled off a great double save shortly afterwards following the home side’s first corner of the game.

Hubbard floated the ball in from the right and striker Tim Beckford’s driven shot was blocked by Barnes’ legs, who followed that up by saving the follow-up shot from Acre left-back Bode Olajide.

Long said: “We’ve been working on a little bit of set-pieces and corners. We weren’t the best tonight but there were a couple where we did create and usually that’s bread and butter for Tim.  He usually will be scoring them for fun. He’s great in the box but he weren’t quite firing tonight but Tim owes us one now. He knows what he can do and he knows what he’s capable of and we trust him and we know he’ll be scoring next week.”

Scorer added:  “I think it was a man-of-the-match performance from Tom in goal tonight. Sometimes he gets caught out coming for the ball but I think in terms of one-on-ones his shot stopping today was sensational so really deserved man-of-the-match.”

Kennington opened the scoring with five minutes and 36 seconds on the clock.

Horton’s low drive took a deflection and flashed just past the foot of the near post and Reiss Crimmen – who played on the left of a three man defence – floated in the resulting corner from the right and no one picked up Horton who buried his free header in off the underside of the crossbar from five-yards.

“I think Crimmo’s put the ball on the money with every set-piece he took today so we’re certainly a threat but I’m really happy for Dale because he’s had to bide his time to get himself back in the team after being away for a while,” said Scorer.

“He came on Saturday and scored in the final minutes and took the lead and he worked his socks off tonight.”

Long, who lost his player-assistant manager Aaron Jeffrey to a knee injury, added: “Our marking weren’t very good! We’ve made a lot of changes to the back line and we changed the formation quite early on just to try to adapt a little bit the best we can with the personnel we had. 

“We had a few injuries and a few missing but the boys that came in have got to adapt and know their role straight away and pick up players who they know they’re marking and know what jobs are required at set-pieces. We probably weren’t the best at that tonight or not to start with anyone. Players have got to know their roles when defending and attacking set-pieces.”

Kennington almost doubled their lead in the 13th minute when holding midfielder Sam Brown chipped in a free-kick into the Acre penalty area and Gary Clarke’s diving header from 14-yards was comfortably caught by Aaron Cathrew at his near post.

Despite being diminutive in size, Clarke was a threat in the air at set-pieces and his downward header following Crimmen’s cross from the left bounced once into Cathrew’s hands.

Kennington continued to press for a second goal and another chance went begging at the halfway point.

Adam Phillips’ swung in a corner from the left, which was palmed away by Cathrew underneath his crossbar and the ball eventually came out to Crimmen, who cracked his left-footed drive over the crossbar from 22-yards.

Sporting Club Thamesmead weathered the storm, however, and missed a glorious chance to equalise in the 28th minute.

Left-winger Luc Harpon collected the ball inside the final third and put Beckford through on goal but Barnes pulled off a great save on the deck, using his left hand to push the ball away to ensure it was going to be a frustrating night for the 16-goal striker.

“We’ve seen Tim score loads of goals like that this season, just a shame really he hasn’t slotted it in and got us back in the game. We still have faith in him and I know he’ll repay us,” added Long.

Sporting Club Thamesmead’s left-back Olajide was caught out by a long ball and this put Horton through on goal but his right-footed angled drive brought another fine save out of Cathrew, diving to his right and using a strong right-hand to push the ball around the post.

“Fantastic save! I remember turning to my assistant straight away and thinking the keeper done very well there. Dale’s playing on the last shoulder and being a threat as he was the whole game and it was a fantastic strike and a fantastic save,” added Scorer.

Wasteful Kennington could have had the game won on the stroke of half-time but the chance fell to the wrong man following their eighth corner.

Phillips, the central centre-half, cut a corner back to Owen, who was given acres of space to drill a low angled drive through a crowd of players, which was parried by Cathrew, who was relieved when Sam Brown stabbed the ball straight into his hands from point-blank range.

“I think we had a few of them,” admitted Scorer.

“The balls from both sides were delivered pin-point all game. We did actually struggle to win the first header which we will look to work on but the ball dropped down for us quite a few times and that was unfortunate there.”

Long added: “We got lucky! We rode a bit of luck with that one to be fair but Aaron in goal was very reactive, he always seems to pull off saves, reactive saves and close stopping saves so he’s done well there.”

Both managers were asked their thoughts at the interval.

Long said: “I said you need to be stronger! There’s boys that have come in and are playing and you’re fighting for your place but at the same time it’s a Quarter-Final at stake and if you come strong on the pitch and win your individual battles and when you get on the ball play the ball into wide areas and try to thread the ball through down the channels then I think you can get at them and we did that a little bit more.”

Scorer added: “We took an early lead and I thought we controlled the game really, really well from there. We had a few more chances between the start of the game and half-time but on the scale of things we looked very confident and comfortable at that point.

“I just reminded them of performances that we’ve put in recent weeks because you’re always going to have a 15-20 minute spell in games where things don’t go your way and you’re under pressure and sometimes you have to keep battling through it but what’s great about this group of lads is they just have a never say die attitude.”

The second half was a scrappy affair until the hour-mark when Sporting Club Thamesmead started to dominate proceedings.

Hubbard, who plays behind Beckford, started to find pockets of space inside the final third and dictate the game and his fine pass played in Harpon, but an alert Barnes rushed off his line to make another save.

Beckford and Hubbard linked up well and teed up central midfielder David Jesus, who lacked composure on the edge of the box and lashed his first time left-footed drive over the crossbar as Barnes narrowed the angle but from a central position the home side should have been level.

“I’m a big admire of Chris Hubbard, I think he’s a fantastic player, certainly one of the best at this level and in that first 15-20 minutes of the second half he was a serious threat just finding the pockets and playing in between the back line and the holding midfield two. He played very well for that 90 minutes and he was a constant threat but in the end we did what we needed to do,” said Scorer.

Harpon wasted another glorious chance to score in the 63rd minute.

Jesus released Beckford down the right channel and he floated in a perfect cross towards the edge of the six-yard box at the far post but the winger placed his free header across the keeper and past the far post.

Long said: “I felt Luc started getting in behind a little bit more and Harvey when he went on.  Chris Hubbard got on the ball and we started threading through. We were trying to move the ball a little bit quicker and being stronger all over the pitch and picking up first and second balls and then playing a bit of a tempo and I think we did in the second half.

“I think he knows himself that one should’ve been a goal and puts us massively back in the game but Luc works hard, he’s an honest lad and hopefully when he gets his goal he’ll get going.”

Scorer added: “There’s chances for both sides. I think legs were starting to get a bit heavier. We didn’t have the biggest of squads tonight and we had to make changes but everyone dug in and you’re going to have a 15-20 minutes spell when you’re under pressure so if other teams don’t take their chances that’s a boost you need to go and win the game.”

With the dominant home side pressing for an equaliser, Kennington were hanging on for the rest of normal time.

Beckford teed up Hubbard, who swept his shot on the turn sailing over the keeper only for the ball to land on top of the roof of the net at the halfway point.

Kennington should have had the game won when they hit the home side on the counter attack inside the final 12 minutes.

Harry Stow hit the ball over the top for Horton to chase down the right channel and a poor back header from Acre winger Bruno Lima gave Horton the chance to cut the ball back towards substitute Ryan Philpott, who was about to pull the trigger but the outstanding McFarlane put in a fine block.

Sporting Club Thamesmead deservedly equalised with 34 minutes and 5 seconds on the clock.

McFarlane whipped in a free-kick from the left and no one got a touch to the ball inside a crowded middle and Barnes was flat-footed as the ball bounced and curled into the far corner.

Long said:  “Reion has got a lovely whip on him, he can really whip a good cross in or a good free-kick. It wasn’t surprising that one of them was going to pay off. He usually finds the back stick and that one managed to float in.  He’s on good form at the minute so he deserved that. 

“We did get on the front foot and I thought it’s just then trying to keep going and get the winner but we weren’t able to do it.”

Scorer admitted: “Fully deserved because they were on the front foot. They really got at us and put us under constant pressure but at the same time it’s very, very disappointing from our point of view that the balls about 35-yards out wide. It’s managed to come all the way through. Again, sometimes a lack of concentration or more worried about the ball being floated in but we didn’t anticipate that well.”

Both sides created a chance each to snatch the victory before extra-time.

Lima broke through the heart of the pitch before releasing Beckford, who charged into the box but was denied by Barnes, who rushed off his line to make another vital save.

Kennington’s chance fell to big centre-half Calvin Sedenu, whose weak right-footed half-volley was comfortably saved by Cathrew, after he stayed up for Crimmen’s corner – their 10th of the game – and was teed up by Philpott, but couldn’t score from 12-yards.

“I think if there was anyone in the vicinity tonight that expected that to go in would be daft! He was the last person to be stabbing the ball home,” admitted Scorer.

“He was a constant threat from set-pieces and things like that. It was slightly unfortunate but he’s played through the game with an injury anyway so I didn’t expect him to be dig anything out there.”

Long added: “An instinctive save from Aaron. That’s what his instincts are for, he's superb at that. I know he’ll get us out of jail a lot of times and he done it again there.”

Extra-time was a more even affair and both managers were asked their thoughts going into the extra gruelling 30 minutes.

Scorer said: “I think the fact of the last 10 minutes we were a lot calmer.  We dominated the ball, which really helped the boys to get that extra bit of confidence because we knew that if we could just relax a little bit and keep the ball moving into the final third and not looking to go on the attack every time that we would create chances and defensively if we kept our shape we’d be able to keep them out.”

Long added: “Now it’s assessing the boys, whose got 30 minutes in the locker. They all seemed quite ok, all willing to play and all willing to have a go at it and they kept working.

“All I said to them was keep working, just keep working hard and keep winning your battle and keep your shape as best you can and don’t give the ball away and go sloppy with your passes or your decisions and I think you’ll get a chance.”

Kennington created the first chance inside the opening eight minutes of extra-time following their 13th corner of the night.

Crimmen floated the ball in from the right and Clarke planted his header over the crossbar from eight-yards.

“I know he’s disappointed with a couple of them because I think he’s done well and putting himself in the right areas a few times this season and he’s scored a couple of good headers and for his size he’s still one of the best winners of the ball in the air in our side so I think he’ll be slightly disappointed that he didn’t get a couple more goal wards,” said Scorer.

Sporting Club Thamesmead should have scored following their final corner of the game.

Hubbard’s low corner fell at the feet of Beckford, just four yards from goal, but Barnes pulled off another fine reaction save to frustrate the target-man.

“There was some good set-pieces and fair play to Hubby on that and it just weren’t Tim’s night tonight,” admitted Long.

Kennington grabbed the lead 124 seconds into the second period, courtesy of a sublime free-kick from left-wing-back Fisher.

Lima was guilty of fouling Clarke some 22-yards from goal and Fisher curled his left-footed free-kick into the top far corner, leaving keeper Cathrew flat-footed.

“He’s got that confidence to step up and do that,” said Scorer.

“He did it a few weeks ago at Sutton Athletic, almost identical so we know now in and around those areas we’ve got the players that are dangerous and it was nice to see him get the ball off the floor because he couldn’t beat the front man from an earlier corner!”

Long said: “A little bit annoyed, not annoyed, a little bit disappointed with the way that we gave away the free-kick. Bruno dived in a little bit and didn’t clear the lines.  He maybe took an extra touch and he got caught out.”

However, Sporting Club Thamesmead showed great character to equalise for a second time through super-sub Browne.

It came from another set-piece with seven minutes and 54 seconds on the clock.

McFarlane was some 40-yards from goal and he delivered a free-kick into the penalty area. The ball was flicked on by Olajide and the ball was worked out to Browne, who produced a quality finish with his left-foot, chipping the ball into the top far corner from 15-yards.

Long said: “Harvey’s a very young lad, he’s scored a couple of goals for us now.  Like we said to him he’s got a long way to go but he’s willing, he wants to learn, he wants to be a round men’s football and he tries his best and he’s a really good lad.  I’ve got a lot of time for him and we’re just trying to bed him in slowly and pick the right games for him. He’s really taking on his role well and he’s got some fantastic quality and he’s managed to put one over the goalkeeper into the far corner so he’s done well.”

Scorer added: “They kept battling and had a very similar never say die attitude. I would’ve hoped to have seen the game out but I was very confident if it did go to penalties.

“It’s a good finish, slightly frustrating for us that it’s from another set-piece because we were probably guilty of giving away too many silly fouls certainly in the second half and in extra-time but I think it was just tiredness but we’ll look to work on that and make sure it doesn’t happen anymore.”

Kennington almost snatched the victory at the end of extra-time when Crimmen swung in a corner from the right and Sam Brown’s header was headed off the line by Lima.

Referee Teddy Osborn – the son of now retired professional footballer Simon – was being observed by around 20 trainee observers from the Kent Football Association tonight.

Sporting Club Thamesmead took the first penalty with Beckford smashing his left-footed penalty straight down the middle and into the roof of the net.

Kennington’s holding midfielder Sam Brown drove his right-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Kennington keeper Barnes dived to his right to tip Hubbard’s penalty around the post – the price you pay for showing your penalties on social media!

Crimmen gave Kennington a 2-1 lead, drilling his left-footed penalty into the roof of the net.

Sporting Club Thamesmead’s right-back Greg Smith was lucky as keeper Barnes got a hand to the ball but the ball looped into the corner of the net.

Fisher gave Kennington a 3-2 lead, sending the keeper the wrong way with his left-footed penalty, which nestled nicely into the bottom right-hand corner.

Jesus gave the home side hope when he equalised with his right-footed penalty, which nestled into the left corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Kennington’s substitute right-wing-back Philpott placed his right-footed penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Browne produced a weak left-footed penalty, which was held by the outstanding Barnes, who went low to his left and grabbed hold of the ball and higher level teams will need to keep tabs on this gem in the tenth-tier of English football.

Reflecting on the penalty shoot-out, Scorer said: “Fortunately for us Thamesmead actually put one of Chris Hubbard’s penalties he took from the weekend on Twitter so we managed to see which way he was going to go.  He did go the same way so that did help.  I said to Tom, ‘their skipper is going to go to your right,’ and it was a fantastic save and the one to win it at the end, although we did have another penalty go tie it up anyway, two fantastic saves.”

Looking further ahead to the Quarter-Finals, Scorer said: “Kennington have never been renowned of being a cup side. I’ve always been in a position where our focus has always to be involved in a title race so the cups have always been a bit of an extra.

“We’ll just take it as it comes. We’ve had a great run in The FA Vase this year and we’re now doing very, very well and into the Quarter-Finals of the Kent Senior Trophy and we’re still in the Challenge Cup when we play at Greenways on Monday so we’re doing well on all four fronts really.”

When asked what tonight’s victory means to Kennington, Scorer added: “It means a lot for the boys especially coming all this way on a Friday night and I sort of reiterated that in the dressing room before the game.

“I said I didn’t give up my Friday night to come all this way and not win, simple as that and I said you’ve just got to keep reminding yourself that as it gets tougher, as it goes into the second half and goes into extra-time that it’s a long journey back and it’s going to be a horrible one if we came away with nothing!”

Reflecting on his penalty shoot-out exit, Long said: “Usually Hubby puts his away but it looked like a good save from the keeper.  Hubby’s put it in the corner and the keeper’s got that one.

“Harvey’s one could’ve been a bit better but he’s young, he decided to take one, maybe too big of an occasion maybe but fair play to him for stepping up and having a go. 

“Someone’s got to win and lose on penalties but we’ve competed with another very good team tonight and shown how far we’ve come as a team so I’m happy with the boys.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead: Aaron Cathrew, Greg Smith, Bode Olajide, David Jesus, Reion McFarlane, Devante Roberts, Bruno Lima, Aaron Jeffrey (Michael Olatunji 10), Tim Beckford, Chris Hubbard, Luc Harpon (Harvey Browne 65).
Subs: Jordan Gadd, Rolex Buiti, Ben Williams

Goals: Reion McFarlane 80, Harvey Browne 113

Booked: Bruno Lima 90

Kennington: Tom Barnes, Harry Stow (Harry Goddard 100), Joe Fisher, Adam Phillips, Reiss Crimmen, Calvin Sedenu, Gary Clarke, Sam Brown, Dale Horton, Tom Scorer (Ryan Philpott 69), Charlie Owen.
Subs: Luke Hughes, Ollie Finch, Rob Greenfield

Goals: Dale Horton 6, Joe Fisher 108

Booked: Calvin Sedenu 86, Ryan Philpott 102

Attendance: 64
Referee: Mr Teddy Osborn (Bromley)
Assistants: Mr Carlos Ospina (Croydon) & Mr Steven Britten (Gravesend)