Sporting Club Thamesmead 2-0 Rochester United - There's an expectation on us to do better so I'm glad the boys got the result tonight, says Sporting Club Thamesmead boss Jason Long

Monday 04th November 2019
Sporting Club Thamesmead 2 – 0 Rochester United
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 04/11/2019 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Monday 4 November 2019
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

SPORTING CLUB Thamesmead manager Jason Long says his side are turning the corner after their surprise victory over promotion-chasing Rochester United at Bayliss Avenue.

The Spartans remain in fifth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with 19 points from 12 games, while Sporting Club Thamesmead rise four places into tenth with 13 points from their 10 league outings.

Rochester United were the better side during the first half but Lee Garlinge’s men lacked composure in the penalty area when it mattered and they were punished in the second half when Aaron Jeffrey’s header and Stefan Kempton’s daisy-cutter sealed the points.

“Absolutely delighted with the result,” said Long, whose side inflicted Rochester United’s fourth successive defeat.

“The boys showed tremendous character after a bit of a drumming at half-time and they’ve taken it out on to the pitch second half and they came out and were different class.

“I just thought their attitudes towards it, their work-ethic, how they listened to the information and they applied it and that was the key for me, applying the information, listening to us, trusting us and not having a good half but staying in the game.

“Some of the games this season we’ve thrown the towel in and have gone one or two goals down, which is really disappointing but tonight it’s how far we’ve come and it’s been a building block and we’re building those blocks and tonight we definitely deserved that win.”

Rochester United started the game on the front foot and Reece Gillies skipped past Alfie Evans inside the Acre half before playing the ball out to impressive left-winger Callum Peck, who cut inside right-back Reion McFarlane before curling his shot around the far post after only 199 seconds.

“They were definitely (better than us in the first half), absolutely.  They are quite an intimidating team, they’re very physical, they want to win every first and second ball and I think we sort of allowed them to do that,” said Long.

“We probably allowed him a little bit too much room. We needed to be tighter and shuffle across as a unit and probably didn’t do that enough in the first half.

“Peck’s a good player, it’s trusting each other to get tighter to him to anticipate when the ball’s going in, get there and either hold him up or get in front of him and win the ball.

“Second half we seemed to compete a little bit more and just compete together.”

Recalled striker Jeffrey flicked a lovely diagonal pass – despite being taken out by a strong bookable challenge from Tony Whitaker – to find left-winger Danny Edwards, who cut onto his right-boot and drove in a low angled drive which was pushed around the post by visiting keeper Ben Nourse, diving low to his right.

“I know we will create chances, we’ve got a team that will score goals now. It’s about being clinical in certain moments of games and if you do that you get yourself on the front foot so it’s something that we want to drum into the boys,” said Long.

McFarlane’s throw in saw Jordan Gadd and Chris Hubbard link up in the final third before Edwards’ shot on the turn from just inside the Rochester United box parried by Nourse before the keeper picked the ball up.

Sporting Club Thamesmead should have taken the lead at the halfway point when Alfie Evans played the ball out to winger Gadd, who sprinted down the right for 20-yards before playing in a low cross back to Evans, who nipped in front of his man on the edge of the six-yard box before poking his shot straight at the visiting keeper.

Long said: “There were a few little scrambles that I remember – it’s just being clinical, being forceful and going ‘I’m going to score this goal!”

“I think the more confident you get into games and you start going on a bit of a winning run and things start dropping and going in for you so just keep moving on the front foot really.”

Rochester United’s main threats were Gillies and Peck, who both combined but Peck lost composure after cutting into the penalty area and his shot was weak and was comfortably gathered by Aaron Cathrew.

With the home side trying to hit balls over the top, Rochester United’s no-nonsense, shaven-headed centre-half Lewis Cook was dealing with everything and he should have scored three minutes before the break.

Gillies delivered a high hanging deep free-kick towards the corner of the six-yard box but Cook glanced his header wide, as both teams went in on level terms at the interval.

Garlinge didn’t make himself available for a post-match interview, despite agreeing to one before the game.

Long said: “I just said, we’re not getting close enough together. I felt Chris Hubbard was a little bit off it. We weren’t getting close enough to Aaron Jeffrey on the knock downs and when they were breaking through I just felt Hubbard didn’t get that cover in the midfield.

“I felt my wingers weren’t getting at their full-backs. We were getting a bit exposed down our right-hand side, which was difficult but we just said to them ‘look, we’re in the game still and if we stick together and you work together as a unit, you’re going to get some luck, some reward from it and fair play to them, they did and we got our rewards.”

Rochester United created the first openings of the second half when Tony Whitaker hit a diagonal pass out to Peck, whose dripping cross-shot was tipped over the crossbar by Cathrew.

Peck swung in the fifth of his nine corners towards the near post where an unmarked Whitaker glanced his header across goal and past the far post from eight-yards.

Sporting Club Thamesmead won seven corners tonight and they should have scored from their fourth flag kick.

Hubbard swung in a corner and centre-half Rolex Buiti came up from the back to rise to plant his header just over the crossbar from six-yards out.

Long believes Buiti’s time will come in front of goal at set-pieces.

“He’s getting excited when he’s going up for corners the boy.  There’s going to be a few goals from set-pieces, I’m sure. He wants to get on the scoresheet. He wants to attack the ball. He’s a good defender and he’ll start scoring goals soon and that’s what we want from our players’.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead took the lead with 11 minutes and 2 seconds on the stopwatch.

Hubbard played a reverse pass into Evans, who showed good control and quick feet to beat his man before playing the ball out to the impressive Edwards. He took a couple of touches before delivering a precise cross towards the far post with his third touch, where the unmarked Jeffrey buried his downward header into the right-hand corner from eight-yards to score his second goal of the season.

“He’s been having a bit of a hard time lately but I’m glad he’s got his goal,” said Long.

“He’s my assistant manager, he’s a top boy, I’ve known him for a long time. I’m well happy for him to get the first goal. He’s been shuffled around a little bit in the team. He loves a moan but do you know what he does work his socks off and he deserves is.  A great run in the box and he’s got that finish in his locker all day.”

Rochester United were awarded a free-kick some 30-yards from goal after Acre substitute right-back Bruno Lima nudged Peck from behind.

Gillies right-footed free-kick trickled through a crowd of players and flashed just past the foot of the left-hand post and after this chance they ran out of ideas.

Hubbard started to spring into life in the Sporting Club Thamesmead midfield and played a 20-yard pass inside to Evans, who took a touch and unleashed a right-footed drive from 30-yards, which was spilt by Nourse before Jeffrey was caught offside before he could follow-up.

On Evans, Long said: “He’s doing well for his Academy at Dartford at the minute. He’s been telling me he’s scored a couple of goals lately so he’s doing week He’s stepping into senior football with us, which is great for his development moving forward. He’s another great player, another asset to have at our club.”

Hubbard floated in a cross, which was cleared and Jeffrey teed up Edwards, who dug the ball out from under his feet just a couple of yards inside the Rochester box and Nourse made a comfortable save as he held the ball to his left.

Sporting Club Thamesmead wrapped up their victory by scoring their second goal with 29:01 on the clock.

Edwards was on the left touchline before he played the ball inside to central midfielder Kempton, who was given time and space to side-foot a right-footed 25-yard daisy-cutting drive from the centre of the pitch.  Defenders failed to press, Nourse was left rooted to the spot as the ball nestled apologetically into the bottom left-hand corner.

“I don’t know if he’s meant it.  I think he has meant it but he’s another asset to us, he’s been superb,” said Long.

“He’s a really good lad on and off the pitch, good character, he wants to win. He puts his body on the line when it’s needed and if he keeps doing the simple things when he’s in possession, like he’s done there, he’s just rolled one into the bottom corner so fair play to him. He’s a great asset for us.”

Rochester United created two late headed chances from set-pieces but Cook failed to keep them on target.

Substitute Tom Rutnam clopped a free-kick just outside the centre-circle towards the far post but Cook steered a poor header wide, before Cook steered his header over the crossbar from close range after Peck swung in a free-kick from within the left-channel after he was sent to the deck by Lima.

“They’re very physical, they’re very physical in games and that’s always going to be challenging but I just said to the boys just don’t get pinned in too deep, try to keep yourself up high and Aaron Cathrew was really superb tonight giving good information to the boys in front of him and they deserved that clean-sheet. We were defending with a bit of resilience and we were organised and that’s a bit better, they deserved it.”

FC Elmstead (26 points from 13 games), Holmesdale (22 points from 11 games), Rusthall (20 points from 10 games) and Croydon (20 points from 11) are in the promotion places, while Sporting Club Thamesmead have now closed the gap on fifth-placed Rochester United to six points.

Sporting Club Thamesmead travel to seventh-placed Lewisham Borough on Saturday and Long wants his side to continue with their rise up the table.

“That’s where we want to be, that’s the direction we want to be going now.  Hopefully we’ve turned the corner. I do think we will be going that way,” said Long.

“We just have to continue the momentum that we’re on. If we can do that and have another positive result and keep climbing, keep the boys’ togetherness and we’ll be alright.”

When asked whether there was pressure on his side tonight, Long replied: “It’s a tough one! I wouldn’t say pressure but at the same time it’s expectations. We put expectations on ourselves to want to do better and it’s what I feel this team is capable of. We are a good team with some very quality players’ and we’re starting to work together now as a group of lads. I wouldn’t say pressure, there’s an expectation on us to do better and I’m glad the boys got the result tonight.”

Sporting Club Thamesmead: Aaron Cathrew, Reion McFarlane (Bruno Lima 58), Daniel Walshe, Stefan Kempton, Rolex Buiti, Jordan Gadd (Luc Harpon 67), Alfie Evans, Aaron Jeffrey, Chris Hubbard, Danny Edwards.
Subs: David Jesus, Jordan Lovell, Charlie Cloke

Goals: Aaron Jeffrey 57, Stefan Kempton 75

Booked: Bode Olajide 2, Bruno Lima 71

Rochester United: Ben Nourse, Tom Webb, Karlton Blake (Tom Cackett 72), Tony Whitaker, Ben Coumbe, Lewis Cook, John Brown, Harry Hornsby (Harrison Hume 59), Connor Cox, Reece Gillies (Tom Rutnam 82), Callum Peck.
Subs: Charlie Plummer, Mark Hornsby

Booked: Tony Whitaker 9

Attendance: 70
Referee: Mr Shaakir Uddin (Chatham)
Assistants: Mr Myles Hewson (Sittingbourne) & Mr Matt Charles (Chatham)