Thamesmead Town 3-1 Three Bridges - It's been a tough few weeks for us, admits Keith McMahon

Saturday 01st November 2014

The FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
Saturday 1st November 2014
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

THAMESMEAD TOWN boss Keith McMahon admits the club needs the money raised  from their FA Trophy run.

The cash-strapped club progressed to the Second Qualifying Round thanks to their 3-1 win over Three Bridges at Bayliss Avenue.

The Mead have now banked a crucial £5,200 from their two wins in the competition and can now look forward to taking their place in Monday’s draw for the penultimate qualifying round.

Thamesmead Town took an early lead through striker Rowan Liburd’s third goal for the club, but Three Bridges enjoyed large chunks of possession without creating any clear cut chances during the first half.

Thamesmead Town doubled their lead only 69 seconds into the second half when Tyrus Gordon-Young dinked home his tenth goal of the season.

Three Bridges, who arrived at Bayliss Avenue sitting in fourteenth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 22 points from 17 games, pulled a goal back when Lee Carney capped off an excellent performance by tapping home from close range, before Rob Carter came off the bench to round the keeper to clinch the game for the spirited home side.

“I’m obviously over the moon. It’s been a tough few weeks for us to be fair.  We needed the performance, a bit of a battle and that’s what we got today,” said McMahon.

“They had a lot of the ball and we had to work hard. I thought our finishing was good and we were dangerous on the break.  We had to soak up quite a bit of pressure.

“But it’s a big win for the club. We need the money.

“We’ve got quite a few new bodies in and we’re trying to gel together and a few players are playing out of position.  It’s been a testing few weeks but it’s good to get the win.”

Thamesmead Town, who went into the game sitting in thirteenth-place in the Ryman League Division One North table, also with 22 points from 17 games, were outplayed during the first half that Three Bridges clearly dominated.

The near Crawley-based visitors created their first chance after only 28 seconds, which striker Tony Garrod stroked his shot harmlessly wide of the near post from 25-yards.

Three Bridges hit Thamesmead on the break and a poor header by Mead right-back Michael Spencer was latched onto by striker Ben Godfrey, who swept the ball out wide to right-back John Lansdale, who took a touch and his right-footed chip was caught by Rob Budd from sixteen-yards.

But Thamesmead Town grabbed the lead, against the run of play, with six minutes and 20 seconds on the clock.

Richard Butler – who was sitting in front of the back four – cleared the ball out of defence up to Gordon-Young, who hooked a first time through ball to put Liburd through on goal and the striker maintained his composure to slot his right-footed shot past the advancing goalkeeper into the bottom right-hand corner.

“We knew out pace was going to cause them problems,” said McMahon.

“We’ve had them watched and we knew they were good going forward and the two full-backs got on a lot and if you gave them time, that’s why we went up with the bodies up front.

“Rowan’s electric quick anyway and it was a decent ball in the area. The centre halves weren’t going to catch him and it was a good decent finish so it went to plan.”

Three Bridges responded with Lansdale throwing the ball into the penalty area, which was cleared out to Williams Peauroux, who hooked his left-footed shot sailing wide of the far post from 25-yards.

Winger Hakeem Adelakun then picked the ball up and cut in from the left and drilled a deflected shot across keeper Rob Budd and narrowly past the far post.

Carney picked the ball up in space and played the ball inside to the unmarked Lansdale, who drilled his right-footed shot over the bar from 30-yards.

Three Bridges were bossing the play and they played some nice football along the deck, but they failed to trouble Budd or get in behind the Thamesmead Town defence, which had George Benner making his debut at the heart of defence alongside Lee Coburn, following his signing from Southern Counties East Football League side Tunbridge Wells.

McMahon said: “I thought he done well. We needed a centre half. I watched him play last year and he doesn’t muck around.  At the moment where we are I’m not interested in getting the ball down and play out the back.  The first thing you need to do if you’re a defender is defend then once you defend and you’re solid at the back then you can start improving and bringing it down.

“But we needed someone. It took him a few minutes to settle in but in the end he was up winning headers and clearing his lines – that’s what I want as a centre half!

“We had a big gap to full in Lewis Tozer (who left to sign for VCD Athletic) and I won’t lie, he’s just not a friend, he’s an exceptional good player and he’s been here for a long, long time. It’s a miss-match. Lee Coburn has come in and done a favour for me for a few games and we’ll see how Lee goes but I thought George done alright. He’s big and strong, he’s not the quickest but he’s positioning was good. He talks really well as well. It’s a bonus for us.”

Three Bridges linked up well with four players before Peauroux was given an opportunity to float the ball into the penalty area, which saw Carney spin Butler but poked his right-footed shot wide.

Thamesmead Town took to route-one football to create a rare first half chance with nineteen minutes on the clock.

Budd’s big kick up the pitch was flicked on by Leslie Thompson on the edge of the penalty area and Liburd’s right-footed hooked shot took a deflection as it sailed over the bar from sixteen-yards.

Thamesmead Town were hanging on but if Three Bridges had better quality in the final third then they would have won the game.

Carney released left-back Whitehead in behind the Thamesmead Town defence but his angled left-footed drive bounced harmlessly wide of the near post when he should have called Budd into making a save.

The ball then dropped down at Carney’s feet, who stroked his right-footed drive bouncing harmlessly wide of the left-hand post from 30-yards.

A throw from Lansdale found Jamie Crellin in acres of space and his fine diagonal pass found winger Adelakun, but his left-footed drive from 30-yards also sailed over.

But despite being outplayed during the first half it was the home side that could have grabbed a flattering 2-0 lead at the break.

Gordon-Young picked the ball up in midfield and penetrated the Three Bridges defence to reach the edge of the penalty area before laying the ball off to Peter Smith, but the former VCD Athletic midfielder dragged his right-footed angled drive flashing past the far post.

McMahon said: “We had to soak up a lot. It was a great chance for us and we really should have scored. Two-nil may have flattered us but the plan was we knew they would have a lot of bodies going forward, was to hit them on the break and we did.”

But the Mead boss was concerned with the manner that his side were overrun in midfield during the first half.

“We thought we got our shape wrong in the first half,” admitted McMahon.

“They played the three in the middle, one in the hole and two up top and I thought the two centre forwards kept dropping deep in the midfield and we weren’t going with them and they were outnumbering us a little bit and pulling us around. 

“Our centre midfielder (Richard Butler) was then looking like more a centre half and we had to regroup a little bit if I’m honest.  They’ve got some good players and we just had to hang in there and to get in there 1-0 was what we planned.

“I thought our shape second half was miles better. We got our midfield tucked in a lot more and we looked a constant threat when they pushed forward. We battled hard there.”

Thamesmead Town went into the interval with their lead intact, but it could have so easily been a different story.

McMahon said: “We had to get our midfield back.  When we lost the ball I thought we didn’t get back behind the ball quick enough and we were just running alongside their markers because they had the extra one in the middle and it was causing problems.

“It was more about the shape. Get Richard Butler off the back four a little bit more and we done that and we were competing. We were getting more second balls. We didn’t pick up many second balls up in the first half because our shape weren’t right and I said be patient and we’ll hit them on the break, which is exactly what we’ve done.”

Thamesmead Town doubled their lead after only 69 seconds thanks to Gordon-Young’s dinked finish.

Spencer clipped the ball up to Thompson on the edge of the box, who flicked his pass through to Gordon-Young, who dinked his right-footed shot past Kieron Thorp from 12-yards.

“We pressed the ball well. We won the first header and Michael’s nipped in and to be fair to Les, he’s found himself on the edge of the box and he done it later on in the game – he could have taken a touch and gone on his own and he’s cushioned a lovely little pass to Tyrus and the finish was quality!

“You’d like that in the Premiership! It might seem simple but just to dink a ball over the goalkeeper coming in is not easy. People rush or snap but Tyrus is full of confidence at the moment. 

“The goal he got last Saturday is the best goal that I’ve ever seen since I’ve been manager here. It was a decent finish. It just proved a point, like I said, we will find gaps.”

McMahon revealed the hard-working striker hobbled off with a slight hamstring  or cramp.

“Tyrus works so hard. I can’t praise the fella enough! His attitude is unbelievable and he doesn’t stop running. He must be a nightmare to play against because he’s big, strong, quick and he can finish.  He’s put in a massive shift.”

McMahon is delighted to have the player back at the club following a very short spell at league rivals Cray Wanderers.

He said: “Tyrus thought he needed a change but this is a special club and I keep telling everyone that. We’ve got good facilities but it ain’t about that. It’s what we’ve got in the club, the heart, the people, the committee, the management team, the directors. This is a special club and that’s why I’ve been here so long and he missed it after a week and he’s asked to come back and I’m definitely not going to say no so it was nice to get him back.”

McMahon felt his side should have done better with a couple of free-kicks.

Ashley Probets curled his left-footed free-kick into the side netting from 22-yards, before Derek Duncan got his right-footed curler over the wall but also over the top of the near post.

“We didn’t have enough quality there,” admitted McMahon.

“They’ve both got the best left-feet in the league and they were just up and overs and we need to work a little bit on that because they’ve got better quality with those two good opportunities.”

Gordon-Young went on a 40-yard run before drilling his right-footed effort over the bar from 20-yards.

But Three Bridges pulled a goal back with 58 minutes on the clock.

Keeper Thorp kicked the ball up field and Garrod picked the ball up on the right-hand side of the penalty area before sweeping the ball across the penalty area to Godfrey, who cut in towards the by-line to cut the ball across goal for Carney to stab the ball over the line from close range.

“He probably could have been offside as well because Buddy was in front of him,” said McMahon.

“The ball got played up. I think it was Godfrey up front and Lee Coburn just put on his back heels. He should have stooped forward and headed it but he didn’t and he went backwards, he rocked back and the geezer got in front of him and put it across goal and they’ve scored from it.

“They put a bit of pressure on us but I thought the lads didn’t panic. We kept our shape.”

Three Bridges squandered an excellent chance to equalise on the hour mark.

Adelakun cut a corner back to Peauroux, who was given time and space to chip the ball towards the far post but Martin Dynan came up from the back to nod his header wide of the near post from well placed.

Thamesmead Town called Thorp into making a comfortable save within a minute.

Duncan clipped a free-kick towards the edge of the penalty area and Gordon-Young ducked to allow the ball to bounce into Thompson’s path and his left-footed angled drive brought a comfortable save from the visiting keeper.

Smith flashed his right-footed free-kick past the near post before Three Bridges went close at the other end.

Lansdale looped his throw into the penalty area towards the near post but Garrod rose to plant his header wide, before the former Dartford striker dragged his 30-yard drive wide of the left-hand post.

Thamesmead Town could have put daylight between the two sides in the final 20 minutes when Thompson spun his man to turn and hit a deflected right-footed drive looping over the bar.

McMahon added: “Thompson had one when really he should have shot.  It’s dropped to him and it’s taken a deflection.  The pace that we’ve got we just had to be patient and we got the reward in the end.”

Lansdale’s cross from the right was met by a hooked right-footed volley at the near post by Garrod, which sailed narrowly over Budd’s crossbar.

Thamesmead keeper Budd was called into action with fifteen minutes remaining.

Adelakun played a sublime pass with the outside of his boot to release Godfrey down the left, who cut in to the penalty area before cutting the ball inside to Carney, who laid the ball off to his midfield partner Crellin, who was given time and space to drill a low left-footed drive towards the bottom right-hand corner from 25-yards, but Budd dived low to his left to parry before clutching the ball before wing-wizard Abu Touray could pounce.

Lansdale linked up well with substitute Touray down the right and Lansdale whipped in a cross from the right and substitute Alan Tait stabbed his shot past the near post from four-yards.

McMahon said: “Again, they threw loads of bodies forward.  I thought Alan Tait was going to come on a little bit earlier. He’s experienced. They’ve got two good forwards but he gives you something a little bit different, something that they needed, to finish.”

Thamesmead Town squandered an excellent chance to kill the game off when Duncan’s fine hooked pass released Liburd through on goal but the striker rolled his shot from sixteen-yards agonisingly past the foot of the near post when he only had the keeper to beat.

McMahon added: “We should have got the third a little bit earlier when Rowan went through.  With the pace we’ve got, they had to push forward, we knew we’d pick them off.” 

Three Bridges got the ball into the Thamesmead penalty area through Crellin’s long ball, which was knocked down by substitute Calum Donaghey and Dynan looped his shot into Budd’s arms.

Budd swiftly launched the ball up field and the ball was helped on by Dynan and Carter took the ball in his stride to round the goalkeeper to slot home into an empty net to wrap up the win with four minutes left.

“Rob Budd’s kicked it, he headed it up and Les has come in and beat him in the air and Rob’s just got a toe in front and showed great composure.

“Rowan had exactly the same about five minutes before, one-on-one with the keeper and this time he’s rolled it just past the post but Rob’s taken it round him on his weak side as well and a decent finish, what we needed, a bit of composure.

“Carts owed us that as well. He didn’t turn up last Tuesday for (the away game at) Wroxham and he owed the team and to be fair he’s come and got a goal and done well so I was pleased with that.”

Thamesmead Town received a slice of luck at the death when Godfrey’s right-footed angled drive sailed across Budd and bounced off the far post before the away side were awarded a free-kick but Carney touched the ball to Whitehead, who drove his shot over the bar from 25-yards.

“They had a couple of chances and a free-kick as well, which we charged down but the last 5-10 minutes of the game I thought we defended really, really well,” said McMahon.

“The boys stood up to the mark. They won their headers, won their tackles and cleared their lines and we probably had most of the ball for the last ten minutes going the other way.”

Speaking about how much victory meant to the club, McMahon replied: “Massive! Just the finances and also confidence.  Some of the bigger boys come in the next round. We went out of The FA Cup earlier than we should have done and it’s been a tough few weeks for us and we’ve stuck in there.

“The finances we need are massive but we just need a win and a bit of confidence because as much as we’ve lost some players we’ve still got some great players in this club and I’m going to add a couple more as well.

“We just need to win four or five on the trot and we’ll find ourselves towards the play-offs and when we went up we were in the same sort of boat so we just have to believe.

“I said to the lads a little bit about commitment and that before the game and we need to show more commitment but we did today and I was really pleased.

“We want a nice draw now. We want a home draw and see if we can get through the next round.

“Whitstable got through to the last sixteen last year. You just want a nice draw and see where we go.”

Thamesmead Town: Rob Budd, Michael Spencer, Ashley Probets, Richard Butler, Lee Coburn, George Benner, Peter Smith, Derek Duncan, Tyrus Gordon-Young (Rob Carter 78), Rowan Liburd (Mike Aziaya 89), Leslie Thompson (Adem Ramadan 90).
Subs: Rashid Kamara, Vincente Mansanet

Goals: Rowan Liburd 7, Tyrus Gordon-Young 47, Rob Carter 86

Booked: Ashley Probets 85

Three Bridges: Kieron Thorp, John Lansdale, Mat Whitehead, Sam MacVicar (Calum Donaghey 62), Martin Dynan, Jamie Crellin, Williams Peauroux (Abu Touray 63), Lee Carney, Ben Godfrey, Tony Garrod, Hakeem Adelakun (Alan Tait 77).
Sub: Mark Pulling

Goal: Lee Carney 58

Booked: Williams Peauroux 19, John Lansdale 49, Lee Carney 52, Sam MacVicar 61

Attendance: 49
Referee: Mr Andrew Parker (Stanford-le-Hope, Essex)
Assistants: Mr Lee Marwick (Corringham, Essex) & Mr Michael Scott (Stanford-le-Hope, Essex)