Thamesmead Town 5 Maidstone United 2 - BARNES' IN HOT DEMAND - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Tuesday 18th July 2006

Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday 18th July 2006
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

Local rivals Maidstone United and Tonbridge Angels face a tug-of-war fight to see who will land midfielder Nick Barnes.

Barnes, who finished last season helping Tonbridge Angels secure promotion into the Ryman Premier League, came off the bench at half-time as the Stones were beaten 5-2 by a quality Kent League side in Thamesmead Town tonight.

But Maidstone United’s joint-manager Lloyd Hume revealed Barnes was doing him a favour as the Ryman League Division One South newcomers were short of personnel.

Midfielder Sam Tydeman’s grandmother sadly passed away on the eve of the game, goalkeeper Pat Mullin, who injured his ankle halfway through the first half of Saturday’s goalless draw at Hythe Town was forced to sit out and Nick Hegley and Lee Sperring were nursing knocks.

For Thamesmead Town, former Stones favourite Ryan Royston played the final ten minutes, having coached from the technical area alongside new boss Keith McMahon, and Dean Kearley (thigh) and Peter Deadman (hamstring) were unfit and there was no sign of Pedro Knight.

Replacing Mullin in the Stones’ goal was former Tunbridge Wells goalkeeper Matt Bromby.

The highly-rated stopper also finished last season at the Betterview Longmead Stadium and was a top-performer for their cup double winning reserve side.

But Bromby was picking the ball out of his net after 15 minutes when he was beaten from a shot from the impressive Rikki Cable.

The former Faversham Town striker saw his shot roll past Bromby and into the far corner.

Experienced campaigner Jim Strouts, meanwhile, levelled proceedings 12 minutes later when his hooked shot found the far corner at the flyover end of the improved ground.

Highly-rated Thamesmead Town striker Curtis Williams then helped himself to a 27 minute hat-trick and two minutes into the second half Sam Thomas scored the best goal of the game.

Picking the ball up some 30-yards from goal, Thomas’ shot dipped at the last minute and dropped over Bromby and into the roof of the net.

Williams netted a brace within the space of two minutes just before the break - set up by two new signings.

A floated cross from the right from James Brown was met on the half-volley by Williams, and his shot bounced into the bottom corner.

And then he latched onto a through ball from Robbie Tarrant and slotted home into that same corner.

Brown has signed from local rivals VCD Athletic with Tennant teaming up with Keith McMahon once again - from Ryman Leaguers Met. Police.

Thamesmead, who finished behind the Stones and Beckenham Town in third place last season - have so far made six summer signings and on this showing will be chasing promotion.

A superb passing move after 67 minutes gave the home side a 5-2 lead when Williams netted his third slotting home via Bromby’s body.

But seventeen-year-old Kane Rice, whose on trial from Cambridge United, scored direct from a free kick in the last 14 minutes for the Stones, having earlier struck the crossbar from a David Beckham type free kick from 50-yards out on the left flank.

The performance from the Kent League double winners, however, upset Hume.

In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with he said: “I’m not going to hide from the fact but our performance tonight was absolutely dire.

“I’ve tried not to rant and rave at the players and I know it’s our second game in the pre-season and we’ve still got five weeks until the season starts, but equally I’ve questioned a few people’s desire and commitment towards the start of our campaign and that’s why I’m not happy today.

“I can accept mistakes and Jason Barton was absolutely dreadful tonight but he’s an honest lad.”

“He worked really hard and he showed a real desire and he showed hurt when things were going against him.

“I can’t say that about five or six other players in our team tonight so I’m disappointed with the level of commitment, not particularly the performance but levels of commitment we showed.

“It was obvious to Thamesmead it was a much bigger game for them and they wanted to turn us over but we’re going to come up against that all the time.

“We need to be prepared for that and do a lot better than we have tonight.”

Hume, meanwhile, explained the situation with Angels’ midfielder Barnes turning out for his former club tonight.

“Nick Barnes is not a trialist for us,” he said. “We know him very well, everyone knows that.

“He’s done us a favour tonight because not everyone who should have turned up, turned up.

“We just asked him to come and do a job. He was in the area and he done that for us.”

But Hume admitted he’d like to see the midfielder in an amber and black shirt this season.

“Players like him, if his head’s right and he’s into his football, which he is, we’d like to have someone like him at our club. If he performs to his maximum potential because we’ve had him before and he’s great.”

But Barnes will need to decide which Ryman League club he’ll be playing for this season.

Tony Dolby’s side kick-off their pre-season campaign with a home game against Ashford Town next Tuesday, and it will be interesting to see if Barnes features.

“That’s the decision he’s got to make,” said Hume. “We’ve not spoken to Nick about that. Something arose tonight and he ended up playing for us.

“There was no sort of hidden agenda behind that, he’s done us a favour and he’s played briefly.

“He’s a mate, someone I know very well and we said to him he’s a player we’d love to have at the club if his head’s right.

“I’ve told him to go away and think about it. He’s got commitments to Tonbridge and whether he wants to stay or not is entirely up to him.”

With the Stones travelling to play Bournemouth on Saturday, Hume revealed it’s not going to be a fun time for his squad - but hard work.

“It’s a bonding exercise and it was potentially going to be a bit of fun but all of a sudden now it’s going to be a lot of hard work,” he insisted.

“On Friday we’re going to train and we’ve got a game on Saturday.

“But from this point forward you’ll see a different side because I’ve told them how I feel.

“I don’t generally hide my feelings, everyone knows that, but I’ve left them in no uncertain terms what will and won’t be expected and I’m looking for a lot stronger performance come Saturday and for the future games,” he said.

Hume demands a vast improvement ahead of their league opener at Hastings United on 12th August.

He said: “I’ve just explained to the players that these (pre-season) games are about fitness.

“But from this point forward I’m not going to be happy losing any game. I’ve made the players aware of that.

“We’re going to put it right and anyone whose not performing at the level we expect aren’t going to be playing - simple as that!”

We shall bring you an interview with Mead boss Keith McMahon later.


Thamesmead Town: Danny Kemp (Adam Woodward 80), Scott Lewis (Scott Barnes 76), Scott Saunders, James Brown (Lee Dawson 65), Lee Morgan (Tyrone Sterling 45), Lee Loveridge, Robbie Tarrant, Scott Mulholland (Ryan Royston 79), Curtis Williams, Rikki Cable, Sam Thomas (Lewis Ambrose 65).

Goals: Rikki Cable 15, Curtis Williams 41,42, 67, Sam Thomas 47

Maidstone United: Matt Bromby, Tony Sinclair, Jason Barton, Errison Ahwan (Jim Strouts 74), Leroy Huggins (Kane Rice 45), Mario McNish, Jim Strouts (Nick Barnes 45), Aaron Lacy, Mo Takaloo (Lynden Rowland 45), Simon Austin, Andy Hart.

Goals: Jim Strouts 27, Kane Rice 76

Referee: Paul Andrews (Rochester)
Assistants: Darren Blunden (Dartford) & Mr Phil Townley (Bromley)