Three Bridges 1-4 Faversham Town - We've shown a good degree of character tonight, says Ray Turner

Tuesday 21st October 2014

Ryman League Division One South
Tuesday 21st October 2014
Stephen McCartney report from Jubilee Field

FAVERSHAM TOWN manager Ray Turner hailed Jack Harris’ incredible night after the striker scored all four of their goals in their win at windy Three Bridges.

The Lilywhites leapfrogged over Whyteleafe into second place in the Ryman League Division One South table with 32 points from 15 games to move to within seven points of unbeaten leaders Burgess Hill Town.

It was also fifteenth-placed Three Bridges’ first home league defeat of the season, after six other sides failed to come away from Jubilee Field with a win.

Referee Michael Hayden produced ten cards and both sides were reduced to ten-men after two full-backs collected their second bookings.

Faversham left-back Jamie Maxted was the first to go in the 43rd minute, before Three Bridges’ right-back John Lansdale followed with four minutes remaining.

But despite one floodlight pylon at Jubilee Field not shining to its full capacity, Harris shone by scoring on the stroke of half-time before going on to score in the 50th minute and two inside injury-time.

Three Bridges equalised early in the second half through Ben Godfrey’s fourth goal of the season, before wave-after-wave of attacks kept the Kent side on the back foot, before Harris went up the other end to prove his clinical talent.

Faversham lost midfielder George Monger (dizziness) and right-back Aidan Sherlock (groin) during the second half, but they held firm and the scoreline was rather flattering at the end.

“Firstly, we know how difficult it is to win away from home on a Tuesday night,” said Turner.

“An awful lot has gone on in the game. A fantastic end result. We’re the first team to have beaten them here, I believe, in the league so it helps that momentum going.

“We lost a couple of people to niggling injuries, we’ve got strength in the squad coming back. I couldn’t even get Luke Harvey and Renford Tenyue on tonight and that’s without Josh Stanford, who will be back available on Saturday.

“It’s been a good night, considering there’s not many games in midweek in the Ryman this week so it’s an important three points.”

Turner made three changes from the side that thrashed Southern League Division One Central Beaconsfield SYCOB 4-0 in The FA Trophy Preliminary Round at the weekend – one of them being four-goal hero Harris, who must be impressing Maidstone United manager Jay Saunders with performances like this one for Faversham.

The Lilywhites adopted a shoot on sight policy in the gloom early on.

Maxted’s left-footed drive was caught by Three Bridges keeper Kieron Thorp after only 96 seconds before winger Kieran Oliver (who was later sacrificed after Maxted’s sending-off) cut in from the right and unleashed a left-footed angled drive which bounced into the keeper’s hands.

Monger played a delightful through ball from inside the Faversham half to put Harris through on goal but Thorp rushed off his line to make a fine block with his body, the ball looping over the bar.

“Jack’s just coming back. It’s turned out to be an incredible night for him.  We managed to get 20 minutes out of him on Saturday. He was ready to start this week and he had quite a serious ankle injury. We’ve looked after him and we’ve worked him back in shape. I wanted him to play for an hour really.

“He hit the target and the keeper made a good save.”

Three Bridges’ opening chance arrived inside seven minutes when a long throw from Lansdale found midfielder Hakeem Adelakumi in space and he cracked a left-footed half-volley towards goal from 35-yards, which Simon Overland dived to his left to push around the post.

Turner said: “Simon’s been in good form. He’s a big commanding figure. I do expect him to make those kind of saves. He’s a formidable goalkeeper at this level.”

Another throw from Lansdale was headed away by Faversham defender John Scarborough, but Abu Touray, who was a threat down the right with his pace, failed to hit the target from the edge of the box.

The home side really should have opened the scoring during a frenetic start to the game.

Lansdale clipped the ball from within the gloomiest part of the pitch and Godfrey flicked a pass to release Touray down the right and he whipped in a cross towards the far post where the unmarked Tony Garrod curled his right-footed shot around the far post from sixteen-yards.

Faversham Town squandered an excellent chance to break the stalemate in the fifteenth minute.

Australian midfielder Wayne Wilson swept in a corner from the right and a towering Maxted planted his free header over the bar from eight-yards.

“It was a good chance. He just got underneath it a little bit, a little fraction,” said Turner.

“It wasn’t easy delivering balls in there with the wind but Willo put one on the money, which he does generally.

“We work hard getting the right people in the right areas from corners so we are dangerous from corner kicks. We’ve got people who are capable of scoring. Jamie Maxted is more than capable of scoring goals.”

Three Bridges skipper Lee Carney swept the ball out wide and Lansdale took the ball on before drilling his right-footed shot just wide.

But despite a free flowing opening sixteen minutes the game then turned into a scrap and the next action proved to be when the referee sent Maxted off for an off-the-ball tussle with Godfrey, 21 minutes after the pair were both booked following another incident.

“I didn’t see the initial challenge,” said Turner.

“I go back to the first one. I think it was very soft. A couple players came together earlier on and he booked them both.”

Turner claimed: “I’m not sure Jamie did an awful lot and they were both at it and then the nine went with Jamie down the line and I only saw the nine kick out at Jamie on the floor.

“When I spoke to the linesman who gave that decision and lead to the sending off he told me that Jamie blocked him off and it was a second yellow card.”

Faversham Town responded in an excellent fashion as they opened the scoring with 46:48 on the clock.

Overland launched a big kick up field, Dave Botterill flicked the ball on to put Harris through on goal and the striker latched onto the ball to drill his right-footed shot across the keeper to find the bottom far corner from fifteen-yards.

Turner said; “Talk about timing of goals and it’s a crucial aspect of football matches.  We’ve just gone down to ten men obviously for a couple of minutes and that’s given them a massive lift

“The game was a bit dead in the first half.  I thought we started quite well and then the game went a bit dead.  In a way it kind of inspired us more than it did them.

“It happened at the right time. He brought it out of the air brilliantly with his first touch and all of his finishing from then on in went in the corners. That was bottom corner and it was a great finish.”

When asked whether it changed his half-time team-talk, Turner replied: “No it didn’t! There were a few worries.  A couple of players were told in no uncertain terms what I expected of them in the second half.

“I still felt we could score goals. The idea was to keep Dean Grant and Jack Harris up top and keep pressure on them to try to score the second goal, which we were able to do so that was the idea, not to sit back.”

Faversham Town doubled their lead with a well-worked goal inside the opening five minutes of the second half.

Matt Bourne clipped a long ball out of defence and Dean Grant shrugged off central defender Ellis Hooper and cut in and played the ball to Botterill, who laid the ball off to Harris, who took a touch and curled his right-footed shot into the far corner from 12-yards.

Turner said: “That was a good goal wasn’t it? A really good goal! The whole build-up was good.

“The clearance was held up well from Grant and I thought Dave Botterill showed great vision. He didn’t even look up. He knew where Jack was and played it straight into his patch and what was good about his finish was he took his time and took it back on to his right foot and it went in the top corner – as everything did after that!”

But Three Bridges made a game of it and pulled a goal back in the 54th minute.

Lansdale threw the ball into the penalty area and the ball dropped to former Dartford striker Garrord, who cracked a left-footed shot against the crossbar.

Seconds later Godfrey played a one-two with Touray on the edge of the box before running through to slot his right-footed shot underneath Overland.

Turner said: “It’s always disappointing to concede a goal. We’re a decent side with a decent goalkeeper so we’re always disappointed to concede goals.

“Simon made a good fingertip save from the previous one onto the crossbar and the goal was for me, it was predictable in terms of the guy wanted to receive the pass back from a one-two on the edge of the box so I don’t think we read the situation well enough so he slipped it fortunately for him he’s poked it underneath Simon’s body or between his legs.”

The goal sparked Three Bridges into life and they camped themselves in Faversham’s half for long periods.

Lansdale was given time and space to drill a right-footed shot from 40-yards, which smashed against Overland’s crossbar and the flag had gone up by the time Godfrey reacted to head down and into the near corner.

It was a defining moment in the game and Turner patted himself on the back for that one.

“I think we’ve done well recently, we’ve worked on the back four pushing out on a particular phase. Even though it’s hit the crossbar the fact that the back four has pushed out and I give them credit for that.”

Touray was a main threat for the home side but the home side’s finishing was poor when they got in some good positions.

Adelakumi whipped in a cross form the left which sailed towards the far post which Garrod’s towering header deflected narrowly over the bar. 

Adelakumi cut the resulting corner back to Touray and his cross was cleared out to Matt Whitehead but the left-back’s dipping drive from 40-yards was caught low down by Overland.

Faversham Town were hanging on from around the hour mark and the likelihood of a 4-1 win for Turner’s men seemed unlikely at this point.

Godfrey swept the ball out to Touray, whose right-footed drive from 22-yards forced an smart low save from Overland, diving low to his left to save and hold on to the ball.

Three Bridges didn’t have the quality in the final third to kill Faversham Town off despite the home side’s dominance.

Adelakumi swung in their third corner of the game which was met by a towering header at the far post by Sam Macvicar, which went over Overland’s crossbar.

But Faversham Town went close a couple of times when they adopted route-one football during the last 20 minutes.

Overland’s long big kick straight down the middle was brought down by Grant, who played Harris through on goal but he lashed his right-footed drive against the top of the near post from 12-yards.

At the other end, Garrod cut in from the left and stroked a right-footed shot towards the bottom near corner, but Overland managed to make a low save beside the post.

Another big kick from the Faversham keeper saw Grant shrug off his marker before curling his left-footed shot just around the far post from 25-yards.

But when Lansdale collected his second yellow card – for a touchline challenge on Grant with four minutes remaining - the game turned in Faversham’s favour.

“It got a bit bitty and he (the referee) created problems in terms of a lot of yellow cards so if they had six yellow cards at that point then someone’s going to get in trouble as the game got desperate so unfortunately it was the 2 that had to deal with the second yellow card and a red.

“I don’t think that changed the game by then. We earnt the right to be 2-1 up and I think that was frustration perhaps on their part but we just had to see the game out in the end.

“Not only did we score the fourth we created a couple more. It was that crazy by the end of the game.”

Faversham Town were leading 2-1 as the game reached the 90th minute, before clinical Harris clinched the game with stunning goals timed at 45:29 and 47:28.

Faversham Town withstood another Three Bridges attack and cleared the ball up to Grant, who did well to play the ball up to Harris, who sped past Hooper to race through on goal but his initial shot was blocked by the advancing Thorp and Harris kept his composure to drill his left-footed shot into the far corner from ten-yards.

“We had to change it tactically just before that moment because I think we were under a lot of pressure so we went with a 4-4-1 at that point and we tried to see the game out,” explained Turner.

“Jack ended up one-on-one. Dean’s done really well. He’s done well in the past six or seven games and he didn’t score tonight but he created situations for us.

“He got the touch on and Jack’s toe poked it around the centre half and got there first and then he’s one-on-one with the keeper. Initially it got blocked but he shown enough composure and I think it might have been Dave Botterill coming in but he certainly wasn’t going to give it up with an opportunity to score a hat-trick and he took the rebound and made sure it went in so that was the killer moment really for the game.”

Harris, 20, took his Faversham goalcoring tally to seven (while on loan from Maidstone United) when he cut in from the left (ignoring Grant who was in an offside position) before curling another excellent strike into the far corner.

Turner said: “I told Jack to stand still because he was dead on his feet. The ball arrived at him. Dean Grant made a forward run, he was in an offside position, but he decided not to play the ball and then Jack was suddenly free on a one-on-one situation on the angle and he just smashed it in to the top corner and it was a great way to finish the night.

“It’s a fantastic night for him and he’s a really good lad. He’s contracted at Maidstone and he likes it here. He’s getting minutes here and he’s a great asset for us. He really deserves those goals tonight. He’s come back from a month out and what a way to come back!”

Turner admits League titles and gaining play-off positions at the end of the season are won or lost on cold, windy Tuesday nights at this time of the season.

“It was a difficult night for us really. We had to deal with quite a few situations in terms of re-shuffling the side particularly the back four and with Jamie Maxted, who was sent off.

“There was a lot of things to think of tonight so as a manager you’re always pleased with the right result again.”

Reflecting on his club’s league position, Turner said: “We’re second by rights as well. We had a difficult period two weeks ago when we lost some key players but we’re slowly getting the squad strength back now.

“The difference this year, I think we’ve got goals in the side. I think we’re right up there possibly as the highest goalscorers ratio per game and that’s key to get away from teams which is something we struggled and I’ve tried to address in the summer.

“I’m more than happy to have the options I’ve got so it’s key for me that we keep attacking sides and try to score as many goals as possible.

“My experienced number two (Clive Walker) will always tell me this league is won on lost on a Tuesday night because they’re crucial games.  You’ve got to get players there and get them in the right frame of mind and you’ve got to get results.

“We’ve showed a good degree of character tonight when we was up against it and they were a man extra for a period of time.

“I’m more than happy to drive the team on and the ambition to win again (at home to Redhill) on Saturday.”

Three Bridges: Kieron Thorp, John Lansdale, Matt Whitehead, Sam Macvicar, Ellis Hooper, Jamie Crellin, Abu Touray, Hakeem Adelakumi, Ben Godfrey, Lee Carney, Tony Garrod.
Subs: Mark Pulling, Mat Daniel, Williams Pearoux, Louis Gray, Alfie Jones

Goal: Ben Godfrey 54

Booked: Ben Godfrey 22, Abu Touray 41, Jamie Crellin 71, Lee Carney 76, John Lansdale 82, Matt Whitehead 85

Sent Off: John Lansdale 86

Faversham Town: Simon Overland, Aidan Sherlock (Daniel King 60), Jamie Maxted, George Monger (Sam Bewick 56), Matthew Bourne, John Scarborough, Wayne Wilson, David Botterill, Jack Harris, Dean Grant, Kieran Oliver (Ashley Brown 45).
Subs: Renford Tenyue, Luke Harvey

Goals: Jack Harris 45, 50, 90, 90

Booked: Jamie Maxted 22, Dean Grant 85

Sent Off: Jamie Maxted 43

Attendance: 89
Referee: Mr Michael Hayden (Epsom, Surrey)
Assistants: Mr Philip Jones (Epsom, Surrey) & Mr Anand Desai (Surbiton, Surrey)