Tower Hamlets 2-3 Welling Town - Tower Hamlets are going to cause a lot of damage to a lot of sides, warns Welling Town boss Kevin Oakes

Wednesday 09th September 2020
Tower Hamlets 2 – 3 Welling Town
Location Mayplace Ground, Mayplace Road East, Barnehurst, Kent DA7 6JT
Kickoff 09/09/2020 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Wednesday 9 September 2020
Stephen McCartney reports from Mayplace Road East

WELLING TOWN chairman/manager Kevin Oakes has warned his rivals that newcomers Tower Hamlets will cause a lot of damage to sides in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division this season.

The Mile End outfit played their first home game in their new surroundings at Phoenix Sports’ ground in Barnehurst having made the switch from the Essex Senior League and joint-chairman Jamil Nadmi put himself in interim charge of the team at the weekend and his players’ impressed on their big night.

Tower Hamlets fielded former highly-talented Denilson Carvalho, 21, in the number 10 role behind striker Javaan Campbell and stood out with an outstanding performance.  Left-winger Deese Kasinga Madia had electrifying pace and they were also a threat down the other flank with Bruno Gomes.

However, their weaknesses were evident here tonight as they were naïve in defence and their goalkeeper was poor when it came to catching crosses.

Tower Hamlets got off to a scorching start by taking the lead after only 18 seconds through Gomes.

Welling Town equalised through striker Ryan Golding, who has used the past six months to shed weight and caused the Tower Hamlets defence all sorts of problems.

Oliver Bennett scored from close range to give the Boots a 2-1 lead going into the break before Tower Hamlets equalised early in the second half through a brilliant solo run and goal from the highly-impressive Carvalho, who on tonight’s performance will have the proud label of being the best player in the league.

Golding notched a trademark tap-in after some poor defending from a set-piece as two of Welling Town’s three goals came from set-pieces.

Brilliant going forward, what Tower Hamlets lacked was the knowhow of Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division football and Welling Town put in a professional performance to see the game out to make it back-to-back league wins to be in fourth-place in the table, while pointless Tower Hamlets only have Erith Town, Canterbury City and Lordswood below them in the pecking order at this early stage.

“It was nerve wracking at times to be perfectly honest with you,” admitted Oakes, who appointed himself as manager on 24 May 2020.

“I think if you’re a neutral watching that it was a very, very good game of football but to be in the thick of it, yes, it was a bit like a basketball match at times, end-to-end.

“I said to the lads and the coaches from the start of the season that I want us to be good to watch, maybe not quite that good to watch. There won’t be many boring games of football involved with Welling Town this season, I can promise you that.  We want to play with creative, attacking players and if we’re going to have those attacking, creative players on the pitch we need to make sure we get the ball up to them.

“The pace and speed that Tower Hamlets attacked with was fantastic. It was a very open game of football but yes good as a neutral to watch, maybe not so good as manager but we won the game and that’s all that matters.”

Nadmi added: “My thoughts, disappointed. I felt we dominated football wise. We had more than enough chances to kill the game off. Naivety with the three goals that we’ve conceded but we can take a lot of positives because the boys played well.”

Tower Hamlets started the game like a house on fire, attacking and scoring straight away after kicking-off.

Carvalho drove straight down the heart of the pitch with the ball before playing the ball out to Kasinga, who sprinted past right-back Jack Bancroft to reach the by-line before cutting the ball back for Gomes to lash a first-time left-footed shot into the top left-hand corner at the near post.

Nadmi said: “Brilliant, great start.  They listened to everything that we said in the warm-up and in the build-up yesterday and today and that was a goal that was the energy that we were looking for.

“The last game on Saturday unfortunately the management team left so I’m not the manager, I’m just the interim at the moment so everything that we’ve done in the short space of time, we exploded into life and scored after 18 seconds but again naivety, we lost the game.”

Oakes said: “Their captain, number 10 Carvalho’s a very, very good technical player. They’ve got some very quick athletic young lads in there and that is not all they’ve got, they’ve got some very good footballers as well and when those combinations come off, yes, they created good chances and they’re going to cause a lot of damage to a lot of sides.

Reflecting on the quick-fire goal, Oakes added: “I think we said to the boys before, some of the rumours we heard about what happened to Tower Hamlets on Saturday, management walking out and club secretary leaving and all of that kind of stuff.

“You’re going to get one or two Tower Hamlets today. You’re going to get a team, if we get the early goal, they’ll cave in or they’re going to come out with a point to prove and they did that.

“A lot of our lads were shocked and probably in fairness we were shocked a little bit as well but we saw that character in the side that we could’ve so easily collapsed after 18 seconds.  We could’ve so easily gone into our shell. We didn’t and we rose to the challenge and got back into the game nice and quickly, got our noses in front and from there we had to work hard for the three points and if you’re not prepared to work hard for three points then you don’t deserve them.”

Visiting keeper Jack Moore made a comfortable collection after Abdriahman Ahmed linked up well with Gomes and Carvalho but his shot from outside the box took a deflection and was dealt with by the highly-rated keeper, who wears the number 23 shirt.

Welling Town showed great character to equalise with six minutes and 30 seconds on the clock as the first half was more like a basketball game.

Midfielder grafter Alex Nelson put the ball on a plate – following a precise free-kick from within the left-channel and Golding flicked his header into the roof of the net when he found a pocket of space at the near post, 10-yards from goal.

“Probably the sort of goal that Tower Hamlets would never score, not pretty to watch but effective and the balls in the back of the net,” said Oakes.

“Golding’s second one later on un the game that proved to be the winner probably wasn’t much further out either but they all count. It’s in the net and that’s all I’m worried about.”

Despite being a self-employed courier driver, Golding has been working on his fitness during the lockdown.

Oakes said: “He tells me he’s lost a lot of weight during lockdown, a lot of people have probably put on three stone, he’s lost three or four stone and he looks hungry and fitter than ever. He hasn’t lost any of that strength or upper body threat that he is to opposing teams but he’s added an extra yard of pace and he’s looking really, really hungry at the moment.”

Nadmi added: “Terrible, terrible defending from us. Schoolboy errors, not good enough. There’s nothing else to say, just not good enough!”

When asked about the basketball feel to the game, Nadmi replied: “I guess it’s the excitement wasn’t it? The first home game, you want to do well so you want to attack anyone who comes here. We want to attack them so what we need to understand we need to just understand how to defend but regardless when we’re here or even away we’re going to go for everyone.”

Quick thinking from Carvalho saw him slip a free-kick along the deck to Anthony Folkes, who took a touch before dragging his shot past the left-hand post.

Welling Town immediately went up the other end and produced a sweeping move as left-back William Muckle played the ball into Nelson, who teed up Bennett, who took a touch before unleashing a right-footed dipping drive just over the top of the right-hand post from 25-yards.

Carvalho found winger Gomes in space and after taking a touch he played the ball in behind but Campbell’s poked shot was flicked away by an alert Moore, ensuring the ball didn’t nestle into the bottom right-hand corner.

Welling Town soaked up the pressure and grabbed the lead with only 14 minutes and 57 seconds on the clock.

Nelson fed Bennett, who clipped the ball over the top of centre-half Darius Maxime, whose poor flicked header let in Golding in behind down the right channel.  Golding was always going to shoot and his angled drive flashed across the face of goal and found the unmarked Bennett, who tapped the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from a couple of yards.

“Ollie deserved his goal. He’s a very good technical, creative player. We’ve asked him and Sam Bailey and Richard Jimoh to get up and around Golding at every opportunity, get beyond Golding at every opportunity,” said Oakes.

“Golding’s a lot more than just a battering ram but when he is putting his body on the line people have got to be gambling off him and if they do that the chances will come. It’s not a beautiful goal to watch but the balls in the net!”

Nadmi added: “For me it’s still not good enough for our side. I don’t want to keep talking about naivety but that is the reality. The boys are naïve and they didn’t do what was expected.”

Folkes turned provider for Carvalho, who took a touch before stroking his left-footed drive flashing across the visiting keeper and just past the far post from 25-yards as Tower Hamlets looked like they could score with every attack.

“It’s frustrating, you create chances to score but when you come away with just one goal in the first half you know that is not good enough, so to come into the second half and score and to go 2-2 you want to be able to manage the game now and we didn’t do that,” added Nadmi.

Carvalho relishes driving straight down the middle of the pitch at opposing defenders before producing a killer pass but Gomes should have unleashed a first-time angled drive, instead he took a touch and tried to threat the ball through to Campbell, who was making a run but Moore gathered at the strikers feet.

Bancroft was struggling to cope with Kasinga’s pace during a dominant first-half from the Tower Hamlets’ 11 but second half the Welling Town right-back put in a much better second half and the winger was withdrawn after 64 minutes.

Oakes said: “I thought Richard Jimoh and Sam Bailey and Billy Muckle and Ollie Bennett out wide are all fit lads who will run box-to-box for most of the game but their lads just take it to a completely different level and let’s give them credit, thankfully they’re not going to score the scrappy goals that we did today.”

Central midfielder Folkes rolled the ball inside to Kasinga, who cut onto his right-boot and curled his shot around Moore and narrowly past the far post.

Welling Town weathered the storm, however, and called goalkeeper Joshua Chebesi into action inside the final five minutes of the first-half.

Golding released left-winger Richard Jimoh and he cut inside and teed up Nelson, who stung the keepers fingers with a left-footed drive as Welling Town went into the break with the lead.

“He scored a great goal (during our 3-1 defeat at Abbey Rangers in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round) from 30-40 yards and the boys have been winding him up a little bit,” revealed Oakes.

“When we played Canterbury on Saturday he was shooting from 30-40 yards about 15 times and he didn’t even keep it on the pitch! Alex is a player that’s got amazing technical ability and he’s capable of a shot from distance, obviously it’s not come off today.”

Both were asked their thoughts at the break.

Nadmi said: “They just need to relax in my personal opinion.  We dominated the game, again we had enough chances so why did we need to worry? It was just to bring them back down to reality and just make them relax, that’s it.”

Oakes added: “We addressed some of the things that we were a little bit naïve about to begin with.  We said these guys are not going to roll over and just take defeat, they’re hungry for it and they’ve got a point to prove. They’re new to this league working out what it’s all about and we need to make sure that we have composure on the ball, not slow the game down at the point of it being boring but look after the ball better when we are in possession.”

Carvalho will not be staying in the ninth-tier of English football if he continues this impressive form much longer.

Born in Hackney in east London to Portuguese parents, the 21-year-old is a left-footed attacking midfielder who plays in the number 10 role. He played for Arsenal up to under 15 level before moving to Watford before he was released by then Premier League club Huddersfield Town in the summer of 2018.

Carvalho produced a breathtaking solo goal when he picked the ball up in midfield and glided past three Welling Town defenders and arrowed into the box and the finish was sublime, holding his composure to slot the ball through Moore’s legs and into the back of the goal.  It was a goal worthy to win a World Cup Final.

Nadmi said: “Outstanding for me. Without disrespecting anyone in the league, I think he’s going to be the best player in the league without a shadow of a doubt.

“His history and his pedigree and the leagues above. I know there will be a lot of people after him. As long as the right opportunity comes for him then he moves on and he continues his journey in the football game.

“I’m just happy that he’s doing it again, that’s the main thing for me. I’ve known Denilson a very long time. We’ve got a lot of history and he’s now back to what he loves doing and that is the key. He’s come in here, he’s done really well in the last three games and he’s got his goal. He’s got lots of cuts on his legs unfortunately but we do again.”

Carvalho will create plenty of interest from higher league clubs – and we’re talking EFL and National League clubs here – if he continues impressing in such a high standard.

“If you look at all of our players that we’ve got, we’re a really young group and all of these boys will progress to the next level,” insisted Nadmi.

Oakes said: “I thought they came out quite strong and we were a little bit hot potato. We worked hard to win possession back and then we gave it away too cheaply.  To their credit they were on top of us for the first 10 minutes of the second half and we had to stand strong but we did that and as the game went on they got a little bit more desperate and our chances came.

“It’s a good goal. I think we maybe need to be a little bit more smarter with committing a niggly foul before he’s had the opportunity to dive into a dangerous area.

“I mentioned it was a basketball match. Rob Gillman has got shielded by their centre-forward and that’s created that extra yard of space that Carvalho needs and yes he’s good enough to do that and then he’s in behind us.”

Tower Hamlets created yet another chance when Nelson lost possession in midfield and left-back Tobi Tinubu set off with a pacey run down the left channel and his left-footed angled drive was comfortably picked up by Moore.

Folkes stroked a right-footed free-kick just over the top of the right-hand post from 22-yards as he aimed for the top right-hand corner.

Welling Town went up the other end and centre-half Ashley Wright went up field to meet Sam Bailey’s free-kick from the right with a towering header, which looped over the Tower Hamlets crossbar.

Welling Town were gifted their winning goal when it arrived with 14 minutes and 22 seconds on the clock, following a whipped in corner from the right by right-winger Bailey.

Bailey swung the ball in towards the near post and some woeful defending from Ahmed saw the ball scream through a crowd of players and kiss the base of the far post and Golding pounced to poke the ball into the bottom left-hand corner from very close range to score his third goal of the campaign.

Oakes said: “He tried to score as close to the goal-line as he possibly can but they all count, scrappy.

“I think we were dangerous from set-plays. I didn’t look like any of their defenders were interested in heading the ball, it looked like they wanted to get it down and play, which is to their credit but if you’re a centre-half or a full-back at this level you do have to put your head on the ball and move it in the right direction.

“It was a bit scruffy, it’s come into a dangerous area, their defender doesn’t really know what to do with it, slices it pretty much onto his own post and then it was a bit keystone cops. One or two of our guys tripping over each other, couldn’t believe their luck. 

“You think it’s your day, they’re the ones that bounce off the post and go wide or fall into the goalkeeper’s arms but not today. It couldn’t have gone anywhere better. One yard, not even one yard, an six-inch tap in from Golding.

“That’s the reward for his hard work all this season when he’s being doing 5k runs every day for god knows how long and he’s lugging boxes round on a day job and he’s getting battered and bruised. He had a split lip two or three times in pre-season. All that hard work pays off. Yes, you get a cheap goal but it’s a goal and he won’t care. He’ll just be pleased to see his name in lights and he deserves it.”

Nadmi admitted he was impressed with Golding, the first time that he has come across him.

“Well, listen, I must say he was tremendous in my personal opinion, He did everything he was supposed to do. He was at the forefront. He led the team. He won the game for them.”

Tower Hamlets players started to argue among themselves – a sign of a weakness and Welling Town did enough in the final 20 minutes to see the game out, although they did have their keeper to thank.

An unmarked Bennett unleashed a left-footed drive towards the Tower Hamlets goal from 25-yards, which bounced right in front of Chebesi, who spilt the ball but Golding poked the rebound just past the foot of the left-hand post as he smelt his hat-trick.

Central midfielder Ahmed did much better when he smashed a ball over the top of centre-half Rob Gillman to put Gomes through on goal. He took a touch before stroking a right-footed angled drive, which was held by Moore, stretching low to his right.

Moore is another example of a player in this league whom should be playing in the Isthmian League South East Division, at least.

Oakes said: “We were riding a bit of luck! Jack’s made a very, very good save towards the end, that’s a great reaction from him because on Saturday (a 2-1 win at Canterbury City), he held his hands up and made an error that cost us a goal and the boys have risen to the challenge. Jack has bailed us out many, many, many times over the years and he’s done it again tonight and it’s a fantastic save.

“On another night that could so easily have been three-all and they’re full of momentum with a couple of minutes to go and who knows what might happen?

“When there’s big, game changing moments come it’s not just our goalscorers and attacking players putting the ball in the back of the net. The whole back four were absolutely grafting and putting their bodies in front of absolutely everything and the goalkeeper making key saves at key times.”

Nadmi added: “Again, we’ve not tested him properly, we’re not really, really testing him so it’s just loads of frustrations really.”

Welling Town almost snatched a fourth goal inside the final 15 minutes when the impressive Bennett released Jimoh down the left.  The former Bridon Ropes winger had a quiet outing here tonight but he sprung into life and cracked his fierce drive against the top of the near post from a tight angle.

“I think from that point it was stick or bust really,” admitted Oakes.

“Do we sit off and maybe invite them on? How confident do we feel with a couple of defensive players on a yellow card and we can see it out with 11 men against such an athletic side or do we keep pushing on and kill the game off with the fourth goal?

“In the dug-out we’re all debating the pros and cons of each and ride it out for a bit and we get to 10 minutes to go and it’s all about game management from that point trying to take the sting out of the game and being a bit clever and get the ball in the corners and making a few substitutions.”

Another set-piece and another Welling Town opening.  This time Nelson hit a left-wing corner towards the far post where an unmarked Gillman planted his header towards the top near corner, only for the keeper to pluck the ball out of the air to deny the 36-year-old former Lordswood centre-half.

Asked what Gillman brings to the team, Oakes replied: “Not pace, that’s for sure but other than that everything at this level that you want – positivity, being calm in areas of the pitch where other people would panic, a wisdom and experience that you can only get by playing hundreds and hundreds of games.  If he can marshall the other players around him, like he has been doing, that is invaluable.”

Sean Muggeridge’s Crowborough Athletic side have picked up one point from their opening two games and are the visitors here on Saturday to play a Tower Hamlets side searching for their first points.

Nadmi said: “It’s disappointing. We’re not trying to lose no games at home. This is the first home game and it’s our first home loss. It’s not what we expected or what we want.

“We can’t be winning 1-0 and then get to 2-2 and come away and lose the game. It’s not embarrassing, it’s frustrating.

“Whoever it is, we’re going for them. That is the expectation of Tower Hamlets Football Club. We respect everyone. We’re here to play football, we’re not here to do nothing dirty. We’re here to have a go at people and let them know that we’re here to progress up the league.

“We’ll just want to relax tomorrow, have a training session on Friday, get the boys ready and we go again on Saturday. I don’t know much about them personally, we’ll treat them like we treated these boys and we’ll go for it again.”

When asked about the clubs aspirations this season, Nadmi replied: “Any team that we play the intensions at Tower Hamlets Football Club is we go for the win regardless of who we’re playing against and the budgets and this that and the other. We’re not worried about that.

“You can clearly see as this is your first time watching us there’s some good players and that’s what we have at Tower Hamlets Football Club and that is what we do. We produce players and we’ll keep pushing players so aspirations wise it’s new, I don’t know but we’re going to fight, we’re going to fight to stay in the top end of the league and I look forward to that (game at Fisher next Tuesday).”

Welling Town travel to another new side in Balham next Wednesday 16 September (at AFC Croydon Athletic’s Mayfield Stadium).

Oakes said: “Everyone is buying into what we’re trying to do. I’m glad it’s translated into a successful start to the season and I want to thank everyone at the club for supporting me and continuing to give me 100% commitment to the cause and as long as we do that we’re going to have a very good season.”

Tower Hamlets: Joshua Chebesi, Jermaine Anderson, Tobi Tinubu, Abdirahman Ahmed, Darius Maxime, Columbus Iyayi, Deese Kasinga Madia (Oluwatamilore Ogunnowo 64), Anthony Folkes, Javaan Campbell, Denilson Carvalho, Bruno Gomes.
Subs: Mohamed Konte, Kevin Dompey, James Morgan

Goals: Bruno Gomes 1, Denilson Carvalho 50

Booked: Darius Maxime 6, Anthony Folkes 45

Welling Town: Jack Moore, Jack Bancroft, William Muckle, Jhoan Tabima, Ashley Wright, Rob Gillman, Richard Jimoh (Caleb Afoke 78), Alex Nelson, Ryan Golding (Luis Montoya 90), Oliver Bennett, Sam Bailey (Jacob Smale 87).
Subs: Amin Benyoucef, Bolaji Raheem

Goals: Ryan Golding 7, 60, Oliver Bennett 15

Booked: Jhoan Tabima 42, Alex Nelson 56

Attendance: 85
Referee: Mr Mohammed Uddin
Assistants: Mr Kevin Greenhead & Mr Adam Beck