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Bridon Ropes 1-0 Hollands & Blair - All we can do is give ourselves a chance, says Bridon Ropes boss PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 January 2012
Kent Invicta League
Saturday 28th January 2012
Stephen McCartney reports from Charlton Park Lane

BRIDON ROPES manager Ben Kotey says his side can go on to become the inaugural Kent Invicta League champions after beating title rivals Hollands & Blair.

The Charlton based side are now just one point adrift of long-standing leaders Bly Spartans, who were held to a goal-less draw at home to Phoenix Sports today.

A near post glancing header from central defender Jason Elliott in the second half was enough to win this dour battle as Bridon Ropes ended Holland & Blair’s run of six straight wins, leaving the injury-hit Gillingham based side ten points adrift of their table-topping Medway rivals.

Bridon Ropes went into the game on the back of taking a famous scalp – beating big-spending Ashford United 3-2 at Homelands Stadium last weekend.

Kotey said it’s been a pleasing seven-day period for his side.

“Yes, I am pleased after a getting a good result the week before against Ashford United, coming back home playing against Hollands & Blair who were previous winners of the Kent (County) League so it was good to get six points off them,” said Kotey.

“We beat them (Hollands & Blair) at their place earlier in the season and today it wasn’t a classic but I thought we did enough to get a result today, so I was pleased with the guys performance.

“It was very professional.  It was 0-0 at half-time and then we scored the goal in the second period of the second half so I was really pleased with the result and I thought we went out there and we were professional in our performance.”

Hollands & Blair manager, Paul Piggott, meanwhile, rued the loss of Carl Preston, Bryan Greenfield, Lee Farrell, Ross Brookes and Stuart West, amongst other key players.

He said: “Obviously we’re disappointed to lose today, especially to a set-play but the side we had to patch up today, I thought we did well to get ourselves in the game.

“You need to be consistent in your squad’s to do well.  We’ve been consistent over the last five or six weeks and that’s why we’ve got our results.  You don’t want to harp on about it but that’s what’s affected us today.

“We’ve had a lot of players missing but that’s football.  You have your ups and downs and we’re having a bit of a down as far as injuries are concerned but there you go.”

Elliott and Sam Fullilove were instrumental in helping Bridon Ropes extending their unbeaten run to seven, as both sets of defenders ensured goalscoring chances were at a premium.

“It was a very tight game,” added Kotey.  “Like I said, we went up there earlier in the season and in my opinion it was a much better game. 

“I don’t know whether the effect of them playing last week against Beckenham, whether they had injuries or anything like that might have had an affect how they approached the game but obviously you can only go out there and do what you can against the opposition.  Paul’s got an experienced squad so it was pleasing to get the result against them still.”

Thirty-five people gathered around the newly erected perimeter fencing (which covers three sides of the pitch), but they were bitterly disappointed with the quality of football on offer.

Hollands & Blair, meanwhile, stunned Kent Hurlimann Football League outfit Beckenham Town to book their place in the semi-finals of the Umbro Kent Senior Trophy, with a 2-1 extra-time win at Star Meadow last weekend.

Bridon Ropes begun with a negative 4-5-1 formation, leaving former Lewisham Borough striker Dominic Weston up front on his own, while Hollands & Blair (who were without five players from last Saturday’s Cup shock) started with a traditional 4-4-2 system.

And right-back Mark Chiverton twice supported his front men when he twice unleashed speculative right-footed drives from at least 30-yards, which were comfortably saved by Bridon Ropes’ keeper Colin Barnes inside an uninspiring opening half-an-hour.

Before Chiverton’s second chance, the number 2 recovered from an embarrassing miss-kick to float in an excellent cross into the penalty area, but left-sided midfielder Cliff Eldridge lashed his shot past the near post, after freeing himself from Luke Doherty.

Bridon Ropes’ best play came down the right flank and Adam Onasyna was terrorising Hollands & Blair’s left-back Dean Knights.

And the hosts almost broke the boring stalemate in the 35th minute when Onasyna’s hanging cross towards the far post picked out midfielder Nick Dunson, whose header from a tight angle looped over visiting keeper James Smith and bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Kotey said: “Adam got into some good areas in the final third.  I thought if we could get crosses in those areas we could cause them problems. He did cause them a few problems first half.

On the header, Kotey added: “Yes, that was a good effort there.  There wasn’t many clear cut opportunities in the first half.  It was very tight.  It wasn’t going to be an open game so that was the sort of game I expected but I thought there would be more chances in the second half.

“They had (chances) near the end.  Their striker (Nick Smith) just went past the post but our goalkeeper Colin Barnes’ pulled off a fantastic save near the end so that kept it at 1-0.  Our defence played really well today.”

Bridon midfielder, James Doherty, blasted a right-footed shot over the Hollands & Blair crossbar from the edge of the penalty area, after his brother Luke drove a cross into the penalty area.

But the most clear-cut first half chance fell to Hollands & Blair, but keeper Barnes made a fine save.

Ashley Doe fed Tom Mitchelson, who made a darting run on the right, and he floated in a cross into the penalty area, which Luke Doherty completely missed his kick in an attempt to boot the ball clear.

Eldridge picked the loose ball up, cut inside and cracked a right-footed curler, which was looping towards the top far corner, but Barnes jumped to claw the ball away at the last moment.

Piggott said: “It was a great strike!  He’s capable of that.  He cuts inside and gets his shots away quite well.  It probably didn’t have the pace on it that it needed to beat the keeper.”

Hollands & Blair squandered a  half-chance thirteen minutes into the second half when substitute striker Martin May swept a poor shot past the near post, after being involved in the build-up, which also included Eldridge and Doe.

Bridon Ropes striker, Weston, got in behind Chiverton to reach the left by-line and cut the ball back to substitute Leighton Thomas, who teed up a chance for Alan Mackle, but the number six produced a typical defender’s finish, his shot sailing over from 22-yards.

However, the introduction of wingers Thomas and Jamie Williams, added more inspiration to a flagging game and left-winger Thomas looked capable of something special with his pace.

The lack of quality was evident when Dunsdon picked the ball up and burst through the heart of the pitch but blasted a right-footed drive from 30-yards, which not only ballooned over the Blair crossbar but dropped over a garden fence about 20 yards from the pitch.

But the game’s only real piece of quality was enough to win the game for Bridon Ropes in the 65th minute.

Chiverton was penalised for handball.  A costly mistake by Hollands & Blair.

From the left-channel, some 25-yards from the near post, Bridon Ropes’ skipper, Luke Doherty, produced a quality curling free-kick with his right-foot, which swung in towards the near post and Elliott beat his marker and with a delicate flick glanced his header across James Smith, who desperately stuck out a left arm but couldn’t prevent the ball sailing into the top far corner.

Despite club officials awarding the goal to free-kick taker Luke Doherty, Kotey insists Elliott got a slight touch to the ball before it sailed into the net, for his first goal of the season.
Kotey said:  “There’s a bit of debate about it.  Jason claims that he got a touch on it!

“It was a good delivery from Luke. He takes most of our set-pieces.  Funnily enough he scored the winner last Saturday.  It was a similar sort of thing where he’s struck the ball really well and it’s gone in!

“Jason’s got in front of his marker and he’s probably got a, claims a touch on it, but we’re just pleased we got the goal and we’ve got the three points.”

When asked who he thought scored the winner, Kotey replied, “Jason’s still saying that he got a touch on it in the changing rooms.”

The goal forced Hollands & Blair manager Piggott to change his formation and threw bodies (Eldridge, Nick Smith and May) forward as they went in search of an equaliser to keep their title aspirations on track.

Piggott added: “We always give it a go.  We always go for a win or a draw to get us back in the game as you’ve seen then.  We always go down fighting!

“To be fair, we had two chances at the end there.  The keeper made a save and Nick Smith’s missed a chance and we could’ve nicked something from the game there but we haven’t, but there you go.”

But Bridon Ropes squandered an excellent chance to put the game to bed when two substitutes combined.

Thomas held the ball up and swept the ball out to the right for Williams to latch on to but his attempted right-footed lob was plucked out of the air by visiting keeper James Smith as he advanced off his line.

Thomas was involved again when he shrugged past central defender Billy Johnson before playing the ball inside to Dunsdon, whose rasping right-footed drive stung James Smith’s fingers.

Hollands & Blair were to rue three excellent chances to grab a point late on.

Mitchelson’s ball over the top of the Bridon Ropes defence dropped at Nick Smith’s feet, who turned but his effort was neither a shot or a cross as it flashed across the face of goal and Eldridge ghosted in and blasted his shot over the bar from a tight angle.

Hot-head Smith then latched onto Elrdridge’s ball over the top but flicked a right-footed shot across Barnes and the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the foot of the far post.

But an excellent last-gasp save from Barnes denied Hollands & Blair claiming a point.

Eldridge swung in a left-wing corner and skipper Johnson thumped a downward header from the edge of the six-yard box, but Barnes made an excellent reaction save, somehow pushing the ball over his crossbar.

A goalkeeper himself during his playing days, Piggott added: “By the way, the keeper’s made a worldy of a save at the death!  I think that’s a great save!  That’s worth a clean sheet and a win that!”

With his side now extending their unbeaten league run to seven games and with Bly Spartans suffering a slight dip in form (with two wins and three draws in their last six games), Kotey insists his side can be successful.

He said: “I’m not sure who I wanted to win today, Bly or Phoenix.  All we can do is keep playing, keep winning our games and put Bly under pressure, maybe get away from Hollands & Blair.  I know Phoenix have got (two) games in hand over us.

“If we keep winning our games, Bly have got to keep winning games. Unfortunately we don’t have to play them again but they have some tough games still to play as well.

“Can we win it? Yes! Yes we can.  We can because we’re still in it and we’ve still got a chance and if we keep winning our games all we can do is give ourselves a chance.”

Piggott, meanwhile, hasn’t thrown in the towel, despite being ten points adrift of Bly Spartans.

He said: “Listen, they’re winners in there.  They’ll want to win every game that we play in.  They don’t need much lifting.  They’re a good bunch of lads.

“I think there’s still a way to go. We’re making it harder and harder for ourselves. We know that but we’ll still keep going.  We will keep going until the end.  I want us to win the league.”

Bridon Ropes: Colin Barnes, Luke Doherty, Dean Walker, Sam Fullilove, Jason Elliott, Alan Mackle, Nick Dunsdon, Adam Onasyna (Jamie Williams 58), Dominic Weston (Darren Shelton 66), James Doherty, Jamie Thompkins (Leighton Thomas 58).
Subs: Adam Dunsdon, Kane Jefferies

Goal: Jason Elliott 65

Booked: Jason Elliott 8

Hollands & Blair: James Smith, Mark Chiverton, Dean Knights, Tom Mitchelson (Neil Crust 61), Darren Blackburn, Billy Johnson, Ashley Doe (Jordan Gallagher 78), Sam Cutteridge, Ben Brown (Martin May 20), Nick Smith, Cliff Eldridge.
Subs: Marc Chapman, Damien Hopkins

Booked: Nick Smith 8, Tom Mitchelson 9, Neil Crust 73

Attendance: 35
Referee: Mr Robert Williams (Beckenham)
Assistants: Mr Gordon Manning (Bromley) & Mr Steve Christie (Gravesend)

Last Updated ( Saturday, 28 January 2012 )
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