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Sevenoaks Town 1-5 Tonbridge Angels - Coaches should set a good example to kids', says Micky Hazard PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 January 2012

SEVENOAKS TOWN  1-5  TONBRIDGE ANGELS
Valley Express Kent Youth League Under 18 Central
Sunday 29th January 2012
Stephen McCartney reports from Greatness Park

SEVENOAKS TOWN’S iconic director of football Micky Hazard claimed his players were intimidated during their heavy defeat to neighbours Tonbridge Angels at Greatness Park today.



Waltham Abbey, Essex based Hazard, 51, who starred for Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Portsmouth and Swindon Town during a glittering seventeen year professional career, wasn’t happy with a member of the Tonbridge Angels’ coaching staff, who barked out insulting comments throughout the third-versus-second derby game.

With league leaders Bridon Ropes beating Tunbridge Wells 2-0 today, Tonbridge Angels moved to within one point of the leaders as they came back from a goal behind at the break to find their finishing touch during a second half of a game they dominated.

The Angels’ – who started with four Academy players in their line-up – made their intentions known early but were paid to pay for their poor finishing as Sevenoaks Town grabbed a fourteenth minute lead against the run of play when striker Matt Cammish stabbed home from close range.

But James Wood equalised for Tonbridge Angels early in the second half, before strikers Jeremy Tudor-Pole and Jordon Sako scored two goals apiece as Robin Manuel’s side kept the pressure on Bridon Ropes with only four league games left to play to decide who will clinch the Valley Express Kent Youth League Under 18 Central Division.

When asked whether he was disappointed with the result, Hazard said: “No! I’m not disappointed in the fact that we’ve lost.  I was actually proud of my boys.  There was a lot of provocation and intimidation out on the pitch from players and bench.

“I think that professional football should set a better example, whether coaches on the side or managers on the side of the pitch should set a better example.  Ask, demand more of their players certainly to make the game a much better place to play in and a much better place for youngsters to watch and learn because ultimately youngsters follow their idols and if their idols set the wrong example they are only too quick to follow them.

“That’s what disappointed me today was the atmosphere of the match was very intimidating and that’s not right.  This is under 18 Kent Youth League football, not Premier League, it’s not the Championship football and coaches and players have a responsibility to behave in the correct manner.

“I was proud of my players with the way they handled themselves, the way they didn’t respond to provocation and didn’t react so (I’ve got) no problem with the result, none whatsoever.”

Hazard admitted he was appalled by the embarrassing attitude of one of the Tonbridge assistants.

He said: “Yes, I thought his behaviour was quite disgusting and an actual fact if I was to behave in such a manner I would’ve been banished from football for ever more no doubt because of who I was.

“I feel that there’s a coaching fraternity and a managing fraternity where we have a responsibility to set the right example to the players out on the pitch to youngsters watching games. Whether you like it or whether you don’t, some people’s behaviour out there today was beyond belief.”

When asked to explain his assistant’s behaviour, Tonbridge Angels’ manager Robin Manuel replied, “I think him and Mick clashed. It’s between those two.”

But Manuel, who coaches at West Ham United, was pleased with his side’s performance away to one of the three sides challenging for the title.

He said: “Much better!  The boys were passing better, making their passes; ball on the floor passing, working much better.  We done that in training and improved our finishing which we showed today.

“They all turned up to training.  They knew it was a very important game.  I said to the boys ‘you’ve got to get in training – and discipline.  Discipline is what I got out there today.”

Tonbridge Angels – who slipped to a 3-2 home defeat to arch-rivals Tunbridge Wells in their last game – started the game with a very high tempo.

Tudor-Pole released Jack Leighton in behind the Sevenoaks defence inside the opening six minutes but he smashed a low right-footed drive towards goal, which was blocked by the Sevenoaks keeper at his near post. 

Leighton also had another shot which bounced off a defender’s head and looped just over the Sevenoaks crossbar, following John Rickett’s resulting corner from the right.

Sevenoaks Town’s first chance came on the break when diminutive striker, James Hunte, cracked a right-footed half-volley from 25-yards, which whistled across visiting keeper Jacob Wright and dropped agonisingly wide of the far post.

But Tonbridge Angels continued to press the Sevenoaks goal and Leighton met another Ricketts corner with a downward header, which was gathered low down by Tom Barratt on his goal-line.

Another Tonbridge chance was squandered when Sako released Leighton down the left and his low centre was flicked wide of the near post by Ricketts, who had sprinted into the box from the middle of the park.

But despite all that early Tonbridge pressure, it was Sevenoaks who broke and scored against the run of play in the fourteenth minute.

Hunte was released down the right and swept the ball across Wright towards the far post and his strike partner Cammish slid in and steered a left-footed shot into the bottom near corner from two-yards to stun the Tonbridge bench.

Hazard said: “We did take the lead against the run of play.  They started very bright and very quickly and then we broke and scored the goal that’s put us into the lead.  Following that we had two one-on-ones with the keeper and missed and that sort of trend continued in the second half.”

Sevenoaks keeper Barratt spilt vice-captain Greg Barton’s speculative right-footed free-kick from 35-yards, before the home side squandered an excellent chance to double their lead in the 21st minute.

Kayliss Derbel played an excellent ball over the top of a flat-footed Tonbridge back four to put Jordan Knight through on goal but the winger failed to produce the goods as Wright came swiftly off his line to block at the near post.

Tonbridge hit the underside of the crossbar when Jamie Bennett launched a long throw into the box and Leighton’s shot bounced down off the crossbar before being cleared away by a defender.

Tonbridge squandered yet another chance in a high-tempo opening half-an-hour when Wood chipped a free-kick towards the far post but Barton’s bullet header from four-yards flew straight at Barratt.

But Sevenoaks weathered the early storm and missed another excellent chance on the break when Cammish put Hunte through on goal in the 35th minute but the striker’s attempted right-footed chip was too close to Wright, who made a comfortable catch.

Tonbridge Angels manager Manuel explained what he said to his boys during the interval – as they came out with all guns blazing but the difference was they took their chances.

He said: “I gave instructions to my two assistants to basically keep the formation the same but we said we’ll hit the ball long but we just had to engage the boys.

“I think they had fatigue, mental fatigue, towards the end of the first half.

“We told them to get the ball up there, more quicker, think as the ball’s moving, think quicker, react to it quicker and we got that goal in the first five minutes and that was the red light.  They all switched on.  We said we’re gonna win this and we’re going to go for it!”

Hazard, meanwhile, rued missed chances.

He said: “I would say we had chances to maybe have gone two or three nil in the lead first half although they had chances too.  They took their chances.   We didn’t!

“You have to remember we’re a very young side at this level.  Every one of our team is first year. We didn’t have any second year’s playing so it stands us in good stead for next season when we will all be second years and other teams will have to play five or six (new players).

“In fact we had a schoolboy playing today as well.  He came on as sub. 

“I thought we did ourselves proud in the way we carried ourselves and our behaviour and certainly within the game I was certainly pleased with our performance as well.” 

Barratt was forced into making a save to his right to deny Ricketts from scoring on the turn, before Tonbridge Angels deservedly equalised with only 156 seconds into the second half.

Ricketts’ did well down the left hand side to free himself and cut the ball back to Connor O’Rielly, whose low centre across the face of goal was flicked into the bottom right-hand corner by Woods at the far post – the ball trickling over the line.

The clock had turned 50:00 by the time that the Angels had taken the lead.

Tudor-Pole smashed a rasping right-footed shot above Barratt’s head and into the roof of the net after Ricketts had knocked the ball down from inside the penalty area.

Sevenoaks missed an excellent chance to claw themselves back into the game when Knight drove in a corner from the right, Jordan Broome swept a shot towards goal, which fell at Hunte’s feet, whose shot on the turn was blocked by Wright and fell to Cammish, who rifled a shot into the top of the side netting when well placed.

Jack Miles really should have scored Sevenoaks’ equaliser in the 58th minute of an exciting game.

Sam Kent floated in a free-kick from the left, which was flicked on by Hunte at the near post and Miles stretched and could only steer the ball wide of the near post from two-yards out.

But Tonbridge Angels put the game beyond their neighbours reach when they increased their lead in the 61st minute.

Leighton cut in from the right and rolled the ball across the face of goal and Sako smashed his left-footed shot into the top left-hand corner from eight-yards.

Another long throw from Bennett caused problems inside the Sevenoaks box as Ricketts’ volley screamed past the near post, before Sevenoaks had another good chance to pull a goal back.

Hunte, who was causing problems down the right with his pace, chipped the ball across the face of goal, but unmarked substitute Bradley Ralph headed over.

Sevenoaks keeper Barratt maybe could have done better with Tonbridge Angels’ fourth goal in the 76th minute.

Sako unleashed a fierce left-footed drive from fifteen-yards and all the Sevenoaks keeper could do was drop to his knees, stick out his fists, and loop the ball over his head into the top left-hand corner.

But he did much better to catch Crimmons’ left-footed free-kick from distance, before Tonbridge scored their fifth in the final six minutes.

Barton pumped a right-footed free-kick from inside his own half into the Sevenoaks penalty box and Leighton (with his back to goal) knocked the ball down and Tudor-Pole steered his low shot past Barratt.

Sevenoaks thought they had scored a second in the final minute when Wright got down low to parry Jonny Winter’s shot and Hunte steered the rebound home but from an offside position but the goal was disallowed by the Tonbridge club linesman.

Reflecting on their third league defeat in ten games, Hazard said: “Everything that fell to them they finished into the back of our net and what fell to us never went in the back of theirs.  Ultimately the difference in the game was the two goalmouths.  They finished everything and we didn’t otherwise it would’ve been a lot closer.  Whether we would’ve won it or not, again, we’re not here to win.  I’m here to make them better footballers and that should be the aim of every coach at Kent Youth League level.

“The aim is to get the players through to a higher level, that’s got to be your sole aim and if you win along the way then that’s your bonus.  If you don’t, don’t worry about it because ultimately we are making Sevenoaks’ footballers, youngsters better footballers and one day they might progress to a level where they can earn money in an amateur way or a professional way and that should be the aim of every single coach and manager at this level.”

Manuel, meanwhile, wants to guide his side towards the league title.

He said: “Bridon have got a very good team.  They’re coached very well, like Sevenoaks, who have got a good team and they do play football well.  Today just didn’t work for them. 

“I just think Bridon, Sevenoaks and us, what the punters want to see, you never know whose going to win (the league).  It’s not like Man United or Chelsea, you know whose going to win the (Premier League title) the last month of the season.

“Here, you don’t know what’s going to happen because we’ve all got about four games left.”

Manuel added: “I think we’ve turned it round to a 50-50 chance.  We’ve put pressure on Sevenoaks (who are now five points behind us with two games in hand) and we’ve put pressure on Bridon Ropes as they’ve seen our result so it’s open but everyone has to go and win their games so anything can happen.

“Who would want to be a punter putting on a bet on this? No way!  Anything can happen!”

Tonbridge Angels make the short trip to Culverden Stadium for their next game against Tunbridge Wells on 12 February and Manuel said: “I think derbies you never know what’s going to happen.  Sevenoaks is like a derby and then we have to go across to Tunbridge Wells and that’s like a derby.

“If we produce a finished product like I did today, we’ll win but it’s consistency and the same for Tunbridge Wells.  You just don’t know what’s going to happen with derbies.”

Hazard warned not to rule his side out of an exciting title race, adding, “Ultimately we’re in a prime position to win the league if we win all of our games but I’m not here to win the league. I’m here to make them better footballers and that should be the aim of every coach and manager at this level.” 

Sevenoaks Town: Tom Barratt, James Wortley, Sam Wade, Jack Miles, Sam Kent, Jonny Winter, Jordan Broome, Kaylis Derbel (Freddie Barratt 75), Jordan Knight (Bradley Ralph 66), James Hunte, Matt Cammish.
Sub: Toby Lansdale

Goal: Matt Cammish 14

Booked: Kaylis Derbel 45

Tonbridge Angels: Jacob Wright, Jamie Bennett, Connor O’Rielly, Greg Barton, Reiss Crimmons, Jack Moss (Ridwan Ravi 87), James Wood, John Ricketts (Jackson Murrian 73), Jeremy Tudor-Pole, Jordon Sako (Tom Smyth 80), Jack Leighton.
Subs: Aaron Champion, Jorome Bland

Goals: James Wood 48, Jeremy Tudor-Pole 51, 84, Jordon Sako 61, 76

Attendance: 54
Referee: Mr Andrew Butler (Maidstone)
Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 January 2012 )
 
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