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Erith Town 3-5 Woodstock Sports - I could not have asked for any more, says Scott Appleton PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 January 2012

ERITH TOWN  3-5  WOODSTOCK SPORTS
(Woodstock Sports win 5-4 on aggregate)
Macron Kent League Cup Quarter-Final Second Leg
Monday 30th January 2012
Stephen McCartney reports from Erith Sports Stadium

WOODSTOCK SPORTS’ player assistant manager Scott Appleton says his players are on cloud nine after winning an eight-goal thriller to book their place in the semi-finals of the Macron Kent League Cup.



Appleton, who had only twelve players and himself available tonight, was proud of his players as they came away from second-placed Erith Town with a Cup upset, ending the Dockers' unbeaten run of ten games.
 
“Absolutely over the moon!  I could not have asked for any more than that,” he said afterwards.

“At the start of the night I had the hump with Ben (Taylor), he works most evenings and he sent me up here with thirteen players and I was one of the subs.  I’m meant to be retired so we had 12 good players and me on the bench.  We normally have five on the bench to make it easy to bring the subs on.

“During the warm-up they (Erith Town) kept looking over and taking the micky out of us because we only had 12 players in the warm-up and they thought they would roll us over but all 12 players played absolutely fantastic, every single one of them. We didn’t carry one player tonight.”

Erith Town manager Tony Russell was bitterly disappointed to exit the competition to a side that went into the game sitting in eighth place in the Kent Hurlimann Football League table.

But he said: “Fair play to them!  I thought they were a much better side.  I thought the scoreline probably flattered us a bit.

“We’ve hit the buffers a little bit.  We’re a little bit fragile at the moment and we tried to pass the ball but we couldn’t pass the ball.  Tonight we switched the formation to try and do it ugly.  We ain’t very good doing it ugly!

“That ain’t a Tony Russell side.  I’d say anyone who came and watched us we don’t do long ball. We don’t panic.  We just have to get back to what we do as a team and as a club.”

Erith Town took a slender one goal lead away from Sittingbourne just twelve days ago, but Woodstock Sports wiped out that advantage after only 85 seconds when Erith Town midfielder, Chris Walker looped a header into his own goal.

Woodstock Sports striker, James McDonald gave the visitors’ the lead after fourteen minutes before Erith Town pulled a goal back just two minutes later through striker Tyrus Gordon’s excellent finish and the former Charlton Athletic (Community) striker clawed the home side level going into half-time.

McDonald scored his sixteenth goal of the season inside the opening six minutes of the second half to give Woodstock the lead on the night, before James Hawkins scored just before the hour to give Erith Town a 4-3 aggregate lead.

But Woodstock won the tie outright with two goals in the final ten minutes, through Louis Valencia and a composed penalty from right-back John Emmerson as Ben Taylor’s side joined Corinthian and Herne Bay in the last four and Beckenham Town take a slender 2-1 lead to VCD Athletic tomorrow night to see who will make the quartet.

It was certainly a great game for the neutral and Woodstock Sports (without their player-manager Ben Taylor through work commitments) got off to a flying start.

Louis Rankin floated a right-footed free-kick from the left touchline some 40-yards out to penalty spot distance and Walker inexplicably looped a header over goalkeeper Alex Hyde’s outstretched right arm into the top far corner, whilst being put under pressure from McDonald.

Appleton said: “The team don’t listen to me and Jeff (Orgill).  We were saying take things slow, don’t rush it.  We’ve got 90 minutes and we’re 2-0 up in fourteen minutes!  It’s not what I told them to do!”

Russell added: “It’s just one of those things.  He just put his head on it.  He’s had a go.  It’s gone the wrong way and it’s gone straight in. 

“To be fair, any time you let five goals in at home it’s always a worry!

“We were a little bit lightweight in midfield. The moment we stopped trying to pass it, we didn’t really pass it today.”

Hyde, who came in for the unavailable Kevin Fewell to start his tenth game of the season, made a comfortable low save to deny Chris Miller from scoring with a swept right-footed volley from ten-yards after Robert Welling sent over a cross from the right.

Woodstock Sports keeper, Jack Rankin, saved low to his right to thwart Erith Town striker, Adam Williams, who was being watched by former Bromley manager George Wakeling, who is scouting for Charlton Athletic.

Woodstock Sports doubled their lead on the night when central midfielder Lee Hockey clipped the ball to release McDonald down the right channel and his low cross was met by Valencia, whose right-footed shot from inside the penalty area was blocked by Hyde.  The keeper parried Louis Rankin’s follow-up but McDonald steered a right-footed shot underneath Hyde to score from four-yards.

But 25-year-old Gordon, who was playing in the Haart of Kent County League Premier Division for Charlton Athletic (Community), scored the first of two excellent goals to give Erith Town hope in the sixteenth minute of an exciting game.

The goal came out of nothing. The impressive striker cracked an unstoppable right-footed drive from 30-yards which screamed across the visiting keeper and the ball dropped into the bottom far corner.

Russell said: “Someone I know phoned me up about him.  He’s been playing for Charlton Athletic (Community), a couple of league’s below and he’s scored a few goals.

“He is raw, he did play well today but he is a work in progress and we’re talking about him and his movements. He’s got that in him. He will score lots of goals but he is a work in progress.

“We didn’t get him and Adam (Williams) in the game enough.  Adam’s a fantastic player as well. We got carried away trying to bang the ball over the top. It was ugly.  I was standing there and I didn’t enjoy it myself.”

Erith Town called visiting keeper Rankin into action in the 29th minute when he was forced to catch the ball underneath his own crossbar after Nick Davis met Hawkins’ in-swinging corner from the right with a looping header from six-yards.

And within a minute at the other end, another precise Louis Rankin free-kick was met by Hockey’s header, which was straight at Hyde.

A speculative right-footed drive from 35-yards from Woodstock’s busy midfielder Chris Miller only just missed the near post, before Erith Town levelled on the night with a quality finish in the 34th minute.

Appleton said: “Chris Miller, who played central midfield, hasn’t played for two months. He’s been on the bench all the time and hasn’t got on sometimes.  He was magnificent!

“Lewis Taylor’s been dropped.  He came on at half-time on Saturday and played really well.  I thought he was absolutely superb.  Those two have been out of the side and came back on the side and were absolutely brilliant!”

Hawkins clipped a superb 30-yard pass through the heart of the Woodstock defence and a burst of pace from Gordon left Russell Jeffrey and Lewis Rivett in his wake.  Gordon round the advancing keeper and slotted a right-footed shot into the empty net and celebrated his goal with a summersault.

Appleton said: “I’m disappointed coming in at half-time two-all but I thought we were brilliant first 45 minutes, absolutely excellent!  I told them not to get their heads down.  It was all about us and I thought the last half-an-hour I thought we stepped it up and totally (humiliated) them. 

“We won every single challenge and we thoroughly deserved it!”

Russell added: “There was no turning point.  We never started!  To be drawing 2-2 is only out of sheer brilliance, both of them we’re good finishes (from Tyrus Gordon).  There was nothing really what we were doing in the game.  It was the boy, as an individual pulled us out of the hat. 

“We said it at half-time, we have to somehow get going - we just never did!”

Erith Town had a goal ruled out for offside inside the opening three minutes of the second half when Peter Smith launched a free-kick into the box, which was flicked on by Gordon to Williams, who turned and fired  a right-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner from eight-yards but the flag had gone up.

But Woodstock Sports went 3-2 up on the night – to level 3-3 on aggregate – in the 51st minute.

Skipper Rivett played a diagonal pass to find McDonald unmarked inside the penalty area and the striker glanced his header into the bottom left-hand corner.

Louis Rankin’s free-kicks were causing plenty of problems and Hyde spilt the ball and Miller turned and smashed a right-footed shot towards goal, which bounced off Davies’ body on the line and looped over the crossbar.

Erith Town levelled in the 59th minute when Smith did well to maintain possession under pressure and played in Hawkins, who took a touch and lifted a left-footed shot over Rankin to find the bottom near corner.

But Woodstock went on to dominate the last half-an-hour and deservedly booked their place in the last four.

Miller’s right-footed volley from 30-yards looped towards goal, but Hyde caught the ball underneath his crossbar, before Valencia cut inside Erith Town substitute Grant Brown and cracked a right-footed shot which only just missed the near post.

Jack Rankin had initially spilt Williams’ right-footed shot on the turn from 25-yards, before saving at the second attempt.

Valencia once again cut in from the left and the ball went through a team-mate’s legs and fell nicely for Lewis Taylor, whose low, left-footed drive from 25-yards, flashed just wide of the post.

Erith Town should have punished Rankin’s flap, following Hawkins’ left-footed free-kick near to the corner-flag, but substitute Tom Fitzgerald failed to take the chance, rolling a poor shot into the keeper’s gloves.

Hyde made a smart full-length save (his best of the night) to his right to deny McDonald scoring his hat-trick with a right-footed volley after Hockey played a delightful dinked pass.

Woodstock Sports levelled the aggregate score with ten minutes left when McDonald turned provider to put Valencia through on goal and the attacker finished well, a right-footed shot across Hyde, which dribbled over the line despite Brown’s attempts to get back and clear off the line.

Swanscombe based referee, Mark Scott, who had a good game and kept his cards in his pockets, awarded Woodstock a penalty after McDonald got in behind the Erith Town defence and his cross sailed past substitute Joe Sands, who in an attempt from retrieving the ball (as it was bouncing away from goal) was clipped by Lee Craig on the by-line.

“Yes, it was a penalty,” added Russell.  “It was brainless.  The player is going away from goal and he’s clipped his ankles.  I wish I can sit here and blame the referee and anything else, on missed chances, but I can’t!

“We done well to score three goals.  On another night they could’ve won by more!”

There was almost a three minute delay as Sands received treatment and an there was an issue with the penalty spot, but Emmerson stepped up and kept his composure to send Hyde the wrong way, slotting a right-footed penalty to the keeper’s left to score the game’s eighth goal in the 85th minute.

Appleton said he had every faith in the right-back to keep his composure and complete a very memorable night for the club.

“During pre-season they do the running and we get the balls out after three weeks and to finish training off we always have penalty competitions and I’ve not seen him miss one penalty,” revealed Appleton.

“He’s the most unlikely player to take a penalty, normally it’s a centre forward  or a centre midfielder or a flair player.  For a right-back to take a penalty as good as that, he doesn’t miss penalties. I had every faith in him to score.

“That’s the only time you’ll see him in the (other) penalty box, taking a penalty.  He’ll never go up there any other time!”

When asked when the turning point in the game arrived, Appleton said: “The first whistle was the turning point for us.  I thought the first five minutes if we didn’t win the first tackle or we didn’t win the first header or anything like that, I think we may have slowed the pace down.  But we won the first tackle, won the first ball and it just spurred everyone on and to a man for 90 minutes we chased every ball, we won every tackle and we thoroughly deserved it.

“They’re going for the (Kent League) title and we beat them 5-3 with 12 players!”

Appleton says he wants to avoid treble-chasing Herne Bay in the next round.

He said: “I’d like anyone but I’d like Herne Bay in the final because Herne Bay have been our bogey side.  We’ve never beaten them and we’re capable of beating them so I’d like to avoid them in the semi-final.”

Russell said: “The writing was on the wall, even when we scored.  I stood there and thought this isn’t going to happen today.

“I don’t want to go mad and say too much about us because I think today we have to give them credit.  They worked hard for each other, they shut us down and took their chances well.”

Russell was not happy with his side’s application today and will work them hard at training on Wednesday night.

He said: “That is probably the worst I’ve seen us play in terms of footballing wise. The goals against us were so poor. It’s a hard one from our point of view.  It was horrendous. It was just a bad night!

“I said to them at half-time if you’re not playing well you have to work hard and that’s the same thing for me if my team ain’t doing well, I need to go and work hard.  We’re going to get them in early on Wednesday and we’re going to have a long session and we’re going to work on things and get back to basics and just get back to relaxing on the ball and just express ourselves.

“At the moment we just look like a rabbit in headlights.”

But Russell was gracious in defeat, saying, “Well played to Woodstock.  I wish them all the best. I hope they go on and do something in the competition.”

Erith Town: Alex Hyde, Peter Smith, Lee Craig, Nick Davis, Ben Payne (Tom Fitzgerald 19), Dean Morris, Liam Burgess (Grant Brown 56), Chris Walker (Alex Tiesse 77), Adam Williams, Tyrus Gordon, James Hawkins.
Subs: Kirt King, Aaron Escudier

Goals: Tyrus Gordon 16, 34, James Hawkins 59

Woodstock Sports: Jack Rankin, John Emmerson, Lewis Taylor, Lee Hockey, Russell Jeffrey (Joe Sands 56, Scott Appleton 88), Lewis Rivett, Robert Welling, Louis Valencia, James McDonald, Chris Miller, Louis Rankin.

Goals: Chris Walker 2 (own goal), James McDonald 14, 51, Louis Valencia 80, John Emmerson 85 (pen)

Attendance: 70
Referee: Mr Mark Scott (Swanscombe)
Assistants: Mr Gerald Heron (Beckenham) & Mr Wally James (Sidcup)
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 January 2012 )
 
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