Ground #: 170
Ground: Bayliss Avenue
Competition: London FA Senior Cup 1st Round
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Programme: Free Teamsheet
Thamesmead Town 2
Goldsmith 15’, Fairweather-Johnson 71’
Greenhouse London 2
Augustin 58’, Pike 73’
(Thamesmead win 6-5 on penalties)
For the past few seasons, I had tried (tried being the main word) to follow the FA Vase from 1st Qualifying Round through to the Final. Not to ruin a good thing, decided this season to try and branch out a bit and follow another cup competition all the way through. The London FA Senior Cup was the cup of choice (what do you mean you’ve never heard of it?!) and after the draw for the tournament came out, the sexiest looking tie was clearly Thamesmead Town vs Greenhouse London. (what do you mean you’ve never heard of them!?)
Thamesmead is district of South East London, located in the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley. It is situated 9.4 miles east of Charing Cross between the established towns of Woolwich and Belvedere. Most of the land area of Thamesmead previously formed about 1,000 acres of the old Royal Arsenal site and there is some evidence of prehistoric human occupation of the area: flints, animal bones and charcoal were found in 1997. After the Roman era, river levels rose again and the area reverted to marshland. Between 1812 and 1816, a canal was built by convicts to take materials such as timber from the River Thames to Woolwich Royal Arsenal. Much of this canal has been filled in, but part remains in Thamesmead West and is now called the Broadwater. Much of Thamesmead was initially built by the Greater London Council (GLC) for rent to families moving from overcrowded housing in south eastern parts of Inner London. The first residence was occupied in 1968, but already there were rain penetration problems. The pre-1974 parts of Thamesmead are a mix of modernist town houses, medium-rise and 12-storey blocks system-built in concrete, which have featured in various films due to their 'rough urban look'. When the GLC was abolished in 1986, its housing assets and the remaining undeveloped land were vested in a non-profit organisation, Thamesmead Town Limited (TTL).
Thamesmead F.C. was formed in 1969 as a community team for local youngsters. The club merged with Southlake FC in 1973, and by 1979 were fielding a Saturday team, playing on park pitches at Crossways. In 1980 the club entered the London Spartan League and dominated the intermediate divisions in the early 1980s, but were unable to gain promotion to the Senior Division until they gained senior status. At around this time, they played matches at the Meridian Sports Ground in Charlton. In 1985, the club changed its name to Thamesmead Town FC, and later that year they relocated to Bayliss Avenue. The club finally gained senior status during the summer of 1987 and were accepted into the London Spartan League Premier Division for the 1987/88 season. The club joined the Kent League in June 1991, where they remained until 2008, when they won the title after pipping VCD Athletic. The Mead went fairly well in the Isthmian League 1st Division after a ropey start and after finishes of 18th, 7th, 17th and 10th, they pulled out a 3rd place finish last season to enter the play-off lottery. After beating Witham Town, they also overcame Maldon & Tiptree in the Final to achieve promotion to the Isthmian Premier for the 1st time in their history.
Bayliss Avenue does remind me of smaller versions of Dulwich Hamlet and Tooting & Mitcham with a large Main Stand that dominates the place with the rest mainly uncovered standing. Having undergone refurbishment works starting in 2009, the Arena opened in its current form in July 2013 along with a large clubhouse and training pitches the other side of the building. The Main Stand has excellent elevation to the pitch with a few rows of seating built in to also complement the smaller plastic seating stand behind the goal. While the rest of the ground seems undeveloped and fairly basic, Thamesmead’s attendances don’t require anymore work to be done currently in terms of other terraces to be built.
Thamesmead in their debut season at Level 7 had unsurprisingly struggled and were currently 23rd out of 24 going into this cup tie. 5 points off safety, with only 2 wins to their name against Cray Wanderers and East Thurrock United. Last season in the London Senior Cup, Thamesmead were unhappy at something and so manager Keith McMahon decided to play only the Youth Team in this competition. Had I known that, then another tie would have probably been chosen, but it was too late. The Mead Youth were up against Essex Senior League side Greenhouse London who were also struggling in their surroundings. 18th out of 20 in the ESL, Greenhouse were at least 5 points clear over bottom club London Bari as they tried to avoid the Essex Wooden Spoon. (Probably some dodgy innuendo there)
Greenhouse with more 1st team experience in them started off the better team as they went at Thamesmead and created some good chances. Their first real chance came after only 10 minutes when Andrea Mantovani forced home goalie Daniel Carpanini into a great save when he curled a shot from the edge of the area. Despite the promising start, Greenhouse did find themselves 1-0 now just 5 minutes later. A lucky break in the area saw the ball fall to Harry Goldsmith who fired past Mason Durrell into the bottom corner. Then something happened which I had never seen at a football match before when the floodlights failed! Fearing that the game would be abandoned, the referee gave Thamesmead time to get the lights back on and the game got under way again after 10 minutes. The rest of the half saw Greenhouse batter the home side, as Mantovani again forced Carpanini into two brilliant saves as Greenhouse showed they certainly weren’t out of this tie yet.
The 2nd half was slightly more open as both sides were creating chances with the goalies both being kept busy by some shots coming in. The next goal was only going to come through a defensive area and as the Thamesmead defence fell asleep at a corner and Ashley Augustin lashed home into the roof of the net. The game opened up now and Thamesmead looked like they had won the tie on 71 minutes (well I hoped at least anyway!) when Thamesmead opened up Greenhouse and a cross from the left was powered home by Theo Fairweather-Johnson. Fearing extra-time though, I needed Thamesmead to hold on. They lasted 2 minutes. Greenhouse hit the Mead on the counter attack down the left and Billy Pike was put through on goal to fire past Carpanini. A manic final 15 minutes saw both sides create chances, but as the night got colder, both sides couldn’t grab a winning goal so it looked like extra-time sadly.
Thankfully, the managers of both teams saw sense and allowed the game to go straight to a penalty shoot-out. It was entertaining enough as Harry Goldsmith missed Thamesmead’s first penalty to give Greenhouse the advantage early on, but Tony Cookey’s dreadful blast over the bar made it level. Even after Greenhouse’s goalie stepped up on penalty #5 and slotted home, a miss from Daniel Martinez on the 7th round of spot kicks allowed Jonathen Murray to score the winning penalty.
Greenhouse London (took first) –- Thamesmead Town
Reynolds scored -- Goldsmith saved
Mantovani scored -- Fairweather-Johnson scored
Honesty scored -- Hibbert scored
Cookey over -- Murphy scored
Durrell scored -- Carlse scored
Alexander scored -- Ayomoni scored
Martinez wide -- Murray scored
Despite the small number of people who made the effort to watch this game, (England were on TV to be fair, if people are that desperate to stay in) the 22 hardcore fans were treated to a decent cup tie. Along with some very able players that were on show, hopefully some of these guys can play higher up the pyramid one day as they would easily be capable. The winners of this tie were then away to Tooting & Mitcham United in the 2nd Round as they overcame Haringey Borough in their tie. Bayliss Avenue is a compact, but pleasant enough ground that will still hopefully be hosting Isthmian Premier League football next season so good luck to them. I was impressed by Greenhouse London too as they didn’t deserve to lose this, I will be looking out for them in the future!
- Match: 6/10 (entertaining enough cup tie)
- Value for money: 7.5/10 (nice to reduce the prices)
- Ground: 6/10 (simple enough, but does the job for Mead)
- Atmosphere: 2/10 (22 people in the ground…)
- Food: N/A – didn’t eat any
- Programme: N/A – teamsheet only
- Referee: Dele Sotimirin – 6.5/10 (good encouragement and kept control)
ROAD TO THE LONDON SENIOR CUP 2013/2014:
1ST ROUND: Thamesmead Town 2-2 Greenhouse London [Thamesmead win 6-5 on penalties] (Bayliss Avenue, Att: 22)