'My team choked in the final'
SEVENOAKS Town manager Darren Anslow couldn't hide his disappointment as his team faltered in a cup final they were expecting to win.
Hollands and Blair – the late replacements for Erith and Belvedere after they were booted from the Kent Trophy for fielding an ineligible player – took the final to Sevenoaks from the first whistle and the silverware back to Gillingham with a 2-1 victory. It was a stunning achievement for a side that was merely a pub team a few years ago.
They currently compete in the lower-tier Kent Invicta league, while Anslow's men had already defeated Premier rivals Tunbridge Wells and runaway leaders Herne Bay in getting to the showdown.
"Now I've got to think up something to say about it," sighed Anslow after the game at Welling United's Park View Road. "I'm really disappointed.
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"It's a big stage – you have to go out there and perform on it. Some players were playing their first final and maybe the nerves got to them a bit.
"We didn't turn up in the first half. We gave clear instructions on things we wanted from them and they didn't do it for whatever reason.
"We had a good go in the end, but you can't be happy when you get beaten like that."
Two first-half goals were enough to earn the spoils for Hollands in an action-packed game.
The cup atmosphere was in full flow by kick-off, but Town's was severely dampened before the interval and they never really recovered.
Town did get a goal back late in the second period through Aaron Guard and star man Michael Bishop hit the upright, but it just wasn't to be on the day.
Assistant manager Anthony Ferguson said: "Bish (Bishop) was outstanding in terms of everything we asked from him. We needed all of our players to perform like him."
Following a poor league campaign that sees them sitting second from bottom, though fortunately without threat of relegation, the loss of silverware to a much smaller team will cast a long shadow over what was looking like a rare ray of hope.
"Credit to Hollands and Blair, they deserved it," said Anslow.
"They played well in the first half and it's a big win for them.
"But I'm gutted because we should have been able to get it done."
Full match report and more reaction on page 56.