Club Spotlight

ANDREW GIDLEY’S CLUB SPOTLIGHT 2018-19

Equinoccial FC – March 2019

A blustery afternoon in South London is a long way from South America but Equinoccial are aiming to bring that  same exuberant style of football to the Kent County League.

In the latest feature on first season clubs in the competition, Andrew Gidley watched their  3-1 Division 3 West home win over Greenways Aces  and spoke afterwards to player-manager Patricio Molina.

Patricio admits he likes a challenge.

Now in his 10th year with the club the 31-year-old has seen them progress from playing in South American Leagues across London to three successful seasons in the Bromley & South London Leagues, and now sit second in Division 3 West in their first Kent County League campaign.

He said: “We also have a team in Ecudaor, the founder Juan Endara brought the team to London 20 years ago, and started in the Clapham South League and played in that for many years. Juan’s son Daniel is the Club Chairman”

“I joined them three or four months after coming to London, and saw that we had so many good players there was a chance to do something better.

“We were playing season after season against the same teams and people, but I thought we had the potential to progress.

“We played in another South American 11-a- side league based at Burgess Park in Camberwell, and from there moved to the Bromley & South London League.

“We never won the League, but always finished in the top-three and got to cup finals as well.

“We had a great relationship with them, but in life, I don’t like standing still, and always like a new challenge.

“We are tested every week in the Kent County League, and I also think the level of refereeing is very good.” 

The present squad mostly comprises of Ecuadorians and Colombians, as well as one Venezuelan an Italian and three Africans, with Molina one of only two players living outside South London.

And the South American community follow the fortunes of the team through a wide range of social media platforms.

Patricio explained: “We have about 200 followers on Facebook, and two reporters come to our games and do a live recording which is seen back home in Ecuador.

“Every player who comes to us is another member of our family, and I just want to keep pushing the team as far as we can.”

Alejandro Marin put Equinnocial in front, before Stephen Palacious doubled the lead five minutes before half-time, before Aces pulled one back in stoppage-time through Henry Ikeije’s penalty. Top scorer Darwin Orozco who came off the bench at half-time scored the third just past the hour, his 21st of the season, to complete a seventh home win of the season.

Molina thinks winning the title in their first season might be beyond them.

Molina said: “It was a good performance, but we missed too many chances.

“It’s three more points, and we will keep trying to reach that first position, but that’s going to be difficult right now, with other teams having games in hand.

“Our game is all about keeping the ball on the floor – quick one-two touches.

 “We play on an artificial pitch which helps, and try to adapt to do the same when we go away. 

“I love the spirit of my players –  I am telling them every game we have left is a final -and then see what other teams do.”

The team have also qualified for the next stage of the FA People’s Cup.


Greenway Aces FC & Danson Sports FC – December 2018

Greenways Aces and Danson Sports are two clubs new to the competition this season.

Andrew Gidley braved a wet and windy  afternoon in Gravesend on Saturday to watch the Division 3 West fixture between the pair, Danson Sports winning 2-1.

Aces President George Gill, talks about the club’s big plans for the future while Danson Sports manager Yousic Shimirty explains why they are eyeing league and cup success in their first season.

Gill said: “Big things are happening here, we have just got the lease secured on our ground at Old Southfields, and have a five-year plan involving installing a 4G pitch, clubhouse and gymnasium.

“It will be funded by grants, and we have got investors involved as well.

He added: “We have got a big, strong committee and good family connections. “My son Jay, who was captain today is our chairman, he is a businessman, and our main sponsor.

“I have got 10 grandchildren – six of them play for our teams, the youngest is six-years-old, and the oldest, who played today is 16, one of five in the side, it makes me very proud.”

Aces were formed following the death of Gill’s son Jason at the age of 14.

He explained: “When he died, I said I would have nothing more to do with football, but we formed a team called North Kent Aces, named after him

“His nickname was Ace – they asked me to manage the team named after him, and we have been going ever since.

“Two years ago Willie Miller, who was Mr Greenways, approached us about an amalgamation and we have grown from there.

“We have got 18 youth teams, but the problem we had is that Greenways are playing in South East Counties League Division 1), which is probably too higher a standard for some of our under-16s and under-17s.

“We have three ex-professionals involved in the coaching – Gary Borrowdale (ex Crystal Palace and Coventry), Peter Sweeney (ex Millwall) and head coach Craig Holloway  (ex Arsenal) who works with the senior players on a Thursday night.

“The Kent County League is superb so we decided to put a team in there, and I think they are holding their own.

“We have played probably the favourites to win our league today and given them a darn good game.”

Yousic Shimirty is in his second season in charge of Danson Sports.

Many of the players have experience of playing in the County League before, with former East side South Darenth in Division 1 Central & East but travelling long distances across the county proved too much, forcing them to drop out.

The players regrouped closer to home formed a new team, competing and winning the Bromley and South London League Division 1 title at the first attempt. They play on a 4G pitch at Perry Street in Crayford and are enjoying a good season, currently fourth, but with games in hand on the teams above them.

Yousic said: “We found out that Danson did not have a team, they took us on, and we won the league in my first season in management and also got to two cup semi-finals.

He added: “I am Deputy Head of Year and a PE teacher at Bexleyheath Academy, run a few teams there, and have always been interested in coaching sides and the detail from a young age, so when the opportunity came up to manage, I grabbed it with both hands. 

“I  enjoy the buzz of winning a lot more as a manager, than a player which surprises me a little bit, and being champions in my first season was unbelievable.

“We are one big group of friends, are always together, which makes a difference win or lose.”

Danson have only lost once in the league so far and Yousic hopes that proves a good platform to build on.

“Hopefully we can kick-on, we have got a few games in hand, and the aim when we came in was to win the league.

“With the boys being at South Darenth before, we know we could play in Division 1 or higher.”

“We are also in the quarter-finals of the NRG Gym Barry Bundock West Kent Challenge Shield.”

Secretary Steve Rayner added: “Joining the Kent County Football League has been fantastic for us as a club, and our team have relished the challenge and enjoying being part of a very well organised league.

“It’s been a great season for us so far and the icing on the cake would be to gain promotion in our first season.

“Everyone involved with the Kent County League has been fantastic to work with.”