Wednesday 23rd February 2005

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Lakin enjoying life at Heybridge

FORMER Erith & Belvedere boss Barry Lakin is enjoying life with his new club Heybridge Swifts, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Chelmsford based number two to Brain Statham has helped the Essex club climb up the Ryman Premier League table from 17th to tenth place and are unbeaten in six matches.

And on Tuesday night they progressed through to the two-legged Bryco Cup semi-finals but needed penalties to dispose of Kent side Folkestone Invicta.

The game finished 1-1 at Scraley Road, with both goals coming during extra time as former Chelsea youngster Cliff Akurang - a recent signing from Nationwide Conference South Thurrock - put the Swifts ahead after 99 minutes but Simon Glover equalised ten minutes later.

The penalty shoot out got off to a poor start for Invicta as Michael Everitt struck the first kick over the crossbar and Glover then had his penalty saved by goalkeeper Paul Rutherford.

Invicta were thrown a lifeline when Ian Cousins hit Heybridge's second penalty over the crossbar but when Rutherford saved Invicta's final penalty taken by James Everitt it meant that the home side did not have to take their fifth penalty as their goalkeeper took the plaudits.

There had been successful strikes for Heybridge's Scott Forbes, Kelly Pollard and Akurang and for Invicta defenders Paul Lamb and Adam Flanagan.

Now Lakin is eyeing a semi-final or final clash with his former club Chelmsford City.

He said: "I am delighted in getting through to the semi-finals.  I don't see why we can't win it.  However, any five of the side's remaining could win it."

The Bryco Cup semi-final line-up consists of Chelmsford City (3-0 winners against Leatherhead), Slough Town (4-2 winners against AFC Wimbledon) and now Heybridge.  The last remaining quarter-final clash between Hampton & Richmond Borough and Braintree Town takes place on the 2nd March, but Lakin is desperately wanting to come up against his former club.

"It would be fun if Braintree get through but I would like to play Chelmsford in the final." he said.

Lakin, however, went back to his former club to sign Tottenham based midfielder Paul Abbott from Erith & Belvedere - with the blessing of Deres boss Steve Robinson.

Lakin revealed: "I keep in touch with Robbo on a daily basis and I also spoke to him about a few players and helped him out with him signing players.

"I've signed Paul Abbott.  He's a player I brought to Erith & Belvedere and was fortunate to get him because he's always played at a higher level. 

"I thought he was starting to go a bit stale when I was at Erith & Belvedere but it was a joint decision between myself at Steve Robinson.  I wouldn't have signed him against Steve's wishes."

Lakin has been impressed with the facilities at his new club.  The Deres, however, train at the Bexley Business Academy in Thamesmead.

"It is good and a bit of a different set up than Erith," he admitted.

"We've got use of more facilities, such as we train in an training area behind the ground and we are also allowed to train on the pitch.

"The club also puts food on for the players and management after training inside the clubhouse at their ground.

Lakin, however, was pleased his former side collected three points against big-spending Fisher Athletic last Saturday.

He added:  "I thought they had a great result against Fisher and I was delighted.

"I got the news at 4:45pm and I spoke to Robbo straight after the game and a couple of players."

Lakin's partner Laura gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday, but at present they haven't decided on a name for their new addition.

Please feel free to use this article, but please credit it to:
Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk