Thursday 09th December 2004

The Kent Website
Supporting Kentish Football

Let's win ugly demands Lakin

BARRY LAKIN, manager of Southern League Division One East club Erith & Belvedere, will be asking his players to put in the same effort as Saturday's visitors to Park View Road have recently, in a bid to climb the table, writes Stephen McCartney.

The 31-year-old manager has also invited supporters to a "meet the manager" session after the game against Sittingbourne.

Lakin, however, now demands results from his players and is willing to sacrifice pretty football in a bid to collect three points - with his side fourth from bottom due to a points deduction.

The former Chelmsford City academy coach said: "Looking back two weeks, I thought we put in a fantastic performance against Harlow Town and played very well against Folkestone despite a poor result."

Folkestone Invicta reached the last eight of the John Ullmann Kent Senior Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Deres at the end of November, and Cheriton Road chief Neil Cugley praised Lakin's side regarding their performance.

Lakin revealed: " Neil Cugley was another apposing manager who made a point of saying how well we'd played.

"But the fact remains we're now fourth from bottom, and it may be time to dig in and try to play winning football than pretty football.

"It's a cliché to say a team is too good to go down, and it's also rubbish.

"All players must be prepared to graft.

"In November we turned in some workmanlike wins - Leighton Town and Barking & East Ham - they weren't pretty to watch but we won the battles.

"But maybe some of our players are too young to win games that way, and we need some more experience.

"I've identified the problems and the weaknesses, and now we need to solve them."

Speaking on the club's website, Lakin, admitted he was hurt after his side lost 1-0 at Aveley last Saturday. 

"Last week's game at Aveley was the worst I've seen in a long time," he admitted.

"Too often the culture at this club has been to criticise the players, which has made me defensive towards them to the point where I've defended them when perhaps they needed criticism.

"But it's hard to defend that game last week.

"The team needs to pull its collective socks up and start upsetting the opposition a bit more.

"Mind you I'd criticise them for their effort, not for their passing ability - as we saw in the Hinckley-Brentford cup tie, a poor pitch just isn't conducive to a passing game."

But the three points deduction has really hit the Park View Road club, and their position would have been much better, if it wasn't for a blunder from the Southern League.

"Like all of you I'm disappointed about the three-point deduction," Lakin added.

"The question Kellie Discipline (club secretary) asked of the Southern League was "Is he Ok to play?"

"We fielded Seb Ndombe only after we'd received a positive answer to that question.

"You would expect the answer to come from a thorough check.

"The outcome is embarrassing for us and makes a mockery of non-league football when we're trying to run things professionally."

Lakin has been criticised by supporters for using a high number of players, but the Chelmsford based manager admitted he is doing his best to get the right formula.

He said: "I know we've had a large number of players this season.

"While looking for the right blend I've been brining players in, trying them out and moving on if it doesn't work out.

"I have put a seven day approach for a forward and also have a midfield player on trial this week.

"That's the way it is until I'm properly settled here - if the situation is the same in a year's time, then things will have gone drastically wrong."

And Speaking about Saturday's Kent derby clash against Sittingbourne, Lakin is trying to emulate the Brickies, who have picked up in recent weeks, following a poor start to the season.

Steve Nolan, who has taken over as first team manager recently, after Mark Beeney, already a goalkeeping coach at Premiership leaders Chelsea, was offered a full-time role with the Stamford Bridge club.

Lakin said: "Sittingbourne are a good example of a team that have worked their way out of a bad position - I'd like our players to pull their sleeves up and work as hard as the Bourne lads have from the point where they were second bottom of the table.

"If those points hadn't been deducted we'd now be looking at eight clubs within a win of us in the table, and if we'd beaten Aveley last week we'd be tenth.

"But they were deducted, and we didn't beat Aveley so as of the morning of 11th December we're the fourth worse side in the division.

"Nobody gets relegated in December and there's several month's work of effort ahead to put things right."

Erith & Belvedere v Sittingbourne
Southern League Division One East
Saturday 11th December 2004
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Park View Road, Welling