Snodland Town 0-1 Lydd Town - Without sitting on the fence too much I want to be in the shake-up, says Lydd Town boss Liam Smith

Wednesday 11th October 2017
Snodland Town 0 – 1 Lydd Town
Location Potyn's Sports Field, Snodland Community Centre, Paddlesworth Road, Snodland, Kent ME6 5DP
Kickoff 11/10/2017 19:45

SNODLAND TOWN 0-1  LYDD TOWN
Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Wednesday 11th October 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Paddlesworth Road

LYDD TOWN boss Liam Smith says he wants his side to be in the promotion shake-up at the end of the season.

Eighty-six people braved the showery and windy conditions at Potyn’s Sports Field to watch an uninspiring first half where both sides cancelled each other out.

The second half was much better and this Southern Counties East Football League First Division clash was going to be settled by just the one goal and Lydd Town striker Gary Lockyer slotted in his ninth goal of the season to deservedly give them the three points.

Snodland Town remain in third-place in the table with 22 points from 13 games – six points adrift of leaders Punjab United, while Lydd Town rise four places into the top five with 19 points in the bag from their 12 league outings.

“I’m really pleased with the 1-0 win,” said Smith, after his side’s sixth league win of the season.

“We’ve been really inconsistent this season. We lost to Phoenix Sports Reserves on Saturday and a few harsh words were said before the game and the players that played tonight - I only used 13 players tonight, one player didn’t get on – but it was a real squad performance.

“Credit to Snodland, they kept coming at us but I thought we deserved the win.”

Snodland Town manager Gavin Gilles said: “I thought we started the game a bit slow, but grew into it. I thought we played some good football.

“We were unlucky in the second half, we had two or three great saves from the goalkeeper in a couple of minutes and they broke up the other end and scored and that suited them, they just hung on for the win.

“We didn’t create enough chances after that to get back into the game. We did battle hard and fight hard. They had a game plan and stuck to it and they got a goal. It was probably the only chance of the game, although they had another chance after that, a good save by our keeper, but they were the only two chances of the game but they deserved to win the game.”

Both side’s formations ensured that they cancelled each other out during a boring first half.  The statistic that proved that this was an uneventful stalemate was that both sides were caught offside 12 times between them.

“It wasn’t great,” came Smith’s response, the thoughts of everyone watching before gathering for their half-time cuppa.

“It’s a very small pitch compared to what we’re used to especially down at Lydd, we’ve got a very big pitch. It didn’t quite suit us but we had to try to adapt to it.  We didn’t quite get the line right, they’re very well marshalled at the back (by James Beaumont and Robbie Summerhayes).  I thought we were offside too many times to be honest. It was stop-start, it was very nitty-gritty, the first 45 minutes, no real clear-cut chances but I always fancied us to score.”

Snodland Town were kicking up the slope in the first half and most of their attacks were down the right as they tried to get past a three-man Lydd Town defence while Lydd Town were often guilty of trying to slip balls in behind on the deck, often being caught offside.

Combative Snodland left-back Mitchel Worsley was booked for a cynical foul on Jordan Tomsett, the Lydd right-wing-back running past him before being chopped down but Worsley was soon to be withdrawn through sickness.

The manager said: “He was feeling sick. He looked alright in the warm-up but it’s one of the subs I wouldn’t like to make.”

The first chance of the game finally arrived in the 24th minute.

Lydd Town skipper Ryan Smith – who was playing on the left of three central defenders – clipped a long ball over the top of the Snodland defence and Lockyer’s chip went over the advancing keeper’s head and James Beaumont, Snodland’s captain, showed desire to get back on his line to head the ball forward into Joe Wilkins’ hands.

Smith said: “Ryan’s made a great move by going around the corner because he’s left-footed,  Gary, who is our main striker, he made something out of nothing and the keeper done well to come out.  I didn’t think he was going to get there at the end and he caught it at the end and it came to nothing in the end.”

You could have so easily switched off and fallen asleep watching the first half and Gilles admitted: “I didn’t see that one, I was looking at one of my players at the time. It’s one of those games, they got the goal and they got the 1-0, they deserve it.”

Lydd Town keeper Joe Munden, the son of former Dover Athletic keeper Maurice Munden – made a fine diving save to deny the home side in the 29th minute.

Tom Cackett and Greg Smith linked up well down the right flank and Cackett played right-back Jason Harrison on the overlap and he whipped in a deep cross into the box from the by-line. The ball was headed away by Alex Coyne and David Sherwood hit a first-time drive with his right-foot which was pushed away by Munden, diving low to his left.

Gillies said: “I thought their goalkeeper pleased really well, he pulled off four or five good saves throughout the course of the game, maybe have a dozen.”

Smith added: “I think Sherwood’s one of the best forwards in the league. He’s scored 14 goals and we spoke about it beforehand.  He scored two at our place (in the 2-2 draw on 28 August) so we changed it to three at the back. 

“We brought in Matt Kirby in from Ashford this week on loan, he’s only 18 and I think with the experience of Ryan Smith and Alex Coyne the other side I thought Sherwood didn’t have a sniff all game.  Our keeper saved one shot on target.”

Greg Smith, who played at the bottom of Snodland’s diamond, split Lydd’s defence to put Sherwood through on goal. The 14-goal talisman rounded the advancing Munden but his touch escaped him and the ball rolled behind for a goal-kick.

Lydd Town produced the best move of the first half when Harry Carr – the only visiting player who lives in Lydd – played the ball up to Lockyer, who laid the ball off to Craig Calvert who drove his shot from 12-yards straight into Wilkins’ hands for a comfortable save.

“We could’ve made that the 1-0 just before the break but it got smuggled in the end but that was probably the only good move of the first half,” added Smith.

The sound of the half-time whistle from referee Steven Tunnicliffe couldn’t come quickly enough! The first half was like watching England under Gareth Southgate!

“What I said to the lads was keep going, there’s not a lot that needs changing.  I felt it would help us going uphill because the ball held up a lot more,” said Smith.

Gillies added: “I thought we got the ball down and played a little bit towards the end of the first half but we created the better chances in the second half.

“We played the ball well around the back, even though we didn’t create enough chances. We came out and I thought we did quite well. We created our best chances at the beginning of the second half.”

Thankfully, the two sides realised that they can attack their opponent and the first six minutes went chance crazy.

Left-wing back James Matthews whipped in a low cross into Snodland’s box for Calvert, who swept his right-footed shot towards the bottom left-hand corner, forcing Wilkins to dive to his right to push the ball around the post after only 17 seconds.

Smith said: “We nearly scored in the first minute from the kick-off. When it went up top, Gary made a good move and we nearly scored there. We won the header.

“We talk about kick-offs a lot.  We practice it in training as well but let’s be on the front foot.  We went forward, we won the header on the small full-back and I thought we should’ve scored and then we had two or three chances second half.  I thought it might bite us on the proverbials shall we say but luckily it never.

“I think we’re a better team going uphill because we haven’t got an amazing amount of pace and we practice to play it into Gary Lockyer to try to hold and try to have runners off him,” explained Smith.

“When we missed the three chances, please don’t come back and bite us but I’m really, really pleased we kept going in the end.”

Gillies added: “It was a good save. He pulled two off with his left-hand actually. I forgot about that one.  The one after their goal as well so he’s done well, bless him.  He’s not my number one keeper, so he came in and done well.”

Striker Tim Sims swung in the resulting corner and Matthews steered his near post header wide from 12-yards.

Good wing-back play from Tomsett saw him reach the by-line before floating over a deep cross but Lockyer sent his free header straight at the keeper from 12-yards, the Lydd striker clearly in despair after missing a glorious chance.

“I was quite impressed with the keeper. I know he got badly hurt for a 50/50 but he was a very impressive keeper,” said Smith.

“He made a really good save from the header but I just felt could it been either side of him? Could he done a bit more?”

Snodland Town wasted a great chance, too, with only three and a half minutes on the clock.

Cackett swept in a cross from the right towards the near post and Sherwood dinked the ball inside to Bush, who swept his shot past the near post from eight-yards.

Gillies added: “There were a few half chances, but it’s one of those days really.”

Smith admitted: I thought that was the chance of the game for them really.  I know it wasn’t on target but that was the more clear-cut chance than they ever had all game really. 

“We just switched off for a couple of seconds, past our men on to the wrong people and Sherwood did really well to hold it up because he shouldn’t have got the ball. We sort of backed off and Bush should’ve scored if I’m honest.”

Ollie Blosse’s fine pass played in Liam Watkins through the middle. The left-winger took a touch before stroking a right-footed shot that was blocked by Munden’s legs.

Gillies said: “It was a good save. Liam ain’t scored yet this year and he’s been playing really well for us so it would’ve been nice for him to get a goal but everything we hit, we hit at the keeper instead of putting the angles in.”

Smith said: “He’s Mo Munden’s son.  Mo’s in Portugal at the moment. Joe used to play for Rolvenden, he’s jumped up two leagues. He’s probably our most consistent player all season. He’s got such great reactions hasn’t he? I was really pleased with that save, I can’t praise Joe enough.”

Ben Charlesworth played the ball out to Sims on the left and he played the ball back to Charlesworth, who drilled his right-footed shot that whistled past the far post from 22-yards.

After that flurry of chances inside the opening seven minutes, the game went flat again.

Matthews delivered another decent cross from the left and another Lockyer free-header, this time from 15-yards, was comfortably gathered by Wilkins.

Calvert fed Lockyer – who was Lydd’s main threat – who stroked his left-footed shot from 22-yards, which was gathered at the second attempt by Wilkins.

Lockyer deservedly smashed the deadlock with 19 minutes and 56 seconds on the clock.

Calvert swept a lovely ball forward, which split the Snodland defence and Graham Smart’s flag stayed down as Lockyer was released through on goal. He had a lot to do, running form the half-way line and as Wilkins advanced, he skipped past the keeper, took a touch and from a tight angle, kept composed to place his right-footed shot into the bottom far corner.

Smith said: “I said to my assistant manager and coach, this is going to be 1-0 either way, whoever is going to score first will hang on and it’s going to be nitty-gritty again, which it did.

“Craig done really good, good feet, good left-foot, right-foot and swivelled his body and played Gary in and Gary won the race with the centre half and the keeper saves it yet again.  It’s gone slightly wide but he’s still kept going and he’s tapped it in, which I’m really pleased with and you can see it from the reaction how much it means.  I thought it was going to run out of play because Gary is not the most mobile shall we say but really pleased. He had a good 60-yard run with the bloke and won the race.”

Gillies said: “He done well.  The keeper tried to sweep it but it was a little bit too short for him. They got round and they set it home nice.  I thought he was at least two yards offside but it’s one of them.”

Sims set-up Matthews, who unleashed a left-footed drive from 25-yards out on the left, which was pushed over the bar by Wilkins’ outstretched left-hand.

“James has just come back to us, he was with Gravesham,” said Smith.

“It was a really good move and when he actually hit it, I thought that was flying in.  I don’t know how he got to it, he flew across didn’t he to tip it over his bar.

“I was a really good move, every time we did play football we looked dangerous, we didn’t play it enough for my liking.  The pitch was too small but every time we put the ball down and played, we looked a constant threat. It was four or five times in the game when I saw it.”

Gillies added: “It was a great save, a great shot from the left-hand side, come across him and with his left hand he put it over.”

Snodland Town wasted a glorious chance to grab an equaliser in the final 15 minutes.

Sub Josh Gillies floated in a free-kick towards the near post from the left channel and Sherwood and defender Matt Kirby slipped and Munden’s reactions was top notch, getting down low to his right to grab hold of the ball before it could creep over the line.

Smith said: “Sherwood slipped, and our centre half slipped and our keeper saved it at the near post. It was a weird set of events really.  One of the best centre forwards in the league slips, one of the best centre halves in the league slips and it just rolls into the keeper. It was heart in mouth moment then.  I just felt please don’t let that happen now but it went to Joe.”

Snodland keeper Wilkins made comfortable saves from a couple of shots from outside the penalty box from Sims and substitute George Mabb.

But Wilkins went down with a concerning head injury inside the final five minutes and was forced off. Substitute keeper Dan Stevens had to stay on the bench as all three subs were already on the pitch.  Play restarted with 43:30 on the clock and Harrison’s cameo role in between the sticks passed off without any incident.

Gillies said: “I didn’t see it completely, to be fair there was a player in front of me but I think he just ran into him. He caught his head but he’s a bit dizzy so he had to come off but unlucky enough I had already played my three subs so I couldn’t bring my other keeper on.”

Smith added: “Innocuous to be honest. We brought on Gary Penfold, who is probably one of our lightest players. I can’t imagine him hurting anyone. He hasn’t got a bad bone in his body. I thought it was a 50-50. The keeper’s are protected. I wouldn’t have given a foul personally but how the referee sees things, everyone has got opinions. He was forced to go off and they’ve used all of their subs. We hope the lad is alright from everyone at Lydd Town. No-one wants to see anyone get hurt.”

Snodland created one final chance.  Watkins’ cross from the right was headed away by Calvert and dropped at Josh Gillies’ feet but all he could do was drill his shot wide from 22-yards.

Both teams are in Kent Reliance Senior Trophy First Round action at the weekend.  Snodland Town travel to struggling Tunbridge Wells, while Lydd Town host Canterbury City.

“It’s really pleasing, we’re going into a hard set of games. We asked for no game this Saturday, we’re at a wedding but we’ve got Canterbury in the Kent Senior Trophy, who are doing really well.  I know they lost to Sheppey last night so that’s going to be a real test,” said Smith.

“There was no set aim from the start, we wanted to improve on our ninth-place position from last year. 

“Without sitting on the fence too much, I want to be in the shake-up. I don’t want the season dying out with five games to go.”

For Snodland, their fourth defeat in 12 league games, this was a big blow to their title hopes in only their second season at this level of football.

“We’re struggling with the size of the squad and how many games you have to play and we’re trying to adapt.  I think we’re getting better than last year but we still maybe need a bit more,” said Gillies.

“We’ve had a few players out injured, we’re getting a few back now.  Josh, my son, came back tonight so hopefully we can push on.”

Snodland Town: Joe Wilkins, Jason Harrison, Mitchel Worsley (Shaun Butler 18), Liam Bush, Robbie Summerhayes, James Beaumont, Tom Cackett, Greg Smith (Harry Dawes 73), David Sherwood, Ollie Blosse (Josh Gillies 68), Liam Watkins.
Subs: Dan Stevens, Nick Clark-Ferreira

Booked: Mitchel Worsley 9

Lydd Town: Joe Munden, Jordan Tomsett (Gary Penfold 68), James Matthews, Matt Kirby, Ryan Smith, Alex Coyne, Craig Calvert, Ben Charlesworth, Tim Sims (George Mabb 80), Gary Lockyer, Harry Carr.
Sub: Dan Wanstall

Goal: Gary Lockyer 65

Attendance: 86
Referee: Mr Steven Tunnicliffe (Maidstone)
Assistants: Mr Graham Smart (Ditton) & Mr Malcolm Thorburn (Horton Kirby)

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