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|London Senior Cup
|Stephen McCartney reports from Park View Road|
|Erith & Belvedere||3||Dean Fenton 47
James MacKinnon 63
Steffan Ball 73
Deres have plenty in reserve
ERITH & BELVEDERE manager Barry Lakin was pleased with the performance of four reserve team players in their comfortable 3-0 London Senior Cup win over ninth-placed Combined Counties League side Southall at Park View Road on Tuesday night, writes Stephen McCartney.
After Saturday's "embarrassing" FA Cup exit at home to Flackwell Heath, Lakin promised changes and threw reserve team players Lee Sugden, Sam Frisk and James MacKinnon into the melting pot and a fourth, Tom Maycock, came off the bench for the final thirteen minutes.
Deres supporters have been trying to persuade Lakin to blood reserve team players into first team action and the quartet didn't disappoint, despite playing against a poor side, who were playing only their third game together, after losing all but three of their first team players to Ryman League Division One strugglers Ashford Town last month.
The Deres are now away to moneybags Fisher Athletic in the third round - a side who will pose more questions than the west Londoners - who delayed the kick off for fifteen minutes as the man with the kit had been delayed in traffic.
Although Southall offered very little up front to trouble goalkeeper Jani Seitsonen, one visiting player, Alpha Bangura, does appear he could play at a higher level, with impressive runs down the left flank and close control.
The first of two Southall chances that came in the first half arrived in the 11th minute when Seitsonen punched Nesbitt's free kick from the left flank out of the penalty area and shaven headed Jason Walker's drive took a deflection on its way wide of the left post.
Before this, however, Sugden's 40-yarder was always going wide and after Walker's shot, Dean Fenton, twice went close from first time shots outside the penalty area.
Darren Adams, out on the left, delivered a cross towards the far post but an off-balanced Frisk headed wide from eight yards.
An impressive performance from midfielder Ryan Briggs and he almost broke the deadlock but he blazed a 24-yard free kick over the crossbar.
Just past the half-an-hour mark, Seitsonen was finally called into action but he comfortably held Ilani's 40-yard effort that was never going to trouble the red shirted goalkeeper.
Adams received the ball from Southall defender Obowyocoo before he unleashed a 30-yard shot that sailed over but another chance fell to the striker just before the break which actually tested Lago, who got down low at the near post to make a comfortable save.
Whatever Lakin said inside the dressing room during the interval had the desired effect, as the Southern Leaguers took the lead within 87 seconds.
Fenton swapped a one-two on the edge of the penalty area with MacKinnon and raced into the penalty area and with only the goalkeeper to beat, drilled a low 12-yard shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Moments later, Adams' left-footed shot went just over the angle of left post and crossbar.
Briggs and Frisk struck long-range efforts on goal, both going close, before the Deres doubled their lead in the 63rd minute.
Left-sided midfielder, Daniel Fletcher latched onto a defence splitting ball and raced towards the penalty area. Reaching the by-line he delivered a pin-point cross to the far post and MacKinnon smashed home inside the near post to the delight of his reserve team mates watching in the stand.
The goal sealed a comfortable victory and after Briggs volleyed high over the crossbar and into the road behind the goal, they wrapped up the victory with a third goal in the 73rd minute.
Briggs sent Fletcher on his way down the left, and like the second goal, his pace got him to the by-line and his measured pass found substitute Steffan Ball who fired home at the far post.
In the final ten minutes, with only the goalkeeper to beat, MacKinnon's shot was blocked by the stopper, and former Cray Wanderers' midfielder Lewis Woods twice went close, but the victory, and the performance of the reserve team players impressed Lakin.
"They were fantastic," he said.
"They have taken an opportunity and they will now be in the squad on Saturday, at least three of them. Sam Frisk was outstanding - man of the match by far."
The London Senior Cup win came on the back of a very disappointing 1-0 FA Cup second qualifying round defeat to Ryman League Second Division side Flackwell Heath - but they must repeat the Southall performance on Saturday when Harlow Town are the visitors to Park View Road in the FA Trophy preliminary round (3pm).
"The FA Cup defeat was embarrassing!" said Lakin.
"I felt so embarrest that I could actually field a team that lacked so much effort, so I think there needed to be changes.
"It was getting to a point where it's either the players go or I go - and I don't have time for that!
"So we've made some changes and they've done well."
With a 3-0 lead, the side's next target was to keep a clean sheet - which they did - pleasing their manager.
"That was our second clean sheet from eleven games and we needed one. We deserved it!
"I thought we played well, played a little bit too deep in the first half, but I asked the midfield players to push on more and they did in the second half, resulting in a 3-0 win."
Whilst England clash with Wales in a World Cup qualifier in Manchester, Lakin's side will be looking to win another cup game, this time against Southern League rivals Harlow Town.
"Harlow are down there, but to be fair they play the passing game as well. I know their manager very well, and I am looking for a solid performance from our youngsters."
Fourth from bottom in the table, Erith & Belvedere will be hoping they can continue their impressive form and passing game on show against Southall and play with belief in their Southern League campaign.
"I am desperate to go on a run. I've got possibly a loan signing coming Saturday from a Conference club, we will name him when it's done and dusted, but he is training with us on Thursday, so once that's done that will be great.
"We've also got another midfield player I am meeting with so we are looking to strengthen the team and will be busy on the telephone for the next couple of days to bring some players in," Lakin revealed.
Erith & Belvedere: Jani Seitsonen, Craig Hales (Tom Maycock 77), Daniel Fletcher, Lewis Tozer (Capt), Marc Cumberbatch, Lee Sugden, Ryan Briggs, Sam Frisk, Darren Adams (Steffan Ball 67), James MacKinnon, Dean Fenton (Lewis Woods 58). Subs: Mark Chapman, Ray Aboyage