Sunday 13th March 2005

To advertise telephone Stephen McCartney 07979 418 360

Looking upwards

THE ONLY midweek game in the Go Travel Kent Premier League this week sees two of the bottom three sides scrapping it out, writes Stephen McCartney.

Lordswood can climb off the bottom of the table if they collect all three points at Deal Town, sending Erith Town to the foot but Deal will go nine points clear of the Medway side if they win, climbing above Sporting Bengal United in the process.

Lordswood came away from the Mile End Stadium on Saturday with all three points, in a poor game, it must be said.

Sporting Bengal, who have now not won in eight attempts, started well and after four minutes Prince Pippim chased a long clearance out of defence but was denied by debutant goalkeeper Phil Lewis, who cleared the ball into touch.

In the space of five minutes late in the half, the home side had chances to take the lead.  The ball was played inside to Youness Ben Messouad, who fired wide from 25-yards and Chris Parrilon headed over.

Lordswood should have taken the lead in the 63rd minute.  Andy Doerr won a tackle in midfield and drove forward.  Running into the area, he stopped and curled a shot, right-footed, past the post.

Three minutes later, after dispossessing a defender, Lordswood substitute Alan Backshall shot past the post and at the other end Pipim ran onto a long ball but blazed high and wide.

The game ended dramatically, with three goals being scored in the final seven minutes of this dour clash.

Lordswood took the lead in the 83rd minute when Ray Broad was played into the area but was fouled and a penalty was awarded.  Up stepped Doerr to place the spot-kick into the bottom right corner.

A minute later, Sporting Bengal were level.  Karlos Chambers ran down the right wing beating Neil Crust and delivered the perfect cross and Pippin rose unopposed and headed past Lewis from eight yards.

Lordswood, however, secured the three vital points in their bid not to finish bottom with four minutes left.  Andy Skinner's long throw into the area caused confusion and Ashley Russell on the far post headed towards goal but Ian Brewster tipped onto the bar. Sam Colyer reacted quickly and headed in the rebound.

Lordswood boss Paul Piggott was pleased victory in East London could see his side climb off the foot of the table with victory in Deal on Tuesday night.

"I told the players before the game if we win our next two games we go off the foot of the table, which would be a big lift for us," he said.

"We've gone halfway in doing that but we need to go down to Deal, which is not an easy fixture away on a Tuesday night, but we need to take Saturday's result into the game."

Erith Town will sink to bottom place on goal difference if Lordswood win and they will close the gap on Deal to just three points.

Piggott added: "They are down there with us and we are both down there for a reason.  But I've always said we are too good to finish bottom. 

"Although it wasn't a good game on Saturday, in fact, it was probably a poor game but we showed a bit of grit and determination to pull three points out of the bag."

Piggott gave Maidstone based goalkeeper Phil Lewis his debut on Saturday, with the view of giving the former Bearsted and Oakwood goalkeeper a run in the side next season.

Piggott revealed: "He has been training with us for a while, having a few games in the reserves.  We are going to give him the rest of the season to prove himself.  He asked if he could come training with us,  he's worked hard and deserves a chance."

Lewis has replaced Piggott in between the sticks, which is not a problem for the manager, and he added: "You love playing football but I've got a job to do first and foremost and be a manager."

Piggott is hoping striker Andy Doerr, whose scored 13 goals this season, stays with the club next season.  "I hope he does stay," he said.  "We've got him out of local football and we've given him a chance and although he is still very green he's proved he can score goals."

Piggott, whose objective is to finish off the foot of the table said: "If we had a stable side throughout the season we wouldn't be in the position we are in.  There is no doubt in the ability we've got, we just haven't had that week in, week out."

Deal Town boss Derek Hares, however, will be looking for three points against the bottom placed side to aid their climb up the table.

"Obviously its a bit hit and miss for us over the last few weeks as we haven't played for the last three Saturday's now," he said. 

"It just upsets the season as we can't get a run out of it.  We got a good win at Erith and had to wait almost three weeks for our next game.

"We played Sevenoaks last Tuesday, we missed a couple of chances before they scored and I thought 0-0 would have been a fairer result."

Looking ahead to their game with Lordswood, Hares added: "It's a big game for both clubs.  If we beat them we go above Sporting Bengal and nine points above Lordswood with three games in hand.

"Our aim is to finish midtable, which we said at the start of the season, that's a big step.

"Last year was a big struggle for the club and we've done better this year but we still have to win these games in hand. If we do, we should finish half way."

Scoring 31 league goals from 21 games - the second worse scoring tally in the division (Hythe have scored only 28 from 22) is concerning the manager.

"Our problem at the moment is scoring goals.  Defensively we haven't been bad but we haven't been scoring enough.

"With nine games to go, games in hand on the teams above us,  it's up to us to win them and if we can do that we should finish in a comfortable position in the league."

Although Lordswood are at full strength, Deal are without former Herne Bay midfielder Alex Hossick (knee) and London based striker Ryan Tomlinson, who cannot get away from his job to drive to Deal in time for kick off.

Deal Town v Lordswood
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
Tuesday 15th March 2005
Kick Off 7:30pm
at Charles Sports Ground, St Leonards Road, Deal

Please credit article to Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk