Thursday 14th October 2004
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Lordswood search for a better Deal after two challenging away games

LORDSWOOD will be looking to get back to winning ways when they entertain Deal Town at North Dane Way on Saturday after two very difficult away games in the past week, writes Stephen McCartney.

After their FA Cup exploits, going out in a second qualifying round replay on penalties at Nationwide South Maidenhead United, Whitstable Town went third in the Go Travel Kent League table with a 5-3 victory over Lordswood at the Belmont ground.

Whitstable took the lead in the third minute when Stuart Harrison's low cross evaded everyone except visiting defender James Day who in trying to clear the ball put through his own net.

The home side doubled their lead in the 23rd minute when a corner came over and Andy Keir headed home when left unmarked eight yards from goal.

Their third goal came in the 27th minute when impressive goalkeeper Jake Slade parried the ball and Ryan Davis volleyed home.

In fact, the seventeen-year-old stopper, who joined Lordswood in the close season from Gravesend & Northfleet, pulled off many fine saves, and was a star performer, especially after he denied Harrison on numerous occasions - winning praise from his manager.

"He made some great reaction saves and commanded his box quite well," admitted manager Paul Piggott.

Lordswood, however, pulled a goal back in the 35th minute and then went on to claw the game back to 3-3 before Whitstable responded to grab the three points.

Scott Bucklen's shot was saved by the onrushing Whitstable goalkeeper Mark Lane and the ball went straight to Andy Doerr who slotted home their first goal from twelve yards.

Being 3-1 down at the break, Piggott admits it was his players who inspired themselves to come back into the game.

"It was the self belief from the players," he said.

"Whitstable were playing well, knocking the ball about on a lovely pitch and were looking good and we were chasing shadows for twenty minutes."

Lordswood scored their second goal early in the second half when Glen Barlow latched onto a long ball and was fouled inside the penalty area.

Gary Peck hit the penalty to Mark Lane's left but the goalkeeper made a fine save but an eagled eyed assistant saw the goalkeeper had moved too early so Peck rifled his second chance into the top right hand corner giving Lane no chance at all to make another save.

In the 61st minute, however, Lordswood equalised when Barlow's cross found Doerr and the ball fell lose for Ashley Russell who scored his first goal for the club with a volley from six-yards.

The euphoria, however, lasted only a minute as Whitstable regained the lead when Aaron Knight's cross from the right found Marcus Perona who scored with a bullet header.

Lee Jones jinked his way into the Lordswood penalty area and his cross shot was saved by Slade but he pushed over an attacker and gave away a penalty, which was scored by Ryan Robinson.

Piggott, however, praised his players for coming back into the game, but was very disappointed to come out of the game pointless after putting in so much effort.

"Always disappointed when we've lost, but we can take heart from the way we fought back from 3-0 down." he said.

"I felt confident at 3-3 because we were on a roll, the boys were buzzing and it was always going to be important that we didn't concede another, but we did within a minute from scoring our third.

"It's always hard to take when you lose, but when you put so much into a game you think you deserve something from it.

"But it doesn't work like that in football unfortunately."

Piggott, however, admitted the Belmont side are the best side he has seen in the Kent League this season.

"I think they are by far the best team we've played this season.  They are great going forward and they will always score goals."

After losing 5-3 at Whitstable Town on Saturday, making a midweek trip to Bourne Park the following Wednesday evening to play Maidstone United, was the next challenge for Piggott's side.

He said: "It was always going to be tough to play Maidstone after Whitstable, but we still have got to play them.  These games are sent to try, and we are not going to shirk any game.  Again it was always going to be hard for us.

"We started very brightly then they got a goal against the run of play.  As soon as they scored the goal their class and experience shone through."

Piggott's side, however, started the game confidently following their exploits at Whitstable.

After seven minutes they almost stunned the home fans when Glen Barlow's cross from the right was controlled by Doerr and after turning his marker his shot came back off the post.

Lordswood knocked the ball well in the next ten minutes and were playing the better football but then the sting in the tail came in the 20th minute when Mark Patterson scored from 25 yards.

The Stones scored their second when the ball was knocked into the area, was flicked on by Lyndon Rowland and Richard Sinden, who ghosted in at the far post, slotted home from eight yards.

"Whitstable and Maidstone are both well supported clubs and are both big clubs in our league and if you can't raise your game against these teams, then you will never do it," Piggott said.

Piggott will be hoping his side can raise their game against Deal Town  - both teams are on four points - on Saturday for a Kent League fixture, and will be looking for home comforts to help beat Derek Hares side.

Piggott said: "It's a home game and we always look to win our home games no matter who we play.

"We've got to start that ball rolling again from Saturday, because we've got the FA Vase game the following week."

Hillingdon Borough are the visitors to North Dane Way in a first round tie and will be in for a tough game despite their visitors being at the wrong end of the Minerva Spartan South Midlands League.

Piggott added: "I only know they play in the South Midlands League and are third from bottom.

"But that doesn't tell all the picture, as they won in the last round by scoring six goals.

"They will be no mugs.  I think we are lucky to get a home draw and we fancy our chances against most sides at home."

Central midfielder Paul Brown, who made a return to the club in the midweek 2-0 loss at Maidstone United, will be a key player for Lordswood for the remainder of the campaign.

"Paul played for Lordswood about five years ago and then went on to play for Bly Spartans in the Kent County League," revealed the manager.

"He is a competitor, he gives us a bit of bite in our side and he is another older player.  I've known him for a while and he will be able to help our youngsters through."

Lordswood v Deal Town
Go Travel Kent League Premier Division
Saturday 16th October 2004
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Lordswood Sports & Social Club, North Dane Way, Walderslade, Chatham