Sunday 26th September 2004
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We need more games!

LORDSWOOD manager Paul Piggott has suggested the Go Travel Kent League should give it’s clubs more games after his side played their first game in a month on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

After being knocked out of the FA Cup by Winchester City in the Extra Preliminary Round on 25th August, Lords’ next Kent League game, at home to Greenwich Borough seven days later, was postponed a day before the game due to in-house problems at Harrow Meadow.

The next two weeks were scheduled for FA Cup and FA Vase fixtures, but Piggott feels the Kent League could have helped out his club by re-arranging fixtures.

Ahead of their FA Vase second qualifying round tie against Sidlesham on Saturday, Piggott was thankful for a visit last Tuesday from British Energy Kent County Premier Division side Crockenhill to provide the opposition and goals from Mike Cunningham and Andy Doerr secured a 2-2 draw.

Piggott said: “Crockenhill were good enough to send a side for us and give us a good run out.”

And run-outs have been few and far between at Lordswood this season, having played only three league games – in fact there have probably been more run outs on the two adjacent cricket pitches surrounding the football ground.

Voicing his views on not playing, Piggott said: “I think it’s poor to be honest.

“The first week no-one could do anything about because Greenwich Borough lost their manager on the Friday before the game.

“But the other two Saturday’s were due to cup competitions that we weren’t involved in – the FA Cup and FA Vase.

“So I would have thought the Kent League could have helped us out by brining a game forward, but they didn’t, so we have just got to get on with it.”

Lordswood finally got back into competitive action, defeating Sidlesham 4-3 to progress into the first round of the FA Vase, picking up a vital £600 to the process.

Piggott admitted: “We looked rusty and we didn’t look match fit, which was understandable.

“I think it was the first time for a while I can say we didn’t play very well, but we got a win.

“The £600 is nice for the club – we need that sort of money.

“It was a game, I thought, we were in control of – but the score line said different.

“We are glad to be in the hat for the next round.”

Sidlesham had most of the possession for the opening twenty minutes, as the home side were looking rusty having lacked match practice.

However, the Medway side almost scored after 23 minutes when a free kick into the penalty area saw Sean Hetterley beat goalkeeper Karl Watson but the header went just past the post.

Sidlesham opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when the ball on the right was crossed to the edge of the penalty area for Wayne Emery who controlled it and ran  into the area to shoot past goalkeeper Jake Slade.

To their credit, however,  Lordswood equalised a minute later when the ball was pushed forward from the centre circle to Scott Bucklen, who swivelled and his half volley from 25-yards crashed into the back of the net giving Watson no chance.

Lordswood were now looking impressive and Doerr went close following Cunningham’s free kick.

Lordswood took the lead in the 40th minute when a flowing move started with Bucklen picking the ball up in midfield, releasing Sean Hetterley on the right, who checked his run, beat the defender and crossed to the far post and Doerr nipped in front of the defender to flick the ball over the goalkeeper from three yards.

Andy Skinner smashed a 40-yard free kick, just before the break, that produced a flying save from Watson.

Anyone late getting back to their seats would have missed Lordswood’s third goal on 46 minutes.

An attack down the right saw Gary Peck out muscle the defender and as the visiting defenders waited for the whistle, that didn’t come, Peck kept going and from the by-line he passed to Bucklen, who from three yards slammed the ball home.

After 54 minutes, however, Richard Bradbourne fouled Bradley Miles and Simon Wall stepped up to smash the ball straight down the middle from the penalty spot.

Doerr flashed a shot wide for Lordswood before Bucklen should have wrapped up his hat-trick but his shot from 12 yards was blasted over.

Sidlesham equalised in the 70th minute when Miles on the right broke free and his cross to the back post was headed in by Billy Coates.

This goal lifted the visitors and they looked the most likely to go on to win the tie.

However, Lordswood went close to scoring late on when Bradbourne floated in a free kick and Doerr headed against the post but in the 90th minute, with extra time looming, Skinner’s cross evaded everyone inside the box but found Doerr who headed home to make the wait for Lordswood worth while.

Piggott added: “It’s the time of the year for cup competitions, but I feel the Kent League can help teams out a little bit more by re-arranging fixtures.”

This season’s Floodlight Trophy competition – a reserve team midweek league, where only three first team players can take part – only has five clubs, Chatham Town, Deal Town, Herne Bay, Hythe Town and Lordswood, challenging for honours.

But Piggott and many others feel this competition should be open as a first team contest, giving clubs more games to go with their sporadic thirty league fixtures.

With sixteen Kent League teams, they can easily be split into four groups of four – regionalised if need be, to provide clubs with bigger crowds, with the top two in each group going to the knock out stages in the quarter finals and the final could be played at one of the top grounds in Kent.

Piggott added: “In the Kent League we have a midweek league for reserves, but I feel they should make that a club thing.

“You can only play three first team players in that, so I think they should make that more of a first team competition, to keep more players involved.”

Lordswood finally play their first Kent League game since the 21st August, when they face bottom of the table Slade Green at North Dane Way.

However, he admits their visitors are in a false position at the foot of the table.

“It would be nice to play a Kent League game but they are sitting bottom of the league at the moment.

“However, it’s not a true reflection at this stage of the season, because they’ve made some good signings in the summer and need time to gel.

“They are always a tough side to play against but they will be strong as they beat us twice last year.”

And on his side, Piggott added: “Apart from being a bit ring rusty on Saturday, it’s nothing like a full list of fixtures in October will sort out.

“I am looking forward to playing in the league.

“We feel we have quite a good squad this year but we can only test that against the teams we play against week in-week out.”

Let’s hope Lordswood, and other teams in Kent League football, don’t have to wait so long for some action!

Many thanks to Darrell Harman for the match report