Sunday 15th August 2004

Stand in Lordswood boss is pleased with shock opening day victory

WITH manager Paul Piggott away on holiday, Lordswood produced the shock result of the opening day of the Go Travel Kent League season with a 5-2 victory at promotion favourites Thamesmead Town at Bayliss Avenue on Saturday, writes Stephen McCartney.

Taking over the reigns for the game, and for Wednesday’s clash at North Dane Way against tenants VCD Athletic, Barry Zillwood was delighted with the performance of his side – rated by many as a team that will struggle this season.

He said: “It was a convincing win.  To be truthful, I would have thought Thamesmead were the title favourites, but we went there looking for the win and played extremely well.”

Lordswood took the lead in the 18th minute when Mike Cunningham’s 20-yard free kick was pushed inside the full-back for debutant Scott Bucklen to run onto, driving the ball past goalkeeper Steve Northwood and into the net from an acute angle.

Bucklen, is a late arrival at Lordswood and has taken his chance well after impressing in the midweek pre-season friendly against Chatham Town.

Seventeen-year-old goalkeeper Jake Slade made his debut after being snapped up from Gravesend & Northfleet and experienced players Andy Skinner (Whitstable Town) and Richard Bradbourne (Maidstone United) brought the youngsters through the game.

Thamesmead Town, however, equalised only six minutes later when Curtis Williams received the ball and passed wide to Sam Thomas, who again, from a tight angle, shot through Slade’s body.

In the 38th minute, controversy reared it’s ugly head when Lordswood took the lead.

Andy Doerr, who appeared to be at least two-yards offside, latched onto Bucklen’s through ball and when no flag materialised, coolly slotted home from ten yards.

In the 62nd minute Lordswood increased their lead when Bradbourne on the left passed to Bucklen who scored from 20 yards.

The visitors made sure of the points in the 70th minute when Andy Skinner’s throw found Sean Hetterley inside the area and he ran onto and shot from an acute angle finding the far corner.

Shocked Thamesmead grabbed a second goal in the 75th minute when a corner into the six-yard box was headed in by former long serving Beckenham Town player David Weatherhead.

Lordswood, however, rubbed more salt into the wounds of Paul Blade’s players, scoring their fifth goal in the last eleven minutes.

Skinner’s long ball was chased by Doerr, and after holding off a defender he lobbed bemused Northwood from fifteen yards.

A delighted Zillwood admitted: “To be truthful, I haven’t seen much of the pre-season and I am helping Paul Piggott out for the two games.”

Speaking about Scott Bucklen, Zillwood added: “Scott played against Chatham in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday night and he looked lively, so we thought we would throw him in at the deep end.”

Lordswood will be hoping it’s two wins out of two on Wednesday when they host tenants VCD Athletic at North Dane Way.

Zillwood said: “We get on quite well with them, with a little bit of banter between both clubs.

“I saw Martin Ford (VCD manager) last night and I think it will be interesting.

”They have had the upper hand over us in the last couple of seasons – so hopefully it will be a win for us.”

Zillwood, however, played down ideas he had an influence on the team’s opening day victory, insisting Piggott should take credit and not him.

He admitted he will fade into the background when Piggott returns for next Saturday’s game against Tunbridge Wells, said: “In fairness, these are players that have come through the youth teams – I have been involved for a number of years so it’s not new to me.

”All credit to Paul – he has got the players he wanted for the squad.”

At the start of last season, Lordswood sat proudly at the top of the Kent League summit, but fell to the wayside for the remainder of their campaign.

Zillwood, however, is pleased that their result at Bayliss Avenue has issued a wake up call to member clubs that his club aren’t in the league to make up the numbers and flirt with relegation.

He said: “I’ve looked at the websites and they have said we will be fighting off relegation.

“To start with a win will give us a lot of confidence – who knows, let’s hope it continues!”

He added: “The score was 5-2 – it could have been more!

“I am disappointed with the two goals we gave away.

“We’ve brought a new goalkeeper in, he was with Gravesend last year.

“He was playing his first game.  There wasn’t the understanding there, but there will be in a few weeks time.

“However, as the game went on, he improved.”

To Advertise here, telephone Stephen McCartney now on 07979 418 360