Canterbury City joint-boss Ben Smith: The chairman’s said if we win the Cup games he will put some money into the players, which is good and a nice incentive for them.

Friday 14th August 2015

CANTERBURY CITY joint-manager Ben Smith says he’s had a dream start having won his opening two league games of the season.

The club opened their Southern Counties East Football League campaign with a 1-0 win at Croydon, courtesy of a Danny Lawrence’s goal early in the second half.

They then followed that result up with a 2-0 win at Rochester United on Tuesday night, with Matt Martin and Jordan Casey getting on the scoresheet.

“The first game is a bit of a novelty game, the opening league game, as you see in the Premier League with results not going as you’d expect,” said the former Herne Bay coach.

“It was a tough game. Everyone was nervous. It was a scrappy game.  The pitch there, I don’t want to talk bad of pitches, about clubs, but the pitch was horrific!

“I was pleased to get out of there with three points, albeit it was very late, we’ve got the three points. It was a goalkeeper mistake. We probably just edged it on play.”

Reflecting on their win at Rede Court Road, Smith said: “The second game we played Rochester. I made a few changes just to freshen things up.  There was a lot of nerves on Saturday and there were a few players on the bench with a point to prove so I thought they’re confident, give them a shirt, they’re ready to go.

“I rested a couple with Lingfield in mind in The FA Cup and the gamble paid off really, so I was really pleased with that.

“The performance, we were very, very worthy winners and in truth we should have taken more chances before that.”

Greenwich Borough, Corinthian and Canterbury City are the only clubs in the league that have maximum points from their first two outings.

Smith said: It’s a bit of a dream start really, coming out of youth football and experience of coaching men’s football but as a manager it was always going to be difficult.

“To get six points was more than I expected to be honest and the momentum now in the side is just flying so hopefully that continues.

“I’m sure sooner or later we’ll be on the end of a negative result but that’s down to us to see how we actually cope with that but you can’t ask for no more than two wins from your first two games.”

Smith takes his side to Church Road, Whyteleafe tonight to lock horns with Southern Combination Division One side Lingfield in The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round.

The Surrey outfit spent one season in the Southern Counties East Football League last season, finishing in the bottom four, but opted to move closer to hope and drop down a level.

Canterbury City go into the game as favourites.

“From the reports I’ve had, we’ve had them watched twice, they’re a very hardworking side,” said Smith.

“I think they’re better than the league they’re in. They didn’t get relegated or anything like that, it was their choice to move. 

“I certainly don’t think we’re the heavy favourites. It will be a very close game.

“I’ve just been looking at The FA Cup Fact File and it shows them 200 places ahead of us in the rankings, so we’re not the heavy favourites.

“I’m pleased to be going to Whyteleafe. I played on their 3G pitch last year, it’s a great surface and it’s a good opportunity to play our football the way we want to.”

Smith revealed that his players will get a share of the prize money the club scoops from The FA Cup and The FA Vase, with £1,500 up for grabs tonight.

“That will come in very handy for our board and the club itself, paying out a lot of money to play at Ashford groundsharing, it does take a hit in terms of playing budget etc.  We’re not paying out particularly great money but the players playing for us are playing because they’re buying into the philosophy that we’ve got at the club.

“The chairman’s said if we win the Cup games he will put some money into the players, which is good and a nice incentive for them. 

“The chairman, so far, for me, although the budget’s not great, has been more than willing to help out with that, so I’m trying to get something back to them as well.

“The chairman’s willing to put some money up for the players as a bit of an incentive of winning the game.  It’s nice to put some money back into the club as we’re paying a lot of money to Ashford, but a couple of games in this cup and maybe one in the Vase it may help us attract a couple of extra players as the season goes on.

Canterbury City’s first home league game will be on Bank Holiday Monday, 31 August, against landlords Ashford United.

Smith said: “It’s certainly testing our away form, that’s for sure, but we’re really pleased to be playing at Ashford.

“With our ground in the hands of the council etc, we’re just pleased to have a ground.

“We’ll bide our time and wait. When it’s ready it’s going to be a fantastic surface (at Homelands). There’s been no moaning or winging from anyone at our club. We’re really supportive of Ashford in terms of what they’re doing.

“It’s going to benefit us. We’ll play away for the next month or so we get an amazing pitch.”

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Lingfield  v  Canterbury City
The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round (Sponsored by Emirates)
Friday 14th August 2015
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Church Road, Whyteleafe, Surrey CR3 0AR