Corinthian 1-2 Lordswood - The changing room is very, very strong and a good place to be, says Lordswood boss Richard Styles

Friday 29th September 2017
Corinthian 1 – 2 Lordswood
Location Gay Dawn Farm, Valley Road, Longfield, Kent DA3 8LY
Kickoff 29/09/2017 19:45

Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division
Friday 29th September 2017
Stephen McCartney reports from Gay Dawn Farm

LORDSWOOD manager Richard Styles praised his team spirit after climbing to the top of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table after 10 games.

Lordswood became the first side to score league goals and win at Gay Dawn Farm this season as they moved a couple of points clear of AFC Croydon Athletic with 19 points in the bag, extending their unbeaten run to 10 games.

Lordswood took an early lead through Jordan Wells’ penalty – his sixth goal of the season – before right-winger Tom Wooldridge slotted in a second inside the opening two minutes of the second half.

Corinthian, who remain in tenth-place with 13 points on the board from their eight league outings, pulled an injury-time goal back through substitute right-winger Donvieve Jones.

“It’s a massive three points, it’s a good win away from home,” said Styles.

“We came here with a plan to win the game, sometimes away from home you’ve got to dig-on and you’ve got to fight and you’ve got to battle and tonight we’ve done it and come away with all three, so I’m delighted.”

When asked about grabbing top-spot, Styles added: “I’m not paying too much attention to that really. I’m just going game-by-game. We set-up our plan with what we’re going to do, try to get as many points out of each game and then we’ll go from there.”

Corinthian manager Michael Golding, meanwhile, saw his side suffer their first home league defeat of the season.

“Frustrating really!  I thought first half we played alright. We had the majority of possession, we just lacked that killer instinct.

“Second half, the early goal killed the game as a contest really. We failed to get going really. They came out of the blocks a bit quicker than us, just frustrated more than anything really.”

Lordswood finished in the bottom five last season, collecting 34 points from 38 games, six points above the drop zone.

“We just done our jobs to stay up and the boys dug-in and we’ve kept a lot of the boys on from that period, strengthened where we needed to, where we felt we needed to and the boys team spirit is phenomenal.  They all dig-in and fight for each other until the end and the changing room is very, very strong and a good place to be. 

“Last season we didn’t have that as much as I would’ve liked. We’ve worked hard from day one in pre-season and we’ve just go on and on and on and on.  I knew we could be a lot better this season, I know we could do well and push on and that was my plan so far we’re doing all we can.”

A Friday night crowd attracted Corinthian’s largest crowd of the season as 91 people watched Lordswood claim their fifth league win of the season.

Corinthian were playing the ball out from the back and passing the ball around on a lush playing surface, well maintained by groundsman Tony Sitford, who was preparing the pitch underneath the floodlights after the final whistle.

Golding said: “We certainly try.  Hopefully, that’s what we’re known for. We don’t want to be one dimensional but the way I want to play and the boys that we’re bringing through, we want the boys to buy into what we’re doing.  That’s the way we want to play and the right way of playing in my opinion. 

“Towards the end we chucked on a couple of big lads and gone a little bit longer. There’s no right way or wrong way to play football. We’re very lucky with the pitch, so we try to use it.”

And on their largest crowd of the season, Golding added: “I’ve said to you before, I don’t mind a Friday night game – if we’re winning – but I think Friday football is good. It gets a few more people to the ground to watch. I think there were a few managers having a watch of what’s going on tonight. I’m a fan of it. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be doing more games at this level.”

Lordswood opened the scoring with 11 minutes and 41 seconds on the clock.

Adam Hooper played in striker Jack Mahon and his low shot was blocked by the legs of former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Aiden Prall and seconds later Jack Bath chopped down Wooldridge just inside the box and the referee Paul Greenfield pointed to the spot.

“Aiden’s a good goalie, he was at Charlton last year. He had quite a few offers in the summer so we’re quite happy to have him down with us. He will go on to bigger and better things, hopefully with us, but he’s definitely one for the future. He’s got a lot of attributes,” added Golding.

Prall dived to his left but Wells stroked his right-footed penalty over him as the ball found the top right-hand corner.

“A bit of controversy around the penalty,” claimed Golding.

“I’m 60-yards away, I can’t see it clearly. A few of the boys think it is a pen, a few of them aren’t quite sure, so the ref’s given it, there’s not much we can do.  My frustration is if that’s a pen at that end, there’s probably two down the other end that we should’ve had, if that’s what the ref is giving penalties for tonight.”

“It’s a stonewall penalty,” added Styles.

“From where I was it looked like a penalty. I’m glad the referee gave it.  I think it was a penalty. I’ve got all the confidence in Jordan Wells to stick it in and thankfully he tucked it home with a superb penalty.”

Corinthian went close through Oscar Housego’s right-footed free-kick from 25-yards, which screamed just past the far post.

Lordswood were working hard early on, they made half of their 16 fouls inside the opening 20 minutes as Corinthian were keen to find Jordan Campbell, their right-back who was playing more like a wing-back and getting the better of Lordswood left-back Lennie Laker.

“Jordan was a threat in the first half. We managed to get the ball out to him a little bit more in and around their left-back,” said Golding.

Conor Johnson played a diagonal pass over to Campbell, who cut the ball back from the by-line for Lorenzo Cuozzo to hit his low shot against the base of the far post from eight-yards, before Hurcombe was under pressure when he placed his shot past the far post from the rebound.

“Lorenzo done well, it was his first start for us tonight. He’s done well for the reserves and had a couple of sub appearances. I thought he done alright,” added Golding.

“He looked a bit of a threat Lorenzo, hit the post, probably more of a snap-shot, half a chance.  I think Michael has got to do a little bit better in terms of being alive in and around the six-yard box.

“I said to the boys at half-time, it was a case of ifs and buts and maybes. It was nearly there for us and that was a perfect example of that.”

Styles added: “It’s one of those things, they hit us down that side a couple of times in the first half and that was where they were aiming, they got through on that occasion and had a chance. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t.”

Peter Huggens drove forward with the ball from his central defensive position for some 20-yards before slipping the ball through to Wells, who ran forward before hitting his left-footed shot into Prall’s hands from 25-yards.

“We were trying to counter first half, that was our plan and it worked a treat. We’ve won the ball, gone forwards and got a strike at goal,” said Styles.

Golding added: “The first half was strange, once they got the goal they sat really deep and had relatively good shape.  It was almost like the last 10 minutes of a game where we were pressing, pressing and pressing and we were sceptical to the counter when they decided to break. 

“I thought Ryan Sawyer and Josh Dorling dealt with that relatively well. They had a couple of breakaways chances but the majority of them were in their half.”

Corinthian striker Hurcombe chased a ball down the right-channel and for the better of Huggens before cutting into the box and cutting the ball back for Cuozzo, who skied his first time shot from 12-yards in the 33rd minute.

“I thought we controlled the first half, the goal was disappointing,” said Golding.

“Just before they scored, they dropped off and we’re more than happy for us to have the ball and we’ve been working on that because teams will do that within reason.  We’ve got to be comfortable in possession and I thought tonight we were.  I thought we dominated the first half but we just lacked that, not the killer instinct because we did have opportunities.  I thought every opportunity they had we probably had one just as good if not two just as good. Maybe we had a lack of composure in the final third tonight.”

Dominant Corinthian wasted another chance after good link-up play down the left.

They were patient, playing the ball around from the back, but left-back Alexander Jack Billings upped the urgency levels by playing the ball into Cuzzo, who cut the ball back for Housego, who unleashed a right-footed drive from 17-yards, which stung Chander’s fingers.

“A good effort from Oscar, we’re encouraging him to shoot more,” said the Corinthian manager.

“He needs to be adding more goals to his game from the edge of the box, so it was pleasing to see him shoot but the keeper’s read it quite well. Ryan’s a good goalkeeper, but a good save form the goalie.”

Styles said: “Up until then Ryan Chandler hasn’t had a lot to do really but when he's called upon, he’s pulled it out for us, which was good. We said that at half-time, he’s done the job there.”

Referee Greenfield blew for half-time as soon as Prall palmed away Liam Newton’s free-kick from within the left-channel.

Styles said: “I thought it would be a different game second half because we were going down the hill, so I wanted us to get on the ball. I wanted us to pass the ball a little bit more than we had and be a little bit less defensive and that was the plan really.

“I thought they would come out and have a go, which they did and they opened up a little bit.”

When asked his thoughts at the break, Golding replied: “Just to keep going really. I thought they’d tire, the gaps in between the full-backs and the centre halves may become a little bit bigger and a few of the passes we were trying, I thought they would come off in the second half and to be aware of the counter attack.

“I did feel if we needed to turn them in the first 5-10 minutes then we needed to stretch the game to create the space.

“If we could get the next goal I fancied us to go on and win it but if they nicked it then it would be difficult to get ourselves back in the game.”

Lordswood grabbed a second goal with one minute and 48 seconds on the clock, with a well-worked goal.

Left-back Laker fed Newton down the left and he whipped in a cross which was flicked on by Mahon out to Wooldridge, who took a touch before drilling his right-footed shot across the keeper, the ball nestling nicely into the bottom far corner, from 12-yards.

Styles said: “Again, great football for the goal, really pleased with Lennie Laker and Liam Newton’s work down the left-hand side. I thought it was a great cross into the box.  Jack Mahon got a good flick to it and Tom Wooly made a great touch and a great, superb finish.

“There’s no better time to score really just after half time in the 47th minute, so really pleasing.  I wanted my wide men to be more affective second half. When the winger’s scoring after 47 minutes, I’m not going to complain.”

Golding added: “Good finish from the fella to be fair. Disappointing from us because we didn’t track the full-back, who knocked the ball into the box, we got sucked to the ball and he’s hit a good finish across the goalkeeper.

“At half-time we said to the boys we’ve got to get it in behind them and we didn’t do it. We tried to play it short, they nicked it and they started on the front foot and they’ve got the goal.

“You’re banging your head against the wall. You’ve spent 15 minutes (during the interval) trying to go through stuff, trying to encourage and to work out how you’re going to get yourselves back into the game and it goes through the window after two minutes!”

Lordswood right-back Griffin delivered a cross towards the edge of the Corinthian box, Newton knocked the ball down for Wells to hit his right-footed drive just over the crossbar from 20-yards.

Corinthian should have pulled a goal back with 55 minutes on the clock.

Housego broke forward through the heart of the pitch before laying the ball inside to an unmarked Cuozzo, who took long with his shot and his left-footed drive from 14-yards was palmed over the crossbar by Chandler.

Golding said: “I think that was a strange one when the ref and linesman (Matt Williams) didn’t make their mind up.  I wasn’t quite sure what was happening in terms of the throw-ins but Oscar’s broken, maybe the ball was slightly behind Lorenzo, but we’ve just had a chat, he knows he’s got to score that.

“At this level you don’t get too many of those golden opportunities. If that goes in, I fancied us to go on and win the game.

“If we got an early goal it gives us slightly longer to get back into the game. We always feel that we’ve got goals in our side, other than tonight we’ve generally defended relatively well. It’s the first goals we’ve conceded at home, so yes it was disappointing tonight.”

Styles added: “Teams are going to have shots against us, it’s going to happen and Bogdan (Chandler) needs to be there and act and when he’s called upon and he's certainly doing that at the moment.”

Jones came on and played down the right wing and Johnson tripped his way along the by-line before finding Jones at the far post but his shot deflected off Laker and was gobbled up by Chandler on the hour-mark.

Wells stole the ball off Alexander Jack Billings in midfield and he fed Huggins, who took a touch before drilling his right-footed shot straight down Prall’s throat from 25-yards inside the final 13 minutes.

Styles said: “That’s what Huggins is capable off! It’s his first start for a few weeks now since he’s come back from injury. It was a great strike, it’s just unfortunate it didn’t go in or the keeper couldn’t parry it out.”

Golding added: “Relatively comfortable for Aiden, a good strike, but it’s a long way out so you expect Aiden to be making those saves.”

With Corinthian pushing bodies forward, Lordswood hit their opponents on the counter-attack as Hooper released substitute winger Helge Orome down the right. He cut into the penalty area and his shot was blocked by a stooping Prall at his near post and Mahon will only know why he put the rebound over the crossbar from six-yards.

Styles revealed: “Nine times out of 10 he slots that in and that’s just another moment to be fair. He’s worked his socks off tonight Jack Mahon so he might’ve been a bit leggy but that’s still no excuse. He’ll certainly be getting fined for missing that!”

Golding added: “We’re chasing the game at that stage. We’re pushing more and more men forward so we know we’re going to be caught from time to time and you’re just hoping that Aiden and the back few boys can do their jobs and keep the ball out of the net but he’s probably got to score there.”

Corinthian pulled a goal back following their fourth and final corner of the game, Jones’ second goal for the first team coming one minute and 58 seconds into time added on.

Housego swung in a corner from the left, five-goal striker Hurcombe’s shot at the near post was blocked and the ball rolled out to Jones, who hooked his right-footed shot over the line from inside the six-yard box, courtesy of a deflection.

Golding said: “I thought he looked lively when he came on to be fair to the kid. He's an under 18. I thought he done alright.  He’s been knocking on the door for a little while now. I’m pleased for him to score. Again, if it comes five minutes earlier we can have a proper go towards the end. It was probably a little bit too little, too late.”

Styles added: “It’s a funny one really. We were a little bit sloppy. It was a bit of a funny goal, the ball’s bounced around there and it’s seemed to taken a while to go in.  A lot of the boys don’t know how it’s gone in but it’s a bit of a sucker-punch really. I would’ve liked a clean sheet away from home but we have conceded and then amongst the last couple of minutes it made it a little bit interesting.”

Campbell clipped a ball up to big targetman Chris McDermott, the ball dropping down off the substitute for Jones, but his 30-yard shot was comfortably caught by Chandler at the death.

Lordswood boss Styles, meanwhile, ruled out the suggestion that his side were dark horses for the title this season.

“The league table’s looking good. I know we’ve played tonight and teams are playing tomorrow but from what I’ve learnt, it’s always nice to play the games and have the points on the board than playing catch up.  We’ll take it. It’s three points, another three points and we move forward. That’s one ticked off and we move to the next game and the next training session next week.

“It’s way, way, way too early. We just want to get as many points as we can, get more points than we got last year and when we’re at that stage, we’ll go from there.

“In terms of the league table, that doesn’t come into play until Christmas, as I always say. Where you are at Christmas you know you’re in and amongst it, whether you’re in a title race, you’re midtable or you’re in a relegation battle. As long as we’re not in that relegation battle come 1st January, then we’ll be alright.”

Corinthian: Aiden Prall, Jordan Campbell, Alexander Jack Billings, Jamie Billings, Ryan Sawyer, Josh Dorling, Lorenzo Cuozzo (Donvieve Jones 57), Jack Bath (Chris McDermott 80), Michael Hurcombe, Conor Johnson (Lewis Clarke 65), Oscar Housego.
Subs: Bradley Large, Cameron Heffernan

Goal: Donvieve Jones 90

Booked: Jamie Billings 55

Lordswood: Ryan Chandler, Frank Griffin, Lennie Laker (Carl Harrold 87), Adam Hooper, Gary Cook, Peter Huggens, Liam Newton (Helge Orome 71), James Huggins (Jack Healy 84), Jack Mahon, Jordan Wells, Tom Wooldridge.
Subs: Charlie Plummer, Tom Carter

Goals: Jordan Wells 12 (penalty), Tom Wooldridge 47

Attendance: 91
Referee: Mr Paul Greenfield (Eltham, London SE9)
Assistants: Mr Matt Williams (Strood) & Mr William Cannon (Gillingham)

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