Lingfield 0-3 Canterbury City - Sooner or later someone will get a good hiding, warns Canterbury City joint-manager Ben Smith

Friday 14th August 2015
Lingfield 0 – 3 Canterbury City
Location 15 Church Road, Whyteleafe, Surrey CR3 0AR
Kickoff 14/08/2015 19:45

The FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round (Sponsored by Emirates)
Friday 14th August 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Church Road

CANTERBURY CITY joint-manager Ben Smith warns someone will get a good hiding after comfortably winning their first FA Cup away tie for 18 years.

Canterbury City went into this Extra Preliminary Round tie on the back of two Southern Counties East Football League away wins over Croydon (1-0) and Rochester United (2-0) and maintained their impressive early season form with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southern Combination League Division One (Step Six) opposition.

The Kent side can now look forward to a trip to Dorking Wanderers on 29 August, as goals from winger Chris Lewis, striker Jordan Casey and a second-half strike from winger Matthew Martin sealed their comfortable passage.

Had it not been for a string of fine saves from Lingfield keeper Connel Reid then Canterbury City – who celebrated winning their first away tie in The FA Cup since beating Epsom & Ewell 1-0 in a Preliminary Round tie back in 1997 – would have won by a far larger margin.

“Absolutely delighted to be in the next round,” said Smith, 28, afterwards.

“Obviously, we’re not going to go and win the competition but the further we can go, as I’ve said in a previous interview, it has financial benefits to the club (£1,500 in prize money) and it just keeps the winning mentality going.

“It’s a dream start. First season in senior football. I’ve made a few changes to the backroom staff, etc and it’s reaping the rewards.

“We’ve brought a few players in but it’s just trying to shift the mind-set of the players and they’ve taken on board fantastically well.

“The keepers were worrying certainly because it’s slick out there. We moved the ball really, really well.

“I keep saying it, we could have scored a lot more but it’s pleasing that we’re creating so many chances because sooner or later someone will get a good hiding from it!”

Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion put on a coaching session for youngsters in the rain on Whyteleafe’s 3G playing surface before the game - and Lingfield had no answer to Canterbury City’s impressive attacking play on the break.

Canterbury City started the game on the front foot and created their first opening after only 22 seconds.

Casey released Martin but he swept his right-footed shot past the left-hand post.

Lingfield forced Canterbury City goalkeeper Shannon Harris into making a fine save inside the opening six minutes.

The Surrey side produced a fine sweeping move involving left-winger Dan Frith, holding midfielder Otis Taylor and right-back Alfie Tuck before right-winger Matthew Burroughs drove in a low cross. 

Lingfield striker Ayden Richards hit a shot on the turn from 15-yards which forced Harris to dive to his right to palm the ball away.

Smith was full of praise for Lingfield’s sole striker

He said: “He was a good player. He was quite tricky. He’s very different from the reports I got on them.  I was expecting a big target man up there and he was someone who dropped in the hole and made things a little bit more difficult for our centre halves.

“That save to be honest with you spun us into life! We had a chance before that. We weren’t quick enough when we didn’t have the ball to get back in.  The save shook us a little bit from then and we started creating chances and punished them.”

Reid made the first save in the 22nd minute as Lewis danced forward with the ball at his feet and skipped past a challenge but his right-footed drive from 20-yads forced the former Horley Town keeper to dive low to his right to get a strong right hand to the ball to prevent the ball nestling into the bottom left-hand corner.

Smith said: “Good save! He stood up well. He’s a big lad. I was expecting him to maybe go low but he’s tried chipping it over him but again it’s good that Chris Lewis has expressed himself and he’s got confidence to drive at people and get those opportunities.”

Dan Lawrence swept a free-kick into Lingfield’s penalty box where Ben Gorham came up from the back to glance his header past the near post.

Lingfield’s best outfield player, Richards, did well to shrug off Canterbury’s left-back Stuart Fitchie but once in a good position inside the box his shot lacked conviction and Harris made a routine pick-up at his near post.

Canterbury City wasted a good chance in the 26th minute after Luke Killick fouled Casey on the edge of the box.  Casey, though, drilled his right-footed free-kick high over the bar from 20-yards.

Canterbury City peppered another shot at the Lingfield keeper on the half-hour mark as Lewis played a low pass in from the right and Dan Lawrence was in acres of space to hit a half-volley towards goal from 30-yards.

Lingfield, too, were awarded a free-kick in a more central position some 40-yards out but Taylor drilled his effort high over the bar and into the trees at the railway line end of the ground.

Canterbury City deservedly opened the scoring with 35 minutes and 49 seconds on the clock.

Lingfield’s central defender Killick was at fault for the goal as he sliced his attempted clearance over his left shoulder and the ball bounced into Dan Lawrence’s path down the right.

The winger strode forward and once inside the right-channel he powered his right-footed shot across the keeper, who dived to his right to parry but the ball went straight to Lewis who hooked his shot into the near corner of an empty goal from six-yards.

Smith was delighted that Lewis took heed of his pre-match advice.

He said: “Speaking to him before the game, saying we’ve got to follow it in! It’s a difficult surface for keepers. The ball’s very slippery, a lot of things are going to be spilling out and he’s done exactly what we’ve asked, straight in there and tapped his goal away.”

Frith hit a speculative left-footed drive over the Canterbury City crossbar from 45-yards before Dan Lawrence released Martin down the left and his low centre was poked just past the foot of the near post by a sliding Casey.

But Casey produced some FA Cup magic by scoring from 40-yards to give Canterbury City a commanding 2-0 lead after 41 minutes.

The ball was cleared out to the striker who noticed Reid was off his line and he cracked an unstoppable right-footed drive over the keeper’s head and into the roof of the net to score a wonder goal.

“We’ve brought him in from Herne Bay, he’s been in the wilderness so to speak. He’s been at Stoke, played as an England under 18 international,” highlighted Smith.

“We’re just trying to get him happy and enjoying his football again and have the confidence to go out there and shoot from where you like really, get as many shots off as possible.

“Tuesday night he scored a worldy goal and tonight he’s gone out and he’s banged that one in!

“Jordan has come in quite late, he hasn’t had too much of a pre-season. As you see he’s got that quality to bring a goal out of nothing and he plays people into play so much.”

Casey turned provider when he put Dan Lawrence through on goal but Reid came rushing off his line to make a smart block as Canterbury’s captain looked certain to round the keeper and slot into an empty net.

The busy Reid made a further couple of saves just before the break.

Casey was released down the right channel and he powered an angle drive across the keeper, who dived to his right and used his fingertip to flick the ball around the far post.

Smith added: “Again, the reports I had, the keeper was possibly their weakest link but that’s just how it is! They came here tonight and he’s had an absolute worldy game to be fair to him. Head and shoulders their best player.”

Lingfield’s two central defenders Killick and substitute Joe Graveney were left behind by Lewis, but Reid made another low save at his near post as the winger’s attempted low shot was destined for the bottom near corner.

When asked about his thoughts at the break, Smith said: “I was happy! I still think we could go up the gears a little bit but you’re 2-0 up at half-time in a FA Cup tie. It’s a big game for the club so the nerves are going to be there as such.”

Lingfield created the first chance of the second half as Frith issued Canterbury a warning with a drilled 35-yard free-kick which rolled into Harris’ hands at his near post.

The impressive Casey then shrugged off the attentions of Graveney inside the Lingfield box, cut inside but his dinked shot was pushed around the post by Reid, diving to his left.

Lingfield were to be denied by the foot of the post inside the opening eight minutes.

Burroughs whipped in a cross from the right channel to find Bouland on the edge of the box and he laid the ball inside to Frith, who ghosted in unmarked to hit a first time low drive against the near post from 12-yards.

Smith admitted: “A little bit of luck for us but sometimes you’ve got to ride your luck haven’t you?

“I think we deserved a little bit of luck with our play and so far we haven’t conceded. That’s going to go sooner or later but the lads’ in there are so desperate to keep hold of that clean sheet record.

“I thought Shannon, in particular, has pulled off a few good saves there tonight, which some of the lads might not appreciate. They think about the goalscorers but he’s played his part tonight.”

That seemed to knock the stuffing out of a Lingfield side, as Canterbury City dominated the rest of the game.

Dan Lawrence burst forward and stabbed the ball through to Casey, who hooked his shot straight at Reid, who clutched the bouncing ball to his left.

Lewis and Dan Lawrence then flashed shots past the post for Canterbury, who killed the game off with a third in the 65th minute.

Dan Lawrence hooked a pass in behind the struggling Lingfield back four to put Martin through on goal. He skipped past the advancing keeper and kept composed as he took a touch before steering his left-footed shot into the bottom near corner of an empty net from eight-yards.

“Matt Martin had a difficult pre-season. He was struggling with injuries and illness and his confidence was low,” said Smith.

“He’s come in Tuesday night and played very well and maybe should have scored a couple. It didn’t quite work for him, so I was pleased he had the composure to just nick it around the keeper. He was a big lad, couldn’t really move his feet, nicks it round him and a very composed finish.”

But Lingfield were denied a goal by a brilliant reaction save from Harris in the 69th minute.

Sam Cockerill released Richards down the right and he drove in a cross across the face of goal from the right channel and Harris danced along his goal-line to his right and got down brilliantly low to prevent Bouland stabbing the ball over the line from close range.

Smith said: “He’s scrambled across his goal, moved his feet really well. He didn’t have lots to do in the game but what he did he did very well. He could have lost his concentration watching the game for long spells, but he’s very alert to get over to that – excellent save!”

Dan Lawrence laid the ball off to his brother Rob, but the substitute blasted his right-footed shot over the bar, before Reid made yet another quality save with 15 minutes remaining.

Central midfielder Sam Staunton played in Rob Lawrence and Reid rushed off his line and dived low to his right from point-blank range to keep the score down.

Smith said: “We hit them well on the break. They had to come at us so they were leaving large space in behind. The lads we brought on really exploited the space.”

Canterbury City produced wave-after-wave of late attacks as Lingfield struggled to cope with their visitors’ impressive attacking game.

Lewis won the ball on the half-way line and burst down the right to reach the edge of the penalty box before playing the ball inside to Rob Lawrence, who took a touch before drilling a right-footed drive from 20-yards deflecting past the far post.

Lewis run through a Lingfield defence like a knife through butter but he looped his shot just past the right-post.

Lewis then reached the by-line before cutting the ball back for substitute striker Samuel Hallett, who screwed his shot across the keeper and past the far post when he should have scored.

“I know he’s desperate to score, to open his account for the club,” said Smith.

“He scored in pre-season but it’s competitive games where he wants to get his goal. Maybe he’s trying too hard? One will come in off his arse then and he’ll be away then.”

Lingfield created the last chance of the night when right-back Tuck advanced down the channel and drove in a cross but substitute striker Romaine Atkinson swept his shot well wide of the target, maintaining Canterbury’s run of clean sheets to 270 minutes.

“To be fair to everyone, they want to make sure everybody has their feet on the ground,” said Smith.

“It’s a massive improvement in terms of consistency from last season. I think they were a good side last season and played good football but maybe a little bit of naivety in there gifted people goals.

“The lads’ at the back have done that (kept clean sheets). The three centre backs that have played in the games, Ben Gorham, Tom Peachy and Sam Baker, they’ve been outstanding and given the attacking players real basis to go and express themselves. I’ve got to make sure they get a good mention because they’ve been a solid part in what we’re doing.”

A crowd of 135 watched this Friday night game at Whyteleafe and Smith is a firm believer of attracting more supporters to games.

He said: “Friday night football, I think surely is the way forward. Hopefully we can do a couple of Friday night games down at Ashford. I think it’s maybe some novelty factor with it but why not? Let’s try and get a few more people in. I’m sure if there’s a local game on people will go and watch it. If there’s 30 to go and watch you’re unfortunately not going to get them in the gate.”

Canterbury City travel to Dorking Wanderers in the next round after travelling to Sevenoaks Town and Deal Town in the league. 

The newly-promoted Ryman League Division One South side were playing Sussex County League Division Three football between 2007-2011 and this is only their third season in The FA Cup.

Canterbury City’s last visit to Dorking Wanderers was a disaster as they suffered a 5-0 defeat when Simon Pettit was in charge of the club in a FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie in 2013.

Smith said: “I’m looking forward to that! I want to play the best sides possible. It would have been nice to have it at home but I know historically Canterbury played Dorking and they lost quite heavily.

“I’m certainly liking the challenge to rectify that defeat. I don’t care if they’re in the Ryman League. They’ve got to play us, we’ve got to go at them.”

Lingfield: Connel Reid, Alfie Tuck, Thomas Stead, Otis Taylor, Luke Killick, Matthew Gates (Joe Graveney 43), Matthew Burroughs (Romaine Atkinson 62), Sam Cockerill, Kerian Bouland (Sam Clements 76), Ayden Richards, Dan Frith.
Subs: Declan Smith, Harry Banks, Connor Leach, Dan Smith

Canterbury City: Shannon Harris, Stuart Fitchie (Rob Lawrence 69), Connor Partridge, Sam Staunton (Kane Hemmings 83), Ben Gorham, Sam Baker, Stephen Baines, Dan Lawrence, Matthew Martin, Jordan Casey (Samuel Hallett 77), Chris Lewis.
Subs: Danny Wrench, Daniel Gonzallez-Bello, Henry Dasofunjo, Dominic Snee

Goals: Chris Lewis 36, Jordan Casey 41, Matthew Martin 65

Booked: Connor Partridge 80

Attendance: 135
Referee: Mr Manny Nkeitah (Thamesmead, London SE28)
Assistants: Mr Tom McCourt (Charlton, London SE7) & Mr Alasdair King (Brixton, London SW2)