Lydd Town 1-2 Punjab United - I think the boys are good enough to get to Wembley, says Punjab United boss Jugjit Sian

Saturday 01st September 2018
Lydd Town 1 – 2 Punjab United
Location The Lindsey Field, Dengemarsh Road, Lydd, Kent TN29 9JH
Kickoff 01/09/2018 15:00

The Buildbase FA Vase First Qualifying Round
Saturday 1 September 2018
Stephen McCartney reports from Dengemarsh Road

PUNJAB UNITED manager Jugjit Sian says he has the players that can go all the way to Wembley Stadium to play in The FA Vase Final after coming from behind to win their debut game in the prestigious competition.

The Gravesend based side went into the game sitting in 12th place in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table with six points on the board from six games but arrived without a win in five games.

Lydd Town were in thirteenth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with four points on the board from six games and suffered heavy home defeats to Holmesdale (1-5) and Kennington (0-4) but they put in a spirited display today.

FA Vase fever failed to grip the imagination of the public in Kent’s most southerly town as only 35 people watched Lydd Town’s first ever home FA Vase tie.

The Lydders grabbed the lead against the run of play through striker Dale Horton’s sixth goal of the season, but Punjab United levelled through winger Anthony Adesite.

Referee Peter Cruise sent off George Goodwin (Punjab) and Craig Calvert (Lydd Town) following a half-way line incident.

Lydd boss Liam Smith called Goodwin “a w***er” as the Punjab number 10 tried to seek refuge inside the away dug-out and Sian stood up for his man, forcing the Rochester based referee to tell Smith and Sian to leave the dug-outs on the stroke of half-time and the pair watched the rest of the game standing behind the perimeter fencing in front of the clubhouse around 30 yards apart behind the goal.

Punjab United sealed a trip to Steyning Town in the Second Qualifying Round in two weeks’ time after Adesite slid home the winner just three minutes into the second half.

“I thought we dominated to tell you the truth, I thought we deserved to win,” said Chippie Sian.

“Two sending’s off wasn’t great. I don’t think they were both sending’s off, just a booking maybe for each but pleased with the way we played. I think we should’ve made it a little bit easier for ourselves, we should’ve finished them off to give them a chance at 2-1.

“We said (before the game) we need to do a job first, we need to work harder and make sure we get disciplined and I wanted my wingers to really go for it today, stay out wide and dominate that last third.

“It’s a great day for the club. It’s the first time ever playing in The FA Vase. Two years ago we were playing Sunday morning and we were playing in their cups and now we’re actually playing in The FA Vase so it’s a great chance to get through and maybe get a draw outside Gravesend somewhere and travel as well, which will be great!”

“A bit deflated really.  I thought it was fairly even with chances both sides especially in the first half,” said Lydd Town boss Liam Smith.

“They’ve got a big threat with Anthony Adesite, they’ve got William Johnson-Cole, who scored 22 goals last season.  They’ve got a strong centre-back in Paul Lorraine, whose dropped down a few leagues.  They’re a very strong side but after recent performances and shipping goals, the boys are gutted they haven’t got something out of it, even a replay or extra-time or what not.

“But you’ve got to be proud of the performance. We’ve been leaking goals left, right and centre.  I changed the formation that we’ve worked on during the week with the likes of Pat Kingwell at the back.

“We didn’t have enough attacking threat the whole time and we switched off.  They scored in the 48th minute. We did it at Bridon as well. We were 3-0 up and we conceded in the 48th or 50th minute and we have to learn.  Ten minutes into the second half we have to be more switched on and more alive, shall we say?

“I don’t think they had that many chances, they had our keeper spill one, they didn’t cut us open at all.  I know we were going for it towards the end and they started coming along but we only had one at the back at that point and I thought we created the more chances in the second half.”

Lydd Town called Punjab United keeper Joe Hagan into action after only 107 seconds into the game.

Central midfielder Andre Trenton floated in a free-kick some 30-yards from goal, the ball was knocked across goal by centre-half Ryan Smith and Calvert’s flick at the far post was tipped around the post by the alert keeper.

“We work on set-pieces quite a lot,” said Smith.

“We were quite annoyed, we didn’t score enough goals from them. We always win headers through our big men Ryan Smith or Pat Kingwell and we need to get the knock downs more.  I was disappointed it wasn’t a goal really because I thought we could attack it but the keeper spread himself well actually.”

Sian added: “I think we were a bit quiet at the beginning. When we don’t talk at the back we get a bit lost and that’s exactly what happened. One little cross and they probably could’ve scored but it was a great save by Joe, so he kept us in the game straight away.”

Punjab United immediately went up the other end and called Steffan Lawrence, 19, who is on loan from Canterbury City, into action.

Lydd Town played three centre-halves with two wing-backs and centre-half Kieran Shrimpton struggled in the first half to keep up with Punjab’s attacking threat of striker William Johnson-Cole and Adesite.

Winger Diljit Boola fed Goodwin, who skipped past Shrimpton to reach the left by-line and hung over a deep cross for an unmarked Johnson-Cole, which was clawed out by Lawrence at his near post and his team-mates took an age to clear their lines.

Sian said: “I think they both should’ve scored really. George knocked it over and Will should’ve scored! That was an easy chance for him. That was the flow at the beginning, the first 10-15 minutes we were all over them but we just couldn’t finish.”

Smith added: “I thought it was a good save from close range.  I don’t think Johnson-Cole knew how much space he actually had.  He could’ve brought it down and tapped it in but it was a good save by our young keeper, who is on loan from Canterbury.

“Our keeper got injured in pre-season and he had a MRI scan yesterday and it doesn’t look good so we’ve had a bit of faith in Stefan. We’ve had him with a goalkeeper coach in training, who doesn’t make matchdays and he’s come on leaps and bounces. He’s good, raw, he’s going to still make mistakes but he’s got my full backing.”

Punjab right-back Taldev Gosal floated over a cross into the penalty area where an unmarked Goodwin glanced his header across the keeper for the ball to bounce around the far post.

Lydd Town grabbed the lead – totally against the run of play – with 12 minutes and 27 seconds on the clock – but goalscorer Horton appeared offside but assistant referee David Rowland kept his flag down.

Full credit must go to left-wing-back Bradley Baker who charged forward and slipped the ball inside to Calvert, who played Horton in behind centre-half Paul Lorraine and the striker drilled his right-footed shot across the keeper into the far corner from 12-yards.

Both managers claimed Horton was in an offside position before scoring.

“I actually thought it was offside personally, I thought he was the wrong side of the defender,” admitted Smith.

“It was a good move down the left especially with Bradley Baker, a youngster on the left whose on loan from Folkestone Invicta and he’s 18 as well and he’s stepped up to this level against a Punjab side. It was a really good goal and a good finish as well to be fair.”

Sian added: “I think it was a blatant offside, I’m sorry, I couldn’t understand the linesman’s decision on that!

“Paul Lorraine was last man, Paul called it. Hr was way in front of Paul but good finish! He did break, which I was disappointed with. Our midfield didn’t actually track him back first but he went a long way.”

Punjab United went close to equalising after 18 minutes of open football when left-back Ryan Jarrett hit a left-footed dipping shot just over the crossbar from 25-yards.

“Ryan’s done quite well this year, he’s come back fitter and stronger and he wants to be involved every week and I thought it was a good free-kick,” added Sian.

Lorraine played a ball out of defence and holding midfielder Joe Loft fed Jarrett, who had made space in the final third and he swept his left-footed drive harmlessly wide of the far post from 35-yards.

Lawrence struggled to gather inswinging free-kicks over his left-shoulder and towards the far post on a couple of occasions, while Punjab striker Johnson-Cole started to feel frustrated as the game entered the half-hour mark.

Lydd Town almost doubled their lead in the 27th minute when Baker’s cross sailed over Reece Mortimer’s head inside the box and Harry Carr hooked the ball back and right-wing-back Jordan Tomsett’s right-footed chip sailed just over the crossbar from 25-yards.

“I thought we looked like the away side for about 20-25 minutes,” admitted Smith.

“They did dictate the tempo of the game and they played a lot more football than we did.

“We couldn’t quite handle the three in midfield, their movement and it took us a while to work it out really. 

“We were lucky to spur the chances we were having through Jordan Tomsett and Reece Mortimer. We were playing on the counter a bit more and we were trying to get the message across but it was hard when boys are focusing on the game and they’ve got such good movement in there, especially from their attacking players.”

Lydd Town were enjoying themselves on the counter-attack and Mortimer held the ball up on the half-way-line on the right touchline, before playing a great ball around the corner to release Horton down the right-channel. He cut inside Gosal to cut the ball back for Mortimer to drill his first time shot over the crossbar from 10-yards.

Punjab United went close when Boola played the ball in from the right to Camen Bhandal, who played the ball into Johnson-Cole’s feet.  He turned Shrimpton before drilling his left-footed shot just past the foot of the left-hand post from 25-yards.

Punjab United deservedly equalised with their first ever FA Vase goal, timed at 33 minutes and 55 seconds on the clock.

Lydd slammed the door shut in Boola’s face down the right and he had no other option than to roll the ball back to an unmarked Bhandal, who played the ball into Goodwin’s feet inside the box and he teed up Adesite, who powered a low right-footed angled drive into the bottom near corner from 12-yards.

Sian said: “Anthony’s been superb at the moment. He had a bit of an off-day against Corinthian (a 1-0 home defeat on Bank Holiday Monday) but he’s started really well this season.

“I’d lost him to (Bostik South East Division side) VCD Athletic in pre-season. I said ‘go and try what you want to try’ but he phoned me back and said ‘no I want to come back’. He’s been excellent since he’s come back.

“I never stop anyone going where they want to go but he wanted to go for a pre-season, which is fine but we treat our players well and he actually phoned me up and said he wanted to come back.”

Smith added: “I couldn’t really see from my side, it looked a bit soft. It looked like we didn’t follow runners, the ball was recycled through the midfield and I don’t think we had the runners.

“I must say it was coming because we were under the cosh for a good 20-25 minutes. I would say that was a fair reflection of the first half to be fair.”

Punjab United finished the half in a dominant manner and Boola spread the play out to Adesite on the left.  He skipped past Tomsett at ease to play the ball inside to Johnson-Cole, who cracked a right-footed drive from 30-yards towards goal, which was palmed over the bar by Lawrence.

Jarrett swung in the resulting corner from the right and Lorraine rose at the far post to loop his header across goal towards the top far corner and Lawrence did well to jump to push the ball over the crossbar while under pressure.

Jarrett hung over a corner towards the far post which Lorraine swept on the turn from six-yards, the ball bouncing off the base of the near post and Lydd Town survived.

Sian paid tribute to model-pro Lorraine, who at 34 and has previously played for the likes of Ebbsfleet United, Dartford, Whitehawk and Cray Wanderers, offers guidance and professionalism to his team-mates. 

Despite losing captain Goodwin to his red-card, the captains armband was then given to Johnson-Cole, who then handed it to Joe Loft when he was substituted later on in the game.

Sian said: “I actually thought he scored first. He always bombs forward trying to get a goal here and there.

“He’s been fantastic since I met him, he’s been unbelievable! He helps in training and people listen to him. He leads on the pitch.  I’m missing my captain at the moment, both of them lead, which is great but he’s been superb and he leads by example, which is what you want.”

Smith added:  “Again, I don’t think Lorraine knew how much time he had, he just lashed at it, didn’t he? He just could’ve tapped it in. I think it hit the base of the post and went out for a goal-kick.  I was very relieved, I had my heart in my mouth.”

The flashpoint occurred on the stroke of half-time when Goodwin fouled Calvert from behind, the Lydd man falling to the ground and the pair squared up and many players threw their handbags into the situation.

Senior assistant referee David Rowland walked on to the pitch to tell the referee what he had seen and referee Peter Cruise pulled out a straight red card out of his pocket to send off Goodwin.

Goodwin walked towards the away dug-out instead of heading towards the dressing rooms behind the goal.

The two match officials continued their discussion and while Calvert was standing on the touchline drinking water from a bottle, he too was shown a red-card by the referee.

This sparked an ugly confrontation as an angry Smith called Goodwin “a w****r and other words during a rant and Sian stepped in and walked towards Smith pointing his finger at the Lydd manager and telling him what he thought about it all.

Smith followed by Sian were asked to leave the technical area and were forced to leave their assistants Mick Doyle and Jindi Banwait to instruct their players for the rest of the game, although Sian used his phone twice to communicate with his number two during the second half.

Thankfully, both managers were in a calm manner during the post-match press conference and were asked their thoughts on the incidents.

Smith said: “I thought it was a foul by our Calvert on Goodwin but then it’s a clear elbow and we’ve even got it on camera from our club photographer. It’s a clear elbow.  I’m not quite sure why he’s sent our man off for being on the floor, which didn’t make much sense.

“I lost my head and swore and so did their manager and the referee’s just explained that to us, that’s why he sent people off because there’s women and children and I’ll take that.  I said something to the players and stuff.  I’d like an explanation why our player was sent off? We’ll never know. Apparently, you’re allowed to talk to them 20 minutes after the game. Whose got the time to do that?”

Sian replied: “It was just frustrating really. I think the player made a big meal of it and he admitted it out here when we got back over here (by the clubhouse).

“If he had got back up it would’ve been a silly telling off and carry on with the game but it sort of got everyone wound up for no reason really and it got our player sent-off. He got sent-off.

“I won’t use the word Liam said but that irritated me because you can’t swear at players like that and that’s what wound me up and that’s why I was trying to walk over and say ‘what the hell are you, why are you doing that?’

“I’ve known him a long time, we don’t need to get involved in that but afterwards it’s all done with, it’s all silly really. We don’t need it. I’ve got a big fine coming!”

Once calm was restored, both sides created a chance each before the break.

The busy Mortimer drove forward but his shot lacked conviction and the rolling shot was comfortably gathered by Hagan.

Jarrett launched a deep free-kick into the Lydd penalty area and Lorraine knocked the ball down for Johnson-Cole to smack a right-footed volley, which was brilliantly saved by Lawrence, getting down low to his right to push the ball behind for a corner.

Sian said: “He done really well, their keeper. I think he saved them about three or four times to be fair.  In the last four or five games in this division, we haven’t finished teams off when we had those chances, we never finished them off, which is disappointing really.”

“It was just about keeping our discipline,” Smith told his troops at half-time.

“We were talking about runners in particular. We changed it slightly because we let them come a lot deeper and we were trying to play more to Dale Horton up front, hit him in behind especially over their full-backs, which was a weak area of Punjab without being disrespectful.

“We were just trying to say ‘let’s not go into our shells’ because previous weeks we conceded a goal and then we’ve lost three, four or five and they scored in the 48th minute and you fear the worst, of course, but I’m really proud of the boys with the reaction they’ve shown. They’ve worked their absolute nuts off in training so I think they deserved more today.”

When asked about his half-time thoughts, the Punjab United manager replied: “I just told them straight, look, yes, we’ve got a man sent-off but it still don’t mean we can’t attack. We still can play our formation what we were doing and it worked to be honest with you.

“I didn’t want to change our shape or anything because I wanted them to come on in the second half. I didn’t want to drop and it worked straight away and they came straight back and we went straight on top.”

Punjab United sealed the victory after only 174 seconds into the second half.

Bhandal released Adesite, whose pace easily took him past defenders Carr and Shrimpton and he turned in the box and swept his right-footed shot underneath and across the keeper, the ball nestling sweetly into the bottom far corner.

Sian said: “Great worked goal, which is great to see really.  I’m still not pleased with our finishing, I think we’ve had four or five shots before that and we just didn’t hit the target. It will come, it will come.”

“Kieran lost the tackle, he was weak in the tackle. We just didn’t seem to have the runner,” said Smith.

“Yet again, I’ll be harsh on our young keeper but could it have been saved? He’s made two great saves and the easier one he hasn’t but that’s the way it goes. I’m not going to say the boys should’ve done this and should’ve done that. They know if they’ve made a mistake don’t they?”

Smith added: “We could’ve folded easily playing a team in the league above, with the attacking threat we keep talking about but yes I’m really proud of them.

“To lose a game you have to be looking at yourselves and I’ll look at that tomorrow and a few of the stats that our kit man does for us like the offsides, set-pieces and what not and try to break it down.

“We’ve conceded 26 goals in the league and you’re thinking you’re going to lose four or five here but in the end we went on the front foot.”

Jarrett played the ball down the line to Adesite, who played the ball into an unmarked Boola, and his right-footed half-volley from 30-yards sailed just over the crossbar.

Punjab United linked up well in the 56th minute down the left through Jarrett and Johnson-Cole, who cut the ball back for Bhandal to crack a low right-footed drive from 30-yards, which forced Lawrence to dive low to his left to push behind for a corner.

“Some of the shots we hit sort of rolled on the floor. Every power shot we hit went over the crossbar so it was just one of those days really. We have to have some more training practice for these boys,” revealed Sian.

Punjab United were dominating the midfield battle but a spirited Lydd Town side bounced back in search for an equaliser to force extra-time.

Centre-half leader Ryan Smith played a delightful ball over Jarrett from the half-way line to play in Horton, who forced Hagan into making a comfortable save at his near post from his right-footed angled drive.

Smith said: “I thought there wasn’t actually enough bodies flooding forward in the box. It was a good knock. Dale used his pace over the full-back and I thought he could’ve waited for support rather than shoot. If you score from there, you’re a very good player. If the keeper doesn’t save it, you’d be very annoyed!”

Gosal fed substitute Luke Adams, who took a touch, turned and flashed his right-footed drive past the diving keeper and past the far post from 35-yards.

Lydd Town substitute midfield general Callum Howland clipped a long ball into the Punjab box for Baker to watch the ball drop over his shoulder before cracking a stunning volley over the crossbar from 12-yards.

Smith said: “I thought he had a great game. He had two half-chances didn’t he? One on the volley, it would’ve suited a right-foot player, obviously he’s left-footed and the second one was the shot from distance that just sailed over in the end.”

Sian admitted: “I thought any way they were going to score is if we made a mistake, that’s’ what I said to George sitting out here.  As long as we were tight and kept our composure at the back, we’ll be fine.”

Adesite was given space in behind the Lydd Town defence and his low centre from the right was spilt by Lawrence but he grabbed hold of the ball to prevent Johnson-Cole scoring from the second ball.

Baker found a pocket of space and looped a dipping left-footed drive just over the crossbar as Lydd Town kept knocking on the door.

Lydd Town almost grabbed a deserved equaliser in the final six minutes following their second of three corners – although Punjab won 12 corners during the game.

The impressive Baker swung in the ball from the left towards the near post and Horton rose to plant his header towards the top far corner, only for Hagan to jump to pluck the ball out of the air and grab hold of the ball to make the save.

“He doesn’t win too many in the air as you can see,” said Smith.

“I thought he done really well to lose his marker and same old saying, anywhere but straight at the keeper and it would’ve bene a goal wouldn’t it? From this end (of the ground) I thought it was in!”

Sian added: “Lofty missed the first header and jumped a little bit too early and he had a good chance to score to be honest with you.”

Loft drove forward and Adams took a touch before setting up Loft whose left-footed shot from 20-yards was bravely parried by Lawrence, who had to have his wits about him as Adesite was ready to poke the ball (which was in the keeper’s hands at the time) into the net from inside the six-yard box.

Baker let fly from 25-yards, the ball sailing agonisingly over the top of the far post, only just though.

Jarrett drilled a first time left-footed drive just over the crossbar after playing a one-two down the line with Adesite down the left.

Punjab United used their game management skills to kill time but Bhandal ignored instructions by hitting a left-footed drive into Lawrence’s midriff from 25-yards at the end.

“We put Pat Kingwell up front and obviously with 10 men – I know they had 10 – but they’ve got more of an attacking threat and we just had a bit more of a go. It’s The FA Vase, you don’t want to let the crowd down and wanted to have a good go at it rather than settle for a 2-1. I’d rather lose three or four-one. We were quite strong and Stefan still made two good saves. I know he spilt one near the end but he made up for it in other ways.”

Sian added: “We just killed it out near the end.  On top of it, I thought we deserved it. We outplayed them in stages. Yes, we should’ve had three or four more goals but yes I thought it was a tough game coming down to Lydd.  I’m not going to say nothing else.  Last year was exactly the same so it’s been a good day, we’re in to the next round.

“The club earns a little bit of money (£550, with Lydd Town banking £175), which is great and it’s great for us as well.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

“I took the kids football this morning and I had other parents come up to us from other football club’s saying ‘you’re in the FA Vase for the first time, the club’s going so well, it’s pleasing for the whole community.’  It’s a shame we didn’t have a home game really because I think that would’ve packed it out.

“I’m sure we’ll get a little coach going down to Steyning and see how we go, it will be a nice away day.”

Sian, meanwhile, wants to go all the way and guide Punjab United all the way to Wembley Stadium.

“Never say never! We’ll take one round as it comes. It’s a shame we weren’t in The FA Cup but I really want to do that as well but I said to the boys we have to go full pelt. We’re going to go for every single cup and go strong every single week.

“Last year I didn’t play my best sides in the cups and I thought we’d concentrate on the league and I think that worked out brilliant (by winning the league title).

“This year we’re going for everything! Wembley? That’s it, Wembley for me. Why not? It will be great for Gravesend, only Ebbsfleet have done that once.

“I’m confident every game I go to, I think why not? Why can’t a team like us get to somewhere like that? I don’t know, you never know do you, you never know. That’s why everyone loves football so much, because it’s so exciting.

“One week you never know what’s it going to be like but why not? I think it will be nice to get further in this competition. I think the boys are good enough. I think we have to take one game at a time.”

Both teams are on the road in the league next Saturday, with Lydd Town travelling to Hexable to play FC Elmstead, while Sian takes Punjab to Rusthall.

Smith said: “The fact that we didn’t collapse, we changed shape, we played a different system 3-5-2, which is something we worked on, on Thursday night and the boys took it on board in such a short space of time against a team in the league above.

“If we play like that against Elmstead, I’m sure we’ll be fine and back in amongst the chasing pack. It’s down to the boys, they have to put the work in during the week again and we’ll go again on Saturday.”

Lydd Town:  Stefan Lawrence, Jordan Tomsett (Dan Wanstall 58), Bradley Baker, Pat Kingwell, Kieran Shrimpton (Alex Coyne 70), Ryan Smith, Harry Carr, Andre Trenton (Callum Howland 68), Dale Horton, Reece Mortimer, Craig Calvert.
Sub: Owen Kessack

Goal:  Dale Horton 13

Booked:  Jordan Tomsett 32, Ryan Smith 75, Harry Carr 90

Sent Off:  Craig Calvert 45, Liam Smith 45 (manager)

Punjab United:  Joe Hagan, Taldev Gosal, Ryan Jarrett, Joe Loft, Paul Lorraine, Kieran Simms, Diljit Boola (Luke Adams 62), Camen Bhandal, William Johnson-Cole (Sam Cuthbert 77), George Goodwin, Anthony Adesite.
Subs: Arun Suman, Lee Kidman

Goals: Anthony Adesite 34, 48

Sent Off:  George Goodwin 44, Jugjit Sian 45 (manager)

Attendance: 35
Referee:  Mr Peter Cruise (Rochester)
Assistants: Mr David Rowland (West Malling) & Mr Neil Currams (Sittingbourne)