Maximum Points as Lingers return to the Lair
By Lingfield FC Admin
It’s been a while, but we’re back at our home ground after having to ground share with our associated Cricket Club. The Lair a place we didn’t get beat all of last season in all competitions.
No midweek game, and a reaction due from all the players after an agonising FA Vase exit. We hosted East Preston, a team that sat 1 spot higher than us in the table; knowing that a loss for either team could potentially mean dropping a few places down into a wary position even this early on.
Scott ‘Twiggy’ Johnston returned from his 10 day Vegas/LA break and onto the bench. Burnett back in between the sticks after Moore got himself sent off in the Croydon Athletic game; while Wilford rested for tactical reasons.
From what we heard, East Preston a team like ourselves looking to build from the back and play our way through the opposition and dominate the game that way, so always set up for potentially a strategic game of football. In the first half, although we did retain more of possession, EP created the better openings, firstly in about 15 seconds from kick-off which was struck wide. And the centre-forward spinning and shooting straight into the oncoming Burnett. Ransome and James had the best of our chances in the first half but nothing really gave going into the break. 0-0 HT
I think on the overlook of the second half, management was spot on with our approach of wearing them down through possession and trying to make them tire and lose concentration off the ball. An intent to keep engaging a high press on their back line paid dividend. I managed to nick the ball from the centre midfielder, which Connolly took control of and slid a dead weight ball to Stead on the left-hand side, inside the box, and just doesn’t miss from there. Smashed home for 1-0, and a real sense of control of the game. It was quickly 2, a really well worked goal from Burnett to Bakhit to Hodge who started a one-two down the left with Stead, then recycled back into the middle with Connolly, and then a dummy one-two with myself allowed me time 20 yards from goal to slot into the bottom corner. Our 3rd came from a stead corner, my header was by no means the cleanest, but poor goal-line defending saw the ball still make its way home. We extended the lead with some direct, but very accurate long passing. Mayhew who’d come on in the anchor could switch play out to the left which saw Stead again able to bring down and play an opposite diag in behind which I could bring down and slide past the keeper; as modest as I could get when talking about my hat trick. We put the icing on the cake when Johnston was pushed in the area from a corner; the game changer only touched the 3 times when coming on and felt as though he was directly involved with 4 goals... Heaton dispatched the penalty in the usual fashion. And it was 5-0 FT. EP ran out of legs I felt, and we were clinical in the second half. Another massive 3 points for us in a quest to finish as high as possible without any real pressure to finish anywhere.
Has to be said, EP felt wrongly treated after the game, with our video coverage being played in the clubhouse and a few comments that were allegedly made. We do show full coverage of our home games in the clubhouse whether we win, lose or draw; and for the comments I can only apologise if anyone felt like that on behalf of the team and the football club; no one within the club would have intentionally meant to offend or cause any animosity amongst the teams.
We travel to Chichester next week on our longest trip of the season and one of the toughest tests too; too bad I can’t be there! But I’ll be cheering the boys on from Paris, and still hope to see many Lingfield faithful travelling in numbers to support the team. A really positive result which we can only take forward! Up the Lingers
MOM - Stephen Hodge
By Sammy Clements