Lordswood 0 – 1 STCFC
Steyning Town advanced from the extra preliminary round for the 22nd time without fail, after a dogged and hard earned win over a talented Lordswood FC side on Saturday. Town made the shortish journey to Lordswood by coach not really what they faced after wholesale changes for the hosts over the summer. Last weekend that hosts had started the season with 3 points against much fancied Glebe and a strong link up with the Bromley Academy suggested their would be plenty for Town to consider.
For us the worry over JJs fitness in goal had subsided and he managed to take his place in the starting eleven, and there was a place too for midweek well travelled signing Tiago Andrade from Alfold. Andrade started up top alongside Ben Hands, with Liam Benson and Grant Radmore playing out wide. Haulkham and Faber anchored the midfield in front of a back four of Josh Maher, Ryan Timms, skipper Alex Gathern and Rob Clark.
The match was played throughout in a punishing wind blowing hard across a bit which gave to obvious advantage to either side but result in a game that was high on endevour, but tricky for either side to get the ball down and play with the fluidity they would normally like. However football is all about adapting to different scenarios and Steyning did this well over the 90 minutes and a thumping goal with 10 minutes to go from Conor Bull, a half time tactical substitute replacing Hands , firing high in to the net from just inside the box, ultimately settled the tie.
Truth be told the result was a little harsh on our hosts who had probably edged proceedings. JJ made 3 or 4 excellent stops over the course of the afternoon, as well as being denied by the woodwork shortly after the hour, as the hosts careful build up play was not matched by their composure in the final third. Steynings best chance before the goal had come from Hands who was played in and raced through one on one, only to be denied by a smart low save. Andrade and Bull also fired over with half chances.
Debutant Andrade was a handful on the day, always taking two defenders out of the equation, holding the ball up and bringing others in to play . Although things didn’t quite fall his way, and he looked like he lacked a bit of match sharpness, his performance suggested alot more to come and for the club to be excited about. He will be a great asset for the front line.
In the second half especially Faber and Haulkham started to win more ball in midfield, and the running from Bull and Faber from deep was started to cause real inroads in to the Lordswood defence.
Apart form the late goal from Bull, the only other point of note was a thumping (but fair) challenge from Benson on one of Lordswoods pacy youngsters starting a mass 22 man brawl. The Lordswood assistant manager / coach kung fu kicked himself in to the centre of it all, earning a straight red in the process. Once this had been dealt with the game returned to the well disciplined game it had been up until that point.
Town managed to see out the latter stages with little aggro. The back four put in another great rearguard action, getting back to something more like their best after a shaky start to the season, and Town celebrated another great victory for the club, to continue their recent great form in the FA cup and Vase.
The reward is a visit by Ramsgate FC on the 24th August. Get it in the diary now and come and cheer on the Barrowmen. Well done lads. A real gutsty performance after a tricky first week of the season.
Town: Banasco – Zaragoza, Maher, Gathern, Timms, Clark,Faber, Haulkham, Benson, Radmore, Andrade, Hands
Subs used : Bull
Subs not used: Parazo, Bacon, Myers, White, Coupar