Man of the Match: N.Jongthep
Next Opponent: Pitshanger Dynamos
Subs: J. Winter (55′) J. Deville (60′) B. Morris (75′) W.Sohail (unused)
South Kilburn Vs Lampton Park
Scorers: J.O’Connell (1), J.Winter (1), D. Lepage (1)
Lampton headed into their second fixture of the season full of confidence from an opening day victory and solid team performance. This midweek fixture saw LPFC tasked with taking down last seasons premier division strugglers South Kilburn. Whilst the heavy fixture list is sure to play a role over the next few weeks, this game saw Hillman name an almost full strength squad. Donnelly remained the only absentee as he continues to battle towards regaining full fitness whilst enjoying some Mediterranean sun. Lark and Mir (Personal) returned to first team action.
Whilst LPFCs preparation for the early evening fixture was perhaps smoother than anticipated, hosts South Kilburn appeared to have unsettled Lampton with their disorganised approach to the game. A shaky start saw neither team able to settle in possession, leading to a scrappy opening period. A hopeful long ball caught out the LPFC backline as the South Kilburn winger slotted home from an angle. Within minutes, Lampton found themselves 2-0 down and a mountain to climb as they failed to deal with another hopeful punt, allowing the opposition striker to run through on goal and score. Cheadle denied the hosts a third as a loose back pass gave the striker his chance at a second in what proved to be a crucial moment in the game.
It has been a long time since Lampton have trailed by 2 goals and the supporters would have been forgiven for fearing the worst! However, LPFC have the quality to salvage games that perhaps seem lost and against the run of play, a powerful break led by Mir saw a drilled cross blocked by a South Kilburn arm, leading to the referee awarding Lampton a penalty and a way back into the match. Up stepped O’Connell to give LPFC a lifeline before the teams retired for the interval.
Sometimes in football, it is the simple things that make the difference and the break was absolutely crucial on this occasion. Half-time gave the squad an opportunity to talk through their situation, put together a plan to turn the game around and prepare the players to throw everything they have at scoring an equaliser.
As the second half kicked off, it was apparent that this was going to be a completely different game of football. A more composed approach in possession, and a far more tenacious attitude when winning the ball back, Lampton began to dominate and out pressure on the hosts. Driven on once again by skipper Jongthep, the players appeared to have hit another gear whilstSouth Kilburn struggled to get out of their defensive third and it seemed obvious that an equaliser would be on its way. However, despite a number of clear chances, LPFC were unable to draw level.
A slight tactical amendment and the introduction of some fresh legs proved key as Winter, paired with O’Connell, took no time in making an immediate impression. Latching on to a quick Truelove throw, Winter burst passed his marker before pausing to smash the ball beyond the desperate goalkeeper.
The equaliser was completely deserved but with less than 10 minutes remaining, it appeared that the two sides may have to settle for a draw. South Kilburn looked entirely satisfied with taking a point, whilst Lampton continued to press on in search of the winning goal. As the game entered the final seconds, it seemed as though time had ran out but LPFC had one more attack building which proved to be decisive.
As the referee appeared to be looking at his watch, a trademark LePage forward run was found by a cute O’Connell through pass, allowing the midfield man to round the keeper before slotting home the winner from a narrow angle. Emphatic celebrations ensued as it was apparent that there would be no time for the South Kilburn to salvage anything from the game, and Lampton had cruelly stolen it at the death. Unbelievable character and resilience was on display, as LPFC showed they have the quality and the togetherness to pull themselves out of seemingly hopeless situations.
Attentions must swiftly turn towards a tough weekend game against last seasons 5th placed Pitshanger Dynamos. Their opening results have shown that the players have what it takes to compete at this level, the next question is simply can they maintain this standard to continue to build the momentum.