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Lordswood 0-1 Erith & Belvedere
Lordswood 0-1 Erith & Belvedere

A late controversial goal from substitute Rory Ward sealed Erith & Belvedere three opening day points as Lordswood came agonisingly close to a point that few before kick-off would have been predicted.

After spending most of last season at the tables wrong end, the home side have undoubtedly strengthened but the Dere’s ultimately had just the upper hand even if the games only goal five minutes from time brought howls of protest from the home side. Ward raced through onto a defence splitting pass and as the Lords defence momentarily waited for a flag that didn’t come, the substitute raced clear and as keeper George Bentley came out, Ward held his nerve, clipping the ball past the keeper, and despite the valiant efforts of Phil Makinde, the ball crossed the line, and the game was won.

In some respects, it was justice for the visitors as earlier in the half, Henry Arnold had beaten Bentley as he seemingly beat the offside trap to “score” only for the latest of late flags to rule the goal much to the anger of the visitors’ bench.

The opening half was typical of many opening day fixtures and took a while to get going, which was hardly surprising especially for the home side who had few players left from the struggles of last season…

It was then possibly expected that the visitors would go closest – George Monger’s vicious in swinging corner was headed off his own line by Kyle McDowell before Palmer beat the offside trap and keeper Bentley with a lob that came back off the left post.

Nate Murphy had the home side’s first real chance with a low shot that had keeper Adam Molloy scrambling before James Teodorescu had a shot blocked following a terrific run from Josh Reid.

Arnold then thought he’d given the visitors the lead and from their next attack Bentley pulled off the save of the game. McFarlane’s deep cross was met by Ward’s header and the keeper pulled off a stunning full length save to keep the score blank.

The keeper though didn’t have an answer to the substitute moments later and despite the home side’s protests – both on the pitch and in the stand – the points were lost and heading back up the A2.

In the final analysis, Lords boss Richard Dimmock will have been so frustrated at not getting a point at the end of opening day. But in the end, Tony Beckingham Dere’s were the better all-round side on the day and if the game had been decided on points, the visitors would have probably edged it, but competitive football would be back if there wasn’t controversy would there?

LORDSWOOD – Bentley, McDowell (Reid), Teodorescu, Olajide, Baker, Makinde, Reid, O’Shea, Jakubowski, Jesus (Piro), Murphy (London)

Subs – Gurse, Mvongu

ERITH & BELVEDERE – Molloy, McFarlane, Barrett, Huckle, Miles, Johnson, Smith (Ward), Monger, Aderunmu, Hudson (Arnold), Palmer

Subs – Hawkins, Constable, Wilson