Odd day. England wrapped up the Ashes by disposing of the remaining Australian obstacles inside forty minutes, holidaymakers choosing to spend their time on the English seaside were treated to beautiful sunshine and, in a remote pocket of south Kent, venerable Lydd Town did battle against one of the youngest clubs plying their trade at this level of non league football whilst in the distance a bright red plane performed a practice air show routine.
AC London are four years old. Their chairman is 20 and their coach is a former Portugal U21 player with extensive experience. Their website says they play total football, their home is the 16,000 capacity Crystal Palace sports stadium and their default language on the pitch is often Portuguese. They have been put into the Kent Invicta League without having come up through the feeder leagues. There is some resentment about this – and if they play against everyone like they did today with (ahem) solid tackles of their own but (ahem) some over-reaction to touches against them then they won’t be picking up many friends on the way.
Lydd are more old school. The flag they fly says they were established in 1895; the jerseys claim it was 1885. Let’s just say they’ve been around a while. They do a nice pint as well as a decent feed. Everyone was friendly and enjoying their football. But they don’t like being crossed and I didn’t think a crowd of about 50 could roar as loud as they did when Lydd equalised – but then the home team went and took the lead it was another few decibels up again.
This was a strange match. It never really settled. The first half was just stop start stop start as the ref tried to take control but failed. AC London’s players flounced and Lydd’s just got angry. There was tension but no real football. AC went 2-0 up but then a wonder strike from Luke Burdon brought the boys in green back into it. The second half saw a red card for AC and two late goals for Lydd. The home time calmed down a lot over the break and whilst AC did have moments of good skill and flashes of total football the momentum – and determination – were always with Lydd. The points stayed on the coast.
There will be more skilful games during the season. Skill can go hang. We want passion, drama, controversy and a nice plate of chips served with a smile. We got that at Lydd – and we may even be back to sample it all again.
(I took some photos – see here)