Lydd Town v Tooting Bec – Saturday 22nd April 2023 – The Lindsey Field

After the midweek Semi Final penalty drama in the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) Division 1 play-off game at Tooting Bec, I couldn’t not come to watch the final, to see how this match off concluded. As I’ve reported many times before in this blog, the SCEFL Division 1 is a league that I love, with its high scoring, honest and passionate football.

This game had, somewhat contentiously, been given an enforced ground change. Tooting Bec FC should have had home advantage, having finished second in the league, higher than their opponents. As Tooting Bec groundshare with Chipstead, and their hosts had a home game scheduled for today at 3.00 pm, Tooting had asked for the tie to be moved to 7.00 pm. The SCEFL league had refused and then awarded the home advantage to Lydd Town. There had been further controversy for Tooting Bec this week when the Kent Non League Podcast made a suggestion they’d had players brought in from Tooting & Mitcham, which to be fair the legendary podcast went on air to correct with an apology. Despite all of this the Tooting Bec side had come together as side for today’s final and were looking forward to a chance to play on Lydd Town’s excellent surface.

Lydd Town made the final courtesy of a relatively comfortable 4-2 win over Faversham Strike Force in midweek. Manager Mickey Doyle has been able to rely on the goals of Luke Burdon who has amassed sixteen, since his move from Larkfield & New Hythe last January. Tim Babington, Ryan Philpott and Kenny Pogue have all chipped in with six goals, reflecting the threat posed by Lydd Town’s team approach.

Lydd Town’s manager’s notes, from the Matchday Programme.
Lydd Town warm up prior to kick off.

Tooting Bec made it through to the final on penalties, after a nervous and hard fought 0-0 tie with Larkfield & New Hythe in midweek. Manager Matthew Hancock’s team, well backed by founder and Chairman, Steffan Wells, have built a team around striker Alex Keating, whose seventeen goals have been ably supported by Alvin Turyatemba, with nine goals and Eddie Mbango, with six goals.

Tooting Bec FC warm up prior to kick off.
Handshakes with mascots at kick off.

From the off the large crowd, of 241, the warm sun and the excellent pitch surface ensured that these two attacking sides went straight to it. For Tooting Bec, Nathaniel Olawole caused trouble on the left hand side and for Lydd Town, Luke Burdon’s presence in the air was a constant threat.

Kick off.

In the 13th minute, James Rogers poached a goal to put Lydd Town into the lead, after nodding a header home following some head tennis from a corner.

Lydd Town playing in green whites with red trim and red shorts. Tooting Bec playing in black and white striped shirts and black shorts.

Tooting Bec’s confidence as a team, that manager Matthew Hancock has developed so well over the season, was clear with them continuing to play positive attacking football despite the setback. They created chances in the first half for Alex Keating and Eddie Mbango that could easily have been converted. Lydd Town, too, looked dangerous and on the half hour looked to have all but secured a two goal lead, only to see a chance go wide when it seemed easier to score.

Lydd miss a chance for 2-0

On stroke of half time, Tooting Bec got their reward for perseverance when they equalised from a corner, with Tom Harland-Goddard finding himself in just the right place at the right time.


After the break both sides continued to press for the decisive third goal. Then on 64 minutes, a two footed challenge on Olawole, earned James Rogers a straight red card.

Red card 65 minutes with Rogers leaving the pitch.

Lydd Town responded to this set back marvellously and although both teams continued to press, for the remaining 25 minutes, there was no further addition to the score. At full time the referee indicated the game would be decided by a penalty shoot out.

3-2 Tooting Bec missed penalty.
4-3 Lydd Town missed penalty.
5-4 winning save.

So it was that Lydd Town went through to the 2023-2024 season as members of the SCEFL Premier Division after giving so much in an impressive season and to a wonderful play off final. With Luke Burdon as their talismanic goal scorer and the support of the fans who turned out today, they could do very well in the higher league.

Lydd Town celebrations at the end!

Tooting Bec will undoubtedly feel heartbroken about the outcome but they have had a wonderful season and came within a hair’s breadth of gaining promotion. If this young side stays together next season, then I am sure they will be strong title contenders.

The play off final trophy.

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