HEYBRIDGE Swifts striker Ryan Kelland must be wondering what else he has to do to win a game after scoring four goals and still finishing on the losing side, writes JON LONGMAN.

The Swifts under-23s were tied at 4-4 after 90 minutes playing away to May & Baker in the Essex Saturday Premier Cup clash at Dagenham, then 5-5 after extra time before losing the penalty shoot out 3-1.

Trailing 2-1 at the break after Jake Lunn had scored for the 23s, coach Kevin Christou had stern words with his players saying they needed to get the ball out to the flanks.

But the game was marred by an appalling penalty award to the home side who admitted they were surprised by the decision when a clean tackle was executed.

Christou told referee Robert Smith: “That is the worst decision I have ever seen.” Told to keep quiet, Christou said: “I am entitled to my opinions.” The referee replied: “Please keep them to yourself.s”

Kelland completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute to force extra time at 4-4 and then a spectacular lob from 25 yards forced a penalty shoot out.

Swifts assistant manager Michael Pulford says that Kelland will now get a chance to train with the first-team squad.

While the under-23s were losing in Dagenham the first team were making it a bleak mid-winter double, losing the second friendly visit of the season to Ware 2-1 but the result will not worry the Swifts management team.

Swifts conceded a penalty in each half with a Jack Adlington-Pile goal sandwiched in between.

Pulford added: “The Ware game was another very useful exercise especially as playing a team at our level from the Isthmian League really did give it more of a league game feeling as supposed to the previous friendlies against teams either above us or below us in the pyramid.

“We have the boys now getting 65 minutes under their belts in each game as we work them back to full fitness following the lockdown.”

Tuesday night’s home friendly with Baldock was cancelled because the Swifts pitch was waterlogged.