Sunday 25th November 2007
By Vince Wray
We had another poor result today but the Manager was happy with the performance. We were beaten in the last minute and it was a cruel way to lose. Personally I thought it was an acceptable performance that deserved at least a draw and had we taken the chances that came our way we could have won the game let alone draw it.
Once again 3 minutes on the clock 1-0 down. We gave away a needless free kick around the edge of the box. And they slotted home the free kick with ease. The wall was lined up out of ‘sync’ and their player hardly had to bend the ball into the bottom corner. We continued to play our football and when we did we posed a threat. Bridges got us back into the game just a few minutes later with a right footed shot from just outside the box that their keeper should have held on to. Level terms and we were looking much better. Unfortunately, our parity did not last long. We made an error direct from a corner which gifted them back the lead. At this point we looked like a team low on confidence but still we tried to battle and again got back into the game after the keeper flapped a Wray cross into his own goal.2-2 now and we’d been given a lifeline back into the game. Just like England had been, after Israel beat Russia we had a chance to progress and get the win. Unfortunately it didn’t happen for us just like it didn’t happen for England. Bridges missed a header from close range just before half time that really turned out to be crucial.
In the 2nd half we were the better team, there is no doubt about that. Bridges missed from the right side of the box from an angle which I thought he would score from, then he hit the crossbar. Stevens had a great shot tipped over the bar from the keeper and we were dominating. The chances to score came and went. The opposition came on strong in the last 5-10 minutes but were mainly causing us problems on the breakaway. Firstly they had a strong penalty appeal waved away and then Burkett made a very good stop from point blank range. It is so cruel but there were so many things wrong with the winner. We lost possession easily, our defensive line were unable to tidy up the through ball (which previously they had done all game with ease) looking a bit square, and still we had an opportunity to clear but whilst dithering their man got his foot to the ball first and scored.
It’s always easy to look at things after the event and say; ‘if only this or if only that’…
If I was a millionaire I’d live in Keston Park. But I’m not and I don’t. In my opinion, a number of things have to happen. This is not an exhaustive list;
1. Don’t concede an early goal
2. Concentrate on keeping a clean sheet (we haven’t kept one yet)
3. Improve our general levels of concentration – all over the pitch
4. Be prepared to play for eachother and encourage your teammates
5. We MUST finish goalscoring chances
6. Cut out stupid individual errors in our defensive third
7. Midfield to play a more intelligent game and not get caught out up the pitch when they should be back defending. It’s the hardest position on the pitch but involvement is required in BOTH penalty boxes.
8. Most of all, never give up wanting the football and keep trying to play the your normal passing game.
We will come good again and I’m sure we’ll be back to winning ways soon.