Sunday 27th January 2008
By Vince Wray
This game followed an almost exact copy of last week’s fixture. For long periods we were easily the better team and created the better openings. Someone commented to me on the touchline about the similarity to last week’s game and reminded me of the outcome then, at that time it was 0-0, it was like you didn’t need a crystal ball to know what was going to happen!
Although many people commented on not finishing chances, I would class many of those ‘chances’ as half chances or openings as above. We delivered some decent free kicks and corners but couldn’t make the most of them. In the 1st half our best chance fell to Fryer who had another solid display, one on one with the keeper but the latter saved. Also Townsend had a golden chance to head home but it skimmed off his head and out of play. The Oxted defence were holding a high line and Fryer and Wray were eager to exploit it with their pace but too eager on some occasions being caught offside too frequently for my liking. We did look a bit shaky early on and rode our luck but once again we took control and played some decent football. After the early scares our defence wasn’t really under any pressure for the rest of the 1st half.
We started the 2nd half in the same vain and were on top. Fryer hit over the bar, Wray lost control when through and bearing down on their penalty box and I lost count of how many times we got round the back of their fullbacks, crossed and the ball ran behind our forwards, chances ? – not for me, openings which needed a better delivery or midfielders backing up forwards. For all our pressure their keeper had hardly made a save!
There must have been about 25 minutes left when Oxted scored their first goal which was wickedly deflected into our goal. Still even after this we created chances but could not apply the required finish. They added a second not long after helped by some hesitant defending. After the second everyone seemed to have decided we couldn’t get back into the game and we got sloppy and lost discipline and certainly lost our shape. The confidence drained away from us and our indiscipline showed as they added three further goals helped by some ‘couldn’t care less’ attitudes. It was really hurtful to watch and just as bad to play in I imagine.
The pattern is and has been recently very familiar, cant finish and get a lead in a game and cant hold out to even come any where near keeping a cleansheet. 0-0 at half time in our last 3 matches and we’ve lost; 1-2, 0-2 and 0-5. Not being able to see a game out means to me we are not fit enough in body and mind. Also if we can actually get in front it will help us to give us hunger to defend something – a lead. Clinical and astute finishing is the key for me, however I still think we need to take a long hard look at playing for the whole match not just two thirds of it and maintaining discipline at ALL times.
I''ve said it before but times like this mean we need to show character and belief, not a lack of application or commitment. I’m sure a win is just round the corner, keep on playing lads and keep on creating the chances, we’ll come through in the end.