Sunday 12th October 2008
By Vince Wray
Darren stuck with the players that came back so well last week and added a fit again Bill Webb to make the starting 11. We knew little about the opposition, as has been the case with most of the teams so far. We had a bench of; Bridges, Georgeson, Adams, Poynter & Laurent. Now that’s a strong bench. Belchamber was injured.
The heat was unbelievable for an October day and the players seemed to suffer in it, well our players did anyway. We started fine, and took the lead with more or less our first effort. We broke away down our left, Webb crossed for Stevens who finished from relatively close range to put us 1-0 up. That’s more or less where our attacking efforts finished, yes we did create further openings, but that’s all they were, really. At times we looked fine passing the ball around trying to find a way through but on other occasions we panicked on the ball or made the wrong pass too often.
After 15-20 minutes we were conceding possession on too many occasions and were yards off them trying to close them down and tackle, it simply wasn’t good enough to get us through the game and get a winning result. They were in the ascendancy. They seemed to have all the time in the world but when we had the ball they were straight on us, forcing us into errors. I seriously do not recall any other chances of note in the first half.
It was left to our defence to get us through to half time with our lead intact. The back four were doing an admirable job snuffing out wave after wave of Otford attacks, Greenhough and Skrine made particularly important challenges. Burkett made a really good parry just before half time to keep us in front and it looked like it may be our day after all. So 1-0 up at half time.
We hadn’t looked very impressive, especially in the midfield areas, Fryer and Hussein made way for Adams and Poynter at the start of the 2nd half. Unfortunately the changes did not do anything to change the game. We were hanging on really, we just couldn’t get any time on the ball and couldn’t squeeze up from the back. Again the defence was still playing its part, some really good defensive play was on show. Skrine, Davies, Greenhough & Milner were really fighting to hang onto the lead and Burkett again made two telling saves to keep them out. Frankly, it was a bit embarrassing watching us being taken apart from the touchline, but Darren was helpless to do anything it seemed.
Laurent came on for Wray in an attempt to make us more compact and with 10 mins left Laurent pulled the ball back for Webb to set up Stevens who thundered his shot against the post. If it had gone in it would have been rough justice on our opposition but we would have been laughing all the way to 3 fortunate points. Just a minute later they managed the equaliser, and it was no surprise because it had been coming, I just thought we were going to nick the points, but, truthfully, we didn’t deserve to. 1-1 still 8 mins on the clock. We couldn’t muster anything worthy of note and still we had some last ditch defending to do. Final score 1-1.
This was not one of our better days, but sometimes you just have to admit that the opposition played well. I think they did just that. However, if we had given just an average performance I think we would have got all 3 points. There was not enough hard work out there. I mean closing down and making tackles, we didn’t work hard enough when we didn’t have the ball, we let them play too easily. Today was all down to our defence for keeping them down to 1 goal. The way it turned out, it may be a point gained, I don’t know, for me it was 2 points dropped. We just looked way off the pace today. I think some tough calls have to be made from the players now, getting in really late from a Saturday night out simply means you can’t give your best in a Sunday morning football match, it’s up to you lads. I was pleased to see that everyone showed this week and there were no non-attendances.
We have to learn from this one lads, like I’ve said before, you have to take in what Darren is saying and listen and concentrate. We didn’t look like a team today, we just looked poor and unfit. There’s better to come, we know that. But we need to stamp this one out from our memory banks quickly by winning next week in the Cup. C’mon boys we’re better than what we showed today let’s do it for real next week.
Man of the match: Chris Greenhough