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Match Report

Saturday 21st January 2006

Second XI
Ray Perkins 2, Paul Woodard
3 - 2
Blackheath Wanderers

By Danny Saines

Another 3 points that puts us on top of the leader board. Nice one. Apart from 2 cup matches we haven''t actually lost now in the league since mid-October which is something we can all be proud of. Going on our first half performances it now shows in our attitude, commitment and drive.

But if we are to get anything out of this season, and with 7 games left, we have to treat every Saturday as a cup final to make up for cheap points given away earlier on in the campaign. Another 3 points this Saturday to begin with and we go again from there. Saturday''s prep was somewhat comical to say the least(!), but I think the farce had a positive effect in which the banter with the Firsts in the changing room helped us relax a little. It also meant we were fairly sharp out of the dressing room (for a change), equipment was taken up without asking (blimey), and we managed to come back down for a quick 5 minute team talk before kick off.

We started exactly as I requested and our first half performance overall was one of the best I''ve seen you guys give since I joined in the summer. Okay we didn''t walk off at half time five up, but our self-belief, confidence, passion and movement were there for all to see. Everybody wanted to win, and everybody wanted a piece of it. This is how we are going to win the league this year boys. Woody''s header typified our first half performances this year and Ray''s first proved how on fire he is at the moment. The goal we conceded was a sloppy one though but going in at two one at half time flattered Blackheath to say the least.

The problem we seem to have though is that we are not able to sustain our first half performances throughout the whole 90 minutes. The second half Saturday become more of a scrap, and on the back of the second half performance we were lucky to come away with the 3 points. Other teams may not be so lenient.

Saying that and as ugly as it was, once Blackheath had got their equaliser (and what a rocket it was too), we did something which was totally unexpected. We came back at them with a fuelled up desire to win again. Usually I would have expected the heads to go down, the body language to shift, and the bickering to start. But no! You surprised me!! The war cries went out. Judgie, Pragnell, Woody, and Kirky particularly.

And it was good to hear. It showed strength and character, and, more importantly, that we have grown up. Just remember Wilmington and how far we''ve come.

Lee came off so we could have a look at Terry and I know he was disappointed (Lee not Terry). But as we lose 2 full backs this week (one to Fuerteventura, the other to Orient (Leyton rather than North Africa)), I am now glad we did as both Terry and Lee start this week down the left hand side. Jay Hardy came off after receiving a nasty studs up through his shin pad (and maybe doubtful this week), Ray dropped back in the centre, and we got Gibbo on up front. The only sub I couldn''t get on was Village, for which I apologise, especially when hearing after the game that a playing fullback would not be here the following week. One request boys. Let me know before a game if you are not about the following week. I can then prep around it accordingly. But back to the game, and with 10 minutes to go, Ray did what he does best: picking the ball up deep, running with pace at the defence and striking from distance when it finally opens up for him to do so. Three-two and three points. As I said, nice one.

And then we went out.

I can say is that Daragh did not disappoint. Whoever took the video phone footage, please send it to Soccer AM. My counselling starts Tuesday.