Saturday 22nd November 2008
By Shaun Keddle
Guild Complete Hat Trick of Cup Exits
The Guild travelled to Sutton for this Kent Cup fixture with a depleted squad due to injuries and a ‘much welcomed’ stag do.
Just a few weeks earlier, when we had a full strong squad, Sutton came to us and were fortunate to leave with a point. This time however, Sutton fully deserved the victory.
Sutton’s pitch looked excellent at kick off but it was the Guild who took early control with short fluid passing movements. Sutton did not appear to be at the races today and in as little as seven minutes; the Guild deservedly took the lead. Perkins chased down the defence and the keeper, forcing a poor clearance which Cleaver B pounced on and finished from outside the box. After the re-start the Guild took control again and should have doubled their lead when a great opportunity for Selmes sailed over the bar.
Defensively Sutton were all over the place. However, one-nil in football means absolutely nothing and if you don’t take your chances you are going to get bitten where it hurts. After 20 minutes Sutton woke up and within a minute Sutton equalized when the ball was flicked home from close range after pathetic defending from a corner.
This poor defending gave Sutton a golden ticket back into the match and in a complete role reversal took over the match. It was the Guild's turn to look all at sea defensively and Sutton further re-iterated that point with further attempts on goal. The action was all down our left hand side and just before the half, Sutton took the lead when once again a low driven cross was not cut out and the forward got across our defence and finished past the despairing Hawkes. 2-1 at the half and deservedly so.
Despite trying to get players going and back to the good flowing football of the first 20 minutes, the Guild started the second half very poorly. Once again we m*cked up our kick off for about the 164th time this season and gave the ball straight back to Sutton. Sutton were now clearly the dominant side and Hawkes in the Guild goal was the busier keeper. Davis picked up a first half knock and was replaced by Cleaver L pushing Eales into a central defensive role. However, 10 minutes into the second half, the Guild was presented with a golden opportunity to drag themselves back into the fixture. A fantastic cross into the box by Williams J found Cleaver B all alone but he never got the header down and once again the opportunity sailed over the bar with the keeper stranded.
At the other end, Hawkes was again called into action, with the 16 year old debutant pulling off some great saves.
However, on 65 mins the fixture looked dead and buried when a decent cross in (again from our left) left the Sutton forward to show us how to finish a cross, by getting the header down into the ground giving Hawkes no chance.
The Guild now looked dejected but Hawkes was on song to keep the score line down.
With 15 minutes remaining the injured Selmes was replaced by Small and again we re-shuffled the pack pushing Warren to centre half, Small to right back and Judge in the middle. With 10 minutes remaining Judge’s persistent work in the middle paid off when he won the ball in the middle and drive forward to find Perkins who finished brilliantly from 20 yards.
It certainly made the last 10 minutes exciting, and the Guild finished the game the stronger side but their chances of a comeback were dashed by the referee’s whistle.
In all I thought the better side won and the officiating was excellent by both referee and two linesmen. Excluding a bad tackle at the end leaving the Guild to finish the game with 10 men, that maybe should have been punished more severely, the game was competed in the best spirits. Best of luck to Sutton in the next round.
To summarise, players being away take their toll on an already injury-plagued squad and neither of my regular forwards were available. Perkins and Cleaver B deputized very well in their absence and both nicked a goal-a-piece. 16 year old debutant goalkeeper Hawkes deputized exceptionally well for St John and picked up MOM for his efforts. Hawkes showed ability and composure above his years and had good kicking and shot stopping abilities. He kept us in the game on a number of occasions and proved himself a worthwhile deputy as well as challenging for a more regular place in the squad. Well done ‘Piesy’ it’s a true reflection on how hard you have worked in training.
In spells we played well and looked better than Sutton, however, we never really capitalized on those spells and we have got to look to play well across 90 minutes and not just for limited periods of the game. We also still look poor defensively, which comes to us as a shock as across the seasons that I have managed, defensive play has been our strong point. Going forward we do score lots of goals but do need a higher chance to goal ratio.
Thirdly, we have too many players having ‘ok’ games. This would have got us by last season, but this season those performances need to move from ‘ok’ to ‘good’ and ‘very good’. The standard of opposition has drastically increased and so must we.
Let’s have a good attendance at training, work on these weak points and look to apply our learnings on Saturday.