Sunday 26th October 2008
Jack Standen Cup
By Vince Wray
A combination of casual finishing and defensive misjudgements saw us knocked out of this competition and suffer our first defeat of the season.
In truth, all of our games have demonstrated that we waste chances and don’t keep clean sheets and/or concede messy goals. Here’s a statistic and they don’t lie after 7 games; scored 22 goals conceded 17. I know which column needs addressing, if you are scoring an average of 3 goals a game that should be sufficient to win the match. End of. The fact that we are conceding nearly 2.5 goals per game will always leave us exposed and until that improves we will continue to have issues. Basically, it means we have to score 3 goals to win the game. What every player needs to remember is that this is a team game when we score, an individual may have his name on the scoresheet but it’s been a team effort, the same must be said about our defensive qualities and what happens in the midfield engine room. It’s called collective responsibility, which a true team will have on show in every game, I’m not sure we’ve done that yet this season. We had this problem last year with the U16’s, but last year we were losing more games than we had won. At least this year, we are actually winning our games, so something must be right. But we have ridden our luck in recent weeks and I think everyone would agree this has been coming for some time. It’s a real pity because over the normal 90 minutes we definitely had the edge, Otford only sparked into life when they scored.
Again we were 1-0 up with only 5 minutes gone with Bridges, Stevens and Webb combining well to set up Webb for the opener. For most of the half we had the edge and we played really well and should have added to our total, with chances gone begging. Everyone put in real effort and we came off quite pleased with ourselves at half time. We had combined well with our passing and we were doing our share of defending, everything was going well. Darren commented that was the best 1st half we had played all season.
The second half got under way and Otford came on a bit stronger but we were matching them and still creating problems for them. Unfortunately we gave away a soft goal and in the process I think Burkett was fouled but the ref gave the goal. 1-1 obviously Otford perked up but so did we and continued to exchange blows with the opposition and it proved to be a very open game. We went 2-1 up when Wray jinked in from the right and set up Webb who finished well with a shot on the turn inside the box. I’ve got to say at this stage we looked the winners. They snatched an undeserved equaliser with about 5-10 minutes left and after that we wilted. Stevens had gone off injured and Webb had to leave to get to the Spurs match. They were replaced by Davies and Fryer.
Extra time was all Otford really, Laurent got injured and Milner deputised. Burkett made two really good saves in the 1st half of et. But fine strikes in each half saw them run out 4-2 winners. We looked shocked when they equalised earlier in the game and there seemed a lack of belief that at 2-2 or even 2-3 down that we could get back in the game or even win it, which is a sad thing to admit to.
I just think we''ve got to get on with it, put in loads more effort and start giving off a lot more verbal encouragement to each other while the game’s in progress. I think we are playing as individuals at the moment and not combining properly as a team. We simply cannot allow ourselves to all switch off if we let a goal in, or get complacent if we take an early lead, it happens, get on with it lads!
We’ll be back, stronger and fitter and raring to go next week by notching another victory. Let’s hope we get back to our winning ways.