Sunday 11th November 2007
By Vince Wray
Have we gone deaf? You what?
Firstly some messages to any players or supporters reading this report;
1. Obviously no player listened to the manager before the game and his instructions. (avoid complacency, keep the ball down and pass it, play the ball the way you’re facing, keep the passing short whenever possible, avoid confrontation with the referee). Not listening or failing to carry out instructions on some of it is kind of acceptable but not acting on ANY of it is a poor response from a set of players that Darren idolises. Your manager deserves better than that lads.
2. If you do not go training without calling Darren do not expect to be an automatic choice in the team. You have been told to call Darren if you can’t make it. And it starts at 6.00pm not 6.10 or 6.15. How would you feel if Darren couldn’t make it one evening but didn’t call you? Some of our timekeeping is not good enough. That goes for matchdays too.
3. Lastly we’ve always encouraged support from friends and family and it proves invaluable and that’s what we want – support. Verbal encouragement. Darren does not welcome opinions in his ear during the game because it causes confusion nor does he really want anyone telling the lads what to do other than himself or me. Again because of confusion. Anything boils down to opinion but there is only one opinion that matters – Darren’s.
Please can you take these points on board. Thanks everyone.
I finished last week’s report by commenting that we really must learn from our mistakes. That obviously wasn’t picked up by any of us in readiness for today. Casual and complacent, feeling cocky about the apparent prospect of an easy victory in the match. We warned the lads about this before the game and at half time. We also warned them about getting on with the game and not getting involved with the referee as we’d heard he was a bit of a stickler. That didn’t happen either. Although I must say he was not a competent official in my opinion. We picked up 3 yellows and a red card. As much as we’ve picked up in the last 2 seasons!
The vicious circle of poor play at both ends of the pitch continued today. Again, we started subdued and a bit quiet, trying to get the ball up to our forwards far too quickly with long balls that weren’t having any effect. We’d already been served a warning by them coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions, Burkett rushing off his line on one occasion to punch clear and some poor finishing from them. Adams came close for us with a sweetly struck shot from the edge of the area and Bridges squandered an opportunity when placed close in to their goal which he knows he should have buried.
However, 25 minutes gone saw us with a 0-2 deficit. Both goals were poor, no sorry, they were pathetic. With both of them we had chances to clear and also involved in the build up there were some poor attempts to make telling tackles and clear the danger. Bridges got one back from just inside the box before half time to help ease the scoreline. 1-2 down at the half way mark.
We did improve in the 2nd half and it has to be said we had the vast majority of the play. Murphy equalised for us after the keeper had mishandled a cross. 2-2 now and we were doing our best to turn up the heat. Skrine had two good chances, one of them hitting the post, Bridges again, Stevens had a shot over as did Delaney, Wray had a shot saved and Holmes had a free kick that went wide. At least three of these would have gone in on another day, sparing our blushes but it didn’t happen. Orpington were restricted to break away football, Burkett rushing out to tackle on the edge of his box. But with about 7 minutes left, casual and thoughtless defending saw us caught in possession around our box, their player ran through and scored.
The referee now was stopping play for every little infringement and had lost control in my opinion. The match nearly descended into anarchy, with both teams absolutely mystified with some of the official’s decision making. I would like to add that none of it was to do with any bad feeling between the players. The game finished 3-2.
Personally, I don’t think we’ve had the run of the ball in these last 2 games and I’m not worried about squandering goalscoring chances because that will change. I’ll worry about that when we are not creating the chances. The indecisive defending is the area of concern for me. We haven’t kept a clean sheet yet. My opinion is defend first, keep things tight first and then play ourselves into the game, build your platform for the game from solid no nonsense defending. Does manager Burkett now need to consider reshuffling his pack of players?
The defeat wasn’t about the referee. It wasn’t even about the opposition. It was about us. Trust me, now is not the time to be pointing fingers and blaming individuals. Don’t lose belief in our own ability, keep the faith in your football, trust in your team mates, encourage them and play with every last milligram of strength to play for eachother. Don’t throw the toys out the pram because a couple of games have been lost, a decent team does not become a poor team in the space of a couple of games. In adversity we have to stick together and pull each other through it. Now is the time to sit back and eat a very large slice of humble pie. Once that’s been digested, thought of restoring pride to our own performances, what we can improve on and an overall spirit to play with full blooded commitment whoever we are playing.
Bring on Three Bridges next week. I haven’t lost the belief in any of the players because I know we are capable of better things.