Sunday 7th December 2008
By Vince Wray
TEAM BONDING - WHAT’S THAT ?
The weather conditions really are having a big influence at the moment. The pitch was frozen in one half and had thawed a bit in the other half. The surface itself was a very decent one but had been adversely affected by the frost. We had a good squad available to us so there could be no real excuses.
We started fairly well and Webb got us under way following up a Georgeson shot that had hit the crossbar. This was after about 10 minutes and we were on top and playing well. Georgeson went close again with a shot. After about 20-25 minutes we did our usual thing slackened off became complacent and VN were working their way back into the game. They had some useful players and they were causing us problems in too many areas with too much regularity. They seemed to cope with the surface better than we did, it was a bit bobbly in the frozen areas and sometimes difficult to get the ball under control, and we struggled with that on occasions. But VN didn’t, so there may be a lesson to be learned there. Burkett basically kept out VN on his own with three very smart saves in the 1st half. However he could do nothing about their equaliser.
So, 1-1 at half time. We spoke about more movement when not in possession. There seemed to be nobody moving off the ball once we’d passed it. Again there seemed little effort to mark players properly and track back when needed. There were too many Peles and Glen Hoddles on the pitch trying to do the impossible; flick, difficult pass, beating the opposition player twice, pathetic long range passing when teammate free within 15 yards, etc etc. It was so unnecessary.
The sign of a good player is also the ability to listen and learn, it’s not just about basic ability and skill. The listening and learning bit seems to go missing sometimes. Additionally something else crept into our game on Sunday which I hadn’t seen before. Team mates slagging each other off because they’d made an error, no one is perfect, we all make’em, and it is very frustrating sometimes, I know I’ve been there. But you have to do your best to bite your lip and encourage, not jump on someone’s case. We try to ask you to pass and look and then move off. If you all keep moaning at each other no one will want the ball because they’ll become scared of doing something wrong. Then we will have problems. If you look at any match on the TV, passes go astray all the time, it happens, if we encourage you to pass it you will inevitably give it away at some point. No one cocks up on purpose – do they?
The 2nd half began and again we started quite spritely. Again about 10 minutes in we scored and what a goal it was, Haines took possession of the ball and from at least 25 yards (it may have been more) struck an absolute pile driver into the top corner. A brilliant strike. 2-1 up in the lead and looking worth it. Yet again casual attitude, over confidence reared it’s ugly face. VN came on stronger. Shortly afterwards VN forced a series of corners which resulted in Haines mistiming a near post clearance and the ball ricocheted up into the net. 2-2. From here on in we were out of it, there must have been a good 20-25 minutes left. We didn’t look likely to score, we couldn’t get our passes together and the moaning was in full flow. Ben Hussein had made way for his brother Nick and Fryer had come on for an over worked Wray.
There could only have been minutes remaining when their captain picked up the ball on their left side around the halfway mark. He ran and kept running, surely someone was going to tackle him, no, he left us for dead, (the pathetic thing is, he wasn’t that quick) he continued his run all the way into our box, to the bye line and pulled it back for one of his team mates to score. Virtually unopposed that run from him and our powerless efforts to halt him was a prime example of all the bad things that were happening. We were devastated. But couldn’t muster the equaliser from anywhere. VN had served us enough warnings in the last 25 minutes, they had 2 decent penalty appeals turned down and admittedly we also had one knocked back, but also overall their corner count was 6-0 in their favour – yes no corners for us today, that also says something.
HERE’S THE BONDING BIT !!!
I would certainly like to be reporting in a more positive and optimistic fashion but the truth has to be aired and published. What happened today has happened in quite a few other matches, we haven’t learned from previous errors. We didn’t play on the pitch like a team today and we haven’t played like a team off the pitch either recently. Sometimes a decent spirit within a team can get you through certain situations but we don’t have that to rely on or so it seems. What I mean is this; no one hangs around for a chat and at least 1 drink after the game these days and no one comes back to the club after away games, even when they’ve told me they are coming back to pay their subs etc! It’s called bonding lads, you haven’t tried to do any of it, I think it would help.
We have to forget today, LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES, AND GET ON WITH THE NEXT GAME. Why don’t you buy me and Darren and each other a beer after the game? For God's sake lads let’s bond, it is Christmas after all!!!!