Saturday 8th October 2005
By Shaun Keddle
Yes, I am still alive and my hangman''s noose has been put back in the shed.
A good result and pleasing performance to put to end to a bad run of form.
We approached this game a bit differently this week, with Neil Connelly doing the warm up, Jim St John assisting with the team talk and myself and Colin conducting individual player chats. This new approach was a bit less formal, more relaxed and added some enjoyment to the day. The way forward I believe.
Still hit by injury and non-attendance, action was required, so this week saw the return of Paul Garrett (cheers mate) so his bathroom tiling was put on hold and also the signing of Gary Harrigan from Fleet Leisure which halved the Orpington crime rate that Saturday afternoon.
The match itself started well for us, with us having a lot of possession and got our reward via an early goal after Adam Dawson went through on goal with the resulting rebound favouring Jamie who coolly found the net. Half an hour gone and good work from debutant Gary Harrigan saw a fantastic cross to the back post to be met by the rising Liam Williams who found the net with a powerful header giving the keeper no chance. A much needed goal for Liam who was delighted with the effort.
2-0 at the half and Jumbo did not have a great deal to do, but Eltham did have a few half chances to reduce the deficit. Again we had chances to extend our lead further, but sometimes we were wayward with our shooting. At the half we spoke about getting forward to get the killer third goal to really kill Eltham off. We did just that and a bullet strike by Gary Harrigan after around 10 minutes gave us the breathing space that we needed.
Eltham never gave up and continued to fight until the end, and although we were never in trouble, it was disappointing to concede a late goal after a mix up between Paul Garrett and Jim St John saw their centre half steal in between the two for an easy consolation. Eltham Palace have not have the best of starts this season, but they do work hard and I am sure results will start to come their way if they can stick together. I am sure results will follow.
3-1 the final score and it was so much better than the previous week, mainly due to the preparation. I don''t think we are firing on all cylinders yet, but we were not too far away from it on Saturday. We did slack off slightly in the last half an hour, but the damage was done and we could afford to relax a little.
Some good performances all round. Gary Harrigan had a great debut - created one, scored one and picked up three votes from his peers. Came off the pitch knackered as he has not played a full game for two months, but really set an example in terms of effort. Not to be outdone, Harrigan senior put in a very mature performance full of pace, intelligence and trickery that saw him protect the back four by breaking down their play and creating ours. Dave was rewarded by MOM from me and also by his team mates as he picked up half the votes. Matt Wilson also picked up 3 votes making the triple-ginger-midfield take 14 out of the 16 votes. Matt played a very disciplined role winning a lot of headers when necessary and getting about the park to support the attack when he could and defend when called on. Jamie again proved a handful to the opposition attracting players towards him every time he ran with the ball (or was that his John Frieda hairspray for blondes?) and Liam''s hard work over the last few weeks has now paid off with a goal.
Daragh had a good first half and showed some good discipline (for once!!), Neil C never wasted a ball and Richard and Matty sewed things up at the back rarely given their centre forwards a chance. Jumbo in goal was up for this and never done anything wrong with plenty of communication. Adam Dawson on another day could have bagged a couple and created some good opportunities out of nothing. Quite a difficult role to play in all fairness.
Next week we have Eltham Palace again in the first round of the West Kent Challenge Shield and the same will be required. We will have a stronger squad as a couple of players return from injury and holiday so again patience is required when selections are made. We have a couple of nightmare weeks coming up in terms of availability, so I might well be experimental with personnel and positions. We also have Richard''s team talk to look forward to and I have nominated Sam Small to take the warm up - please come prepared. Don''t forget, this weeks training is cancelled and we are all going to watch the game up at the club. 7pm meet (or near to it as poss). We also need to organise a night out - Jumbo, get on the case and let us know.