Saturday 11th February 2006
By Shaun Keddle
A disappointing day in which we lost our Cup.
Preparation going into this game was excellent, a big full squad eager to hold onto our last chance of glory. This was emphasised by Dave Harrigan turning up first before anyone else, being first out of the changing room and having a go at other players for being late – I think that one might backfire, Dave.
The game started relatively well for us, but it was always going to be difficult. We settled down after the first 5 minutes and looked the better side. Our efforts were rewarded when Liam Williams pounced on a loose ball after twenty minutes to put the Guild ahead. This seemed to spur us on and we started to dominate the play. Chipstead, although battling well, were not at the races. It was only their number eight who was causing any trouble for us at this stage and he was desperately trying to get his side going. He did just that when he converted an undeserved equaliser just before the half, a very sloppy goal to concede when we let players turn unchallenged and losing our men in the box.
At the half we spoke about discipline. We also spoke about raising the tempo as a few older heads in the Chipstead side might feel the pace if we really went at them. The second half was bad for us in terms of footballing ability. Chipstead controlled the second half at their pace and even though we battled well, we did not play very good football. Both centre forwards from Chipstead now were giving us trouble and we really failed to deal with them. The number eight was playing a blinder and we never really got to gips with him for the whole 90 minutes. Chipstead then scored from a well rehearsed free kick and converted a penalty kick after Danny Clark brought down a player in the box. In the dying embers of the match, the referee had no choice but to send off Jim St John. Chipstead ran out worthy winners 3-1. Best of luck to them in the next round.
Despite the loss, I believe there were a few performances worthy of note. The change in formation, due to limited attacking options, left Liam up front on his own. He worked very hard and battled well, using his pace when he could. A bit more composure in front of goal could have lead to hitting the target on a couple of occasions, but he did lead the front line well. Dave Harrigan played his best game for a while, breaking well from midfield to get forward and again with better finishing could have found himself on the scoresheet on a couple of occasions. His preparation for the game was spot-on and myself and Tant would be more than grateful for more of the same! Terry Dunford got the MOM award for a very solid performance on the right and he really fancied this and has made a great start to his first team career. Terry Connor looked comfortable when he came on and will get a start this week. The rest of the performances were average to say the least, although we did battle and compete well in a game when we were given absolutely nothing.
Now the referee was not to blame for the loss. Our failure to deal with the number eight, play the game at our tempo and convert our first half chances were the cause of that. I have no complaints about the penalty or the sending off itself. Chipstead were the better side in the second half and deserve their place in the semis.
Okay, in terms of any silverware our season is over. What we must do now is finish as high up as the table as we can and look to develop the new recruits that we have. Both the Terrys need games to get comfortable with our set up and we do need an additional good young striker to add to the squad (any ideas anyone?). All this season we have lacked that and have rarely had attacking options on the bench. There are also one or two notable individual performances occurring in other teams at the club and now is the ideal time to see what they are about. We need to build for next season, so changes will be made.