Saturday 25th February 2006
After last week''s battling performance and bearing in mind we were playing bottom of the league opposition without a win in 3 months, we maybe approached this game with a confident swagger and over inflated self-belief, this unfortunately was to be our undoing as we all thought the game was won before we’d had our Weetabix that morning.
We made wholesale changes, the versatile Jim St John, out of goal and into central midfield in recent weeks, was deployed at centre half next to Matty Wright; Danny Clark and Dave Harrigan were replaced by Tony Whiteway and Steve Pester in the middle. On the flanks, Liam Williams and Neil Connelly, with Aaron Carpenter and Terry Connor playing at full back. Adam Dawson and Terry Dunford were up front.
We didn’t start too badly and for the first 20 minutes or so controlled the game relatively well, this paid dividends when Neil Connelly slotted home after the keeper saved well from Adam Dawson. Chislehurst all the while were quite well organised and battled for every ball. After 30 minutes, Jim St John was substituted after coming off with a back injury, replaced by Adam Benningfield. The first half ended and we were 1-0 up.
At half time we talked about showing more commitment and desire, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and killing off Chislehurst. Our game plan couldn’t have gone any worse in the 2nd half, we were awful. All the over the pitch we were second to every ball, we couldn’t string together more than 2 passes, there was no desire, no commitment and no passion, apart from Dan Ford in goal we were all to blame for a dreadful performance. Liam came off with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Danny Clark.
Chislehurst equalised with about 15 minutes to go, surely this would be our wake up call, but no, our heads dropped even lower, our tanks were empty and we basically gave up, we looked like the side that were heading for relegation not Chislehurst. With 1 minute to go we got what we deserved, Chislehurst got the winner after a goal mouth scramble, we’d lost 2-1 to a team who before this game had played 16, lost 13, won 1 and drawn 2, and had accumulated a measly 5 points. Congratulations to FOBG for increasing Chislehurst’s season points tally by 60%.
There’s not much more to say really, we all know we were shocking and have to put this straight on Saturday at home against Bridon Ropes, who we have away the following week as well. We need to start playing with the same desire and commitment that we have shown against tougher opposition such as Westerham, we need to become that side in the league that teams hate to play because we’re hard to break down, physical and never give up.
A game made tricky to play in by the conditions. The wind was a big factor but we failed to keep possession and our quality of passing was very poor. When we did manage to pick our players out we did not support or move for the man in possession enough. It certainly was not for the lack of trying but we did not use our superior ability to control the game against a side who, man for man, were poorer.
Chislehurst showed more willingness to grind out a result and their back four remained a solid and organised unit which did not tend to commit men forward. We played into this by hitting long balls and not utilising the wide open spaces our home pitch provides.
The simple truth is that we deserved to lose. We all know we can play better but our inconsistency has been our downfall this season. How we get that consistency is a little bit of a mystery. We can continue to work hard as a team etc…. but we each need to look at our performances individually also. We all know how we can improve on last week’s game and at least it can only get better.