Saturday 18th February 2006
By Colin Brazier
OUCH! So that''s what a proverbial kick up the backside feels like (and no practical demonstrations on Saturday please!) - it hasn''t happened too often this season and I was beginning to forget the sour taste of defeat.
Edd went with a starting line up of Ivor in goal, a back four of Joe Lipton, Todd Arnold, Jack Harding and Pete Morton; a four man midfield of Joe Oatley (making his first appearance for us this season), Steve Viner, Richard Coyne and myself, and a front two of Ben Tomkins and Paul Burford. Ben Duffy and the returning Andy Scott were on the bench.
The pre-match team talk had been spot-on. "Don''t let them settle", "get close", "get your tackles in", and "stay with your man" were just four of the phrases we let through one ear and out of the other. Edd might as well have gone to watch Our Vic win the Ascot Chase at Lingfield instead (write your own gag here...)
If you are going to call yourselves Elite, you had better be good. Yes, we were beaten by a well co-ordinated, quick, confident side who are running away with the division, but we had matched them earlier this season and were confident of doing so again (at least). In the first 20 minutes we were indeed the better side, having the bulk of possession without creating anything more than half chances. We then conceded the first of several (if not seven!) sloppy goals and began to lose our way. Going in at 2-0 down, we were put out of it by Elite''s two goal burst just after the break.
Well, Edd said we should put it down to a bad day at the office. We have plenty of potentially difficult games to come, starting with Saturday''s trip to Forest Hill, and we must all take individual and collective responsibility for this debacle, show our bouncebackability and get our promotion challenge back on track.
Man of the match award went to Ben Tomkins by a street, for his perseverance and never-say-die attitude, coupled with skill on the ball, throughout the 90 minutes.
So the long unbeaten run comes to a shuddering halt. But all that hard work to put us into the promotion shake-up has not gone to waste for the sake of one bad (ok, terrible) result. We can still do it, but we must not repeat Saturday''s mistakes.