In my last Musings I mentioned the weather that was tad damp and that we might lose the Brentwood game. Well that prediction was correct and we did not get a game until January 17th when Thamesmead visited Bloomfields.
Having had a really tough match away I was not sure what to expect from the Mead in this match but I wanted to make sure my team were prepared well. Historically we are a big sluggish after a break in games but I am glad to say there was no problems on that front.
In fact by the end of the match we had pretty much domineered the proceedings. This led EADT Chief Sports writer Mike Bacon to describe the game as one of most one sided 2 nil victories he had ever seen.
Thankfully Sam Nunn was back in the team, which allowed pseudo centre half Luke Ingram to return to a more familiar position wide in midfield. With Steve Holder not fit the No.11 shirt went to Rhys Henry. During the pre-match talk I flagged up my concern that we had not scored from a set piece for a while and I wanted to see our central defenders being more aggressive in the opposition box. I also mentioned (tongue in cheek) to Ingers that he had not scored since his penalty miss a few weeks earlier.
Well don’t you just love it when a plan comes together as we took the lead from an Ollie Fenn header following a corner, which was nothing less than we deserved having started the game really well. Leading by a solitary goal at the break there was a real need to finish this game of and our attacking play was very good although this was supported by an excellent defensive action. Messrs Brown, Fenn, Nunn and Coakley were all excellent and it was no surprise that Browny took the MotM award.
Carrying on the theme of getting what you want was our second goal that came from a great strike from Ingers. To be fair we were never in much trouble and although our guests worked hard they never threatened Shaun in goal.
Next up was Barkingside who in the reverse fixture back in September on the rather bobbly Ilford FC pitch gave us a match that we had to really dig in to win. The scoreline was 1-0 thanks to an Ian Westlake goal. On the night we were given a real scare and it was a game that keeper Shaun Phillips really stepped up to the plate with an aerial bombardment in the final few minutes that had to be dealt with.
In recent weeks however their results had been poor and to be honest based on the appalling discipline shown in this match it was no surprise. When a team who are in a relegation battle cannot work hard together for everything but instead prefer to get involved in off the ball incidents and abusing the officials then there is something really wrong. By the end of the game there had been 3 sendings off, one of which hadn’t even got off the subs bench and for what its worth on this display the Essex Senior League will be calling them. Pity really as the club officials I spoke to before the game we really decent East End guys; I would have liked to have heard what they had to say about it all.
Despite going behind very early on we made amends to run out 4-1 winners with goals from Kieran Morphew, Michael Brothers and 2 from Sam Newson; it could have be somewhat more. There was a good news story with Thurrock beating Harlow 2-1 which meant we were 3 points behind with 3 games in hand and a better goal difference.
Sadly, in that game, Hawks midfielder Sam Holloway suffered a badly broken leg towards the end of the first half. My best regards goes to him and hopefully he’ll be back applying his midfield abilities before too long.
So we moved onto Aldis Park home of Dereham Town for one off our ‘catch up’ games. The new away strip had its debut in what we knew would be a really tough game. The Magpies don’t drop many points at home so we needed to be at our best.
Kem and Morphs in the 'Lazio' kit?!?!
To be honest for large parts of the game we played very well and I really believe deserved something out of the game. However we made two really poor mistakes from bad decisions, which we were punished for. Trailing 1-0 at the break News got us level and for 25 minutes or so there looked only one winner. It was not to be and credit must go the Matt Henman and his team who defended stoutly and when they had their chances scored to take all 3 points with a 3-1 victory.
Last Saturday we tripped across Essex to Maldon & Tiptree, a ground where I have never won. Although many games were off due to snow and frost, The Wallace Binder Stadium pitch was in fine nick. The game started in blizzard like conditions and a fairly even start changed around the 20-minute mark.
Firstly The Jammers opened the scoring with us looking very sluggish in defence and then we lost stalwart Ollie Fenn to a straight red card. This was a reaction to an appalling challenge and although I do not in anyway condone what Fenny did I have to say that I was sure the offending home player would following him down the tunnel. This wasn’t to be with only a yellow produced.
Before I continue I want to make an observation about the fast tracking of Referees particularly younger ones who (maybe) have not played the game. I really try and be as supportive of the officials in every game we play, even when I feel a bit hard done by. Certainly I have no time for the various managers, coaches and benches who just berate the men in black. However I really believe that we were the victims of some good ol ‘gamesmanship’ in this game and the man in the middle just did not have the experience and maturity to deal with this. I know that without officials we cannot play and I hope these comments don’t come back and ‘bite me in the arse!!’ I just hope that the powers that look after the officials plan their appointments allowing the particular young Ref to develop his skills and not incur the disbelief and frustrations of some of the relevant managers and players.
Back to the game, down to 10 men I have to pay tribute to my team, as they were terrific. Using the 3-4-2 formation we took the game to our hosts and that man Ingram equalized late in the first half. In the second half we pushed on and with no thought of bringing the bus in front of the penalty area tried to win the game. In fact anyone watching may have thought who was a man short with considerable time wasting tactics implemented.
HOW THINGS USED TO BE
Now while I am in that vein of thought why is it that firstly Refs do not book players, particularly goalkeepers for excessive time wasting and also why have they dropped to 6 second rule that a keeper can hold the ball? The time wasting causes more frustration than any other issue on the pitch. The holding of the watch and saying the time is added on just doesn’t cut it. Get the bloody card out Mr Ref!!
So for the second time back to the game, which ended up as a 1-1 draw which was not at all bad, especially as Heybridge had inflicted the first home defeat on Harlow so a point gained.
I am typing these Musings as last nights game at Tilbury had fallen foul of the winter weather so I am looking forward to Saturday visit of Romford.
In my last notes I mentioned that ex Needham legend Danny Laws had taken charge of AFC Sudbury in our match but now they have appointed Jamie Godbold as their new 1st team Manager. I like Jamie, he was a great player having given loyal service to Lowestoft and landing this plum job after cutting his teeth at Kirkley as their manager is probably what he deserves. Certainly his first few games have started well as they now look nailed on as a team to battle in the play offs. I am hoping they can continue that good form on Saturday when they entertain league leaders Harlow!