Another eventful week is behind us and we return to Stonebridge Road after two very frenetic matches.
The atmosphere here last Saturday was brilliant. I said to the boys at half-time if we can go out for the first 10 or 15 minutes and be exciting and be on the front foot, we’d get the crowd behind us straight away and fortunately we did that. You were excellent and you got the boys going and it ended up being a fantastic 45 minutes, one I feel we should have actually gone on to win. We had a lot more chances in our 45 minutes on top than they did in theirs. They were looking for the final whistle and we were looking to kick on and win the game.
We’ve got our fitness up to terrific levels as well and that showed at Dartford just 48 hours later where we dug in and again the supporters were immense, which was a really big help.
I heard in the Dartford programme that we shouldn’t expect to drop a single point this season! That’s a bit of a silly statement to be honest. But that’s going to happen everywhere we go, everyone’s going to use the same lazy ways to describe us. It’ll be the same from fans or players or journalists at different clubs saying that we shouldn’t lose because of this, that and the other.
But anyone who understands the game of football knows that you only get the wins out on the pitch and by working hard. It’s 11 v 11 and in our case, the last two seasons have proved as much due to the simple fact that we haven’t managed to get out of this league. Stuff like that’s all a bit of nonsense really and we need to buckle down, build on what we’ve started and ignore all that sort of talk.
Back to the game itself and I think Dean Rance’s second caution was a yellow, I’ve not got too many complaints about that. But the first one for me wasn’t a booking. That said, we’ve got good players as replacements and they are desperate for a game so it opens the door for someone to come in and lay claim for the shirt. That’s the beauty of us having such a strong squad. They were all in the day after the Dartford game, training again and showing a terrific work ethic.
Defensively, Kenny Clark and Tom Bonner were tremendous. Both have had a great start. Tom taking the armband has really paid off and he does lead the team so well on the pitch. He’s got that touch of class about him on and off the pitch. And I think Clarky is just your ultimate warrior as a defender – he’s a powerful player and he’s reached a peak level of fitness right now. They both have to be on top of their game though because they’ve got Anthony Acheampong behind them who’s dying to get out there.
Today’s visitors are another I rate as play-off contenders. They’ve got two very good forwards and two very good wide players who’ll load the box with crosses and they’ll be a hard outfit to beat. I imagine they’ll play 4-4-2 and, like Whitehawk last week, play with a bit of freedom and expression. They’ve started well and Alan Devonshire is a very experienced campaigner.
We’ve handled a tricky start really well and now we have to kick on. Every game’s difficult for different reasons and we have yet more good games coming up. I believe the next three or four teams we play will be in the mix at the end of the season so, as ever, your support can make the difference.