Jordan Holmes swaps playing against Barrow for Bahrain as he targets qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – but the Fleet goalkeeper jets out frustrated at the nature of the deflected goal that beat him on New Year’s Day.
“It was a bit unfortunate and really frustrating,” Holmes told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “I’ve seen the free-kick off the boot and it’s pretty rare to see the free-kick so early and I’ve thought this is going straight to me or it’s going to hit the wall .
“It’s hit the top of the wall and deflected back into the centre of the goal. I’m already committed to the other side which is a bit frustrating. Credit to the lad who took it – you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery and he’s hit it, hoped for the best and it has gone in for him. It’s another goal like that, that can be prevented, but it’s back to the training ground to prevent these things.”
Holmes’ use of the word ‘frustrated’ certainly echoed the feelings of home fans after Dagenham & Redbridge hit back late for the second time in a week.
“It’s one of them where we get in the same position every week,” said Holmes, “and it’s getting really frustrating for us. We dig in and we play well for the first half and bits of the second half. We’ve just got to be more clinical at the end of the day. When we are 1-0 and we are playing well, we need to put two and three past them.
“But that’s football and we’re still confident we can turn this all around. The goals will come. On a positive side for us in defence, I know it’s not great but we’ve only conceded one goal in each of the last three games. Obviously you don’t want to concede any but there is a step in the right direction in terms of defending.
“It’s getting to the stage where it used to be draws were good results and a point in the right direction. Now it’s getting to the point where we need wins, especially with teams around us that are winning and they’re getting positive results. When you do face teams that are in and around you, you need to make sure when you are on top you have to get those three points.”
Fleet will have to get those points on the board without the services of Holmes through much of January. He leaves for Thailand on Friday for the U23 Asian Cup with Australia facing three games in the Group A stage. The knockout phase could extend through to late January depending on Australia’s progress, with the quarter-finals on the 18th, the semi-finals on the 22nd and the final taking place on the 26th.
“I fly out Friday morning, straight into Bangkok and then joining up with the Australian U23 team,” said Holmes. “We’ll be straight into camp, hit the ground running and have our first game on the 7th January against Iraq. It’s a big tournament for us and anyone who’s proud to play for their country. It’s a big incentive – finish in the semi-finals and you’re off to the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
“We also play Bahrain, then Thailand, then whoever we draw in the knockout stages. It is a bit strange – I’m buzzing to play every week for Ebbsfleet and I want to be a part of the turnaround and keep us in the league. It is frustrating if you do get the call-up because it’s bittersweet as you want to play in both but I believe in all of us in that changing room and if Harry Palmer has to step in, he has more than enough quality and we can get a positive result.”