Maidenhead will be our fourth game in nine days after having to start a week later than any other league other than the Premier League. I will never understand why at a level where squads are limited in size, the powers that be squeeze four fixtures into such a short space of time.
At a level where players generally have to jump out of bed early the next morning to do a day’s work, it doesn’t leave a great deal of time to recover physically or mentally. Squads are tested to the limit almost immediately and I feel it’s something that could have been easily rectified with an earlier start date, so the fixture list wasn’t as congested.
I’ve never seen 400 away fans at any Conference South game, long may it continue – it was noticed and very much appreciated.
In saying that it does leave very little time to dwell on the games that have just passed as you have to move on very quickly to the next game, something which I was grateful for after the Dover game.
The match itself was a mixture of feelings for me as, aside from the first 20 minutes, I thought we totally dominated possession and in terms of football there was only one team in it. We played at a high tempo, moving the ball well, and I was encouraged by the response after going a goal behind.
Once we started to get a strong foothold in the game and impose ourselves on Dover we started to control the midfield and the equaliser should have come earlier than it did. When it did come it was a well worked goal and a wonderful finish from Cooky.
At that point I think it’s fair to say the half-time whistle was a welcome sound on the Dover bench.
We started the second half very much on the front foot and Cooky was a wonderful fingertip-save away from us taking the lead and if that had gone in I honestly believe we would have won the game comfortably. However, it didn’t and this is where the mixed feelings kick in.
Are we as a team disappointed by the loss? Absolutely. Were we encouraged by the performance? Yes, we were. However, we are all acutely aware that we must turn these kind of performances into victories and we will be working hard not to concede goals in the manner we did that night.
At the time of writing these notes we were preparing to play Eastbourne Borough away and I know you will have supported the players as vocally as you did at Dover. The players and the management have all commented on how fantastic the support was for our first home game and I’ve never seen 400 away fans at any Conference South game, long may it continue – it was noticed and very much appreciated.
I have said before when you get behind the players and create an atmosphere it really does make a big difference and to cheer and clap the players off at Dover was in my opinion recognition of a decent performance.
I can take defeat as part and parcel of the game as long as the players have genuinely made the utmost effort to perform for Ebbsfleet United Football Club which I feel they have done so far.