Today’s opponents have sold a couple of players since our last meeting and have used the money to make some useful additions to their squad. In comes Louie Theophanous from Staines and Harry Grant has joined from Bromley, as has Jamie Slabber. Michael Richens has been loaned from Peterborough United so the line-up facing us will look a little different to the last time we played them a few weeks ago.
Our last match saw us play Bath City in what turned out to be a tight game. Anthony Acheampong saw red for a professional foul and we had no complaints about the decision which saw us play out the last 12 minutes with 10 men. The sending-off was untimely as I felt we had had the lion’s share of possession in the second half. We had a couple of close calls when a Kenny Clark header was scrambled off the line and another deflected shot skimmed past the post. It was another clean sheet and another game without defeat but we need to start converting our chances as we can’t keep dominating games and not winning.
That’s three sendings-off this year and we’ve now played 125 minutes with 10 men and have yet to concede a goal or lose. It’s not ideal but it does show you how resilient we have been when we have lost a player during those games.
I was disappointed at the negative atmosphere within the stadium last week and as I keep saying, when things are not going for us the players need a lift. Personal abuse of the players does not help them to perform and it is an issue they keep referring to in the dressing room. All it does is encourage the opposition and although I accept that I will get abuse when things are not going as you want, please please do not do it to the players. It is counter-productive and they deserve better.
Once Anthony was sent off I had to ensure we were not left vulnerable to a set piece and that is the reason I made the substitutions I did. Sometimes they will work and you get the credit and sometimes they don’t and you get flak. I understand that more than anyone. Young people in any walk of life don’t generally react well to criticism but it is a part of life and as long as it is constructive most people try to learn from it.
We all want success this season and you really have to play your part. We expect you to voice your opinion when you think someone’s not pulling their weight and have a little moan when someone misplaces a simple pass. If we have a below-par performance nobody is saying you can’t be disappointed or frustrated and make your feelings known.
But please be as positive as you can. This team has lost two league games at home in 2014 – a record that we should all be proud of. What we don’t want are misguided verbal attacks on players that have a negative effect on individual and team performances.