Tuesday night’s game was frustrating and pleasing in equal measure and although the result was the most important thing we have to accept that as a team we can be sharper mentally and physically.
We scored two excellent goals. The first a brilliant strike from distance from Daryl McMahon and the second a well-constructed move that started with Aiden Palmer applying pressure and stealing the ball high up the pitch allowing him to play a superb ball into Matty Godden who showed great awareness and touch to feed Charlie who had the simplest but all-important task of sliding the ball into the net.
Uncharacteristically for us, we allowed Concord far too many shooting opportunities on Tuesday night and that is something I will be looking to improve on. We pride ourselves on being a hard team to penetrate and break down but I believe that on this occasion you have to give our opponents credit for coming and unsettling our pattern of play with a very hard-working performance.
We seem to be picking up all sorts of injuries at the moment and although it’s very frustrating not to have all the players to choose from, it proves to me that having a large squad is paramount for us to be able to cope with the demands of this league. Tommy Fraser picked up an injury to his ankle, Anthony Cook sustained a dead leg, Alex Osborn’s ankle got a going over and Kenny Clark required two stitches in a head wound.
Games will come thick and fast and the players have to understand that sometimes the bigger picture is the team and that professionalism and patience is required by those that are out of the side. The one thing I can almost guarantee is that at some point everyone will get an opportunity to prove their worth on the pitch. The key is being physically and mentally prepared when that opportunity arises.
I thought the support against Concord was absolutely fantastic and to see over a thousand people in the ground for a midweek game was a superb start to the campaign. The atmosphere was very positive and you got behind the players and gave them a lift when they needed it.
From my perspective and regardless of performance and result, it makes a huge difference when the supporters get behind the players and encourage from the stands. When they are not performing at their best is when they need you the most.
Today we welcome a Havant side who have probably got the toughest start on paper of any team in our league. They have a few new faces in the side but like us they kept hold of the majority of their squad. Having narrowly missed out on the play-offs last year I know Lee Bradbury will be keen to achieve that this season.