Wealdstone have started the season well and having watched them dominate the Ryman Premier last season, we know we are in for another tough game. In Scott McGleish they not only have a striker with a wealth of experience and a natural ability to find the back of the net, they have an old colleague of mine back in our early days at Charlton.
The Havant game was a tight affair and although it started with a bit of ebb and flow, I felt we took control towards the end of the first half and were unlucky not to be in front. Antony Acheampong should have done better with his opportunity from our first corner and then we had a cast-iron penalty decision go against us. It is not something that is spotted at this level and defenders can get away with the odd shirt pull or holding as generally the referee’s eyes are elsewhere – but video evidence clearly shows a blatant foul on Matt Godden which was overlooked.
The second half was comfortable from a defensive point of view and Preston Edwards was only troubled once, a long-range effort on the angle, down at his near post. Having watched Havant pull Sutton apart the game previously, we have to take credit for limiting a very good side to almost no opportunities. It took a great goal to secure the three points, the move itself was well timed and the strike from Daryl McMahon was a memorable one. After good hold-up and support play, Macca let fly with a 25-yard volley that looped over the keeper giving him no chance to pull off the save.
We currently have two boys out on loan and both are playing in the Ryman Premier League for Lewes and Grays Athletic. The loan system will be important to us this year and players understand that match fitness can only be gained by playing in games. Realistically the only way to do that if you are not getting enough game time at Ebbsfleet is to go out on loan. What every player needs to be is ready for his opportunity once it arises and to do that you need to be up to speed regarding fitness.
Tommy Fraser is still recovering from his ankle injury and Ben May and Michael West continue to do rehabilitation work in the gym. Tommy is only days away from training and Ben is continuing to progress but is still in some discomfort with his knee and will need more time to recover. Westy is making great progress and Charlton are allowing him to use their anti-gravity running machine which is very kind and should help to bring Westy’s recovery time down. Billy Bricknell and Dean Rance are both back in full-time training and the squad is now looking how we want it to with competition for places.