Last Saturday saw us take on a very strong Sutton side who are one of the favourites to push for promotion this season. The first 20 minutes were frenetic and a little scrappy with both sides not allowing the other to have any time or freedom in possession. We did create one fantastic opportunity in the opening exchanges and we were very unlucky not to be in front after Matt Johnson broke free down the right-hand side and delivered a superb cross into the box which was headed on to the crossbar by Charlie Sheringham.
As is often the case goals change games and after great work from Joe Howe and a kindly rebound from our initial shot Anthony Cook opened the scoring with a very well-taken volley that gave the goalkeeper no chance at all.
The second goal came soon after and it was a Matt Johnson long throw which found its way through to Billy Bricknell who duly despatched the chance into the bottom corner of the net.
The second half was a case of dictating the tempo and not allowing Sutton to settle into a rhythm to get back into the game. We effectively became a counter-attacking team and I felt we frustrated Sutton and picked them off at the right moments. We all wanted a third to put the game to bed and that third came via the boot of Billy Bricknell who reacted well to finish from the second phase of a set piece.
Meanwhile, the youth team have started the season very well and at the time of writing these notes they were due to play Folkestone in the FA Youth Cup on Thursday night.
I observe training most afternoons and under the guidance of Daryl McMahon and Steve Watt I believe we will have players challenging for first-team places on a regular basis within the next 18 months. I have already shown that I will not hesitate to put players in the team or on the bench from our youth team if we feel that they are physically ready to compete. Opportunities will arise across a season and I know I have three or four players already that can come in and hold their own for a short period of time.
The injury list is on the increase again and on Tuesday we had nine players receiving treatment for various different ailments. Hopefully most will have cleared up by today and I will have enough players to fill the bench as we are allowed seven subs in the FA Cup.
Tommy Fraser left the club this week and he has joined Peacehaven & Telscombe. We wish Tommy well for the rest of this campaign and congratulate him on the birth of his first child which should have arrived by the time you read these notes.