Hartley 4 v 2 Chertsey Town
Post by KOB - 10-02-2016, 11:24
We know the footballing mantra about doing our job, not worrying about other results, making sure we pick up as many points as we can - last night we did that and then got the bonus of hearing that Ashford had suffered at the hands our near rivals Knaphill, and Camberley and Epsom & Ewell had fought out a stalemate and each dropped a couple of points. It put us back above Ashford on goal diff but with 3 games in hand.
The result was everything but we can't ignore that it wasn't the most fluent team performance. We seemed too eager to put the hype and disappointment of the Hereford game behind us. Don't get me wrong, I didn't want us to stroll out and play as if the title was as good as won - it's far from that - and we needed to play at a good tempo. But playing at a 'good tempo' doesn't necessarily mean trying to get the ball in the final third as quickly as possible (long balls!), and it doesn't mean going Gung-Ho! by throwing so many forward that we end up stretched at the back, as we did in the second half when we were two up for C's sake.
Playing at a 'good tempo' the way I read it is what Hereford did to us. We can take a huge amount from that game in my opinion, individually as players and as a team. The tempo of the passing, the patient build-up, the pressing and closing down all over the pitch, the way they found space and used it well. It's fine to learn from other sides and we should.
This won't please the boys in the dugout, but we were relatively poor last night in my opinion, in terms of the overall team performance. Our ball retention was poor, relatively speaking. What got us home was the individual skill, strength and ability of our players to recover from bad situations created partly by ourselves. Chertsey came into the game on the back of a 4-2 win against Windsor, so they deserved some respect - I was even wary that we'd take it for granted and could come unstuck. To be fair to the boys, that never looked likely, apart from a section of play in the second half where they got themselves back in it at 3-1 and a second goal might have caused some jitters. We have enough quality in the side to see out games like that even when we're not gelling perfectly as a team, but we mustn't rely on that! Against Camberley on Saturday, and with other big games coming up in the league against Epsom, SCR and Knaphill - not forgetting Tuesday against Sports, who can be very difficult to play against - we need to give ourselves a shake, re-focus now with the Vase out of the way, and pick our passes and keep the ball much better than we did last night. The pitch I'm sure doesn't help, but Hereford didn't look bad on it did they. The mindset of the players will no doubt be different for those games coming up and that may help to re-focus us.
To go out on a thumbs up, well done Zac Horkan who had an excellent first half, creative on the wing and won several challenges. Could be a big player for us for the future.