Cray Wanderers picked up a useful point from a 1-1 draw at third placed Carshalton Athletic on Saturday. The Wands stayed fourth as a result, what did Tony Russell think of the performance and game as a whole.
Most Cray supporters would have taken a point before the game. I sense you feel this may have been an opportunity of three points missed.
I think after what happened first half when we were busy and in control, missed a penalty then went 1-0 up. I’m disappointed if I’m honest and maybe a missed opportunity but you also have to give Carshalton credit. I thought second half they were better and it was a lot more even, I thought we edged it first half. They’re dangerous from open play but I think it was a missed opportunity that’s what I would say but we’re not distraught or feel unjust in any way as both sides can lay claim to chances. I thought we were very good for 45 minutes and we let them in a bit but I looked at the rest of the results around the league and there was no damage done and another fixture chalked off.
Looking back to the first half, a bit of a collectors item, a Michael Power penalty miss but he showed great character to take the second one before half time.
I think you have to give credit to the goalkeeper it was right in the corner and made a very good save. When he gets the second one, it’s the mark of the man, he picks himself up and dispatches it pretty well with confidence good. It would have been nice to have gone in 2-0 up but I felt comfortable at half time. Second half we’ve had one off the line from Mitchell Nelson, a couple of balls flashed across, Shags hit one just over the bar which we all thought was in and I think the one at the back post where he has come in he maybe should have done better. But they had a couple of chances too and they kept hitting us on the counterattack. They played a lot like the away side and won the ball when we tried to pick them off. When you come somewhere like Carshalton and have so much of the ball and they are countering on you, you are doing alright as a side. They gave us a lot of respect, they didn’t try and play from the back today, didn’t press us and we can gain a lot of confidence from that.
The discipline of the side has been very good especially today with so much at stake.
I think we are a very honest side I think we very rarely lose our discipline, we might occasionally give away some silly fouls. I think the referee helped, he was very good and let the game flow. I don’t think they can argue too much with the penalties, there were three bookings, two for them, one for us. Sometimes you get a fussy referee where every foul is s a booking and can make a game far worse than it actually is.
A look ahead to a tricky December and the first encounter of the season with Hythe Town next Saturday.
Their manager Clive Cook is a nice bloke and they’ve got some really good players and will be hard to beat. What we have got is a much needed midweek break which you need which will allow us a full week preparation. They will be a different type of side to Carshalton today so it allows us to work on a couple of bits, we’ll get them in and after training we’re going out for something to eat as a team which is a nice bit of team bonding so we are really looking forward to that. Hythe are a good side, I look forward to bumping into Clive, always a good man to have a chat with. They are doing well which we always thought they would even though they made a slow start they are a good side and will be there or thereabouts. It will be a tough game but I said to the players before the game, when people talk all week about today being a big game, only good sides are involved in big games. So it means when people say big game, it means you are doing well.
Finally, a word from the supporters who are turning up with flags, bells and making noise. The supporters are really enjoying the football right now.
I remember when I got here they were still sweeping up the poppers from staying up in the Bostik North. I looked at that and thought that wasn’t the Cray Wanderers that I played for. When I played for Cray we feared no-one and were always challenging. That was one of my main aims to do, change the mindset of expecting to get beaten.. Obviously I want to get promotion but my initial aim was to turn that mindset round and get us competitive. So that our supporters fear no-one, our players fear no-one and every game we go into we’re disappointed if we don’t win. Not to the point where we are rude and disrespectful to the opposition but we turn up with our bells and whistles expecting to win and we assess it as it goes. I think it took a little bit of time to deal with it but we’ve got a team here to be proud of. They all want to play for the club, they are all here for the right reasons. I’ve said it to the players, it’s going to be a long season but hopefully the boys get what they deserve at the end of it.