Cray remain second in the Bostik South on goal difference after defeat at home to Carshalton Athletic last Saturday. Here Tony Russell gives his thoughts on the game and looks ahead to the trip to Ashford United on Saturday.
When we spoke last week you felt that the game against Carshalton might not be the attacking end to end games of last season. What are your thoughts after the game?
It went very much how I thought it would. We planned for them sitting back and letting us have the ball like I said they would and them not playing from the back and hitting Pete from goal kicks. The biggest shame was we coach the team on how to get the front 3 good ball and we did that in the first half really well but the quality once they got it wasn’t good enough? We got a lot of good ball in the final 3rd and the spark just wasn’t there.
There were not too many chances first half but Michael Power came close a couple of times didn’t he and Jay Leader was unlucky with a piledriver of a shot pushed behind. Bluey did well too with a couple of key saves but the feeling was the two teams cancelled each other out a bit first half. Was that how you saw it?
No I don’t agree if I’m honest. Like I said we worked on a game plan and we did exactly what we worked on? Rhuley has gone past there full back 4-5 times in the first half and not picked anyone out. We got Junior 1v1 with their left back a number of times in the first half. For how good Cheadle is on the ball you can get at him with pace and Junior didn’t manage to get past him once. Denty and Shag was linking up well but that final pass was letting us down so they didn’t cancel us out? We just wasn’t good enough when we got in the business end of the pitch. We do a lot of work on set plays and the balls in were so poor! I don’t remember one ball going into the areas we had worked on. It was very disappointing. We had the first 30mins but they come strong in the last 15mins of the first half.
It was good to see Aaron Rhule back again and I thought after a rather quiet start he was one of our best players on the day. His goal whether he meant it or not was well deserved wasn’t it as he has had to miss quite a lot of 2018 so far through injury and suspension?
That’s only his second game this year for us so he tired a little at the end but he gave anything he had. Like I said he had the beating of the right back but maybe he was a little rusty as normally he has a good final ball. Suspension have really cost us this season so it is something we really need to look at when signing players next year. I am a big fan of him and know just how good he could be, I just hope he allows himself to fulfil the potential he has. Off the pitch he is a nice man and on it he is a very good player it’s just somewhere in the middle we need to work with him on.
Although we were in front I felt we had so much time left in the game and I never really felt comfortable. Were you disappointed that we couldn’t capitalise on Rhuley’s goal and put them under more pressure?
I felt comfortable if I’m honest? They was coming onto us but wasn’t having any shots, the back four was excellent and Bluey was organising them really well. They was overcommitting and we was counter attacking them so I though we looked more likely to get a second. We broke just before they made it 1-1 when we put Junior in and their midfielder just got back when he was in on goal. I was more than happy with how the game was unfolding.
The game turned on its head with two Carshalton goals in three minutes. Jordan Cheadle is a free kick specialist and that was a tremendous strike for 1-1. Christie Pattison’s goal was a bolt from the blue too (he used to play for Cray as an Youth/U21s player). Although this was a great winning goal did we contribute to our downfall in the end or do you give Carshalton credit for turning it around?
I must admit that’s as low as I have ever felt after a game, the goals was really disappointing. For how good the free kick was and hats off to the lad it was a great hit but Bluey will be upset with that. Its 30 Yards out and he has scored on the keepers side, The info was Cheadle likes to go the keepers side. I haven’t talked to Bluey yet about it but knowing him as I do I think he won’t be happy with it. The second is a long ball flicked on and Mitch is waiting for Bluey to come and pick it up or clear it and he doesn’t come so he ends up kicking it out. We just didn’t clear our heads fast enough after the first goal! Like I said Saturday was a hard one to take for everyone but having switched my phone off Saturday I woke up Sunday clear in my thinking. We are good enough to win against anyone but we all need to step up to the plate now and give everything we got. I remember losing at home to Sudbury the year we won the league and thinking we had blown it and one good thing come out of that game. I got to see what players I needed round me and what ones I didn’t? I got to see how Gary Rump was when things wasn’t going to plan? I got to see what fans only cheer and encourage the team when they are winning. The first texts I see when I turned my phone on was from Vinesy saying him & Nathan are right behind me and know we can do this! I know this group is good enough and now it’s up to all of us to go and prove it!
Despite the defeat we still obviously have a lot to play for with 11 games left. We travel to Ashford United next Saturday. They are a different animal at home to away aren’t they and they will want to prove something after the 1-9 defeat in January?
Any game away is hard no matter who you a playing! Ashford have signed some very good players and Gaz (Gary Alexander) is in with them and he knows all about us but this is more about us, We know if we get back to playing how we know we can we will beat anyone at this level. Forget the home game when we beat them 9-1 it won’t be that game. They have come on plus like I said at the time we had one of them night when most things went in. I’m really looking forward to getting back out on the pitch and putting things right.