Cray Wanderers fine form continued on Saturday with a 4-2 win against Corinthian Casuals in an excellent game of football. Here are Tony Russell’s thoughts on a good afternoons work for the team.
As football matches go they do not get much better than that. What is like to be the winning manager after a game like that?
It was two good sides going head to head, a bit like a chess match at times, they had their set up and we had our way of trying to break them down. I thought for the first 45 minutes we were in control and we played at our tempo and we done what we wanted to do and the second half we sensed for the kill. I said before the game, Corinthian Casuals are at their best when you have the ball as they are one of the best counter attacking sides, they are so good at it they come at you from all angles, they’re quick. We were so disciplined for 60 minutes with that and then we went 4-0 up and we just went at them too much and over committed. Then all of a sudden they picked us off, scored and then kept coming at us, we had a bit of a rearguard action and we counterpunched and it turned into a good game of football. A slugfest would be doing it a disservice but we both stood in the middle of the ring, no backing down and to be fair it was two very tired sets of players at the end of the game who gave everything for their respective clubs.
From our point of view we were excellent for 65 minutes but we got dragged into the trenches a little bit and to be fair to the boys, it is not ideal and not what I want us to do but they fronted up and they gave as good as they got.
It was a tight, cagey first 15 minutes and needed something special to break the deadlock and Cray did so with Aaron Rhule’s header.
We had to be patient and we had a lot of the ball and they were putting a lot of men behind the ball, we were trying to find pockets to get people in. We worked it wide and this is why Jerome Federico has been brought to the club and I said at the time he would be an excellent signing and everyone is starting to see that now. He’s not just someone who can go past people, he’s so quick but he picks people out and he’s set up a couple of goals today. He set up the first and Shaggy’s goal as well. He is a very, very good player and that’s the difference when you bring a player down that has played at a higher level who can get into that final third and pick people out in different areas. It was a tight game and it needed a bit of quality to break it and was a great goal from our point of view.
Karl Dent got on the scoresheet five minutes before half time with a great free-kick, a goal so richly deserved after so many near misses in recent weeks.
Vinesy was talking to him about it the night before apparently and that he just needs to add some more goals. He’s playing very well, we know what he does but we want his name to be up there scoring goals and hurting teams. He works a lot on his free kicks now, he wants to be the free kick taker and he has come close a couple of times this season and to beat a keeper like Danny Bracken who is arguably one of the best keepers in the league, it was going to take a great strike to beat a keeper like him from distance and it was.
Two goals in quick succession after the hour put the Wands 4-0 up firstly, Aaron Rhule scoring a poachers goal.
The pleasing thing about that is, two things, one the movement which was fantastic the way we opened them up and secondly that was the information we spoke about that I felt the last couple of games the front three have not been connected going forward, one of the wide players gets it and the other player is on the other side of the pitch, so we wanted them to get a little bit closer to each other today. When one of them got the ball we wanted him coming off the wing, where can you score. I’ve said for us to do anything this year our two wide players have got to score fifteen goals. How are you going to score fifteen goals? You can’t score fifteen worldies a year, get some cheap goals. One, Jerome has crossed the ball and Rhuley has headed it in coming off his wing and then he has come off his wing again to get the second so its fantastic that they are listening to what we are saying, we all trust in each other.
Michael Power carried on his good form with the fourth goal, his tenth in seven games even though at times he was perhaps on the edge of the game.
I think the difference between the good forwards that I have seen is that they don’t have to play well to score goals. Certain forwards have to play well to score goals. I don’t think he has played that well last week and this week but he scored two last week in 45 minutes and got one today. That’s what goalscorers do, out of nothing, crosses in front of his man, goal! That’s what he brings, he’ll have many games where he will play well and some where he doesn’t need to play well to score and people forget about that. If he played well and was man of the match but didn’t score for five games you’re looking at him because he’s there to score goals. We would like him to play a bit better than he did today, he knows that but while he is scoring I won’t be going too mad about it.
Corinthian Casuals pulled two goals back in the half hour that remained and Nick Blue’s save five minutes from time could have been crucial.
They are a good side, we would get them on the break and we perhaps had one or two when we could have scored again. We said at half time, they have got to come at us now, let’s sit in and let’s break on them and do to them what they do to other teams. They’ve got to come at us and it worked brilliantly and we went four nil up but we got greedy and excited and that will keep us honest to be fair as they smacked us in the face a little bit for twenty minutes.
One good thing about this group is that are the most honest group I have ever worked with in terms of they give you everything they’ve got. I don’t think anyone who watches Cray this season can complain about them not giving everything they’ve got. They’ve lost one game this season and that was with nine men and even then the other team haven’t troubled our keeper. Up to this point if they stay honest with each other they are going to do well for themselves this year. If you have honest players who give everything for you and add their skill set onto that they are very, very good. I’m very excited about this group, we love working with them, they’re a pleasure to manage. As long as they stay honest with each other they will do alright.
A free midweek before the Thamesmead Town game next Saturday
It’s good we have a free week Shaggy’s got a bit of a tight hamstring, Barney as well so we will just get them in training on Monday, do a little bit of gym work and come in here Wednesday and work on Thamesmead and Sittingbourne. We know what we are going to get from Thamesmead, they are very good, hard to beat and well organised by Tommy Warrilow. They won’t give us anything, we’ve got to earn it but in the last six games we have won five and drawn one so in good form. Any away game in this league will be hard. Just like any team coming here to play us on this pitch, it’s going to be hard work for them.
If you look at the starting eleven today, six of them weren’t with us last season. Half the team we’ve changed, it wasn’t good enough last season, it wasn’t right so we’ve changed half the side. We’re all still learning about each other, still trying to work things out and as long as they stay honest each other long may that continue.