On a rather murky and soggy afternoon on Saturday Cray Wanderers were held at home by East Grinstead Town. Here Tony Russell gives his thoughts on the game and looks ahead to Ramsgate this Saturday.
We missed the opportunity to go back to the top of the table after drawing with East Grinstead. We had by no means our strongest side out but what were your thoughts on the game and the end result?
We had 6 out but that’s football and you have to deal with that. I thought in terms of effort I couldn’t fault the players but in terms of playing to the game plan and quality on the ball we wasn’t great. We will have 3 back for next week so I’m looking forward to that plus rhuley only has one more game left of his ban now.
We had to work hard to take the lead after East Grinstead started well and it was a fine finish by Michael Power for his 26th goal of the season. When presented with those one on one chances you can bet your house and car on him scoring can’t you?
It was great to see Shaggy getting back on the score sheet and you could see once he scored the confidence come back into his game. We are going to need him fit & confident so Saturday will go a long way plus he has been getting in early to do extra fitness work so he really wants to kick on for us. He is always someone who had scored goals in batches so let’s hope it’s the start of a good run for him.
I thought similar to the Herne Bay game half time came at the wrong time for us as we had taken the lead and started to control the match. East Grinstead came out second half and the right back scored with a lovely finish but how disappointed were you with the way we let them back into the game?
I never felt we had control of the game at any stage if I’m honest. We had good 15mins at the end of the first half and that was purely East Grinstead blowing up as it was the first time we really got on the ball and pinned them in for any sort of period. We are really upset with the goal they scored. Ben was off the field so we was down to 10 men and Daws went right back, Lea is a lot of things but a right back he isn’t so that was a bad call. It was a smart finish but we need to track runners a little better than we did.
East Grinstead are a strange side, they’ve played us three times at Hayes Lane and have yet to get beaten. They played a whole lot better than they did at their place when we won 7-0 and were more positive yesterday. After they were beaten 1-8 last weekend did you sense they felt they had something to prove?
Like any team down the bottom if they play one of the top sides you need to start well and get an early goal. They was no better than when we beat them 7-0 if I’m honest, if you remember they started well that day too but once you get on top and score a couple they fold? I have watched them 4 times this season and they are the same. The manager shouts out all the time if they are in the game but once you go 2-3 up he doesn’t say a word and the team jacks it in but when you don’t start well and let them grow in the game they gain confidence and they played well. They have done it all season, they will get smashed by teams but then pull out a shock result when a team just thinks they just need to turn up.
Every team in every season has a blip at some point. With the suspensions and knocks in recent weeks do you see this as just a blip and once all are back in the side we will be flying again?
Yes that’s the beauty of football. Everyone has a blip and it’s the team who comes out of it the fastest that goes on to pop some bottles at the end of the season. We are doing everything we can to do that, we are playing a friendly Wednesday to try and get us going again. We are had team meeting on Monday night and that went well but talk is cheap so we need to get back to playing well, that’s the key for me. concentrate on playing well and results look after themselves
I’m the eternal optimist when it comes to Cray and at the start of the season I said Cray would be promoted and I still believe that. I know I’ve asked this question with you before but the expectation bar has been raised to the point where the fans are disappointed/gutted if we don’t win now. I know after the Herne Bay defeat I didn’t want to leave the house for a few days. This is really what you want isn’t it taking us from having a losing mentality to a winning mentality.
100% no matter who we are playing at whatever level it is I want everyone to expect us to win. I love that mentality and it is something that is embedded in me. It means you have 100% belief in the team and that is important. I get people may not agree on my tactics all the time or my player choice but we must all agree on one thing this season. This side are a good side who are good enough to do something this season. They are such an honest group of players and trust me it is hurting them just as much as anyone that they are not winning. We are doing extra fitness, watching clips of games, playing a friendly and working on things in training so we are working as hard as we can to put us back on tract. We just need to carry on doing the right things and ride it out.
Finally, a look ahead to Ramsgate next Saturday. They can be very hard to beat at home and beat Lewes in December and as the last couple of games have shown there are no dead cert games in this league are there?
It will be a hard game, the pitch is massive! They have a good side and the front 3 for them are a handful. We are going to need to play well that’s for sure. I am looking forward to it