Cray Wanderers v Canvey Island – The pre-game thoughts/programme notes of Neil Smith

BROMLEY, GREATER LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 26: Cray Wanderers’s Manager, Neil Smith walks out the tunnel for the warm up before The Pitching In Isthmian Premier League match between Cray Wanderers and Kingstonian at Hayes Lane on March 26, 2022 in Bromley, Greater London, England . (Photo: © Jon Hilliger / HilligerPix

The games come thick and fast for Cray Wanderers in the opening weeks of the season and this afternoon Cray Wanderers entertain promoted Canvey Island looking to build on the encouraging early season displays.  Here Neil Smith looks back to Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with Bognor Regis Town and looks ahead to the Canvey challenge.

Hello Neil.  Not long to dwell on Wednesday evening’s draw with Bognor Regis with a match with Canvey Island this afternoon but what were your thoughts on what turned out to be an exciting match.

I was really pleased with the boys, I thought we were better than at Billericay last Saturday although we played well there and when we went two nil up I felt decisions went against us.  I thought the penalty decision was a harsh one. I spoke to the players after and there was a feeling there was no contact.  I was saying five minutes before that to the players to be careful as it seemed the ref was going to give something.  Even after that I thought we just needed to keep our heads and went a bit panicky.  

Bognor had a strong fifteen – twenty minute spell didn’t they and the double substitution just before the hour lifted them.

When you are two nil down managers have to gamble as you have nothing to lose. I don’t think they did anything other than go a bit more direct from which they got the penalty which like at Billericay changed the game. If you speak to Shaun Rowley I don’t think he made a save whereas for us, we had a corner that ended up being cleared off the line, had shots peppering the goal and our set plays were a lot better with the delivery and Jalen Jones looked dangerous. I was disappointed that for the last fifteen minutes we couldn’t see the game out but in the changing room after I said to the boys they are all learning together, they are a new team .

It was great for Harold to score his first goal for the club but also I thought Jalen was outstanding and was last Saturday. I thought Alex Bentley did well and I can’t really criticise anyone if I’m brutally honest, Nyren Clunis scored a great goal, Michael Ademiluyi was a constant threat, Tom Derry played well again.

Bognor are a good side and have been together for a while, Robbie Blake has a few players that have come through their youth system or from Portsmouth but are quite a settled team.  We have a new side and are still learning and it’s just little things that are costing us.

Let’s look ahead to today and the challenge of Canvey Island who had a big win at Brightlingsea on Saturday.  At this stage of the season the games come thick and fast don’t they!

That was a good result  and a big win but I don’t know how flattering that was as a result. We have had to regroup and for us it is going to be a building process and you may have to be patient with us.  I think we have looked good so far, certainly deserved to be leading against Bognor Regis and things will drop for us eventually. I said to the boys if we keep making the same mistakes then I will have to make changes but I’m not going to judge people after just two games.   We have had to play players out of position, Sam Wood is to come back and that releases Anthony Cook, Mitch Chapman and Sam Skeffington have had good games at Billericay and Bognor Regis and we are just becoming a team.  Nyren scored a great goal on Wednesday but at the moment teams are not scoring great  goals against us, decisions have gone against us and hopefully these even themselves out but preferably sooner rather than later.