Cray Wanderers v Guernsey – The Thoughts of the Manager – Tony Russell
Cray Wanderers got February off to an excellent start with two big wins at home to Herne Bay last Saturday and an impressive 3-1 win at Whyteleafe on a wet Tuesday night. Here Tony Russell looks back at those two games, an injury update for Barney Williams and a look ahead to the challenge from Guernsey.
A tremendous start to February for Cray Wanderers, Tony with an outstanding performance at Whyteleafe on a very wet and soggy night and a huge three points. What were your thoughts after the game and did you think this was our best performance of the season?
The first 45mins in particular was very good. If we had come in at half time 6-0 up I’m not sure anyone in the ground could have moaned about it. I rate Harry & Whyteleafe so it makes it even more satisfying. Some of the football we played was a joy to watch at times. The 2nd half we had to manage it a little as we have a few of the boys struggling but, we still could have scored a couple more. I said to the players after that “not many teams will do that to Whyteleafe so you can take great confidence from this”. I have said all season I felt we haven’t hit top form yet and we have seen glimpses during the 2nd half on Saturday, and against Whyteleafe last night, of the sort of levels I think this group can reach.
Let’s go back to Saturday and a crushing win against an in-form Herne Bay side which produced six goals including four for Junior Dadson and assists to set up Jerome Federico and Daniel Uchechi. There were many who thought that a big win was just around the corner, did you expect it to happen on Saturday?
The most pleasing thing about that was we questioned the wide boys on the Wednesday before the game – they were not giving us enough goals and we told them that. We had a chat as a group then we went out on the pitch and worked on getting them in areas in which they can score cheap goals. Take Dadson’s pen out of it and all of the goals were scored in the 6 yard box! Feds goal come straight off the training pitch! It’s so nice when you have worked on something and it comes off. Mind you, when that did go in, Joe Vines come and speared me off my cool box in celebration, so maybe I might hold fire next time as I couldn’t breathe for 5 minutes after!!
We started the game itself really well then dropped off it for the last 15 minutes of the first half, so I wasn’t overly happy at half time. We came out 2nd half a lot better and got the 2nd, then you ask the other Manager a question (I have been there myself when you are away to a strong team and you go 2-0 down you have to make a call) do you take your medicine and just keep it tight and try and nick one to get you back in the game or do you roll the dice and go for it. Fair play to them – they went for it, they pushed their wing backs high and left 3 v 3 at the back. From that point chances came thick and fast and we scored 6 – we should have scored more but you can also say they could point to one or two chances themselves. I saw last night they got beat 5-1 and there is the problem with taking a big loss, you run the risk of a knock on to the next game. They came into the game on the back of some good results – that’s the life of a Manager, some calls you get right and some you don’t.
Just a quick note for supporters on Barney Williams who has missed the last three matches. What is the latest you can tell us on his injury?
It’s a funny one, he is in no pain but his knee has blown up. He has loads of fluid around his knee. Ally works on it and it goes down, then the next day it comes back. So we are a little confused as to what is going on. I have spoken to the club and they have been brilliant as always and agreed to arrange an MRI Scan for him. He will have that tonight and we should know more in a couple of days. We have had so many injuries this season it has been crazy but, I have a good squad and the Under 23’s in addition, so we have coped fine. Archie has really stepped up and I thought he was brilliant against Whyteleafe.
Finally, a look ahead to a tough game against a strong Guernsey side this Saturday who played well when we played over there in November. What can we expect from the Green Lions on Saturday?
They are a lot better than they were last season. You never know what side Tony will bring over, but what I do know is, they will give everything they have as they are a very proud group. Training tonight will all be about them, they will get the upmost respect from us. Saturday and Tuesday won’t mean a thing if you don’t back it up on Saturday, so if we turn up below par we will get beaten, that’s for sure, so we need to get the boys fired back up and get them ready for another hard game. Hope you all enjoy the game!