Cray Wanderers play the first of two Christmas/New Year fixtures on Sunday as Sittingbourne make the trip to Hayes Lane. Here Tony Russell looks ahead to the game, his thoughts after the end of our unbeaten record at Horsham and hopes for 2019.
I suppose it had to happen sometime, our proud unbeaten record had to come to an end, the last in non-league at a wet and wintry Horsham on Saturday. Did you have any complaints about the final result and were Horsham worthy winners?
Yes the better team won on the day that’s for sure. It was a bad day at the office and one we were all disappointed in. They wanted it more than us on the day. We had them all in Monday and had it out with them all, we then sat and watched it back. The goals were a horror show if I’m honest. The funny thing was we come out 2nd half and pinned them in, they was putting 11 men behind the ball & just giving us the ball back so when we made it 2-2 I thought we was going to go on & win it. The third goal pretty much summed the day up, it was a goal you would see in an Under 10’s game. We spoke about it as a group and have drawn a line under it now so it’s on to the next game. You can’t turn up and play for 20mins & expect to win a game of football. We could hear them shouting and singing next door and I made the players listen and soak it up. It’s important they understand people don’t give you respect unless you earn it. So if they don’t like what you hear then turn that into fuel for the rest of the season.
We return to Hayes Lane for our final home game of 2018 against Sittingbourne. The last two home matches have seen draws against Ramsgate and Phoenix and two differing types of games. We have had a couple of dramatic cracking matches against Sittingbourne in the last couple of seasons, should we expect another of those classics on Sunday and what sort of challenge will the Brickies provide?
They are the most direct team we have played this season. They put it on you and work off that? They will hit the 10 from goal kicks who will stand on the full back. They do long throws & will put it in the box whenever they can. They will work very hard and try and get into us? It’s a big game as we need to get back to winning games of football. We need to impose the style of football we like to play on the game. If we get drawn into how they play it will be hard work. We dealt with it fine when we played them away so we need to repeat that Sunday.
Finally, a big thank you to you and all the players for what on the whole has been a very satisfying 2018 for Cray Wanderers on and off the pitch. What have been your personal highlights of 2018 and what are your hopes and aspirations for in 2019? From all at Cray Wanderers and the Cray Massive a very Merry Christmas to you, Joe, Nathan, Dan, Carl, Ally, Bill and all the players and enjoy the slightly lighter Christmas/New Year schedule this year.
Highlight is getting the green light for the ground. What we do on the pitch pales into insignificance really. Without that Ground we were a dead club walking. Now we have that we need to go all out to get up and push on. It’s not going to be easy but we have a good group of players who I know we give everything they got.
Thanks for the continued support for me and the boys from the terraces to the Board room, it is much appreciated. Have a great Christmas everyone & I hope to see you all in the bar for a drink after (I hear the Chairman is buying!)