Football kicked off in 2018 as Cray Wanderers picked up a very useful point at Greenwich Borough. Here Tony Russell gives his thoughts on an entertaining goalless draw, an update on Aaron Rhule and Michael Freiter’s injuries and a look ahead to Walton Casuals. On behalf of all the club get well soon Rhuley.
We began 2018 with a hard earned point at Greenwich Borough. Both defences were superb. What were your thoughts on how the afternoon panned out.
I thought it was our toughest game of the season, one in which we got asked lots of questions. It’s quite a tight pitch, they have real energy in midfield, so we found it really hard to control the game at any stage of the match. So we got dragged into a real high intensity game where the ball was getting turned over a lot by both sides. For the last 25 minutes of the 1st half we didn’t cope with it very well and were fortunate to come in at 0-0. The talk at half time was not so much about tactics it was more about questioning the players desire, we were getting out worked and we were second to things and I said to Zak and Daws I thought we were losing that battle out there.
2nd half I think we still wasn’t great on the ball but Zak and Dawes started to get control in midfield which freed up Denty who was causing them problems. I said to the players after we come here last year and they smothered us on this pitch and we rolled over and had our bellies tickled, this year we finished the game on the front foot and looked the more likely to win the game in the 2nd half, so we can take confidence from that. Greenwich borough are a good side, not many teams will go there and come away with much. So a point is not a disaster and I thought on the balance of play it was a fair result but I know Gaz will be kicking himself with their first half chances that they didn’t put away like we are about the 2nd half chances we had.
We were indebted to the brilliance of Nick Blue who made three great saves first half particularly the shot from Sam Corne before half time. When Nick is in this form there is no better keeper is there?
Not for me there isn’t, lots of people talk about his kicking but behind that is a very good goalkeeper. He’s come into some really good form and long may it continue. I would like him to be a little less busy on match days tho!
We began the game very well and behind the goal we felt that Aaron’s goal should have stood. Did you get a good look at that?
From my view I can’t really tell so I didn’t make much of a deal of it. 5 minutes later Grant Basey walked to the dugout and said he was standing right in line and said he was miles on side when the cross came in. So maybe it was one we missed out on!
The down side to the game were the injuries to Aaron Rhule and Michael Freiter. Were these do you think down to the tough fixture schedule of four games in nine days. There have been some grumbles from Premiership teams about their fixture schedule but for our level of football it is difficult for non-league players to be away from their families so often at this time of year. We just get on with it don’t we?
Yeah, I totally agree and I think it’s totally wrong not only that but they non league players and have to go to work in those 9 days too, but I must take some blame for that as well. Maybe I should have rotated it more, so I am kicking myself for that!! The Freiter one is just a bit of stiffness so we think this shouldn’t be too bad, but the Aaron Rhule one doesn’t look great, I very much doubt we will be seeing him play till at least mid Feb! And that’s a real blow as he has been unbelievable for us since he has come in. We have been working with him behind the scenes and he has really been coming on so I’m gutted to lose him. We will look to try and bring someone in as quickly as possible to replace him.
It was a good battle between Brandon Scott and Kaka Dembele. Brandon was well shackled first half apart from the cross for the offside goal but second half did you think Brandon came out on top?
Because we didn’t have much of foot hold in the game it was hard for us to get good ball out to him, he was feeding on scraps really. Just hitting balls over to him, where we’d normally work it and get a good ball out to him. It’s a shame as when we did get a good ball out to him in the 2nd half he went passed him and then was facing the centre half up in the box. Which we spoke about before the game, we felt their 2 centre halves were vulnerable with people running at them. Brandon skipped passed the captain as if he wasn’t even there and then over hit his cut back. But I thought overall his work rate was very good.
It was good on our bench to have someone like Denty to come on whereas Greenwich never utilised their subs at all. Karl definitely made an attacking difference to us when he came on didn’t he?
To be fair to Gaz, I know he has a lot of injuries so I think his hands were tied on that one. I thought when Denty came on he made a real difference, he wants to get on the ball and make things happen. He was unlucky when he hit the post, it was a great area in which he put the ball in. He just needs to get his fitness up and some match sharpness and he will be back to his best.
Finally, we take on Walton Casuals on Sunday for the first time this season. What are your thoughts on that game and the sort of match we can expect?
I’ve watched them play a couple of times and we also had someone at their game yesterday and will read the report tomorrow. They have got lots of pace coming forward, they will try and move the ball around, it will be another hard game, they are 5th in the league for a reason, but we have got 6 days rest now which will be brilliant, we can come in Sunday nice and fresh and see what we can do! As always we are looking forward to it.