Cray Wanderers made it nine matches unbeaten last Saturday after a well-deserved draw against East Thurrock United. Here Tony Russell looks back on the game, assesses our current form and looks ahead to a first ever meeting with Bowers & Pitsea
That was a cracking game Tony against East Thurrock United on Saturday. Was a draw a fair result?
I have to disagree, we got in seven times on their goalkeeper during the course of the game, they’ve had three chances and taken one of them while we had seven and taken one. We’ve probably had more of the ball. Credit to East Thurrock they played their part in the game and I thought they were the better side for the first 15/20 minutes then we took over. They began the second half well and we finished the game stronger. I said to you last week they were a good side but I thought we did enough to win the game, had enough chances and I though the lads were brilliant. Lee Lewis pulled out of the game the night before and we had more injuries but we brought people in, played Tom Murphy in a midfield role and Denty more deeper and I thought everyone gave it everything. It was good to see Andre back and got 60 minutes which will do him the world of good. I thought it was a good game but I thought we were excellent and I said that to the boys after.
We got caught a little bit cold just after half time and East Thurrock scored a well worked goal but the self belief in the side is strong isn’t it and there was always a feeling we could create chances to get back into it?
I’ve mentioned before we don’t fear anyone in this league. We respect teams and we are a respectable group but we back ourselves. The owners said to me this summer, can you keep us in the division so we can get to the ground. Me and Vinesy are built differently to that, we’re front foot people we won’t back down from anyone. I could so easily put Charlie Allen in the midfield but we didn’t we put Tom Murphy and that is front foot thinking. We could have put anyone in a holding midfield role, we didn’t we put Karl Dent as we wanted the ball. The selection was brave as we wanted to win and that is something I’ve been telling you since I came here, never be happy if we don’t win a game! We always come to win, if we don’t achieve what we come for then it’s disappointing.
One thing you always get is good entertainment. If you’re a punter that has come to watch us, you’ll see a lot of chances. Their manager, John Coventry was very complimentary about us and said what a good side he thought we were. That tells you where we are at when a top manager like Covo tells you that. The last 15 minutes he changed his formation to one up front as he was happy with a draw, that’s how far we have come. Remember when I arrived we were sweeping confetti up because we had just stayed in the Isthmian North, now we have a Conference South side from last season taking a forward off just to protect a draw against us. That is how far we have come and a mark to where we are at.
We seem to be coming up against goalkeepers having worldy games like Jack Giddens, whose made some fine saves from the likes of Mitchell Nelson, Joe Taylor and Bradley Pritchard amongst others.
He made seven saves where we have got one on one with him. The Haringey Borough goalie had a great game a couple of weeks ago as did Soham Town’s keeper last Sunday. If we are making goalies have great games it means we are doing something right. If we keep knocking on the door it will burst open. It is when you are not creating chances as a manager that you get concerned. We are in a good place right now as a squad. It doesn’t matter about injuries we are getting or who’s pulling out we just put someone else in and we just crack on delivering good performances.
Mitchell Nelson went off around the hour mark with what looked like a knock. Is this likely to affect him for Wednesday’s game.
We will know more after the weekend. It’s more impact which is better news as a muscular injury and he’s taken a whack on the back of his knee so it is how it settles down. He’s a tough man is Mitchell and if I was a betting man I’d say he’d be fit but how well did Geofrey Okonkwo do when he came on, a young 20 year old centre-half and looked good alongside Harry at the back.
Finally let look ahead to Bowers & Pitsea, the clash of last season’s Isthmian South-East and North Champions. What can we expect from them?
We’ve got a report on them so had them watched. We know how we think they are going to play. We respect them, they won the North Division last season and have started this season well so good luck to them. Without sounding like a broken record whoever comes down here we will respect them but not fear them. I think it will be another cracking game and the boys are ready to go.