A stormy end to an ultimately frustrating game

A couple of weeks ago I blogged that the Croydon Athletic game was one of the worst 4-3s you would ever see. I couldn’t say that about today. After the Croydon game I looked at the next three matches, at Lowestoft, Carshalton and Sutton and thought that getting anything out of those three games would be good so to get 4 points (and after today you have to say it should have been 7) shows the progress we are making.

Obviously we deserved something out of the game today, probably all three points. Three great goals, always threatening when attacking and relatively comfortable in defence. You would accept that the team top of the league and at home would do most of the pressing. Forbes’ goal apart though how many shots did Jonathan have to save as the game went into injury time.

Anyway with an air of inevitability we then conceded in the 92nd and 95th minutes to lose the game. As for the injury time the only thing I’ve got to say about that is that there was no board held up to tell us how many minutes were left – so this wasn’t a Canvey situation of being told 4 minutes and then playing 7. Not for the first time this season we went into stoppage time without knowing how long was left yet this is a Ryman League requirement and we will be writing to the Ryman League to share our thoughts on referees and injury time – as there is little consistency.┬áMind you, I wouldn’t use this as an excuse. Clearly you need to play until the final whistle regardless of how many minutes are played.

I think that every few years you get a game where you lead going into injury time and end up losing. It is deeply frustrating but looking around on the final whistle, despite the disappointment, our supporters were not suddenly going to look for trouble. There had been no hint of that today. That was until the Sutton players – maybe 6-7 of them – moved behind the referee and towards our supporters apparently intent on goading the crowd from the safety of the pitch.

Both Peter Worby and I were standing amongst our support and I want to say how well the supporters did today in backing the players, singing songs and shouting encouragement. It was one of those games where (I am pleased to say) there was very little barracking of opposition players and both sets of fans contributed to an excellent atmosphere so why there was this reaction on the final whistle is a mystery to me.

Understandably the Sutton players wanted to celebrate their ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card and had they gone over to their fans then there would have been no problem. Instead they seemed determined to come over to wind up our supporters, and they got the desired reaction.

This appeared to continue as our fans made their way towards the exit (and the home fans) and with an apparent lack of stewarding very quickly insults and bad language were freely traded between both sets of supporters and with Sutton players and management continuing to join in; one guy maybe their goalkeeping coach seemed unable to resist getting involved.

Had I seen Wealdstone players or officials react in this fashion I would be furious and would have taken action. What Sutton decide to do is down to them but both Peter and myself, and Pauline Worby, made it very clear to their officials how this had started, given they only saw the tail end of the incident and got caught up in some of the unfortunate posturing that happens, so understandably blaming our supporters.

I look forward to the day when these incidents are history. Frankly I am fed up with them and there are 1-2 of our fans who we felt crossed the line of acceptability and who we will be speaking to. But let’s be clear, in my judgement, none of this would have happened if their players hadn’t provoked it and they had no reason for doing so.

When the dust settles on today though there are many positives to take and if we keep playing with this intensity and quality we will do ok. Let’s try and progress in the League Cup first, weather permitting on Monday.

This is why we do it

A great day yesterday.

It didn’t seem that way when I got a call from Gordon, who was on the coach travelling up to Brackley, telling me that we had no goalkeeper. I felt this was going to be a tough game with a full team so without a goalkeeper it was going to be very difficult.

But how well did the team do? how well did Sean Cronin do? The save he made in the second half was excellent.

Our support was tremendous, in great voice and fantastic scenes at the end; and what a finish with Peter Dean’s excellent goal. For once, not much injury time and 13 heroes able to enjoy their ovation.

The report in today’s Non League Paper is a bit on the blinkered side. Remember we created three excellent chances in the first half and other than the save Sean made and the one against the bar I don’t recall Brackley creating many other clear chances.

So onto the First Round of the FA Trophy and enter the Blue Square Bet Premier sides. Will we get a good draw? Ideally for me we either get a winnable home game or an away game against a big Conference side. Most likely we will get Sutton away. Anyway we will get what we get and go into it looking to do as well as we can, and hopefully progress further.

Back to tough league action with two trips to South London this week. Carshalton only won by 5 yesterday and Sutton are top of the table. Should be fun.

That was hard work

You will have to go a long way to see a poorer 4-3.

With a bitterly cold wind exacerbating the pain we struggled to master a poor Croydon Athletic side tonight, but at least a win is a win and with trips to Lowestoft, Carshalton and Sutton ahead these were an important 3 points.

I praised Croydon after our game there last month for their energy and desire but didn’t see that so much tonight and thought we should have won far more comfortably. Having been ahead twice we let them back in the game and it took one moment of class from Peter Dean to make the points safe.

The game will be remembered most though for the incident which led to Scott Fitgerald getting sent off in injury time. It seemed clear to me that he did not headbutt their left back who deserved top marks for lying prone for several minutes. Let’s face it, if Scott had made contact that then there would have been blood and probably serious injury. I think most people worked out what was happening except the referee who saw something that deserved a straight red. Scott’s reaction said it all, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets him in further trouble.

That said you also have to ask why Scott picked the ball up when it was their throw – especially given he had already been booked – so he was risking a second yellow anyway from the referee who seemed determined to have a say in the game one way or another. After scoring two goals why get involved in the first place? He already has a one match ban coming up for getting to 5 bookings and that will be another 3 on top. You do the math!