Bognor Regis Town (away), FA Trophy 3rd Round Replay
Tuesday 9th February, KO 7.45
 
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 - MANAGER'S COLUMN -

Previous columns can be found under the match report of the game to which they refer, while video interviews can be found here.

I thought it was a fantastic away performance at Chelmsford. We dominated the first half in particular and we were a bit disappointed not to be further in front the way we'd been on top, then we had to do a bit of defending in the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the second half as Chelmsford came on to us, but we felt that with two or three loan players having come in and Reece Prestedge from Bromley, who hadn't played too many games, that they might tire in the last twenty minutes and that's how it turned out. We scored a superb second goal and in the end we might have won by three or four. To keep another clean sheet was hugely important, and the three points are hugely important.

It's always important to get an early goal, and it was another fine finish from Dan, and then Tom Bolarinwa did particularly well to set him up for the second goal, so it was two good goals, two good finishes, and Dan's in red hot form at the moment. I thought Craig Eastmond had an outstanding game but Nicky Bailey assisted him really well. He's a very clever passer of the ball. I felt that he and Craig had dropped off their midfielders a bit when Chelmsford had their spell early in the second half, and weasked them to start pressing them further up the pitch and I think that helped us get our control back. It's pleasing when the back five had another clean sheet, Tom Bolarinwa was a threat whenever he got the ball, Craig Dundas had another good game and Dan Fitchett's scoring goals, so it's unfair to pick anyone out but I thought Eastmond was a class above anyone on the pitch.

The down side was to lose Craig McAllister and Kevin Amankwaah today. After four or five weeks of playing at home this was our first game on a heavy pitch, and I think Kevin's injury, when he felt his hamstring, was probably down to that, although Craig opened up his knee in a block tackle which was nothing to do with the pitch. Our strength in depth was shown, though, in that we were able to bring Ross Stearn and Dan Spence on, and still had Stuart Fleetwood, Shaun Cooper and Simon Downer on the bench, so while it was a big blow we were able to cope with it, and that's the big difference from last season, when you looked behind you at the bench and what was available wasn't the same standard, so our determination to strengthen the squad has stood us in good stead and will do over the next few weeks as I think Craig and Kevin might both be out for two or three weeks. Bedsente Gomis should be back in training this week, though, after being ill for the past week. 

All the concentration this week has been on today's game that I haven't thought too much about Bognor yet, although Ian Baird and I went to watch the replay against Altrincham. They've had a good win against Hampton today which puts them in to the thick of the Ryman League championship race with games in hand over the sides above them, and we all know what a good footballing side they are. I'm expecting a good game, and they'll bring some numbers so there should be a good atmosphere. Both sides will see it as a great chance to reach the quarter finals, which isn't a chance that comes along very often, and I'm sure league status and form will go out of the window, but if we keep playing as we have done recently then we should be in a strong position. The priority has still got to be the league, and the Trophy has been a nice bonus, but once you're at the stage where you've got an opportunity to reach the quarter finals it's an opportunity you want to take.

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