Whitehawk (away), Skrill South
Saturday 26th April, KO 3.00
 

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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.

What an outstanding advert for Conference South football the game at Bromley was. I've got a lot of time for Bromley's management team and what they've achieved this season. They have over-achieved really and I really hope they go on and win the league. I think I'd have been saying that it was a fantastic game whether we'd won or lost. 

We looked at the stats at half time and we'd had five shots on target and three off target, while Bromley had had two off target, and their goal, so from that perspective we felt we were in charge and their keeper's had to make two or three very good saves. But we conceded a goal just before half time that could have been a game-changer, because the crowd started to get behind them. They've hardly lost here this season, and they've got some excellent players going forward, but what we did feel at half time was that if we could get past the hour mark without conceding then our fitness might kick in, because they'd had a tough game on Saturday. I've always said that it's at this stage of the season that you'd see the benefits of the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday training that we do, and they did tire after the hour mark, but by then they had the boost of the second goal and, again, that could have been decisive because there wasn't anything between the sides. I've seen two really good attacking sides tonight and, let's not kid ourselves, the game could have gone either way. Tonight it went our way. 

Goalkeepers often get forgotten when you win a game, but Jason's made two great saves after their second goal which really provided the platform for us to give it a go at the end. When it went to 2-1 there was every chance that they could get a third, and we had to stay in the game for the next fifteen minutes and not career forward looking to get the goal back, and we bided our time well and made the switch with just under twenty minutes left. We thought that Fuseini and Buchanan had done well against Craig and Lee – it was a really good, combative battle – and I just felt that their centre-backs were dropping deeper and Craig could go up there and give us a power lift, if you like, and I've got to say that I thought he put in the best twenty minutes from a centre-forward that you're likely to see. We wanted to get Dean Sinclair on the pitch because we felt that he's always likely to get you that goal as he arrives late in the box, and we've scored three brilliant goals and it's one of those lovely moments in football. I always say that you have to put up with the rain and the hail for 90% of the season tonight was our 10% sunshine, and although it doesn't necessarily mean anything, if you can't enjoy tonight then you're not going to enjoy much in football. 

Bromley and Eastleigh will both lose ten points between now and the end of the season, but to take advantage for that we'd have to go through the rest of the season with virtually no margin for error, and I'm not going to put us under that sort of pressure. My goal was to get us in the top five, and hopefully we'll achieve that in maybe the next six or seven games, and what we then feel is that we'd be one of the favourites to do well in the play-offs. At the moment there's not a lot to choose between any of the top four – Bromley have been by far the best team up to now, but seasons are defined by what happens in March and April, and it's hard when you're out in front. I remember when we won the Ryman League I kept looking at the table right up until April and thinking that we hadn't really shaken off the other teams, and when you start playing six games in fourteen days that is the sort of schedule that can make the difference between having a good season and not. We've got to keep the spirit that we had in the dressing room and with the supporters at the end. I also don't think there are many teams that would have gone so strongly for the win having got the equaliser, and it's a testament to how this football club tries to win matches. 

Looking at the Farnborough game on Saturday, I don't always take too much notice of what Richard Hill says, but he did call the pitch a disgrace when Eastleigh played on it. I'm going to see Farnborough play Basingstoke on Thursday, which only gives them a day after that game to get it ready. I'll know more after I've seen the game, but I've seen the video of the Eastleigh game and the ball was bobbling a lot, so it didn't give me a lot of confidence and I might have to look at how we play tactically and what football we can play, but hopefully they'll invest in a roller by the end of the week.

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