Friday, January 18, 2013
It’s now the calm after the storm – namely facing Blue Square Premier Southport in the last 16 of the FA Trophy on Saturday.
We didn’t have a match in the run-up to the tie which enabled players to get rest and more importantly allow us to prepare and work on a game plan. The gaffer (Gary Setchell) did his homework on the visitors making a trip to watch them himself and along with Neil (Fryatt, assistant) and Ross (McNeil, first-team coach) they came up with the tactics to give us the best possible chance of getting a result.
With the gaffer on his scouting mission last Tuesday we were in for a light session. A few lads were on the treatment table while the others were out just ticking over really – no real running which is unusual for a session being taken by Neil. All jokes aside, as a group we are really fit and this is mainly down to him.
Back to the treatment table though, Phil (Ward, physio) really earns his crust I have to say. There always seem to be someone in there. Big Dunks (Dunkley) and Jordy (Jordan Yong) take some shifting once they get on that bed. If I ever need to find Jordy I know where to look.
Thursday’s session was all about the game. How Southport play, their set pieces and dangermen, but also what we could do to hurt them. It bred confidence and they turned up and played exactly how we were told they would. It was just that extra bit of quality on the day that in my opinion separated the two teams.
We arrived at The Walks on match day at the slightly earlier time of 1pm. This was because Ross had put together a short video containing moments from previous games, quotes and a few speeches from other sports people. This is something that works for some and not for others. I get inspired from them and think they are worthwhile putting together so well done to Ross for doing that.
During the warm-up I could sense the anticipation and the atmosphere in the ground. The fans seemed to be arriving that bit earlier and all the boys went back into the changing room with a determination to cause another upset. We started really well and were heavily on top for the first 15 minutes.
We could have gone in front from a Dunks header following great work from Mullers (Mulready). Unfortunately his effort came back off the bar and Quigz (Quigley) wasn’t able to turn the rebound over the line. This proved to be a double blow as Southport seemed to go down our end and score almost immediately. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up when people hit shots like their lad (Andy Parry) did. They fly in the top corner one in 20 or 30 shots. But all credit to him, he took it on and that’s where the ball ended up.
The remainder of the match seemed to me to be such an even game, neither side really creating great chances, but we had our share of corners which we looked dangerous from. The visitors’ keeper (Tony McMillan) pulled off a couple of saves, one really good one from Jay (Jason) Lee. Then the sucker punch came as we were nearing the end of the match. Myself and Peds (Alex Street) had a mix-up on the edge of our area enabling the Southport man (Steven Tames) to nip in and finish the tie off. The easiest thing in football is communicating and that’s what we didn’t do properly – so there’s no excuses from me.
We’re out of the Trophy now and what a journey it has been for everybody involved. Our fans have been absolutely fantastic but on Saturday they took it to a new level. Their support really inspired our run and together I am confident we can keep producing results and achieve what a lot of people thought was unthinkable; getting out of Evo-Stik Division One South.
We can solely concentrate on this now and I think we have the squad capable of doing this. So on behalf of the lads I would like to thank everybody for their support during the Trophy run. But our main aim was always to get promotion and this dream is still very much alive.
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