Captain’s View: Richard Bunting’s weekly look inside The Walks
Unlucky 13. I'd written 13 columns for the Lynn Free Press, and now this – without question the one that has frustrated me the most in writing.
Last week involved a number of talking points; no points from two games, 3G pitches, red cards, and more penalties than you can dream of seeing.
Last Tuesday saw us travel to Sutton Coldfield and the much-discussed 3G pitch. Before I talk about the game I just want to comment on the surface for the evening. It's not ideal playing on something that we have never played on before; we have all trained on pitches like this one, but it is never the same.
Although I wouldn't want to play on it every week I must admit I have no excuses about the result or how we played.
It shouldn't happen, but you see it at the very highest level. You often see teams win a big Champions League game for example then slip up in their next game, not so much Manchester United, I may add, but it happens.
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Again, this isn't an excuse, but the win over Eastbourne in the FA Trophy really took its toll on all the players and this was reflected in the energy levels last Tuesday.
This aside I think the biggest factor on the night was, unfortunately, the referee. I have never been involved in a game with so many penalties – three for the home side and one for us. They managed to convert all three of their pens so credit to their left back. To make matters worse, two of the three conceded resulted in red cards for me and Gullers (Phil Gulliver).
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His looked a bit harsher than mine, I must admit. I am convinced the ref gave me a red card to even up the earlier red given to their keeper. But for the life of me I cannot see how Gullers was worthy of a second yellow,
I think the man in the middle was enjoying the attention he seemed to be getting. The 3-1 score line was maybe a bit harsh, but I think the better side on the night won.
As to be expected after a defeat the gaffer had us in for training on the Thursday and 48 hours can make a big difference as all the boys were in good spirits. Neil (Fryatt) put on a good session, which involved a lot of passing and ball work.
There was also a familiar face on arrival – Danny White has rejoined the club and, having played against him a few times, I know what he is all about. He also seems to be a popular member of the old dressing room.
Unfortunately the second defeat of the week saw us lose our unbeaten home record. Good home form is key to any successful side so it was doubly disappointing to lose this Saturday. Belper were the visitors to The Walks and they are like so many sides in this league; a big strong set of lads who possess a real goal threat.
Another new member to the squad was also introduced – George Thomson, who the gaffer has managed to get on loan from Histon, and he looks like a proper player who could do really well for us. The game itself was a strange one as I felt we started fairly well and looked comfortable, but fell behind to two great finishes.
Both were very different – the first a route one ball that resulted in a great strike by their striker; the second, a delicate chip, both leaving Danny (Gay) with no chance of saving either. From our point of view the first goal was the most frustrating.
It's not good to get done by long balls and this has been the case in the last two games. After going behind the final 20 minutes of the first half was a bit of a struggle and we were happy to get in at half-time with that score line.
The second 45 was much better, with George impressing everyone. The pressure was relentless to be fair to the lads and once Dunks (Russell Dunkley) had pulled a goal back I was backing the boys to get at least a draw. It wasn't to be and like the gaffer has said, there are only so many times we can give sides leads in game and get away with coming back. Credit to Belper – they hung on to their lead.
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