Captain’s View: Richard Bunting’s weekly look inside The Walks
Wow – what I week we have all just had. Nothing sums up the highs and lows of playing for, managing and supporting a team than the last two games.
Firstly, though, I would like to mention the latest departure from The Walks. Jason Turner has decided to leave, despite the gaffer's best efforts to persuade him to stay. I'm sure it all comes down to minutes on the pitch and Jason hasn't had as many just lately as I am sure he would have liked.
One thing for sure is that wherever he ends up that club will have a guaranteed goal scorer. His record for the club is second to none and myself and all the lads wish him all the best; he is a top lad.
It wasn't a surprise to anybody that last Tuesday was hard work at training. It's another way of the manager letting the lads know that the Hucknall performance was not acceptable. There was plenty of running involved and not much else – pretty much all we deserved if we are honest about it. Thursday night's session was totally different.
My first thought was whether the big game against AFC Telford would be on or not. The ground was rock hard, but as it happened the weather warmed up nicely in the end. Without obviously naming the starting line-up, Gary Setchell talked us through exactly how he wanted each position to play, regardless of personnel.
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I have touched previously on the unseen work the management do behind the scenes on tactics and preparation and this was evident during the last training session. Everybody left the ground knowing exactly what our jobs would be if selected to start the game against Telford. We definitely had a game plan.
We all arrived at the ground at the earlier time of 1pm. This was because Ross McNeil had put together a great video for the lads. It was a collection of positive things we had already achieved during out Trophy run so far. It was such a good video and all credit to Ross because it certainly gave the changing room a boost.
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The game itself was probably the best I have been involved in. The atmosphere was fantastic from the first to last whistle.
We started the game really well, which was the gaffer's instruction to us as we left the changing room. With us pressing them all over the pitch from the off, it left them resorting to playing the ball long more often than not, which suited us as long as we reacted to the second ball, which we did I felt. Spriggsy (Steve Spriggs) came up with the goods once again inside the first 15 minutes.
I have lost count of the times I have praised him for getting us important goals this season. It came after good work from Dunks (Russell Dunkley) and Sam Mulready, the latter just back from injury and handed his first start of the season. It took a deflection, but if you don't buy a ticket and all that...
We were playing so well, but found ourselves level before the break. It was a goal from a free-kick, for which the wall was totally to blame.
That put a bit of a downer on us at half-time and the gaffer reminded us that we were well in the game and he hadn't seen anything to suggest we weren't capable of winning.
The second half started the same way as the first and we wasted a couple of great chances with Spriggsy hitting the post and George (Thomson) finding the keeper with a good chance. Telford also had some good chances, but Peds (Alex Street) was on great form again and kept everything out.
I think the game turned with the red card. I don't know what their lad was thinking, but they could have no arguments. It's tough to play against 10 at times as the side with the man less tends to defend, but all credit to them – they didn't look to do this.
We left it late, but what a great time to score. The 90 minutes was nearly up when Dunks produced a bit of his magic to play Spriggsy in and there was only ever going to be one outcome. Another great finish and it got even better with a third from Turns. What an achievement and everybody in the ground connected with the club played a massive part in the win.
The scenes at the end of the game were as good as I have seen. I have said about the 12th man before, but it really was the case. The noise the crowd made was brilliant and drove us on right to the final whistle.
We celebrated well, but now concentration is back to the league with a tough game at the weekend. Sheffield are a side who we know all about, having lost to them earlier in the season so we will want to put that right.
What will make the job easier is the support; it would be magnificent to replicate the atmosphere more often in the league. The lads realise it's a two-way thing and will be determined to give the fans something to shout about.
- This article appeared in the December 20 edition of the paper. Lynn's skipper enjoyed a 'Christmas' break. His column will return in this Thursday's paper.
• Read Richard's exclusive column first every week on Thursdays in the EDP's Lynn Free Press pull-out.
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