Heybridge Swifts’ striker Chris Bryan went from hero to zero over the New Year holiday weekend games, leaving coach Barry Lakin and manager Mark Hawkes frustrated on the touchline.
Just back from injury, Bryan scored all four of Swifts’ goals in their tremendous 4-3 win at title chasers Needham Market on Saturday but two days later he missed a penalty and two gilt-edged scoring chances when the side went down 3-2 at home to Waltham Abbey.
“It’s frustrating all round because we should have won the second game with the chances we had,” explained Lakin. “But all strikers suffer from it from time to time and Chris did really well at Needham Market but then on Monday he missed a penalty and two one-on-ones with their keeper.
“I think against Waltham Abbey we looked a bit tired and perhaps the game at Needham Market had taken too much out of the players.
“Nonetheless we still should have won but the visitors did have the advantage of not playing their previous game which was postponed because of the weather so they were fresher.
“Overall though we’re quite happy with how we are going.
“Everyone knows that we are a side on a limited budget compared to most of the teams we play and we do punch above our weight.
“In our last 10 games we have taken 20 points which I think is really good as it means an average of two points every game.”
Swifts are in ninth place in the league and only nine points off the play-offs and both Lakin and Hawkes believe that if they can maintain their current form of picking up an average of two points per game they can make the play-offs.
“There are plenty of games to go and there’s no pressure on our players as there are at most other clubs,” he said. “If we can also repeat the excellent performance at Needham Market then we have everything to aim for this season, despite that little spell when we lost five games in a row.
“Consistency is the key for us and we have our targets set for the season and we’re on course to meet them while the season is still very much alive for everyone at Scraley Road.”
Swifts though will be without the experienced Russell Pond who has a hamstring injury and is likely to miss the next month recovering.
“We do need some defensive cover at the moment as we’re a bit thin at the back so we’re hoping to sign a player from a Ryman League Division One North club and hopefully he will be in the squad for this Saturday’s trip to Waltham Forest,” said Lakin.
“I was impressed with him when he played against us and I think he would be a good asset for us,” he said, declining to name the player. “He can play at either right-back or in midfield so he can be versatile which again will give us options.”