A View from The Bench - Todays Programme Notes
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to today’s Bostik League North Division fixture. Can I also welcome the players, management, committee and supporters of Barking FC.
Justin Gardner the Barking manager is someone I know well. He is passionate and lively as well as being damn good at his job which can be reflected in the season they are having. The away game was an eye opener for some of our inexperienced players as a cold Tuesday night in East London is not a place for the faint hearted! Although we huffed and puffed our hosts knew a bit too much for us on the night.
With regards to today’s challenge we have made strides since that previous encounter as I am starting to see some ‘shoots’ of success in our play. What I want to see today is further improvements in our solidness as well as being more effective in the final third. That final point is a good description of what ‘could’ have happened in last weeks match with Grays.
I had a good feeling before this match. We had been cruely denied a win at Brentwood the previous Tuesday when we had undertaken a near perfect away performance and also I’d been able to get Brightlingsea Regent striker Phil Kelly to buy into our football journey and join us on a 2-year deal.
Phil started up front alongside Mekhi McKenzie in what was an outstanding opening to this game. We moved the ball with intent and domineered possession as well as being solid against our hosts experienced attack. We needed to score and that didn’t happen despite opening up their defence with ease. At this level however if you don’t take your chances it ‘bites you in the bum’ and and when the excellent Kieron Bishop spun and smashed the ball past Jake Jessup that bite had certainly landed!
Saying that there was plenty to be positive about at half time as we tweaked our shape and looked forward to turning this game around. Well, it took about two minutes for a mad challenge ending in a penalty to make our task that much more challenging.
Following a nondescript spell where we chased the ball a lot we introduced the returning from injury Max Booth and Tom Maycock. This impudence had the desired effect and with Tom upended on the edge of the box Skipper Joe Whight smashed an unstoppable free kick into the roof of the net – for me one of the best I’ve seen!
We were now on top, well that was until the Linesman completely missed an offside that was so bad it was embarrassing. The Grays manager said his player was ten yards off and that just about summed the day up.
This week we have had the rare occurrence of no midweek game so two training sessions are planned and a couple of the subs from Saturday got some pitchtime on Tuesday night in the comfortable 4-0 victory against Team Bury.
Couple of weeks back I was quite outspoken about the reaction a small number of our ‘followers’ had been to certain players. I would like to say that I’ve been overwhelmed by the supporters who spoke to me before the Norwich United game. They were all embarrassed by this small contingent but I would also add that the support on the day was first class. There was one dissenter who decided to have a go at me asking if I knew what I was doing? Well I’m pleased to take all the flack (rather me than the players anyway) as to whether I know what I’m doing, well only time will tell but thanks for the compliment!
In addition this week there was a particularly poor Twitter post describing my team in a way that cannot be printed. My retort was equally aggressive as I did what I will always do that being protecting my players. Myself and my staff are building something here at AFC and that will take time. The first component is to get us all pulling together and sticking together. That is management, players, back room staff, board of directors, Academy and the most important being matchday volunteers and supporters. When we get that right they’ll be no one to touch us!
Enjoy the game