I just wanted to give a little bit of recognition to the efforts of the thirteen who played on Saturday. Going into the game on the back of the Met Police debacle and huffity-puffity performance against Croydon - not to mention the way in which Hampton took us to the cleaners in October - hopes weren't high for anything better than a 3-0 home defeat.
What we got was everything that was missing from that 5-0 defeat. Hard-work, graft, grit, determination and the occasional flash of quality. After a rocky first 10-15 minutes of both halves, the boys dug in and richly deserved that point.
Plaudits from some will go elsewhere, but top men for me were Wright, Taggart and Cracknell.
This was the best I've seen Joe Wright play. One slightly uncomfortable looking punch in the second half aside, he bossed his penalty area first half, made two very good saves (the one from the free kick was quite brilliant) and made a superb catch under pressure from a couple of Hampton forwards in the closing stages.
Taggart put in a massive shift, first of all to help shore up the early threat from Federico and also to provide most of our attacking threat. It was his cross that picked Kezie out to plant his header wide of a gaping goal, his run and shot that was deflected wide for a corner leading to the goal. If he can stay fit, and last the pace, he's going to be important in the run-in.
And Cracknell put in a really dogged performance in midfield as well. Never stopped running, remained disciplined and shielded Diedhiou and Maclaren really well. He, along with Short, closed off quite a few avenues that Dean Sinclair was trying to find.
Although Hampton struck the base of the post in the second half and saw their centre forward put the ball into the school from six yards out, Wes twice came close to winning the game for us, as did Wallace in the very closing stages.
Even if we hadn't come away with a point, it would have been difficult to pick too many holes in the players effort. They gave absolutely everything and it was really heartening, as a fan, to see. The challenge now is to take that same level of work-rate, commitment, graft and determination into the VCD game on Saturday.
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