I need a lie down - every game is akin to being put through the wringer, can't see Saturday being much different. Watching Hendon should come with a health warning.
Good to see the gaffer galvanizing the attacking options. These games are a real battle and are defined by close margins. We appear to be more capable of producing a full-ninety minutes which allows us to finnish strongly. It's not good for the blood pressure but it is certainly keeping us in contention.
25 points is our best tally after 13 games since Gary took over matching the 2007-08 season. That puts our efforts this season so far into some context with just over a quarter of the season gone.
Whilst I know we've all been disappointed with 3 or 4 results this season, I think we have stepped things up from last season. Last season we'd have lost those games against Hampton and Tonbridge, and probably wouldn't have won tonight. We certainly seem to be more difficult to beat (unless our opponents are Enfield Town!)
The big test now for Gary and the squad is to keep the results coming.
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What's excellent is we seem to be able to cruise into a 2-0 lead even away from home at the tougher places to go. The worrying thing is that whenever we're two goals ahead we seem to panic, and spend the rest of the game clinging on. Kingstonian and Tonbridge I'd suggest we were rather fortunate to escape with draws after leading 2-0, yesterday we were a bit fortunate in the end after we should have been out of sight, Canvey was apparently similar. We look every inch as good as Maidstone and Margate with all their money, but only in spells each game. Peacehaven at home another example, comfortable start with a rather easy goal, then hammered for half hour and lucky to go in 1-2, then battered them second half and nicked it 3-2. Hampton, asleep for them to score early, do the hard work and dominate for an hour, lead 2-1, then drop back too much and concede a silly equaliser. Even East Thurrock away you could argue should have been a win.
It is frustrating as we look so good otherwise, but this is not a complaint because I think Gary is doing a terrific job with a tiny budget and realistically 3rd place is as high as we can get with the money being thrown around by the top two.
From what I've seen, this league is weaker than I've ever seen it (Kent moneybags excepted), and this is the biggest chance we have got of getting in the playoffs, where whichever of Maidstone and Margate will be huge favourites, but anything can happen in a one off game.
Really hope Kevin Mac is back soon, as we look very light in midfield without him.
Big, big test Saturday against a Leiston side who won at Tonbridge and stuck six past Hampton.
I was really pleased that the third goal went in on Wednesday evening when it did, that gave us a welcome cushion. Had we not had the two goal advantage at the break, I think we'd have lost the game.
Casey made a big difference in the first half in the middle of the park. Leo had license to break forward, and Dave looked nice and comfortable. When Casey came off at the break (a precaution ahead of Saturday I understand, as was Kevin's non appearance from the bench) we were getting overrun in midfield.
Although we were hanging on in the second half, there were positives. I thought Brathwaite was outstanding once again, Ben McNamara made one outstanding save and literally put his head in where it hurts for the scramble that saw the Leatherhead striker dismissed (Gary thought the red card was an awful decision). I think there are quite a few tired bodies out there at the moment crying out for a break. Twenty-five points from thirteen games, including not being beaten at places like East Thurrock, Kingston, Leatherhead and Tonbridge is a fantastic basis for the remainder of the season.
Last season it was probably our poor return from our opening eight games that cost us a genuine chance of a play-off place. We've righted that wrong this time around, a long way to go, but it's a great time to be a Hendon fan right now.