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.
Agree with almost everything from John.
My man of the match was Casey, who was monumental in defence. The effort from everyone was absolutely top notch and we might even have nicked it in the dying stages. To take on the league leaders after last week and thinking back to the reverse fixture, the point was superb. Now we have to build on this and go forward.
By the way, Kezie’s first half miss looked really bad, but the assistant referee ruled he was offside – or Joe O’Donnell took the goal kick eight yards from the goal and most asso's would have spotted that.
I maintain the unrealised potential is as good as we have had. Casey for me is now almost a shoe in for C/H. Always played well in the position - further out a potential partnership with Elliott or Flegg. Flegg has historically not played alongside Elliott that much so another option. With Kevin, Shults and Maz all due back we will hardly be short of options - each with differing traits. With Seebs due back at R/B the dynamic completely changes.
I love watching Casey mop up behind Ollie of whom combines well in turn with Taggs. The left side becomes more solid. The pieces in the puzzle are gradually being re-implemented into the mix. The bench will become stronger offering more options.
Saturday was just further re-iteration of what we have been missing - personnel. Looking further out, I agree with the gaffer one hundred per cent you have to set the team up to counter-act the oppositions strengths.
Something we were devoid of at the Met. Sir Alex dropped key personnel and adopted a horses for courses approach. It's how you pick up points away from home. We know exactly what to expect from opposing teams.
Finally, a tip of the hat to Joe, of whom has had a bit of stick. Should improve over time with confidence. A great performance to silence the doubters.
Saturday was hopefully recognition of where we are going medium-term - the pieces are falling in place.
Congratulations to all - I was devastated at not being able to make it (thank goodness for the Football Exclusives highlights service!)
Pleased to see that 200+ attended the game - our only previous home games above 200 this season were our opening 2 matches against Enfield and Dulwich in mid-August.
Edited by Mike Cox at 16:08:46 on 15th February 2016
Previous thread: Hendon 1-1 Hampton & Richmond Borough | Highlights & Reaction by footballexclusives.com14/2/2016 16:45Sun Feb 14 16:45:23 2016view thread