Today encapsulated so much of our season in a ninety minute period.
Some thrilling attacking, some suspect defending, conceding goals in clusters, giving up 2-goal leads and vital late goals.
For our penalty, I was side on and there was a tug on Jake's shoulder as he looked to be readying himself for a bicycle kick. It was a good spot by the referee as it did impede Jake, but maybe 98 times out of 100 doesn't get pulled.
If we'd managed to hold on at 2-0 a little longer I think we might have been able to go away from Worthing but credit to them for their reaction immediately after Zak's goal.
At 3-1 we should have been able to see the game out, I thought, but in the 15-20 minute before they got their second goal, there were some leggy and tired looking players out there, particularly defensively. It didn't help that Worthing's passing game pulled us every which way and other - it was just brilliant to watch at times the way they moved the ball, a rare thing at this level. It's the sort of football Billericay should be playing with the talent at their disposal but for some reason choose not to.
Strangely, though, it was that passing that was almost their downfall. The insistence to play out from the back from goal-kicks should have been punished on two or three more occasions than just Zak's goal in the first period.
When it went to 3-3, conceding two goals within the space of a minute or three as we did Monday and we have done on a few other occasions, I feared the best we were going to come away with was a point. Actually, the better chances fell to us - Zak forcing a good save from the keeper before Ashley's late late winner.
Going through this season, I make that vital late goals to salvage points or wins in the following matches:
Keagan - A v Met Police (2-1)
Josh - A v Dulwich (1-0)
Josh A v Worthing (2-1)
NIko - H v Tonbridge (2-1)
Zak - H v Burgess Hill (2-2)
Casey - H v Folkestone (3-3)
Ashley - H v Worthing (4-3)
That's a dozen or so points that we wouldn't otherwise have picked up and doesn't take into account the late goals against Wingate H & A in the FA Cup or Kezie's against Slough in the Trophy - or the seemingly countless late goals that have added a bit of gloss to otherwise emphatic scorelines. A real testament to the character, desire and belief these boys have - make no mistake, this is no fluke. Today, James Hammond was the only player starting that was older than 25. Quite something.
Although Staines have 2 games in hand on us, their defeat today leaves us with a six point advantage. It's in our hands. A good performance Tuesday, three points Tuesday and we could be a step closer...
Boy, it's hella exciting isn't it?
Re: Good Grief!
Really impressed with Worthing - some of the best flowing football we've seen at SJP. The kamikaze goal kick approach was more than a little odd, but they more than played a part in a cracking game and quite possibly deserved a point. Hats off to their support as well - brilliant effort considering the distance & never stopped backing their team.
Not much to add on our own performance - never a dull moment following the Greens!
Re: Good Grief!
For all of Niko's goals this season - his most valuable contribution may have been setting up today's winner.
I think in his altered role in the last two games or so he has fed the wider players when they have been in favourable positions with him facing towards goal. Physically, at present, I think he looks strong.
I would put todays game in the context of the last three or so, post Staines. Similar teams in quality. We can pick holes in the performances in each game. I think there's an underlying sense of lack of personnel, (certainly taking nothing away from those on the field of play) and clear physical limitations. Insanely on a day with four different scorers, my take was our lack of execution, putting games to bed. Soft shots from within the box, side-footed attempts at bending into the corner. Better sides will not give us the same opportunities to salvage points. The real positive is we still create numerous chances. A two goal lead is not enough.
I have a continual problem is trying to fathom out Worthing - the amount of shots they hit over the bar at home is amusing. Away from home I think they look like they try to impress. I know a lot of our fans continually rate them.
Energy levels maybe our biggest challenge. Tightening up on the basics. The foundations are there. Closing down, tackling, tracking - concentration. Uncharacteristic defensive errors, smack more of fatigue to me rather than that of underlying ability. The loss of Big Dave, Casey, Keagan and Corcs a massive loss.
The lads out there of worked miracles of late. The lads have had to dig deep akin to going through the wall in a marathon in order to compensate.
The amount of admiration the fans have for Gary and the lads is immense. Teams across the full spectrum feel the pace. Personally, I maintain as we stay in contention, if one or two can re-appear to off-set some fatigue, it can only galvanize us.
Keep going lads.
Re: Good Grief!
Simply superb yesterday going forward - even when it went to 3-3 I still felt we had more goals in us. Josh, Niko, Zak and Ash were outstanding. Have to give credit to Worthing too, thought they played some lovely football, and certainly caused us more problems than many clubs have this season. I think had they not had such an awful start, they would have been in and around the play-off chase. Certainly one to watch next season if they can keep that squad together.
Obviously disappointing to concede three, but the character showed - average age of the starting XI was 23 again - and the fact heads didn't drop is credit not only to our management team, but also to the players themselves.
If I've worked it out right, we have Josh, Ash, Zak, Jake, Rian all playing their first full season at this level, Niko is only in his second and I think we forget how young players like Luke (21) and Keagan (18) are because they've been with us for quite a while now. Regardless of which level we're playing at next season, I believe this group of players have a lot more to offer as they become more experienced.
Plenty of football still to come - starting with Lowestoft on Tuesday evening. I'm not able to get there unfortunately - but will be following FootballWebPages nervously as I'm sure many of us will.