Overall, much better yesterday.
First half was very good, there was a structure to the side and I thought the new lad, Manesio, made a difference. Disciplined, broke things up and passed the ball well. That gave Bayley freedom which he relished and put in his best 45 minutes by quite some distance whilst Luke just patrolled in front of the back four. Had Shaq scored a 3rd just before the break, I do think that would have taken the wind totally out of Tiverton's sails.
The start of the second half was hugely disappointing. Although the first goal came from a throw-in that should clearly have gone to us and the second from what looked like a dubious free-kick, we didn't defend well enough after those decisions, which was a real shame. That said, I thought after getting pegged back to 2-2 we kept going which was heartening to see. Either side could have won it in the end and it was so important to get something on the board again.
Off the field I thought the club set the tone well for Dermot, it was fabulous to see his son and so many of his ex-team-mates making the effort to remember him. Lovely set of away fans too. Well done everyone.
Back to my environment/genetics rubbish. Geezer on the Terras forum clearly having issues with the style of this league and look where they are! He reckons to get out you have to adopt an AFC Wimbledon style, presumably incorporating some 'garryowens'. He maybe onto something. I do feel that Hendon are probably the only team in this division without a playing style. Most sides look midfield orientated, most with average strike forces and defensive qualities. Tivvy resorting to a one trick approach, again proving hard to handle. These sides are average. Guessing Salisbury maybe the more traditional all-round side. Interesting to see how we evolve. Take Bayley, thought the lad did well, linked up with Chaps and Toomey very well. I'm unsure how he fits in a traditional midfield - Charlie Smith looks recommended if other fans are anything to go by and Matty has yet to get his feet under the table. There is a complete contrast in the division between home and away form. We have to build a side capable of not just blowing teams away at SJP but getting clean sheets on the road. Weymouth and next Saturday for me probably give an insight to the better components of what the benchmark is. Teams feared us last season - I have always remonstrated my thoughts on 3 up front - when operational it's fantastic - to survive through the riggers you require more all-round stability. I think this young man is going to construct a powerful, strong unit. I've yet to see a player in this whole division with that blistering pace. I do think we can construct something unique.
Great interviews, this Gaffer says it all. He could make this forum redundant! Well done to the lads for sticking at it and keep driving us forward - literally!
The joy and togetherness among the players when the goals went in. We haven't seen that for some time. Also the way they regrouped and dug in at 2-2. That game would have definitely have been lost over the past six weeks.
Really liked Sergio. Great match awareness, and one I'd guess who'll improve further with match fitness. Ryan Hope also looked to have plenty about him. Lewis Toomey gave absolutely everything. By far his best performance.
I do enjoy watching teams who press. There was a bit more of that yesterday, but I think it'll need a pre season and several to get fully fit for it to happen for 90 minutes.
I had a feeling that our manager might be a bit of a scrapper when he was appointed. His attitude to look for solutions and to sort out what has become a bit of a mess has to be admired. We'll get there!
The whole day was spot on as John alluded to. Barcelona claim they're 'more than a club'. Well without going OTT, so are Hendon FC, along with the huge contributions from those at SJP. My niece will hopefully be providing a couple of students to gain experience on SJP projects through her job at Middlesex University. She attended with a couple of her mates yesterday for the first time. I can't tell you how happy I was to see them genuinely enjoy it and praise everybody's welcome and friendliness. Hopefully she'll join me lots more going forward, and help bring some student support to the game. She's already been primed to put the fixture posters up at the Uni! SJP is a place that every single one of my guests has thoroughly enjoyed on a Hendon matchday. "Football for adults" was how one described it, free from the stress of running a club in the north with a large demanding support!
Talking of support. Absolutely brilliant yesterday. Let's keep shouting and chanting. It's got to help the lads along.
Whether it's because we're all crackers I don't know, but that clubhouse didn't smell of despondency last night at 7pm. Great to be around some great football people. I was only fortunate enough to see Dermot play a couple of times in the early 80s as an exiled student down here. I hope yesterday was a fitting tribute to obviously a great man.
If Weymouth do leave with the points on Tuesday, let them do so commenting on our support and have their players knowing that they've had to fight for their lives.