At least that’s what Del says and there is no doubt that the slide down the league table continues for The Blues. Whether we will sink or swim is down to the next few games as we enter the final third of the season. There was a lot of swimming being done in the bar when I arrived – the dishwasher had sprung a leak and the Chairman was busily mopping the floor. Now that’s a sight you will only see at a non-league club 😉
However, Saturday was a match that we felt there was a chance of getting something out of. We were playing Hornchurch for the 3rd time this season. Both the previous matches had been close affairs – we lost our league match at their ground by a single goal which should have been disallowed anyway 😦 So when the teams lined up we hoped for a better result on home turf.
Such hopes were dealt a blow within a few minutes of the start with a penalty being awarded for Handball in the area – Dave, standing a lot closer than me, felt that it was more ball to hand than hand to ball. The visitor’s Martin Tuohy sent Bobby the wrong way to score from the spot. Both sides went close in the next few minutes then Wingate & Finchley, taking the initiative, launched a series of attacks before being denied a penalty for the exact same offence in the visitor’s area 😦 I’m trying to remember the last time we had a referee at the Abrahams Stadium who could be called a Homer!
Eventually, on the 38th minute, the home side equalised when Ross flighted a corner nicely to the near post where Weathers’ was perfectly placed to nod it home. It was well taken and no more than the home side deserved after a period of concerted pressure. A second chance fell in the form of a free kick on the edge of the area when Max Mitchell was felled from behind on the 42nd minute as he lined up a shot on goal. I don’t understand why this wasn’t a bookable offence – man through on goal and brought down from behind! It wasn’t a sending off – there was a covering player – but surely it did warrant yellow? The free kick passed harmlesssly over the crossbar and a few minutes later the ref blew for halftime.
Wingate returned to the field with clear attacking intentions – attempting to build on the positive end to the first half. Unfortunately, after 5 minutes, a poor pass from Weathers’ fell short of its intended recipient and was intercepted by The Urchins’ Lewis Smith who was immediately clear of the defence and able to beat Bobby in the resulting one-on-one. Hero of the first half and now architect of the opposition goal 😦 Such is the way with football. With the best will in the world mistakes are made. It’s not just Weathers’ though – we have to ask where the cover from the other defenders was at the time. Perhaps everybody was being just a little too bold?
The visitors had another chance just a few minutes later a save from a shot by Tuohy, bounced out to another forward whose shot was blocked before a third attempt was blazed over the bar. A close call that would have seen the visitors leading 3-1. After that the game settled down and became a dour affair though Weathers’ once again provided some interest for the home fans with a strike that beat The Urchins keeper but left the crossbar ringing as it just failed to find the net. There were also a couple of free kicks awarded to us outside the area near the end of the half that had fans wondering if the referee had the first half penalty – no penalty situation on his mind and was trying to even things up a bit? It is beyond the counsels of the very wise to understand the workings of a referee’s mind, so what chance do we on the terraces have!
The game petered out and another defeat was recorded; 2-1 to the visitors. In truth this was a far better performance than the previous match against Wealdstone. But it continued the inexorable slide towards the relegation zone and it hasn’t gone unnoticed that one or two teams down there are raising their game and starting to put some points on the board. After last Saturday we now stand just 5 points clear which, frankly, is nothing.
Weathers’ was naturally distraught about picking the wrong pass that led to the second goal. As I said to him afterwards – you have to speculate sometimes. On another day it might have been the pass that set us up for a chance on goal. On the pitch you have to make split second decisions – we can discuss them at our leisure afterwards but that’s not a luxury that the player has at the time!
I understand that some people felt that we got what we deserved. The more positive among us felt that we really deserved to get something out of the game and for the second league match of the season against Hornchurch the difference between the sides seems to have come down to an official’s decision which is disappointing.
I had the chance to chat with Andy Zeller after the majority of fans had left and I asked him how new signing Max Mitchell was settling in. Apparently he is doing fine though still finding his feet a bit – something which was apparent in his play from time-to-time. Andy pointed out that because of the financial strictures new signings often have to be younger, possibly inexperienced, players who show potential rather than proven match winners. I asked when Ahmet was likely to return given that he has served the basic red card ban period. Apparently his hearing was due this week and Andy suspected that the ban would be extended for a number of matches. He shook his head in a resigned sort of way as he passed this on.
However, one signing that may help us to swim against the tide is the Fish 🙂 Leon Fisher returns after a couple of seasons away. He’s a grafting battler and could be just what we need to strengthen the side in the absense of Ahmet and Jordan, who’s hamstring injury continues to plague him. We’re off to Billericay this Saturday – The hopeful Title challengers will be a very tough team to get a result against 😦