The last blog of 2016……...
As is the case with many people at this festive time of the year, it provides an opportunity for us to take a breath and reflect on what has come and gone.
So on the final Saturday before our own version of the winter break, results for the club were again mixed.
I will talk about the first team result shortly, but congratulations go to all SEDS players, managers and volunteer for turning out each week and making the club the strong and well run club it is.
Results wise, the 2nd team inspired by a return to the club in the legend that is Phil Smith recorded a win against Orington 2-1 with Toby Hicks and Ashley Russell getting the goals.
The 3rd team suffered a heavy defeat 6 – 1 to run away league leaders Wittersham.
However, the SEDS lads should take heart.
Leading by a single goal at half time, notched by none other than Dane Smith another club hero of days gone by.
The first half performance suggests that if you can take that attitude and hard work in to every game and improve on the 2nd half performance you are going to win a lot more games.
Keep battling lads it will come good.
So now we all get a well-earned break.
A few Saturdays without getting to kick a ball in anger with many of us coming back a few pounds heavier and slower.
Can I encourage all of you who take pride in playing and their own performance to try and keep themselves active and mobile, to at least try and maintain your fitness level.
Games will come thick and fast in the New year,league matches and cup games and your own personal fitness could be the difference between winning and losing.
Take a look at the skipper (Jim Adams) – I have no doubt that Jim will enjoy his Christmas, but he is a seasoned campaigner and will be out for a couple of runs and will be ready for the first game back in January and perhaps in better shape than some of you younger chaps !! Matt will no doubt be letting you all know about prospective training nights and as I have posted before Training improves performance? so let’s all see you there shifting the pounds !!!Are you sitting comfortably as I want to tell you a story!SEDLESCOMBE 1 BATTLE BAPTIST 2 When I was asked to join the club again and help Matt out I was glad to be back involved.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 4 months but it has not been without its low points.
The first 4 games of the season were very frustrating for me.
I believed that we had some good football technicians but results and what I can only describe as a missing ingredient saw us lose 3 of those games.
At the time and being very honest I wondered if we had enough about us as a group, and feared that maybe we would be involved in a relegation scrap.
I voiced my concerns with Matt, but his belief in you all was unmoveable.
With a makeshift team you went to Rocks in the cup and won 4 – 2.
The weekend after we drew at home to Ore, and there was something that happened that day which clicked.
In a game we should have won, we played very well and so the shoots of recovery were born.
I am pleased to say that many of you have proved me wrong and shown me that you are all good players with big hearts.
The following week we played Ore again and this time despite falling behind we battered them and won the game 4 – 2.
I can recall discussing with Matt how the next lot of fixtures coming up gave us the opportunity to go on a nice little run and so it was.
After the win at Robertsbridge mid-November, I spoke with Matt again and having checked the fixtures said we could go to end of the year unbeaten if we keep playing as we were.
Well, whilst some performances were excellent and some ugly the truth is we came up one game short of reaching a target that Matt and I both felt would be a huge milestone but something you were capable of.
I think what makes the run even more impressive is that in some of those games we were not able to call on established players all of the time.
The game against Social in the cup with Sam Fuller and Matt Noonan as the centre back pairing is a prime of example of being able to shuffle the pack and still get a positive result.
What you have all achieved in going 9 unbeaten was fantastic and on the last weekend before Christmas we only missed out on our goal of the magical 10 by the fine margin of 1 goal, not bad at all…...
!Am I satisfied, NO.
I’m gutted and you should feel the same.
Winning feels good, losing and perhaps in the manner and to whom we lost makes it that much harder to take.
There were some of us whom looked a bit leggy and maybe Matt and I need to think about the possibility to rest one or two of you if the chance arises, but I also feel that as players you have a responsibility to the team to let me or Matt know if you are struggling with your fitness or have had a heavy night the night before on the sauce, drinking does not improve performance !It’s difficult I know, we are not a semi pro club, we all want to play, you pay to play and I am not trying to preach as I was no angel when I played, but I am just asking you to consider each other as players in trying to be successful this season.
Responsibility starts long before you put your boots on.
As I have reiterated many times we need everyone 17 or 18 players if we are going to win some silverware this season –collectively we are strong.
So we have a few weeks to reflect on that defeat and hopefully use that disappointment to spur us on to want to do better in January when it kicks off all over again.
The fixture come thick and fast and January looks to be a challenging month.
Three home games see us play Social, Hollington and then Hawkhurst in the cup – we will need to hit the ground running to compete...
!But what about the Battle Baptist game, I hear you cry.
Well I think we can learn many things from this defeat.
In short, they were fitter and sharper than us especially the last 30 minutes which has been a time when we have dominated against other teams.
Their shape was good and they stuck to a game plan which ultimately frustrated us.
It’s all if’s and but’s, but had we taken our chances it would have changed the game and we probably would have won the game.
SO we need to be more clinical.
Against the poor sides we might get away with it but against the better sides it’s so important to kill teams off.
We can’t escape the fact either that we contributed to providing both of their goals.
Sorry Jim and Adz, the second goal we don’t need to discuss any further and as I said you can’t blame players for taking responsibility for dealing with a situation even if the communication went a bit hay wire – shit happens occasionally.
However for me the first goal was just as disappointing, the finish was good but as the ball broke from the pack in the box we did not get out quick enough or apply enough pressure to the guy on the ball in closing him down.
The ball was in the back of the nett before anyone got within touching distance of him.
This is down to concentration or lack of…!The final 30 minutes were very disappointing for me.
Yes we had the odd chance and maybe the decisions from the referee did not go our way, but we badly lost our discipline and did not support each other.
We bickered and were critical of each other which distracted from our ability to create pressure on the opposition as we tried too hard at times and forgot to be patient and play just as we had done in weeks gone by.
In 9 unbeaten we have taught ourselves not to panic and keep playing and I think we lost that mentality a little in the closing stages of the game.
We can learn from Battle as well.
The way they closed the game out and stuck to their game plan – which was numbers behind the ball – play direct to front players and look to catch us on the break.
It was interesting as our midfield dominated in the first half but in the second half they bypassed the midfield and closed Ben and Lex down very early which prevented us from playing.
It was also impressive the way they slowed the game down, not rushing to take free kicks, corners or throw in’s and effectively being disciplined and resolute.
Were they the better side on the day – in my opinion, No, but the score line says otherwise and when we play them again we need to ensure we have improved on the situations that have let us down this time round.
We owe them one!On the positive side there were a number of good performances and the move which started from the back which led to the interchange of passes with Pip Hatch which then allowed Mikey Booth to caress the ball with his instep and curl it in to the top left hand corner was really pleasing and was an excellent finish.
I felt that Lex had another good game and worked his socks off, and I think the biggest compliment any opposition can pay a player is that they targeted Lex in the second half and smothered him.
I also felt the back line did a great job again with a number of good displays with Kayner putting in a really solid performance.
My man of the match for this game goes to Kris Kayner, very closely followed by Mikey booth whom has been the provider on many occasions this season for SEDS goals – so it was nice to see Mikey get his just reward with a sweet finish this week.
We hope there is plenty more to come…...
In closing I just wanted to make a point about lobbing the goal keeper.
In the last few weeks players have been put through in one on one situations with the opportunity to lob the keeper as he approaches.
On each occasion we have let the keeper get a touch.
In my mind this is criminal and I think we are trying to be a little too cute.
The first objective is to clear the keeper, I would much prefer seeing the ball miss the goal because we gave it a little too much boot, than see the opposition keeper become a hero because he gets a touch and deflects it wide.
Finally a word of encouragement for Pip Hatch, laying second in the top goal scoring charts in the ESFL Prem, only to see Guy Ballard score 6 in a freak 20 – 0 result for the Bridge against Rocks.
Pip keep plugging away buddy we have games in hand so there is time to catch him!That’s all from me then for now, looking forward to seeing you all again soon and getting a new unbeaten run going.
We did it once and we can do it again.
Have a great Christmas lads and well done for your efforts in 2016, but 2017 is the business end of this season where the league is won or lost and cup finals are played so lets all get back fit and raring to go.
UP THE SEDS.