It was a pretty humdrum game here on Tuesday night against Gosport. We started well and our passing was impressive but then faded until coming to life just after the visitors took the lead. That burst from us in the last 15 minutes really had Gosport on the racks for the first time in the evening. Earlier, we’d looked disjointed, lacking shape and though I don’t think I could question our energy, we didn’t have that determination and sheer will to succeed that we had towards the end, when every tackle was won, every opposition player barged out of the way and we chased down absolutely every ball. We also started playing the ball out wide where we really caused problems for the Gosport, particularly with Cheyce’s trickery and Rene was a handful in the closing minutes, with his cheeky gamesmanship, tom-foolery and physical presence.
Tuesday was a game of two keepers, though – their man between the sticks pulling off a last ditch save late on and Alex making a world class stop at the death. Thankfully, there’s footage doing the rounds on Twitter of his incredible tip onto the bar, where he must have literally been on some kind of elastic spring or stilts to get to the ball as it surged in a different direction at the last second. It really was truly incredible.
The crowd was disappointing on Tuesday, only 184. I haven’t really fathomed out why our home support has plateaued – is it because of “second season syndrome” or the weather being generally rubbish or our poor start to the season? I suspect it is a mixture of all three – we also need to get word out on the street a bit more about our wonderful Stags, hidden in the depths of the picturesque Thames. So, please do tell and bring a friend along. We also need to get some of the kids back from last season, where they had a positive presence behind the goal, with their good-natured enthusiasm and sportsmanship to the opposition keeper. Everyone has a part to play here in drumming up support!
A word or two for our neighbours Molesey who are canvassing support for their planning application, which includes a development of 50 flats, day nursery and clubhouse. Given that Molesey get very small crowds, their very future existence relies on the application being approved. They are a really great local Club, often toiling in adversity and play a key part in the local community. We really are one big non-league family, particularly round here and if you can go onto their twitter page @MoleseyFC1953 or their website and follow the links to support the application that would be fabulous.
Onto other non-league clubs locally and poor old Staines Town are in a mess. You have to feel sorry for Swans’ supporters, suffering a second season which although not quite as bad as last time round (nothing really could be worse, in all honesty), but having a nightmare. The likeable Mahrez Bettache, formerly and briefly of this Parish, is now at the helm, following Anthony Gale’s departure and he was certainly very enthusiastic on Twitter after he recorded his first victory – in the Middlesex Senior Cup, against Hanworth Villa on Tuesday. Small steps, but significant nonetheless and I think all of us would hope to see Staines rise once again after all that their fans have been through. Meanwhile, the other Swans recorded a 5-1 thrashing over Ash United last Saturday and appear to be climbing up the table, which is good to see. We’re due to play them on 26th November in the Southern Combination Cup tie down here at The Home of World Football. I’m not sure there’s too much enthusiasm, judging by their fans’ forum a few weeks ago, which derided our winning of this competition last season, as a Cup they once won playing in a car park in Staines.
Finally, the biggest giggle of the week, was seeing the words “pack your speedos we’re off to Worthing” as I was stuck in a conference by the seaside in Poole on Monday and got the news from our Twitter page of our F.A. Trophy draw. As I cast my eye out of the window onto the biggest autumnal seaside monsoon in years, the thought of the boys in the Blue Seats and behind the goal in Speedos on a dark, deluged, Saturday late October afternoon down in Worthing could not have been a more unedifying prospect. I will, though, be in my speedos but it’s half-term and we’re off to Marbella so whilst I’m also on the beach, in glorious sunshine, no doubt, I’ll be thinking of you lot dipping your toes in the English Channel before kick-off (secretly jealous you’re getting to go the game, though…)