Friday, 13 November 2015

Chin Up

With the Press website carrying no news as yet on the arrival of either tomorrow or Jamie from his hols, the time may as well be spent ruminating on our trip to Folkestone last Saturday.

The trip down from the comforting embrace of London was hampered by what the rail operators describe as obstructions on the line. A leaf or two in other words but this did mean the planned visit to the seafront had to be put on hold whilst we gathered our senses in the clubhouse (Stripes) at Folkestone's Fullicks Stadium.

Two bars with a range of fizzy things on tap, fruit based drinks and a couple of polypins from Gadds of Ramsgate. With cheese and chips available from the teabar next door the errant leaf was soon forgotten, the teams entered the field of play and a football match broke out.

It made for pleasant enough viewing as well, no sign of the sleepy start so often seen from GFC and the team seemed connected from back to front. Ok, going forward the tactic was stick the ball through for Ross Allen to run on to and do what he can do. Not really the long ball game that some would have you believe.

In truth a realistic approach away from home against the team making all the running in the league. And it paid a dividend when Folkestone captain Frankie Chappell stretched to stop the ball running through to Rocco, who would have had a clear run on goal. The ball was duly intercepted but the stretch meant it rose into the gusting wind which, to the despair of Mr Chappell, carried it goalward beyond the reach of the 'flailing keeper'.

A tremendous moment indeed, but did it come because we'd dominated proceedings? No, We had gone toe to toe with the team at the top of the league however and, despite the disappointment of conceding shortly before the half time whistle, with the heavens starting to open, we headed for the sanctuary of Stripes.

It's an oft repeated opinion that football is a game of two halves. An opinion that, in turn, often transmutes into fact.

Within a gnat's crotchet of the whistle for the start of the second half, the gusting wind evened things up, as far as its own contribution to the match was concerned. It wasn't long before Folkestone scored a third and this was the point at which it became clear the game was lost.

Whereas we'd been fairly tight in the first half an injury meant Liam Mahon was replaced by St Luke at half time. So a midfielder replaced by an attacker and, not surprisingly, things loosened up between the front and back lines and Folkestone took full advantage.

They were full value for their win and the feeling, behind the goal at least, was that the margin could have been wider.

Now, I'm not an expert when it comes to football tactics (I tend to get distracted by things that make a noise when bashed) but I couldn't help but notice that whilst we were getting ragged in midfield, the home team kept their shape.

The other key difference between the sides was that Folkestone attacks tended to utilise the full width of the pitch, giving options if route one ended in a cul de sac. And when attacking they weren't shy of passing to each other. We on the other hand, particularly in the 2nd half, had 2 or 3 running at the Folkestone defence but the body language suggested that, each time, 2 of the 3 weren't expecting the one with the ball to pass it any time soon.

The situation wasn't helped by travelling with a small squad, meaning a lack of options on the bench. Yes the travelling affects GFC more than any other individual club in the league and this has an impact on player availability. Conversely we don't have a raft of other clubs a few miles down the road scheming to poach players and coaches either. Player availability is a challenge the club needs to work at overcoming, not an excuse for a defeat.

After the match a couple of refreshments in the clubhouse then a cab to the harbour, for more refreshments would you believe, before getting the train home. At the station we bumped into a certain Frankie Chapell and had a bit of a chinwag, more on that another time.

A bit of a tonking at Folkestone is one thing. More of the same at Chatham is something else and the boss was quite right before the trip when he said he expected something from the match.

Tomorrow Peacehaven visit the ARS. One of the few teams in worse form than us at the moment and we have a point to prove following our feeble 2nd half capitulation against a really not very good side back in August. If you're to the ARS, chin up, do your bit and get behind the lads.

Keep it Green

Allez les Verts!!

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