Frustrating afternoon, and I would say that the side that made the fewest mistakes won the game. Their second goal with the mix up between Hatton and Thomas (I think it was these two) in the build up put us completely on the back foot - you can't give a 2 goal lead to a decent side, and they clearly were a decent, well drilled side. Having said that, I don't think we were any worse than them over 90 minutes and our second half performance in my view deserved to get us at least a point - on another day, with better finishing and slightly more luck we could have turned the scoreline around. I'm not too dejected as a result, I think if we cut out the mistakes and keep people fit, we'll still be there or thereabouts competing for the play off places at the end of the season.
There were plenty of positives for me from the game too - Bricknell looks a lot sharper than he did when I saw him last (against Stortford away), and seems to be linking better with Mo. Mo's goal was taken very nicely, as we've come to expect, and assuming the two of them stay injury free (and remain at the club), we will carry a goal threat against any side. Bobson looked lively throughout and gives us a slightly different attacking dimension with the ability to beat a man, get behind and put balls into the box which the forwards should thrive on. I was side on, so couldn't tell for sure, but if their keeper tipped his shot onto the post in the second half it was a superb save. Thomas as well deserves a lot of credit - each game I've seen him play he looks assured, is positionally very good, wins the ball back and gives it simply - I thought we'd miss Johnson when he left, but actually feel that Thomas is equally as good in that role.
On the negative side, apart from the mistakes in the first half, I think we got impatient way too early at 2-1, tried to force things too much and started to go far too direct, which really doesn't suit our game. Although Mo and Billy competed well in the air, I'm sure their centre backs were rubbing their hands together once we started pinging long balls at them instead of trying to pay around them. I know I've disagreed with 4WF previously, but I think he's exactly right in a lot of respects, what we needed was patience someone to put their foot on the ball in midfield and keep recycling the play so that we worked their back four out of position and then pick that killer pass to the forwards once space was made. I don't think Ryan going off helped in this respect - ideally we needed another centre mid coming on, rather than a forward, but we are where we are - someone like Taafe (or Mulley, who played in the week, or Noto from a few years ago 😉 ) on the bench could have made a huge difference. Having said this, I'd be amazed if it was a management decision to go direct - I could hear Weatherstone shouting at the team to keep their shape and stay patient as we had so much time left, and I'm sure the management were saying the same.
Regarding the tackle on Ryan, I don't think it was an absolute horror tackle, the Invicta player was trying to get the ball, and was only marginally late, but flew in recklessly and once you don't get the ball in that situation and catch the opponent you certainly can't complain if you see red. On another day, they would have been reduced to 10 with all the benefits that the extra space would have brought us. Hopefully the injury isn't bad - I head someone mention on the way out of the ground that it was a badly gashed shin - no idea if their info was correct, but if so hopefully he'll not be out too long.
Anyway - we go again next week, lets hope we bounce back - I like this team, I like the way they play (most of the time), and I enjoy watching the exciting forwards, so I'm still very positive about the team and the management.