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Bishop’s Stortford

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Last night was a strange match. I thought our line-up and formation looked good and we started well,  playing the ball around nicely. Stortford seemed one-dimensional to me, long balls and not much else.

Difficult to comment on the penalty as I was standing some distance away, but it was far from clear cut. Not sure what it was awarded for, to be honest. Perhaps shirt pulling In the box? Seemed harsh. Anyway, we were still well in the game and I thought if we carried on with the possession based football we were playing, we would equalise.

Their second goal stemmed from a poor pass out from the back (which was to become a recurring theme) but heads didn’t go down. We fought back well, Della Varde’s shot wrong-footed their keeper and we were right back in it going into half time.

But more poor defending cost us the third goal early in the second half. I still can’t believe we allowed them to score a header direct from a corner. The Stortford front 2 linked together well but had no height advantage. Terrible goal to concede so early and knocked the wind completely out of our sails.

The fourth goal stemmed from yet another poor pass out of defence - enough said, it simply wasn’t our night. Fair play to Stortford - they accepted the gifts on offer. Also, well done to their groundsman. Pitch was excellent.

We need to be constructive in our criticism here. I didn’t enjoy watching Stortford’s long ball game but you can’t argue with the result. Lessons learned:

1) Jared Small had an excellent game and showed the type of pace, mobility and strength on the ball we have been missing since Faal moved to Bolton

2) I’m all for playing it out from the back. We played some really good stuff last night in patches - clearly, the coaching team have been working on this. But we also need to play to the players’ strengths. Weatherstone, Thomas, Percy and Youngs are comfortable on the ball. Jerry was not. So don’t expose him unnecessarily. His strengths are different. Leave him to defend.

Anyway, in time- honoured fashion after a defeat, we move on. We have a strong squad, the strongest for some time. Blackman on the bench says it all. I’m looking for a reaction on Saturday against Kingstonian and hope we play to our strengths.

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Agree with much of what was said about this one, definitely a match to forget!

I was too far away to the initial penalty but it did look soft and the second goal came directly after a certain foul on Josh that wasn't given. At 2-0 down we played our best football of the match until half time but didn't really show up after the break. Could easily have conceded 3 or 4 more in the second half.

Looking for better on Saturday against a Kingstonian side that lost their first 2 league games (they play tonight) and, like us, was knocked out of the FA Cup last week. With Shaun injured its essential that we get somebody closer to Billy up front, rather than playing wide - playing up front on his own we know is not his game. Also think its time to give our other new centre back a chance.

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