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Dorking away? I don't know what I'm to say

You can’t say it wasn’t an improvement. Yes, it needed to be, the previous game was woefully, unacceptably awful, the bar was low. But we’re allowed to be pleased at how much better it was. We’re allowed to be happy about coming from behind, twice, to take a point off the league leaders. Happy new year.

Turns out playing two up front does work. So does playing people in their best position, which we were able to do with Nathan Sheron as Jordan Clarke was back fit. Both the goals we conceded were a bit soft, but we did look calmer and more solid at the back, and Peter Clarke reminded us that he can be quite a nuisance at the other end of pitch, winning a penalty not far off four years to the day that he did the same at Fulham. Abraham nearly won us all three points late on again, but his finishing isn’t as good when he isn’t on telly, and he smashed it against the bar. (Only joking Timmy, unlucky son.)

Yes, both goals came from mistakes, but the opposition tend to make more mistakes the more pressure you put them under. If we weren’t getting forward and attacking – and we haven’t been doing that enough – their keeper doesn’t come out and give the ball away. If you’re not in the opposition penalty area – and we haven’t been enough in recent games – they don’t get to foul you and give away a penalty. The harder you work, the luckier you tend to be.

Peter Clarke and David Unsworth both praised the players’ discipline, work rate and resolve after the game. Clarke talked about how they knew they’d given County too much respect at their place and came away knowing they needed a response. He also acknowledged that they need to kick on from here: “We’ve got to make sure that we maintain or better the levels that we’ve set from that performance and if we do that, we’ll be all right.”

I hope you do, Clarkey. I hope you do. I hoped that we’d kick on after the league game at home to Wrexham. I hoped that the win on penalties at Chester might be a turning point. We’ve got a better squad now, and I really, desperately hope this isn’t another false dawn. We know it’s a work in progress, we just want to see some signs of that progress continuing, rather than it feel like we’re taking one step forward and six back.

Off the pitch, Boundary Park continues to be a hive of activity. There’s been work going on in the Main Stand, and I hope the pest control people who’ve been there again this week have been successful. If not, the porters at the hospital have got a very good mouser. I’m sure they’d let you borrow her for a couple of days if you ask nicely, Dave.

Onto Dorking, then. Safe journey and good luck if you’re going. Make sure you take advantage of the boss and owner Marc White’s generosity at the micropub on West Street and The Spotted Dog on South Street, where he’s promised to put some money behind the bar for our fans to have a drink. I’ll be disappointed if at least one OASIS representative doesn’t pay a visit to Denbies Wine Estate and report back. Here’s hoping the performance is more Greenfields Sparkling Wine than Lambrini. KTMFF.



Written by Arlene Finnigan. Image © Eddie Garvey.

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