Analysing Bishop's Stortford
K's manager Hayden Bird spoke about Saturday's loss to Bishop's Stortford.
With Kingstonian's unbeaten run of five games being ended at the hands of Bishop's Stortford on Saturday, the official website caught up with manager Hayden Bird the following day to discuss the game.
Q: Bishop's Stortford arrived at King George's Field having lost only once in 34 games and not having conceded a goal for ten matches. Although we lost 0-2, listening to their manager and Darren Foxley being interviewed after the game, they clearly thought it was a tough game and considered Kingstonian a tough nut to crack.
HB: In truth, there was very little between the teams. Stortford had the best possible start in a phase of play we defended poorly. However, once the game settled, we got a foot-hold in the game and won a level of control, which created problems for them.
It was a game of moments. Walter has to score in the first half, just as Daniel has to finish off the best move of the game midway through the second half. When you play against a team with such outstanding defensive qualities, you cannot miss these golden opportunities. They are game changing moments. Stortford scored as early as the 3rd minute and as late as the 87th minute. The rest of the game was pretty even.
Q: Were you pleased with the performance?
HB: When you analyse any performance, it is important to recognise that there are two teams on the pitch. Bishop's Stortford are 2nd in the table for a reason and looked every inch a team that are 2nd in the league and unbeaten since 8th January.
Kingstonian made a nervy start but grew into the game. My possession stats showed me we had 71% of the ball with an overall pass completion ratio of 85%. Did we create enough chances for the possession we had? No, not even close. Did we lack a cutting edge needed to create the opportunities? Yes, without doubt. Ultimately though, both Walter and Daniel had two very, very big opportunities at 0-1 and if one of those goes in, it's a very different game and probably a different outcome.
Q: Why did we lack the cutting edge you mentioned?
HB: For a number of reasons but in defence of the players, the biggest reason is the pitch. Kingstonian's philosophy is to move the ball quickly throughout the thirds. At the moment, the pitches at this level are rock solid, uneven and bobbly, so it's simply not possible to do that. With the players we have here, that means we have to play in a more patient, measured approach. Moving forward, we have to find the right balance to ensure these issues are not repeated next season.
Q: If that's the case, do we need a Plan B?
HB: That one is always thrown at me! (laughs Hayden). What do you want me do, boots the ball up the pitch to Daniel at 5'7", Walter at 5'9" or Alex Addai at 5'5"? (he says smiling). The truth is Plan B is to change shape, as we did on Saturday, rather than a change in philosophy. As I mentioned, we need to find the right balance to ensure these issues are not repeated next season.
Q: What were the positives from today's game?
HB: I was pleased with the performances of Cookie, Simon and Alfie, all of which were solid and worked the ball well in the first phase of play. D'sean played well again. He is settling in nicely and will be a big player here. The other positive was the performance solidified my ideas on how we need to improve. I'm very clear on what we need to do this summer to move onto the next level.
Q: What's our targets for the rest of the season?
HB: If the team can achieve a Top 8 finish, reach the Surrey Senior Cup Final - and hopefully win it! - it will be a great platform to move forward. It will also represent real progress and signal the best season the club has had in a number of years. That's got to be our aim.