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Hayden's Monthly Review

Hayden Bird

Kingstonian manager Hayden Bird reviews a rather interesting few weeks.

It's been a positive month.

In October, we recorded results of Won 5, Drew 2 and Lost 1. In every game, we played well, showing clear signs of improvement both with and without the ball.

Upon reflection, I don't think it's unfair to suggest that we deserved to win every game!

When analysing the draws, we were 2-0 up away at Carshalton Athletic and in total control. A ten minute lack of concentration prevented the better side from winning at Colston Avenue.

However disappointing it was not to have won, to dominate a team who are fancied for promotion, away from home, shows a clear indication of our continued development.

Our second draw of the month was at home to Weston-super-Mare. I maintained after the game that with eleven me, we would definitely have won. Indeed, having played with ten men for twenty-five minutes, only a last minute penalty prevented us from doing so. Nonetheless, we were delighted to win the replay so comprehensively.

To lose to Bognor was really disappointing. Disappointing and frustrating! Looking back, it was just one of those matches where the ball refused to go into the net! Whilst Bognor scored from their only chance of the game, our lads forced fourteen saves from visiting keeper, Amadou Tangara. In addition to that, we hit the woodwork! There is no way that we deserved to lose and in my view were the better team by quite some margin. Yes, that was a frustrating night!

Our only other League fixture recently was yesterday. We knew Brightlingsea Regent would provide stern opposition, it's a tough ground to visit. The pitch is difficult, the conditions are blustery and, added to that, in the second half we played in torrential rain.

Due to the conditions, we only passed the ball to our normal standard in periods of the game. However, the team performed with a calm control throughout to earn a valuable 2-0 victory. Once again, defensively we were solid, sharp when the ball was in transition and difficult to play against. Rob was forced into his first save of the game in the 89th minute, which exemplified our superiority.

I cannot stress how difficult the conditions were and would like to give the players immense credit. Although we are renowned for our quality with the ball, this is not enough to be successful. The spirit, the resilience and the desire to win all three points in terrible conditions showed great character from the lads.

I'm not paying too much attention to the league table. As it stands, there is no point. Teams have played more games than Kingstonian, so it is difficult to judge the real picture. However, the fact remains that we are improving, we are controlling games and if we win our games in hand, are only five points from the play-offs. My experience tells me that's nothing at this stage. However, our supporters may rest assured that while everyone's attention has been on the cup competitions, we are very focused on achieving our ambitions in the league.

That said, October was all about the cups! We beat Knaphill 5-1 and played fantastic football in the process. The quality of the goals were outstanding, as was the attitude of the players. I've made no secret of the fact that this is a competition that we want to win. In order to elevate this Club into a position that we are working towards, we need to win silverware. The Specsavers Surrey Senior Cup presents a great opportunity to do exactly that in our first year together.

Football fate pitted us against our landlords in the FA Trophy. Myself and the players knew how much this game meant to our supporters and we were determined not to let you down. Equally, we want to enjoy success in every competition.

We were pleased to open our FA Trophy campaign with a comfortable 4-2 victory. Having made an exceptional start to the game, we were 3-0 up in the first twenty minutes. Although Casuals scored two penalties, we were pleased to win 4-2 and progress in the competition.

In leaving the best until last, I think we will all remember October for our fine performances in the FA Cup.

Having been denied by an undeserved last gasp equaliser, we travelled to Weston-super-Mare in what promised to be a very difficult replay. The team was absolutely exceptional. All of the players deserve great compliments for their performance in a comprehensive 4-1 victory. As the manager of Kingstonian Football Club, I was proud of the performance, I was proud of the team and I was very proud of the players.

Once again, I have to mention the tremendous support. For so many supporters to make the long midweek journey and be so vociferous in their support, was absolutely amazing. No-one deserved the victory more than the Kingstonian fans. Thank you!

Our victory in Somerset set up a mouth-watering tie away to Dartford. The Kent-based club had just appointed Steve King as their manager, and he was determined to make his mark.

Once again, the tremendous performance from the players was only matched by the performance of our supporters. It was a great day for Kingstonian and a fantastic occasion for everyone involved with the Football Club.

To win 3-2 at Princes Park was further evidence of the progress that this team is making. Progress we are all determined to build upon. Again, the players deserved great credit to produce such an excellent performance in such an important game.

The following Monday we were drawn away to Macclesfield Town from EFL League 2. When I arrived here, everyone said the same thing; please give us a cup run! This is it! Let's enjoy these moments together.

This week, we will be working hard on the Training Ground to prepare for the FA Cup First Round. As a team, we are looking forward to the game as much as you all are. That said, we have a job to do and will be doing our utmost to ensure Kingstonian are still in the hat at 2.45pm this Sunday!

November is going to be a very busy month. To some degree, we are the victims of our own success in the cup competitions.

For example, only three days after the Macclesfield game, we are due to travel to either Truro City or Blackfield & Langley in the FA Trophy. We will follow this with our third game in six days, playing Lewes in a vital League fixture. As a squad, our strength in depth is going to be tested. We will need everybody, I've already advised the players that everyone will play a vital part in the coming weeks. With this in mind, I'm asking our tremendous supporters to get behind the team, as you always do. I cannot emphasise how important you will be in this period. More than ever, in this hectic programme, we are going to need you!

In closing, I would also like to congratulate Stephen Drewett, his staff and entire Youth Team on a fine FA Youth Cup campaign. These young men have represented the club superbly. Stephen and his staff are doing a fantastic job to ensure that Kingstonian have a very bright future. My congratulations to everybody.

See you at Macclesfield Town!

Published Sunday 3rd November 2019