Manager's Report for August
Hayden Bird writes a review of the month of August so far.
In order to continue our lines of communication, I intend to write a brief monthly update for our supporters.
Although I am sure you all appreciate that it's not possible for me to be too specific, hopefully the reports will provide a valuable insight to the thoughts of the Management Team,
We were aware that the start of the season would be tough. Come May, I expect Cray Wanderers, Margate, Hornchurch and Bishop's Stortford to be challenging for the play-offs. Added to that, we all know how difficult an away trip to Wingate and Finchley is on a Tuesday night!
During the opening three games, and without three or four key players, I was satisfied with the performances. Without being close to playing to our potential, we dominated all three matches and really should have won all of them. In the cases of both Cray and Wingate, the team were guilty of missing clear-cut chances to score.
I thought we deserved to win both games but remained positive of the team displays.
The Margate game added to our frustration. The players were desperate to secure our first victory and at 3-2 with twenty minutes remaining really ought to have scored again to seal three points. Sadly, we were hit with a sucker punch and conceded a penalty which resulted in our third consecutive draw.
Having three draws, three points and not had the points on the board that the players deserved, a sense of anxiety has crept into the team. The truth is both performances over the Bank Holiday period were unacceptable to the standards of this club. In fairness, Hornchurch were a very good side who looked equipped to compete for the League title this season. We made mistakes and were ruthlessly punished.
On Monday, the team looked leggy against an opponent who didn't play on Saturday. Two games in three days, played in over 30 degrees of heat seemed to take its toll somewhat. Certainly in the second half, Bishop's Stortford looked fresh, while we looked tired.
Successful teams play without excuses and it's fair to say that Monday was disappointing. To be open, I was absolutely devastated; really disappointed. Having dominated the first half, controlled the game and had 90% of the ball, we conceded a sloppy goal just before half time. Having started the second period on the front foot, Simon Cooper made an unforced error. Not for the first time, we hit the self-destruct button. It was bitterly disappointing and clearly not good enough. Possession doesn't win games, goals win games and despite having all of the ball, we created very little.
In assessing the opening games, it's clear that we need to significantly improve. There is no need to panic. There is a need to work hard and improve. Last season, Merstham won one game in the first five matches, we were 18th at the end of November. We simply worked hard to address the issues on the training ground, remained focused on improving and, as they say, the rest is history. We finished one point from second and reached the Premier Division Play-Off Final. Equally, looking back at Kingstonian's recent history, it's interesting to note that the worst start made in this division ended in the most successful season and a play-off final at Boreham Wood!
When I arrived here, I knew it would take time. I knew it would be a tough start and I knew patience would be needed in order to reach our targets. Nothing has changed. We do not need to "throw the baby out with the bath water" and simply need to eradicate unforced errors and focus on the core values that will make us successful. It's a slow start, nothing more than that. We are only six points from fourth position and the situation can and will change quickly!
On Saturday we travel to Merstham. It's a big game, not because of my history at the club, that's completely unimportant now. It's a big game in which we need a positive reaction to secure our first three points of the season. I'm sure that having achieved that, we will not look back.
The first month has been frustrating. You may have seen from my reaction on the bench that I've been the most frustrated person in the ground. A few water bottles have already paid the price! During this time, I've been overwhelmed by your support. You have been patient, you have been supportive and you have been behind the players. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that. No-one will enjoy our success more than you and no-one deserves it more than you. Despite my frustration and broken water bottles, I assure you that success is inevitable.
Come on K's!