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The Manager and the Captain reflect on the win at Cray Wanderers.

Hayden Bird

Hayden Bird and Simon Cooper with their thoughts on Saturday.

Kingstonian registered the team's third victory in four games on Saturday afternoon, beating a lively Cray Wanderers 2-1 at Hayes Lane. In a game played in idyllic sunny conditions, strikers Daniel Ajakaiye and Walter Figueira were both on the scoresheet to secure a hard fought victory.

On Sunday evening, the official website caught up with manager Hayden Bird and captain Simon Cooper to discuss our latest win.

"Yesterday was a big result for us," beamed the skipper. "We've turned the corner and want to finish the season strongly. We knew yesterday would be a very difficult game. Cray are fighting to stay in the league, while we had four key injuries. Added to that, we wanted to learn the lessons from when we played Potters Bar. When you face a team with a new manager, it's always more difficult. Cray are in their honeymoon period with Neil Smith and are playing to make a good impression."

"Looking at our team today, Rob, Nyren, Fabio and Cookie were all missing. That's four of the back five. It took us forty-five minutes to settle, but I thought we controlled the game in the second half. It was tough, they asked questions of us. Cray have players like Anthony Cook, Chris Dickson and Sam Wood, who carry a big threat. They scored five past Carshalton, four versus Enfield and four versus Bowers and Pitsea last weekend. We had to be on it defensively. It was a hard fought victory."

The manager agreed with his captain's appraisal of the game. "Firstly, we were delighted to win. After a difficult four or five weeks, we have won three and drawn one from our last four games. The players have worked hard to change our fortunes and we can look forward to finishing the season well."

"That said, there remains scope for considerable improvement. Albeit we went behind to a wicked deflection, we weren't good enough in the first half. On reflection, perhaps we shouldn't be totally surprised. Without Nyren, Fabio and Ollie, we missed three key players in the back four. In addition to that, Declan started his first game since the Royston cup tie in mid-November. It was a big ask of all the lads who were coming into this team."

"It's an over-used phrase nowadays, but we are in a period of transition. We are conscious of that as we are already planning and building for next season. However, when we critique the performance today, we should be mindful of these things. Including Rob, we had four key injuries plus Alex playing with the 'flu."

"It was Declan's first game in four months and we are blooding young players such as Teo and Lewis. Let's not forget D'sean made his debut and Eze has only played once for Kingstonian. Equally, Walter, Alfie and Alex are still settling in, having only been here a few weeks."

"There were really big positives this afternoon. Walter scored! The entire dressing room was delighted for him! Now he has made the breakthrough, I think we will see him on the scoresheet more regularly. Dan scored again, which was his twentieth goal of the season. That's a great landmark for a young player in his first season here. Alfie looked far more accomplished in his performance while Alex (despite the fact he should have been in bed) and D'sean both showed glimpses of their undoubted quality."

"We are placed in a very respectable 8th position in the league and in the semi-final of the Surrey Senior Cup. We can now approach a good solid week on the training ground with a spring in our step. Having no midweek game is perfect. We can work hard to improve and the injuries have seven days to recover."

Published Monday 28th March 2022