NICKY REFLECTS ON TUESDAY NIGHT……

Whitstable’s manager Nicky Southall found it hard to hide his disappointment after his young side went down 1-0 against Crawley Down Gatwick at The Belmont. This followed a sixtieth minute breakaway goal by the visitors in an end-to-end game of football.

Nicky spoke to Tony Rouse on Wednesday… .

Q “For the neutral it was a great game of football to watch. “

A  “Yes, except that we could not find the back of the net, but I thought my keeper Matt (Lamprell) had a really solid game. I was gutted after we had pressed them and had a couple of chances on the edge of their penalty area that they breakaway. It did not look that much of a threat as we pushed them out wide;  then the ball rebounded off Dan Wells straight back to their player who ballooned his shot past Matt. Don’t get me wrong they are a good side and a lot of teams will come unstuck against them this season; but I felt at the time we had them there for the taking. Even before they scored and particularly for the last fifteen minutes or so, when we were so much on top. They somehow cleared a couple off the line, goodness knows how and their keeper who like Matt had a solid game saved a couple more. Add to that a couple of chances when we were in great positions but players scuffed their shots wide or the ball got stuck under our feet. That’s five or six really good opportunities in the last fifteen minutes alone when we should have scored.”

Q ‘Your changes after they scored pepped things up for us.’

A “They did, but I must say that Scott Heard was really on his game before their goal and further proof that we need to get Scott playing higher up the pitch as he is a player who makes things happen.  Adding Charlie Smith, who like Scott has great energy and Dave Raggett who is a real raw talent nearly paid off as we had a real go at them. With Jake McKenzie and young Joe Lester also impressing we are a young side who are still learning; like the supporters I am finding it very hard myself but know that I have to be patient. Believe me this is not the finished article, we still have two or three players missing. John Guest should be back soon and Peter Huggens (who because he is a school teacher has to take his holidays at this time of year.) Talking of Dave(Raggett) he is such a great prospect that he just needs a goal or two to give him the confidence. He is listening and learning all the time and I am confident that Dave will become a really good player. Like a lot of players when he is not with the first team it’s because he is still learning at this level and needs games. He needs to keep playing that’s why the U21’ league will be so good for Dave and for the first team.

Q ‘You started pre-season early and against some tough sides.’

A “We did, Jason (Lillis) and myself felt it was important as fitness at this level, well any level in any sport is a huge part of success and so far it’s showed when scored very late on in the game on Saturday, and nearly got something out of the match last night. To say that I hate losing is an understatement, it upsets me. But it’s tempered by the fact that but for a couple of sloppy goals on Saturday and last night when we just could not find the back of the net we should be sitting here with at least four points, instead we have just the one. I know that we need to bring in a real quality front player or maybe two and I am continually speaking to players but I will only bring players who are one, good enough, and two want to play for Whitstable Town. The supporters have been great to me and my players since I took over and we all appreciate the way they get behind the team, rest assured we are not far away from the team that can move forward and keep improving, week by week. If we keep working hard, keep our fitness levels high, then who knows where we can go.”