Where do you start other than at the beginning? Which is exactly where Sam Deering started last week with what was an outstanding goal! It really was a fantastic bit of skill and I was pleased first of all with the way we won the ball straight from the kick-off and then for Sam to not only spot the keeper off his line but to have the quality and the confidence to do what he did was the most pleasing aspect.
I thought we looked good and apart from the point where we lost a little bit of concentration with everyone still excited by Sam’s goal, St Albans weren’t really in it. Once they missed their opportunity to get straight back on level terms, we just kicked on and in the next 45 minutes could have been four or five up.
We really gave them no time to settle and Stuart Lewis in that position puts you on the front foot, as does Sam Deering – both have fantastic energy. Our gameplan was to press them really high so they couldn’t play their way out. We were looking to either nick the ball high up the field (which we did for two of the goals) or else force them to play it long, which with our back three against their front two would just allow us the majority of possession and it worked well.
In the second half, the goal was a little bit self-inflicted. It came from us losing the ball, maybe we were a bit guilty of overplaying it in defence, but to be fair their lad hit a great strike. But that aside, we had numerous other chances to add to the scoreline in the second half and got through comfortably against a very good team.
This afternoon sees us up against another very good team and I’d like to welcome Lee Bradbury, his players and the supporters of Havant & Waterlooville to what should be a close encounter.
Steve Gritt and I watched them on Tuesday against Worthing and although they went 2-0 down, they thoroughly deserved their comeback to win 3-2. Everyone at this level last season thought it was a major shock when Havant were relegated and I fully expect them to triumph in the Ryman League.
You’d normally expect a clearout when a team is relegated but it’s proved to be an excellent decision by the Havant board to stick with Lee as manager and he in turn has stuck with the bulk of players he had last season. You can see they’re a side used to winning, high on confidence and they’ve only lost one game this season so I expect this Emirates FA Cup tie to be very different to our previous one.
The Third Qualifying Round is a bit of a halfway house in terms of being close enough to the First Round to anticipate it but far enough away to know you have to work hard to get there. We take it one game at a time and we will work for our name to be in that hat come Monday.