Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson - 02/11/2018
Whyteleafe FC fan and local motoring journalist, Steve Hole, has his regular weekly cup of tea with Leafe manager, Harry Hudson. This week, Harry brings us up to date with another busy seven days for the club.
He reviews the Tonbridge Angels FA Trophy defeat with brutal (and refreshing) honesty while also looks forward to our return to Bostik League South East action this Saturday (November 3) away to Whitstable Town FC.
Each week Harry will bring us his thoughts and important team news, the ins, the outs, and the highs and lows.
Sadly, I had unavoidable family commitments on Saturday and had to irritatingly miss my first game of the season. I was ‘watching’ the Football Web Pages app though and up until 80-minutes all looked good. A heart-breaking final ten minutes though, Harry? What are your thoughts?
Yes, it was a huge shame to go from a winning position to not even secure a replay 10 minutes later and it was very hard to accept. However, our second half performance wasn't good enough to win the game and we have spent a long time since as a group, reviewing where we went wrong. The first red card after 14-minutes to the Tonbridge centre-half totally changed the game and we were able to gain control in the first half, as a result, which we were pleased with but we failed to adapt after the break.
The boys gave it their all though against higher league opponents - and good ones at that?
Tonbridge Angels are very good at what they do and you cannot obtain the points they have in the Bostik Premier without being an effective group. Our whole squad were devastated after the game because we felt like we should have caused an upset, on Saturday. We pride ourselves on our philosophy, which of course comes with positives and negatives, but we should have been good enough to expose their ten men in the second half. The honest truth was that we were too safe with the ball after the break rather than looking to kill them off. We have to use the Tonbrdge game as a learning opportunity and move back into league action. I have said this before but I will repeat it again - to come away from the game devastated does show how far we have come as a group.
They’ll grow from that match. Another big test. How many teenagers were in our side on Saturday?
Yes, it was a great experience and I am sure, especially after reviewing the game in detail, we will be better individually and collectively moving forwards. Seven of our starting eleven were under 21 years old but that cannot be an excuse! Players have to be good enough to play at this level regardless of their age.
True management comes from lifting the lads after a disappointment like that?
Certainly, but we look at things analytically and that is why we invest in video analysis as a tool to help with that. We have a good group and we all know our focus has to be the league and we now have that to focus on.
From the fans point of view I think we’re particularly impressed at how our side look more than capable of holding their own against higher league teams?
It is testament to how far we have come this year that we are so disappointed to lose 2-1 against Tonbridge. Our boys do not shirk a challenge and that says a lot about their character and belief - we need to keep this strong, with the support from our fans, as we will need it over the course of a long season!
Hand on heart Harry, have the overall performances so far, this season, surprised you, even a little bit?
Honestly not particularly because I think we have players who will go onto play at a high level in the next coming years. Our biggest issue is being able to win the games that we are expected to - putting teams to bed and securing points. Once we get this right I think our team will go onto another level.
Back to the bread and butter Bostik League business on Saturday, Harry. We visit the Kent coast again for a trip to Whitstable FC. What do you know about them?
Calum and I played Whitstable four times last year at Croydon FC! They are a very experienced and organised team who are hard to break down. They will be a threat from direct play and we will need to assert our style on the game.
New to our league this season, they’ve been doing pretty well so far?
Yes, and I am not surprised as they were a difficult team to play against and pick points up against last season. It is very important we bounce back from Saturday and get 3 points in the league. That being said I am sure they will think the same - they have lost their last three games, including a narrow defeat to Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday evening in the Kent Senior Cup, so I am sure their management will be looking for a reaction.
Any new signings, injuries to report, this week?
We have managed to secure the services of forward Trey Williams from the defunct Thamesmead FC who will be an excellent addition to our squad. Helge and Arif are back available and Ashley-Paul Robinson has stepped up his re-hab this week, so we are getting there.