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Gaffer's Chat with Harry Hudson - 13/09/2019

Welcome to this week’s Gaffer’s Chat. Plenty to ask Harry about this time following the superb Emirates FA Cup win at home to Merstham last Saturday. 

Don’t forget that there’s a supporters meeting with Harry and Calum in the boardroom straight after Saturday’s home game against Ashford. They want to talk 12th Man fund and explore other ways that we supporters can help them…

Have you booked your coach ticket for the FA Cup match away to Moneyfields next Saturday (September 21) yet? Travelling with the team to the game will be a great experience, all part of the FA Cup’s romance. Contact Clive to book your place(s). It’s only a tenner per ticket. 

Wow, Harry. What a difference seven days makes? It kind of proves once more that the old cliche that football is a funny old game is beyond question! After the painful blip at Hastings, last Saturday was off the scale? Yes it felt fantastic to win in the FA Cup and have Church Road bouncing! In truth I didn’t think we played particularly well against Merstham but we got the job done and in my opinion deserved the win. Although the Hastings result was a blip the performance in the second half was good and we deserved more from the game.

The fans were fantastic weren’t they? You would love to see a big contingent at Moneyfields? Tell me about the difference having fans behind you at away matches makes to the team? It makes such a huge difference to the team! They are most important during the critical parts of the game – when we are under pressure and when we are in the ascendency. It is during these times when the crowd give the team that extra 10%. I hope we can get a good crowd down to Moneyfields to give ourselves the best chance to get into the next round!  

With all respect to Merstham - they are a very decent side - we dominated that game though didn’t we? I thought Merstham started better than us and we looked a little nervous. Our goal came slightly against the run of play but once we scored we took control of the game and I though we should have gone in at least 2-0 up. The second half finished in the same vain as the first and we should have put daylight between us and them. As the half went on they started to pile pressure on us from set pieces and will probably feel they could have nicked a replay but we should have finished the game off before that happened. 

Great to pit your skills against teams from a higher division? Yes always and we have a lot of belief within our group and tend to raise our game against ‘better’ sides. We also love the FA Cup – we are still unbeaten in the competition over two seasons! Let’s try and keep that up!

It must give you and Calum great pride to see the boys respond the way they did on Saturday? Yes it did but we shouldn’t have been too disappointed with Hastings as the performance was good second half. As a manager we would as for a reaction to a poor performance.

I know that you and Calum are too level-headed to get carried away - especially Calum - but mate, we’re in the FA Cup second qualifying round? Yes it is a great achievement for the club and certainly helps us financially. We treat each game as it comes and believe that on our day we will give anyone a game.

What do you know about Moneyfields other than the fact they are in Portsmouth and they play in the Southern League Division One South? Does that mean that they are a Tier Four side like us? Yes same equivalent league as ourselves. We don’t know too much about them yet but will try and do our homework and create a plan to beat them. Obviously they turned over VCD in the last round so they must be very decent.

I think after a quick check that we’re one of only three BetVictor South East sides left in the FA Cup at this stage? The other two being Ramsgate and Chichester City (apologies if I’ve left one out)? That kind of puts things in perspective a bit? It is a great achievement and it is fantastic that our league is still represented at this stage. It is very much luck of the draw but I do not believe we have had a ‘lucky’ draw yet and we have had to work hard for our wins.

I won’t talk about what could happen, who we could potentially face if we make it to the Third Qualifying Round of the Cup. Crikey, we’d be just four games from the First Round, proper….gulp, sorry! Keeping feet firmly planted on terra firma. Before we head for sunny Portsmouth, we have the considerable task of Ashford United who visit Church Road this Saturday (September 14 - 3pm) in a league match. They lost in the play-off final last Season and have started this term well, too? They have started exceptionally well and have the only 100% record in our league. The League is our priority and games don’t get much bigger than Hastings followed by Ashford – the two sides who will be vying for automatic promotion this year in my opinion. They beat us comfortably us at Church Road last year and we will be looking to avenge that result. The boys are in a good place and I am sure it will be a good game on Saturday.

Then of course, next Tuesday evening (Church Road 7.45pm) we’re in BetVictor Isthmian South East action again when we host Burgess Hill Town FC. They were relegated last season from the BetVictor Premier, of course. Since they scored seven against Hythe on the opening day they’ve not done so well but they’ll be a stern test? I think they are a team who, on their day, are a real threat. The games are coming thick and fast now and we need to keep everyone fit and available to get the results needed to reach our targets as a team this year.

Finally, Nathan Campbell missed last Saturday, how’s he doing? Also, Jordan Clarke picked up an injury during Saturday’s game. What’s the word on him? Nathan and Clarky are both touch and go for Saturday – need Jojo (physio) to work his magic!

Stone Edge
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