Friday 16th December 2005

We lacked mental strength, admits disappointed Walker

After twice leading in the original tie (and missing a penalty) Maidstone United again passed up a glorious opportunity to progress to the national stages of the FA Vase after frittering away not only a two-goal lead but also an injury time penalty against the ten-men of Broxbourne Borough on Tuesday night, reports www.maidstoneunited.co.uk

And Stones' head coach, Alan Walker admits to feeling "massively disappointed" on missing out on a trip to fellow Kentish Observer League rivals VCD Athletic in the fourth round on 21st January, losing 5-4 on penalties after drawing the replay 3-3 (after extra time).

"Massively disappointed" was Alan Walker's reaction to Tuesday's agonising defeat.

"I can't believe how many chances we created, but in the end it's all about taking those chances and we just didn't do it.

"I can tell supporters it was nothing to do with not wanting it, you don't deliberately miss penalties, I feel we lacked the mental strength.

"It was basically the same XI that won the mental battle with Beckenham the week before, but this week we just didn't have that strength. We had 4 hours of football to beat a side which we knew were not as good as us, but when I saw the missed penalty from Mo (Takaloo) you just felt that it wasn't going to go our way from then on.

"We spoke to the players again on Tuesday about being mentally strong and to be fair they were doing the job when we went 2-0 up, but when they pulled a goal back that seemed to disappear and we folded. Sadly these things happen in football, we benefited in the same way last year when we played Redbridge, in a game they dominated but we won."

"The goals themselves we had warned the players about, we knew they were a side who were very quick on the break, but we got caught out 4 times and you can't pick on individuals to fault, it was as a team that we lacked concentration.

"But we have to get the players motivated again, they were absolutely devastated after the game as was I, certainly one of my worse moments in football rating up there with a certain defeat when I was manager at Tonbridge and being beaten by Maidstone!"

The former Sittingbourne, Tonbridge and Bromley manager admits its time to focus on their league game against strugglers Erith Town.

"But everyone appreciates what we have to do to get over this defeat and that starts on Saturday with the match against Erith," he said.

"It's true Erith have struggled this season, but it's a case of rolling our sleeves up and battling for the win and I believe we have the squad that can do that."

Stones go into the game with more injury worries with both Neil Miler and Sam Tydeman out of the game. There are also question marks over the fitness of Ryan Royston and Mo Takaloo who will both face late fitness tests.

Finally, with VCD playing their FA Vase tie on the day the Stones were scheduled to play them in the league cup, the fixture will now take place the following Thursday, 26th January KO 7.45pm.

Maidstone United v Erith Town
Kentish Observer League
Saturday 17th December 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Bourne Park, Central Park, Eurolink, Sittingbourne