Not taking our chances is a bit of a concern, I'm not going to lie, says Cray Wanderers boss Tony Russell

Monday 31st December 2018

CRAY WANDERERS manager Tony Russell says he’s concerned about the number of missed chances from his table-topping side.

The Wands extended their lead at the top of the Bostik South East Division table to 11 points after coming away from Sevenoaks Town with a 1-0 win on Saturday.

Micky Collins side set up in a defensive manner and tried to hit Russell’s men on the counter-attack and they almost grabbed the lead five minutes before the break but Luke Coleman’s poor penalty as gobbled up by visiting goalkeeper Nick Blue.

Cray Wanderers kept plugging away and deservedly claimed the win courtesy of super-sub Freddie Parker’s goal two minutes from time at Greatness Park.

“It’s a bit of a concern because I don’t get too carried away when we’re winning games,” said Russell.

“Too many managers start winning games and they think they’re the best thing since sliced bread.

“But I always analyse it. The last two games Sittingbourne and Sevenoaks – how many chances have we created? On average we’re averaging 24 shots a game and probably scoring one and a half, two all season.

“One game, Faversham at home was when we broke loose and we scored seven and that was the only game that we looked threatening.

“It’s a bit of a concern, I’m not going to lie.

“I’m not worried about people talking about us winning this league, it’s such a long way off.  We’ve got to do the right things. We’re not going to do that at the moment because we’re missing those chances because sooner or later it will bite you on the bum and it nearly did at Sevenoaks.

“A team will have one chance in the box and they’ll get a penalty.  The problem is you can come in at 1-0 down having one shot and we’re having 10 shots on goal.”

Russell handed left-winger Daniel Uchechi his debut as he came on for Aaron Rhule in the 56th minute on Saturday.

“I think he done alright. It’s probably the first player that I’ve ever singed blind. I’ve never seen him play,” admitted Russell.

“We thought Junior Dadson broke his ankle but now we’ve been told it’s not a break. He’s out of plaster but we’re still waiting for his results so it may not be as bad as we think.

“But Aaron Rhule’s just come back from three months out. It was only his first game last week.  I could have sent him out on loan to get games but we’ve just got him back and at the moment he’s got to grin and bear it and that will do him the world of good. He’s fine, he’s just tired. I want to get him back out there and get as many minutes and try to get a friendly this week.

“We spoke to Gary McCann over at Hampton & Richmond about another player (Rhys Murrell-Williamson) who actually went to Billericay and he said about this guy who he’s just let him go.  We rolled the dice and got him in.

“I spoke to Daniel and had a really good chat with him and I said I can’t promise you anything.

“He’s in between club’s and he can use us as a springboard to go on to another club. We’ve not offered him any big money, just an opportunity to get games and if he took off and done really well there might be something that we can do but at the moment it’s more really five games to bide us all a little bit of time.

“I think he might want to play a bit higher maybe and it helps us and it helps him while he’s ticking over whilst seeing what’s out there for him.”

Cray Wanderers have lost one league game this season and that was their 4-2 defeat down in Lancing against Horsham on 15 December.

The Wands have bounced back by beating Sittingbourne 2-1 at Hayes Lane eight days later and at Sevenoaks Town at the weekend.

“We played Horsham the other week and they beat us. We weren’t great and they REALLY celebrated, fair enough, I haven’t got a problem with that,” said Russell.

“But the boys were upset by that. I said to Joe Vines (my assistant manager) on the coach on the way home I don’t know why people do that? Why motivate people?  It was just really loud. Everyone was like ‘calm down and give us a little bit of respect!’

“We’ve used that now since then, we’ve used that and we’ve won two games on the spin to get us out of a rut.

“I’ve used that all week leading up to the Sittingbourne game. Someone else is going to bang on your door and scream and shout at you because you lose a game and it drives you on.

“Those little moments like Freddie Parker scoring late on to beat Sevenoaks, do you want to go in that dressing room and listen to that because they’ve got a point against a team that’s top of the league?”

With Three Bridges visiting Hayes Lane on Sunday, 6 January, Russell was asked what 2019 can bring Cray Wanderers?

“It will bring a team, a club that’s building it’s own stadium, we start doing that. It’s going to have a first team that’s going to play football and create chances.

“I always think people that are going to watch us play, we’re going to play good football and create chances and as a football fan that’s what I want to see.

“If you said to me, honestly hand on heart we can win 1-0 and we have to bang it long, I would say no, no thanks!

“I take winning leagues and I’ve done it before. I’ll take it but that’s not why I do it because I enjoy it and have pictures and visions in my head.

“I’m so anal, if it’s not done a certain way we stop it and I go this is the pattern that we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to hurt them.  You see it unfolding and I see it in my head.”

Russell said he is keen to play a friendly on a grass pitch. Their last five games have all been played on 3G surfaces and their last game on grass was their 2-1 win at Guernsey on 17 November.

“People talk about an advantage for people who play on 3G, I think it’s an disadvantage because when you play on grass it’s so different,” said Russell.

“We train on 3G, we play on 3G, it’s so different and we haven’t played on grass for six weeks now and we have to go to East Grinstead in a couple of weeks having to play on grass so we’re trying to get a friendly on grass to get used to grass again. It sounds stupid but unfortunately that’s modern day football for you.”

Visit Cray Wanderers website:

Cray Wanderers  v  Three Bridges
Bostik South East Division
Sunday 6 January 2019
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF