We came away from the game at Lancing with a bit of a bloody nose. It was the best thing that has happened to us all season. Without that wake up call, we could have grown complacent, admits Cray Wanderers' Joe Vines
CRAY WANDERERS assistant manager Joe Vines says he is looking forward to their top-of-the-table clash against Horsham tomorrow.
Tony Russell and Vines have been at the summit of the Bostik South East Division table for what seems an age and they welcome Dominic di Paola and his men to Hayes Lane closing in on the title and promotion into the Premier Division.
Cray Wanderers are 13 points clear at the top of the table and with nine games remaining and lock horns with the only side to beat them in the league this season.
“We are really looking forward to playing Horsham, they are a good side with a strong philosophy,” said Vines, whose side lost 4-2 to Horsham on 15 December 2018.
“We came away from the game at Lancing with a bit of a bloody nose. It was the best thing that has happened to us all season. Without that wake up call, we could have grown complacent but our reaction since that defeat is the reason we are where we are.
“Horsham deserved the win on the day, we had various difficulties in the lead up, but they worked a little bit harder first half and they dealt with the conditions better.”
Karl Dent scored his first goal of the season, which helped beat Phoenix Sports 1-0 last weekend.
“The Phoenix game was a professional performance from us,” said Vines.
“We prepared really well. Due to the demise of Thamesmead we had a spare week so we put it to good use and put on a behind closed doors game, then worked on the game plan for Phoenix.
“Tony identified that we could dominate through the middle with a bit of a mismatch between Joe Taylor and Ashley Probets. Karl Dent really stepped up and had a great game which he capped off with a well-deserved goal. The scoreline didn't really reflect the dominance on the day.
“We like Phoenix as a club and know many of the players so we enjoyed the visit.”
Horsham, Haywards Heath, Ashford United and Hastings United are battling it out to join Cray Wanderers in the top-flight next season, with the Wands expected to claim the league title in the next three or four games.
Vines said: “We've had a really strong run in recent weeks but there are still aspects that we would like to improve on. The work rate is the one ever-present.
“The defence are pulling up trees every week and Nick Blue has been outstanding in goal.
“I think we can convert more chances with a bit of focus and concentration. Statistically we are creating just as many, if not more, chances than we did last season but our defensive record is what really sets us apart and is something to be proud of. I suppose it should be expected from a management team composed of two centre backs and a goalkeeper!
“The title race seems to be hotting up and the teams in second to fifth are swapping places weekly. Tony talks about us concentrating on us, which is proving more difficult as the excitement builds and the teams below us drop points, but we have to do just that.
“As soon as we take our attention away from the next game and the performance we are inviting an upset. I think that this top six will be changing places for weeks to come as everyone is playing one another.
“As a young management team we are learning and we are trying to improve. We have made many, many mistakes this season but I have to put on record that we always give 100% on the training pitch, in preparation for matches, during games and outside of the field with player recruitment and scouting so we feel that if this is to be our year then we've earned it.
“I am very proud to be a part of this team and club and to get to work alongside progressive football people like Tony Russell and Nathan White. We feel we are ready to step up to the next level and that the brand of football we play can be successful as well as easy on the eye.”
Visit Cray Wanderers’ website: www.cray-wanderers.com
Cray Wanderers v Horsham
Bostik South East Division
Saturday 9 March 2019
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Hayes Lane, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EF