There's a desire and determination to turn things around, says Phoenix Sports Reserves manager Del Oldfield
PHOENIX SPORTS manager Paul Bryon says he experiencing mixed emotions from his side at present.
The club are in fourth-place in the Bostik South East Division table with 21 points from 14 games -10 points adrift of unbeaten league leaders Cray Wanderers.
“Mixed emotions on our results recently. It’s a little weird and hard to judge as three of our last four games have been against Ramsgate with two draws and a loss in there,” reflected Bryon.
“Every game was identical with us taking a while to get going but pushing for a winner or equaliser in the latter part of the game.
“We definitely dropped two points after drawing at Sittingbourne. We had chances to put the game out of sight in the first half but we were not clinical enough and paid the price with a late equaliser.
“It was a very good performance and we controlled the game from start-to-finish. On another day this would have been a very good win. However, credit to Sittingbourne, they stuck with it and got something in the end.”
Bryon takes his side to tenth-placed Sevenoaks Town tomorrow and he said: “They are on a good run and we expect it to be very tough over there.”
Meanwhile, Phoenix Sports Reserve side are rooted to the foot of the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table with two wins from their 14 league outings.
While the first team are away to Sevenoaks Town, the second-string welcome bottom-five side Rochester United to the Mayplace ground tomorrow (15:00).
“Another tough game for us but when you’re where we are in the table, every game is tough,” admitted reserve team manager Del Oldfield, who is in his first season managing at this level.
“I can’t imagine that Rochester are too happy with their campaign so far, but you can see by some of their results that they are capable of beating anyone in the division on their day.”
Charlton-based side Bridon Ropes are second in the table following their 2-1 win over Oldfield’s side last weekend.
“We were extremely unlucky not to get something out of the game last week against Bridon Ropes,” he said.
“We should have at least had a point and if we hadn’t had to make two defensive changes at half-time through injures and been able to make more positive changes further up the field, then we may have had more.
“I’m not taking anything away from Bridon but we were good last week and to go down to a last-minute winner didn’t reflect on the positive nature of the game from our point of view, but these things happen and we haven’t had a lot of luck at all this season.
“For me, the season is going exactly how I thought it would. When the club and I first started discussing the possibility of me taking the job and using a lot of my U18’s from last season (who are technically still eligible for U18 football this season) I said then that I thought the first half of the season would be tough and it wouldn’t be until the second half of the season that we would start accumulating points, once the boys had gained the necessary experience, and I still think that is the case now.
“For me, at this stage it’s not so much about the winning as we are developing players for the future of the club but there will come a time this season when winning does become important, and at some stage we will have to turn our positive performances into points if we want to avoid relegation.
“You only have to have watched our last three games to see that things are moving in the right direction and once we start to minimise both the defensive and offensive naiveties in our game, then I’ve no doubt the results will follow.
“A lot of people ask, given our position, how are the players and what’s morale like within the group, but the atmosphere around the team is fantastic and their attitude and commitment to what we are trying to do is up there with one of the best environments I’ve been involved in through my years in football.
“Of course, there’s frustration, naturally so, but there’s also a desire and determination to turn things around.
“For a bit of perspective, most of this group are 17, turning 18 during this season, so there were always going to be mistakes and things that we have to learn from and I’m extremely proud of how far they have come in such a short space of time.
“There’s a lot more to come from these players, as individuals and as a group, so I’m excited for the rest of the season, and the future.”
Visit Phoenix Sports’ website: www.phoenixsportsclub.co.uk