It’s a huge night at the Dripping Pan as two play-off hopefuls collide with fourth-placed Canvey Island coming to town.
It was another big performance from Tony Russell’s side on Saturday, narrowly beating Folkstone Invicta on the road, and Tony reflects on another battling display.
“It was an extremely tough game, physically demanding, everything we thought it would be really. Tricky pitch, real tricky pitch.
“It negated a lot of our strengths in terms of what we do with the ball. We did it to an extent, especially first-half, but we had to really dig in, I looked at the stats and they were high.
“We had to put a big effort in which we asked the players to do, we felt that was the need. Turn of the year, they’ve been one of the form sides in our league.
“Their last three home games they’ve scored three goals, Bishop’s Stortford and Enfield going there as well.
“When you actually look at it, we limited them to very little, there was a chance in the first-half where the ball jumped over Champs’ foot and they’ve stabbed it wide.
“Outside of that very little, they put on pressure which we had to absorb but very little in terms of Lew having to make saves, or them missing chances.
“Even their goal, it’s a massive deflection and sent Lew the wrong way. I’m not sure it was even going to go on-target so proud of the players for their huge effort.
“The running stats are off the chart and we were carrying a threat all day. Scored a great goal in the first-half, lovely through-ball, JT squares it, Deon scores.
“Razz has had a great chance, played a 1-2 with JT, the goal’s opened up and he’s ballooned it over.
“Another one, we’ve broken 3v2 and JT just didn’t see Ayo coming down his side, who was in on goal and he picked the wrong pass.
“We come out second-half and full credit to Folkestone they came out and we had to absorb pressure, the boys at the back done tremendous and the boys in the midfield covered big yards.
“We were constantly looking to get that second goal. Deon carried threats down the side, Ayo looked clean-through but the linesman gave offside, we watched it back and he wasn’t.”
The result is what mattered most and Tony emphasises that.
“It’s a big result for us, it’s a very hard place to go and produce a big performance like that. It probably wasn’t a normal performance again in terms of how we want to play but did what we had to do.
“Deon pops up with the winner at the end which was great. There’s a few bumps and bruises from the game, one or two that need to be assessed, we’ll wait last minute on that.”
There’s no rest for the wicked and it is once again another big test at the Pan with Canvey having a very good season. Tony though thinks this is one that will open up a bit more.
“Canvey are absolutely flying, they’ve had a great season, real threats in their side, obviously Evans Kouassi up front is scoring a lot of goals.
“They have much more than that, they’re extremely good at what they do, we’re going to have to play extremely well to win the game.
“We have to keep pushing, we’re on a great run now, we have a couple of ideas on what we want to implement, I think it will be a great game.
“Under the lights at the Pan, two really good sides going at it, and I don’t believe they will sit back too much.
“I think they will come for us as well which will make for a good game, it’s got the makings of a cracker on paper.
“You have to look at what they’ve done this year and give them the utmost respect. They’ve had a fantastic season and one of the best in our league.
“We’ve got to play well and another big effort needed. There’s some tired bodies but we have to galvanise, it’s the last mid-week game of the season.”