Tony Russell has spoken in-depth ahead of tomorrow’s match with Aveley as he looks back on what was a “disappointing” performance on Tuesday.
“Horsham was an interesting game – two sides going at it! I think if you was a neutral then it was a good, entertaining game.
“From our perspective, we’re left a little bit disappointed. I just don’t think we hit our usual levels. We played well but when you play against a side in the top 12, I think there’s a fag paper between the lot of us!
“We weren’t at our very best but it was close to being good. We controlled periods of the game but when we got in the final third we were forcing it. That led to a lot of ball turnovers and Horsham carried a big threat on the counter.
“That same pattern happened pretty much all game where we’re trying to score within two passes in the final third and just lacked a bit of patience.
“Horsham were always going to be dangerous in the turnovers – their front boys are as good as anyone in the league.
“We had to try and keep it away from them as much as possible but we just played into their hands a little bit. We were fortunate to be 1-0 up at half-time I think it’s only right I be honest about that.
“Where they were counter-attacking a lot, they got in really good areas. What I will say is we defended and scrambled really well, especially in those 3v3 situations – I thought the two centre-halves were excellent and our two full-backs as well.”
It was a game of two halves at the Pan and despite believing his side had the momentum, he does think it was a fair result.
“Obviously the goal itself in the first-half was of real quality. It was a lovely weighted through ball from Hydey and then JT does what JT does. He made it look a lot easier than it was.
“We come in at half-time and I was a little bit upset because I felt we weren’t brave enough and not patient enough. But it’s interesting because I thought they edged the first-half and we edged the second.
“In that sense it was a fair result. We got in better areas in the second-half but again that quality in the final third wasn’t quite there.
“Deon had a great chance with the goalie to beat and it’s saved. But we’re quite comfortable throughout that half then out of nothing, our goal-kick, tried to go into JT, didn’t quite make it then they’ve slipped down the side and it’s 1-1.”
Tony is often very reactive when he’s unhappy with a performance, and this was no different.
“We got them in for an extra session – we trained Monday, and got them in Wednesday just because I wanted to address a couple of things. I think it’s important when something doesn’t go quite right, we debrief that.
“I just said the positive was that when it went 1-1, all the momentum was with Horsham but it was us pushing them and going for the winner.”
Tony was also unhappy with the refereeing display, but takes the positives from the night.
“JT got brought down in the box and to be fair it was a long way from me. He’s been booked for diving and I said to him after look was it a pen and he said 100%.
“But the referee had a poor game all night for both sides – very inconsistent, seemed like he was guessing at times, people were getting corners when it clearly wasn’t and this was for both sides. Strange performance.
“There was a tackle on Deon which was very poor and I thought the lad was lucky – I think it could have been a red on a different day.
“My summary is well done to Horsham I think they came and had a go which made for a really good game. Both sides gave a good account of themselves, high tempo, very competitive, and a good game. Just from our perspective we thought we could have done better.
“I’m fine with not winning the game if we didn’t deserve it – it was a fair result and we take the positives out of it.”
Onto Aveley tomorrow who sit second in the Isthmian Premier Division, and Tony is a big admirer of theirs.
“Aveley away will be really tough – a real tough place to go. Second in the league, absolutely flying, big fan of their manager, ‘Scopesy’.
“We have a mutual friend, Adam Drew, and he speaks really highly of him. What I like about him is, I go to a hell of a lot of games, Sunday, Tuesday, out and about, and I rarely see other managers about, and I’ve bumped into him four or five times.
“That’s not to say other managers don’t do that but I haven’t seen them. He’s out working and they aren’t there because of luck, they’re there because they have a manager who works extremely hard.
“What they have got in their favour is momentum. I had it at my other two clubs, at VCD, we got back-to-back promotions, and when you’ve won a league, you take it into your next season.
“You take that winning mentality with you and it’s always your best chance of going up. I had it at Cray as well – we were on course for it and COVID hit with eight games to go.
“They’re now in that position where they’re just winning games and momentum is a hard thing to stop. They’ve got the belief.
“So we’re up against a manager, that not only is very talented but also very hard-working. It makes it a hard task for us. Big centre-halves, big centre-midfielder, big striker, balls into your box, set-plays, long throws, all the ingredients for a tough away day.
“It’s a straight forward game though in the sense of, can we deal with what they’re going to throw at us and can we push that back. Secondly, can we implement our style of play.
“One side will put their style on the game and whoever implements it best will win. Can we play against their style and stop it? And can they play against our style and stop it?
“Whoever manages that, wins the game, it’s very simple. It will be very hard but I like these challenges.
“The mood in the camp is high and we’re disappointed having drawn against a good side so that tells you where the group are. We’re going to Aveley to win, not to draw, we’re going to win and what we intend to do.”
Lewes return to the Dripping Pan next week vs. Billericay Town – PURCHASE TICKETS