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View from the dressing room with Brett Donnelly

Wednesday, February 7 2018

This week Brett looks back on the two most recent performances before giving his opinion on our supporters. By the way Brett is writing his own blog and I just act as editor to correct any spelling, grammar, capitals or English errors he makes and ensuring no offence is caused!

Roy Izzard

A week is a long time in football. We were unlucky not to pick up 3 points at a tricky away ground and booked  a place in a cup semi-final - hopefully a corner turned.

On Saturday at Redditch I thought we started OK. Their goal shook us and we didn't get back into the game until 10 minutes before half time. However from then on I thought we controlled it. A dubious penalty it definitely was and I wouldn't have given it but when you haven't scored since last year you will take it!! Well done to Lucas on his penalty just about hitting the back of the net! We then had a great chance to go in front but sadly Connor is not known for his finesse and duly smashed it back to Hertfordshire! Off you come mate, we've seen enough... & he was immediately subbed! Once again our frailties from set pieces bit us on the bum and we found ourselves 2-1 down. 

Let me tell you that is really annoying when you're in the ascendancy against 10 men. But fair play to all the boys, we got off the floor and got a deserved equaliser. I could have won it for us at the death but I was either too old, too slow or just too immobile to get a touch to tap in. Disappointed not to win? For sure. Glad to finally get a goal and a point having been 2-1 down with 3 minutes left? Definitely. The play-offs are a long way off now but we will strive for as high a finish as we can. If that means we make the play-offs, brilliant. If not we need to be able to look back and say we tried out best and gave our all.

On to Monday night and a tricky tie against a physical Kempston. No mugs for sure as they had beaten Biggleswade away from home in the previous round. We want to win silverware again this season. This is a perfect opportunity. We started brightly, I finally remembered where the goal is and we were one up. 

Then as we have done to many times this season we dropped off. I don't know why we do it, go a goal up and take our foot off. Maybe a bit of fear, we haven't been in great form and wanted to subconsciously hold on to what we had. Kempston chucked some balls in the box, but only created one clear cut chance. Young Paddy came on for me and gave their defence exactly what they didn't want - pace. Paddy is as raw as they come. Lightning quick, great feet but his brain can't keep up with his body. He can cause all sorts of problems and his strike gave Connor the simplest of chances to score the second. However he did do his best to miss.

So that gives us a semi- final to look forward to and the chance of another final. If we did make it that would be 5 finals and 2 play-offs in 3 years. Not a bad return.

On Saturday I was asked by a vocal fan  why I haven't mentioned the fans yet. Apologies for not doing so.

I don't know where to start. When I signed years ago it was a bad place to play football. Salts (Darren Salton) had just been sacked, Hitchin were struggling and Darren Hay had come in as gaffer. He brought me along with him from Arlesey and a couple of others. We weren't good enough and the players there already weren't good enough. We could not string passes together let alone a few results. The fans were vocal in their disappointment and I took a fair bit of stick, 1) for being rubbish 2) for trapping back! 

We managed to not get relegated but went down the year after. I wasn't there when we got relegated but I was asked back by Carl Williams to pre-season training. He was Colin Payne's number 2. You could feel a different vibe at the club. The gloom had been lifted. Preseason games we had some big attendances and the feeling was it would be a good year in the league below. Once again I left but played against Hitchin for Biggleswade. You got the sense the fans had fallen in love with the team again. 

When I re-signed in 2014 I was unsure how the fans would respond. Believe me I had upset a fair few before I left. But I felt I was given another chance by them. Maybe Cal's performances had turned them in my favour. I can safely say I haven't had any trouble with the fans since I returned - until last week!!!! A certain fan had said something about these articles I'm doing on social media. I may have taken it the wrong way but felt I needed to say my piece. I'm sure me and Jackie will make up!!! With regards the rest of the fan base, us as players love the interaction we have. 

The young players know they can express themselves without fear of being booed or abused. The Top Field crowd in the main are an intelligent bunch. They know we may struggle to compete with the teams with huge budgets, but appreciate you as long as they can see you are trying. The hardcore who go everywhere I've enjoyed getting to know over the years. The flag army, beer monsters, behind the dugout crew, the Rogers / Deller clan, I always enjoy the post-match debrief. 

I'm still waiting on some positive words about myself from Frank. Or Mooney to not tell me how bad I've been that day. But that's what makes it. It helps we have some characters who will go out their way to chat with supporters, and Macca is brilliant with the kids. Gives the club a nice family feel.

My final word for the week is a special mention to  Rucksack Chris. He's been ill and is in hospital and it goes to show what a presence he is when the players notice a fan is  missing. Chris, you rest up and get better mate. We need you back because who else are we going to ignore when it comes to parking before a game!!!

Once again thanks for reading..


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