KIRKLEY FC: We're set for our final test
ROYALS REVIEWLAST Saturday, Jon took the side to Mildenhall while I took the opportunity to watch Needham (ahead of the games on Wednesday and Monday).
LAST Saturday, Jon took the side to Mildenhall while I took the opportunity to watch Needham (ahead of the games on Wednesday and Monday).
And to be honest I learnt quite a bit, which the lads took into the game on Wednesday and we had them on the backfoot for long periods. The two goals we conceded were disappointing as we gifted them the goals with two individual mistakes, while we had to work hard for our goal.
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We controlled 75pc of the game and we were the better side. We had some good chances in the second half and we were worth at least a draw.
Obviously congratulations go to Needham for winning the league, but by doing our homework on them (last Saturday) we learned a lot. We've played them three times this season but I learned more about them in the 90 minutes last week than those games, so it was well worth it.
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It is important to give players information on the opposition, their system, their strengths and where they're not so strong. I was really pleased with how the lads responded, how we took the plans on board and how we put them into action.
Tomorrow, a couple of players will have a rest, but we won't go into the game with an understrength team (ahead of Monday). We've been disappointing in the past month, but Jon said we played a lot better on Saturday and on Wednesday we were great - we want to finish the season on a high and sign off in the league with a win (at home to Ely tomorrow).
Sam Thacker came back in goal on Wednesday and did really well, but Woody is back in contention for tomorrow and Monday. Dave Tarawalli is back, while Ian Dawson and Bodie Carter have been rested after injury concerns. Sadly Liam Harvey-cooper looks like being out for the rest of the season with a twisted knee
Monday will be the first final for the team in a long while, and potentially there will be a big crowd as it's bank holiday Monday - so hopefully our vocal fans will make lots of noise.
We are going into the game with a lot of confidence as we've shown we're more than a match for them - now it's up to the lads to go into the game with a bit of belief.
It will be absolutely fantastic if we could bring a trophy back to the clubhouse with us as it will cap a very good season.
Mark Boggis was speaking to Stewart Larter
IN recent weeks our play and preparation has not been great, so we made a decision to get to Mildenhall a lot earlier last Saturday and to be honest the performance was far better.
We got to the ground earlier and had an extended warm-up, and the commitment from the lads was there once more.
They scored five minutes before half time, which is never a good time to concede, but I still felt we were in the game. But as we pressed they scored a second and then a wonder goal in the dying minutes to seal a flattering 3-0 win.
The game itself was very tight, and we had probably four good chances on the day with only the finish missing.
Against Needham on Wednesday it was 100pc the best we have played for a month - which is all good going into the cup final on Monday.
Finishing in fourth position in the league is an achievement in itself in what has been a marathon season. We've played something like 56/57 games this season with a small squad of 16, where we can't really deploy other players from the reserves, A or B teams as they are competing in their leagues as well. And this has been shown by the reserves winning promotion into senior football, which is fantastic for the lads and congratulations go to them and Huggy for their efforts.
Therefore with the size of our squad, it has been a massive achievement by the lads.
On Monday, we will go into the final very confident. Apart from everyone within our club, no-one else is expecting an upset - as Needham are expected to win…so the pressure is on them!
But last Wednesday's performance was the best we have played against them. And while they were celebrating on our pitch at the end of the game I'm sure at the back of their minds they'll be wary for Monday knowing how we'd raised our game.
Stewart obviously watched them last Saturday, and it paid off. Now we know much more about them and we'll work on that ahead of Monday.
Mark Boggis was speaking to Jon Reynolds