Gaffer's Update - Cannons On Tour!
Following the success of our challenging but rewarding trip to Guernsey, we caught up with 1st Team Manager Tim Dixon, over to the Gaffer...
"To say the last couple of weeks were disappointing would be an understatement, with a few poor results and the players not really doing themselves justice. So I thought I would share some thoughts of a Manager who has just come back from our longest and also one of our most successful away trips of the season.
There are people that are against Guernsey being in the Ryman South because of logistics and problems with travel and I can understand to a certain extent. However, they have earned the right to progress to this standard and it comes at a great expense to them to be able to compete.
Personally, this was my second trip to the island and I have enjoyed both of them after gaining three points on each occasion. Whether that viewpoint will change after defeat I hope I will never find out!
One thing is for sure, and it’s credit to all those concerned, and that is the hospitality that you experience is first class. It's something that they have mastered and the local people fully embrace it as well.
After Saturday's 1-0 win, a large section of their crowd stayed and applauded our players off the pitch as well as their own which I think was different class.
I even ended up buying a beer for the Guernsey mascot, Roary the Lion, who Darren and myself had loads of banter with during and after the game. An absolutely cracking lad called James, who shared some funny stories with us whilst explaining his time dressed up as a big Green Lion!
I also need to mention our supporters who travelled. There were only a few but your support and commitment is also first class.
The journey started the night before the game when we met at the Premier Inn at Gatwick at 8pm. For a Ryman South player, this is a strange experience as it's normally pro-teams that stay in hotels before a match.
We produced a full itinerary, which we told them about during our meeting that evening, but you never know if the players will take everything on board as this sort of thing is alien to them. I must say that nobody was late for our 6.45am meeting in the lobby the next morning, so that was a very good start to the day.
The flight didn’t take long and we arrived in Guernsey a few hours before kick-off, which gave us plenty of time to prepare for this one-off experience.
My team plans had been disrupted during the week as we were already missing John Walker and Phil Stevenson to injury, but Joe Kennett was also absent with a medial knee ligament injury, which will now keep him out for the rest of the season.
So with three defenders missing we were forced to change things around. Our captain, James Morrish, had to fill in at centre-half and I must say he was different class. Not just with his performance but his attitude to putting himself in that position and accepting the responsibility. He was one of many players who stepped up to the mark and put in tremendous performances to enable us to gain three more points.
Laurence Harvey was suffering badly with illness but played alongside Mo and knew he had to get by because of our shortage of defenders, even after getting a muscular injury just before half-time, he battled on until the end. Yet again, Roddy also came to our rescue a couple of times with some vital saves.
That said, we created lots of chances ourselves and hit the bar a couple of times and fully deserved our victory against a very strong Guernsey side, who had lots of possession but without that cutting edge. They play the right way though and are very dangerous in attack, so to keep clean sheets against them twice this year is a fabulous return from the lads.
I was over the moon with our performance this weekend. With Roddy, Bewick, Burchell, Morrish and Harvey strong in defence, Bradley Jordan and Michael Yianni on top form in the middle, Wells & Conlon working their socks off from wide and Shaun and Thommo up top causing problems, I couldn’t ask for more in terms of performance, attitude and discipline.
Adding to that Luke Harvey and Ryan Philpott coming on and doing well and, even more pleasing, the introduction of young Harry Carr towards the end of the game. He showed some nice touches and did exactly what I asked of him and has a big future in the game.
To sum up, I couldn’t be any more proud of the lads and with two games to go against teams still fighting for their lives, I hope we can keep these standards up for the next 180 minutes and end the season on a high, up the Cannons!"
Originally Published - 13/04/15