Badshot Lea’s promotion dreams end in a whimper

Thursday 31st March 2022 8:00 am
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Badshot Lea co-manager Gavin Smith
Badshot Lea co-manager Gavin Smith (Tindle )

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BADSHOT LEA’S dreams of snatching promotion from the Combined Counties Premier Division South are just about over.

It was always a tough ask even though they have had a marvellous league season.

But defeats against high-riding Beckenham on Saturday and then a 2-0 reverse at Camberley on Tuesday night ended those hopes.

Co-manager Gavin Smith was disappointed with the nature of both defeats.

“We got exactly what we deserved from both games,” he said. “I don’t want to be overly critical as we have had a good season, and I don’t want to deflect from that.

“On Saturday we got beaten by a more experienced side who dealt with the conditions better than we did, and they beat us deservedly – and at one stage I thought they could have beaten us by more, which was disappointing because we gave up.

“I didn’t see Tuesday night coming though.

“On Saturday we were beaten by an experienced team, but on Tuesday we got beaten by an inexperienced team because they were willing to do the dirty stuff better than us. They had more desire to win the match and they deserved it.

“The Camberley keeper made three outstanding saves in the first 15 minutes but after that they dominated. They were a young, fit side who bullied and harassed us and we had no answer.

“We can make excuses that we have played a lot of football, but every club in the league have done that and a lot of them are still winning.

“Maybe it’s a mental thing. Maybe the players thought we might achieve something this year and the Beckenham defeat was hard to take.

“We still have a cup to play in, but if we carry on how we are I can’t us winning a game of football.

“We have to turn up and want to win every game. Camberley had nothing to play for – all they had was to beat us and to put in a performance and they wanted it.

“I have to give them credit, they were better than us last night. They had more energy and more desire.

“Only one of our players didn’t give up. James Whiting put everything on the line and challenged for everything. The rest looked as if they are ready to quit the season, which is rubbish. There are still a lot of points to play for.

“We can’t change what is in the players’ heads. We can be positive – we tell them we can’t give this up because you never know what might happen, although realistically I can’t see the sides at the top dropping enough points for us to get promoted.

“It’s been a tough week for us. The players are taking the easier option and are having a go at each other and at us – they’re trying to deflect the blame.

“But you can’t do the right things only when you are doing well, you have to do the right things when you are doing badly as well.

“To be honest, I don’t know what to say to the players to gee them up. It’s like the players don’t mind any more if they lose. That’s an awful mentality. I don’t want to lose any more games.

“If we go through the league season and lose only five games, that’s really good. It’s a good season. But if we end up racking up six, seven, eight defeats, we will be judged on that. You’re judged on the whole season, not just the good start we had. You finish where you deserve to finish.

“We have a lot of local games where teams want to beat us because we have done so well this season. Camberley were up for it and they wanted to show us they were as good as us. And they were on the night, although the table suggests differently.

“I know ability wise we have the right players. This is a real test of their mental attitude.

“We will make changes because it’s not been good enough. Other players deserve an opportunity.

“We are a good footballing side and I believe we can beat anyone on a good pitch. At the moment our pitch isn’t good enough and we need to sort it out.”

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