Everyone’s now out to knock Badshot Lea off top spot

By Colin Channon   |   Editorial manager   |
Friday 28th October 2022 6:00 am
@colinchannon
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Keeper Craig Bradshaw was in great form for the Baggies
Keeper Craig Bradshaw was in great form for the Baggies (Tindle )

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Badshot Lea are finding a drawback to life at the top of the table – clubs are out to knock you off your perch!

The Baggies had to dig deep to beat Balham 3-0 at the weekend to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Co-manager Gavin Smith believes teams look at the table and learn how his side like to play, and adapt their game.

“It was a good win – every win is a good one – but how Balham haven’t scored beats me,” he said. “We have to give them credit – I can’t believe why they are where they are in the league.

“They have some good players and play some good football.

“Every team has a plan against us. We have a lot of possession trying to break teams down and we do get caught on the break. We need to look at that.

“When teams come up against the sides they deem to be better they are far more cautious – they don’t want to go behind early.

“Balham’s first chance was when they caught us on the break from our own throw-in.

“If we play a side from a higher level it’s easier to defend and try to hit teams on the break, whereas we are expected to break teams down and win, which is the harder part of the game.

“We’re lucky that we have the players who can cope. Mal Thomas had one chance in the second half and he put it away and killed the game off.

“We have the players who can make a difference.

“Balham had some chances but we had some marvellous last-ditch defending, which is what they are there for – George Hedley, Harvey Griffiths and Nick Medcraft all did what you want defenders to do.

“And Craig Bradshaw made two really good saves that any other keep probably wouldn’t have made – but then he is the best keeper.

“We relied a little on all of them but we rely on the forwards sometimes to score the goals – not every game is going to be plain sailing.

“We have the players to break teams down but sometimes things work out differently. Balham should have taken the lead and we went down the other end and scored. Then we got a free-kick and scored.

“We have to give the lads credit because we did defend very well. We played George Frise at centre back and he did well there, but we have to weigh up whether we missed his influence too much in midfield, because he brings a lot of energy there.”

The Baggies should have a strong squad available for Saturday’s home match against Cobham. Tane Caubo has been on the bench for the past couple of matches while he recovers from injury, and he is nearing full fitness.

“It’s good that we have players becoming available as we have a lot of games coming up,” said Smith.

“We just have to keep picking up points. We have games in hand but it’s still very tight at the top.

“Saturday was important because some of the other sides in the league were playing in the FA Vase and we wanted them to get in after their matches, look at the results and see that we had won again. Sometimes that can be a little bit demoralising.

“Games in hand is all very well but you have to win them!”

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