Alton getting to grips with life in Combined Counties Premier Division South
Alton are still looking for their first win of the season after battling to a 2-2 draw at Fleet Town on Tuesday night.
The previous Saturday they made their Combined Counties Premier South bow with a 3-2 defeat at home to Balham.
Manager Kev Adair was delighted with the attitude of his players in midweek, as they fought back after trailing 2-0.
Scott Sanderson reduced the arrears midway through the second half and Rob Carr hit the last-minute leveller.
Adair said his players have to become more streetwise to compete in the new league.
“I was talking to one of our coaches before the game and I said we needed something to go our way to kick us into gear,” he said.
“We need a gritty performance to steal something from a game, something positive like that – and that’s exactly what happened.
“On Saturday we conceded three goals when each time, 45 seconds before they scored we had the ball in their final third. They were avoidable goals.
“We hit the woodwork a couple of times but the opposition were more streetwise than us.
“It’s something we need to learn from. They managed the game well at the end when we were pushing for an equaliser, slowing it down and not letting us get into a flow.
“On Tuesday we didn’t want to make the same mistakes again. But the first goal came from a long throw arrowed into our box, and while that’s not something you’re going to come up against every game, when it happens once you have to learn from it – yet they scored their second in the same way.
“But the positive thing is we came back really well after being 2-0 down away from home. The attitude and reaction of the lads was really good, they kept going and it looked as if we could have nicked the game at the end.
“It’s a learning curve for the lads – and for me – each week at the moment. It’s slightly different to the Wessex League – it’s more physical and a bit more intense.
“We need to be mentally tougher in this league. The platers we are coming up against are clever and cute – I wouldn’t say they use dark arts, because they’re perfectly within the laws, but they manage games better than we have done so far.
“They break the game up well – I have no issue with it, as it’s something we have to do too, to do things to prevent the opposition from gaining momentum at certain times in the game.
“Sometimes you have to stem the tide. It’s not technical things or stuff you are coached – at this level you’ve just got to have something else about you apart from technical ability.”
Alton are back in league action today (Saturday) when they entertain Redhill.
“I’m expecting a tough game,” said Adair.
“They finished sixth last season and when I have been speaking to people about the teams in the division, their name came up frequently as one of the better teams.
“It would be good to get the first win under our belts, but August is always a difficult month. The football mentality has changed a bit now – when I was a player, everything revolved around the game and the season.
“Now people go about their everyday life and fit football around it. That’s absolutely fine – the world we live in dictates you have to take the opportunities when they are there. We spent two years not being able to do anything so people aren’t going to worry about football instead of going on holiday with their family.
“But it does disrupt the fluency of picking the same team. But on the other hand, it gives other players an opportunity they may not otherwise have been given.
“We need to stick with it for a couple more weeks – but we don’t want to fall too far behind the other teams.”
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