Attendance 424

No matter what anybody says, starting the season with a defeat at home, conceding four goals and seeing your goalkeeper sent off is not what players, coaches or fans would call a good day at the office.

And yet, for around 25 minutes we looked confident on the ball with some impressive work down the right hand side from Pablo Chaves and Armani Schaar in particular. Schaar could have put us one up on just two minutes and an effort from Isaac Skubich after thirteen minutes from the edge of the box went wide.

The visitors’ first attempt on goal came after a quarter of an hour with a shot from distance but we were certainly on top in those early exchanges. Tom Debenham had two attempts, both clearing the bar but it was Great Wakering who broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark. Man of the match Jack Stevenson sent a decent cross over from the left., allowing  George Cox to slide an accurate pass to Brandon Daiu who converted from close range. The Essex side were a goal ahead against the run of play.

Despite further pressure from us, Great Wakering extended their lead on the stroke of half time with a Jack Stevenson effort from distance. Going in to the break 2 goals down was very disappointing but it was clear that with 45 minutes remaining, a recovery was still very possible.

The second half, however, didn’t see the fight back we’d all been hoping for. Henry Barley came on for the injured Fernando Herrera ten minutes after the break and was soon involved when feeding Debenham up front who couldn’t quite get on the end of the ball.

It was on the hour mark that the game really turned when keeper Danny Crump saw red for handling the ball outside the box, allowing man of the match Stevenson to extend the visitors’ lead when his free kick went in off the right-hand upright. 19-year-old defender / midfielder Kyle Jopling came off the bench to stand between the sticks with Pablo Chaves coming off to make way.

Going down to ten men and behind by three goals with less than half an hour left on the clock took the wind out of our sails with the result being our play becoming increasingly disjointed.

It was very encouraging to see that Tom Debenham did pull one back when he got on the end of a Callum Bennett free kick, but it was too little too late. The sucker punch came when substitute Billy Johnson gave the visitors a 4-1 lead with just ten minutes remaining.

Manager Ian Watson told Seasiders TV after the game, “We had four or five chances in the first half that we didn’t put away but felt at half time that we could definitely turn things around in the second period. The bottom line though is losing at home 4-1 isn’t good enough.”

On Tuesday we venture west to AFC Sudbury for our second league game. When asked about that game Watson added, “We play well on artificial surfaces normally so it should be two footballing sides going against each other. We may have to change personnel a little, but otherwise we won’t be changing much.”

Fortunately, the games come thick and fast at the moment. We visit AFC Sudbury again at the weekend in The FA Cup before hosting Heybridge Swifts on August Bank Holiday Monday so there’s every opportunity to get some points in the bank and balls in the net.

Details of line up here

Photos here