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David Fish “We didn’t really get going”
Monday 13th August 2018 @ 10:40 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Manager David Fish failed to hide his disappointment after seeing his side throw away a 1-0 lead to lose 1-2 at the hands of Carlisle City on Saturday Afternoon, writes Ryan Booth.

Leon Iluobe’s first-half penalty wasn’t enough for Chaddy to salvage anything as goals from Marc Shiel and Ryan Errington ensured the Cumbrians left the ARK Fleetech Stadium with maximum points.

“It’s another three points thrown away,” said Fish.

“Just like last week [Chadderton’s 0-1 defeat to Nelson] their manager [James Tose] said at the end of the game that he couldn’t believe they’d won. I thought today we were better than last week when we didn’t really get going. In the first half today I thought we played some good football and looked well in control. But for wasteful finishing, good goalkeeping and a bit of luck we could have been three or four ahead.

“In the second half they changed their system but we chose to back ourselves and still had far more of the game. All of their chances came from our own lapses, either making the wrong decision in possession or not recovering and getting organised behind the ball quickly enough.

“Frustrated is a massive understatement. We should be sat on nine points now and starting to build momentum.”

Despite producing a memorable performance to triumph 5-3 away at AFC Liverpool in midweek, Chadderton failed to build momentum this time around and boss Fish has cited a lack of experience as the reasoning behind his side’s inconsistency.

He added: “The atmosphere was good before the game on Wednesday and even better after and that carried over in today. I think it was evident with the way we played in the first half. The problem with this team is a lack of leadership and experience.

“In every game at this level there will be at least a ten-minute spell when the opposition is on top. During that period it’s important to maintain discipline, get into strong defensive positions and demonstrate strong game management. We didn’t do this well enough either on Wednesday or today.

“The big difference on Wednesday was that we didn’t panic and we took our chances. As the game went on today I thought we started to play too many hopeful long balls instead of playing to our strengths. If you look at today’s team we had James Dwyer and Connor Naughton and, to an extent, Devon Matthews (who whilst young has played a lot of football at this level) who provided experience and leadership.

“It’s going to be important in such a young group of players – the average age of the starting 11 today was just 19 – that we have leaders who can calm things when needed. Michael Woolfe, Phil Veal, Dillan O’Connor, Ryan Shenton and Jack Turnbull will all, in different ways, add a lot to the team when they are back available.”

Fish again opted to deploy his preferred 3-5-2 formation during the defeat and the system gave wing-backs Liam Eadsforth and Sam Riley the platform to push on and pressurise the opposition defence.

“It’s my preferred system as I think in this league you need to have two strikers playing close together and I like to have three central midfielders,” continued Fish.

“We introduced the system last season and the players adapted well, hence the strong end to the season. When recruiting players in the summer I was conscious that I wanted players who could fit into the system but also have tactical flexibility. We played 4-3-3 a few times in pre-season and in the opening game against Nelson due to a shortage of available centre backs but looked much more comfortable in a 3-5-2.

“We have the players who can play that system, Liam [Eadsforth] and Sam [Riley] plus Joe Richards, Si and So Muhammed and Joe Nuttall are fit, tactically disciplined and comfortable on the ball. That means they are able to providing an attacking threat, as Liam and Sam did so well today and on Wednesday, as well as drop in when we need to defend.

“Liam is a player we promoted last season from the EDS and he’s been terrific for us. He is quick and skilful and works his socks of for the team. If anything I don’t think he realises how good he is and the potential he has. Both Wednesday and today the players he has been up against have had to resort to fouling him to stop him and he doesn’t use his pace enough from deep to exploit that. I think we will see big things from Liam this season.

“Sam is a summer recruit who has gone under the radar. He joined us from Maine Road and is a quiet lad – in some ways the kind of player who doesn’t make a splash as he is so unassuming and doesn’t do anything flash. However it was clear from his first training session that he has real ability, we’ve seen that in all the games this season and there is definitely more to come. He’s also something of a manager’s dream in that he doesn’t make waves, will happily do whatever job is asked of him and has the ability and intelligence to play multiple positions.

“I was pleased with both of them today and the impact of Si Muhammad from the bench. Joe Richards is to come back to so the competition for places we need is certainly there at wing back.”

Striker Iluobe – who replaced captain Jack Turnbull in Saturday’s starting 11 – notched his second goal in as many games and boss Fish believes the 20-year-old coped well on his return to the fold.

“We knew in preseason that Jack Turnbull wouldn’t be available today and therefore either Leon or Oumar Camara would start today,” said Fish.

“Leon is something of enigma, I often think there are two Leons and I am never sure which one I will get on any given day. At his best he is unplayable, he is quick, strong and skilful and too good for any defenders in this league. On other days he looks laconic and disinterested. Last Saturday we had the latter whilst on Wednesday Leon was superb and therefore deserved to start.

“I thought today he did well with about 80 per-cent of his play. His movement was good, he was strong and caused their defence a load of problems. All I thought he lacked, and probably needs to add to his game consistently, is goalscorers instinct. Some players, like Jack Turnbull, just seem to be in right place at the right time whilst I think this is something Leon needs to learn. If he can add the right runs to his game so that he gets the ‘scruffy’ goals he’ll score 20+ goals this season.”

In a contest that was riddled with altercations, substitute Joe Nuttall became the second Chadderton player to be sent off in as many home games after clashing with Carlisle defender Jamie Heath – just eight minutes after entering the fray.

Fish stressed: “I’m never happy to see any player sent off as it almost always points to a lack of discipline or game management.

Joe had the ball kicked at his face from a yard away so I could understand the first reaction of throwing the ball, however to then carry one and get involved in a second and third altercation was naive and as I said to the referee after the game I could have no complaint about the red card.

“Having two red cards in three games points back to a lack of experience and game management. When things erupted today Connor and James were in the thick of it dragging our players away but there weren’t enough of them. As a team we allowed our frustration at the score-line to boil over and that just isn’t helpful. I’ve talked to the team about the need for better game management and this is part of that.

“They are on a learning curve, and a steep one, but they need to climb it quickly if we want to be successful as a team and, at an individual level, if they want to stay in the side. A players contribution to the team is much more than just their ability on the ball and all of our young players need to realise that.”

Chadderton have the chance to return to winning ways when they travel to Atherton LR this coming Saturday and whilst the defeat to Carlisle City was a disappointment, Fish has revealed his side’s preparation won’t drastically change ahead of the trip to Crilly Park.

“We won’t do much differently this week in preparation. Building this team is an iterative process and it would be rash to change things after a very good win against AFC Liverpool and two home defeats where we were the better team on both occasions.

“What we do need to work on is our team shape out of possession, and recovering it quickly, our decision making when playing out from the back and our mental toughness and resilience. We have two sessions this week to do that and will also be looking at how we plan to play against Atherton LR who I watched against St Helens last week.

“I’m confident that with a few tweaks the ability in this squad means we can compete with and beat anyone in our league.”

Picture: Chadderton FC