Blue Square Bet
Published 29th July 2012
....victory over Ryman League Premier Division East Thurrock United for confidence purposes - but equally pleased with their ability to adapt to different circumstances after trying a different formation during the game.
Cliff Akurang and midfielder David Bridges netted second-half goals to respond to Reiss Gilbey's 4th-minute opener for the visitors. Afterwards, the Clarets boss admitted that his side were cornered tactically on occasions during the last campaign, but he's now preparing them to be able to switch their set-up during a game if necessary.
"That's what pre-season is for - looking at players and formations," he reacted. "It's important that we have a Plan B so we're not one dimensional. I think we found at home last year that we need to be able to change things round because teams do come here and sit nine or ten men behind the ball."
"At times last season, we found that difficult to break down. This season, with the squad I'm trying to assemble, I want us to be flexible within our pattern on the pitch. The players understand the 4-4-2 and the 4-3-3 and I want them to understand the 3-5-2 as well so we can put that to good use."
Rocks skipper Gilbey put John Coventry's side in front early on, taking advantage of City's inability to clear by finding the bottom corner from a few yards. Team-mate Tom Stephen then rattled the post in the 18th minute as the visitors continued to press, almost resulting in another just after the interval which was ruled out when former Chelmsford front man Sam Higgins was offside.
City's main threat was from a 40th minute Craig Parker blast but Akurang added to it, latching onto a deep ball on 58 minutes then dispatching low past goalkeeper Jamie Riley. Jamie Slabber couldn't get enough on his 74th-minute effort when through on goal for the hosts but they did move in front within 60 seconds as Aiden Palmer's in-swinging corner was guided into the net by Bridges at the near post.
Slabber was again in the hunt at the death as he poked home Akurang's knock down and Parker fizzed narrowly wide from long range, but City had already done enough for the result.
Pennyfather added: "We were better in the second period. I think the players, in the first half, looked caught up a little in the new formation rather than just playing their football. Once we highlighted a few things at half time they were far better."