Smudger says

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A RARE Saturday off during the season should have been welcomed by the lads this week but the circumstances that brought this dampened the mood, especially with the way the FA Cup draw panned out.

But a good training session on Friday prepared us well for a tough League Cup home game against a very good Ryman One North outfit, Harlow Town.

Our first half performance was a very good one in which the opposition came with a game plan to let us have the ball in defence, but we were patient and played some very good football and eventually carved the defence open and a neat finish from K (Kieron Leabon) put us 1-0 ahead and eventually was enough to secure a place in the next round.

I have to mention our defensive performances of late, not just from the defenders but from the front right the way through to Marcus in goal.

They have been very disciplined and having let in only three goals in the last nine games, all from the penalty spot and some very controversial decisions, I feel this is a massive positive to take through the rest of the season.

If we keep clean sheets, we have more chance of getting three points week in, week out and securing that automatic promotion I, the rest of the players, and the club are all striving for.

A recent column of mine focused on referees and the pressure they go through making right and wrong decisions from time to time and how alone they are on a football field, but for all the decisions that may or may not be justified, no referee deserves to be attacked on or off the football field.

A lower league tie between Chesham United and Redditch at the weekend was abandoned due to a player striking the referee, later being arrested, cautioned for his actions and also his registration cancelled by the club.

Not only has he shamed himself, his family and football, if he is allowed to play again he will definitely struggle to get a club that will take a chance on him.

Some players have that aggressive streak and that is their game and you need to control it, but by no means in any walk of life do we as professionals and semi-professionals condone this reckless player’s actions.

No matter how much we want to win and hate losing, the referee is always the easiest excuse for a bad result and sometimes we need to take responsibility and hold our own hands up instead of passing the buck.