Mixed feelings for Bryon
Mixed feelings for Bryon

There were mixed emotions for Phoenix Sports manager Paul Bryon after their three all draw with high flying Hastings United.

Although they were two-nil up at half time it needed an injury time penalty to rescue a point for the Sports. Bryon confirmed “At the end of the day, when we’re three-two down with three minutes to go I’m happy with it but we had a game plan and I think their first goal is a foul. Their guy’s jumped all over him and I think that if they don’t score that we win the game.”

He also rued missed opportunities explaining “We’ve had two gilt chances, one v ones in the second half. They go in and it’s a different game of football. We had a game plan. Their third goal came from us not executing the game plan by doing something different so I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the result.

“Two nil up at half time, we were well worth three points today on chances. They’re a good side. We set up how we wanted to against them and we had the chances. We just didn’t take them.”

As well as the two opportunities previously mentioned, Jeff Duah-Kessie was thwarted by Hastings goalkeeper Charlie Horlock when a pulled off a wonder save, tipping the shot onto the bar. “It was a great shot by Jeffrey. Their keeper’s made a worldy there. It looked in all the way.”

“Their keeper’s made three really good saves that’s kept them in the game. That’s what keepers are for but our keeper’s not made a save all day. They’ve scored three goals but apart from that he’s not had to make a save.

When it came to the overall performance, Bryon continued “We had a game plan and they executed it excellently ninety-five per cent of the time. We’ve been a bit lack-lustre over Christmas because of the lack of games but we looked like we had a bit of bite about us today.

“We looked like we had a bit of desire and I’m really pleased with the performance and the attitude but I’m disappointed that it’s one point.

This game was his team’s first game of 2019, and Bryon admitted that it had been a difficult period. “We’ve had two games in four and a half weeks and you can’t do it. Over Christmas the training’s been difficult and you can’t get a rhythm going, It’s absolutely killed us. I thought that when we went to twenty games it might help us but it’s not.”

That spell is over and there are no more scheduled free Saturdays. Bryon was delighted and said “We need more Tuesday games to find the squad turning over. The bottom line is that now we’ve got games every week so we can get into a rhythm.”

“We had four hard games with VCD. We had this one. We’ve got Horsham and Whyteleafe but this was the one that I was worried about. We went down there and they battered us. It’s the only team we’ve played this season where we couldn’t have got three points and today I think that they’ve come away and I think they should be feeling lucky.”

One advantage of the lack of games is that the team has had a chance to heal knocks. Bryon confirmed “I’ve got one out today who should be back next week. Jack Hopkins has been out for three and a half months. He’s playing a friendly on Tuesday so he should be back

“He’s a massive player for us. Everybody else, a few niggles but nothing major.”

With a fit and healthy squad, and if they build on the performance against Hastings, Phoenix could be set for an exciting second half of the season.

Images courtesy of Dave Budden