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The Riley Report

Submitted by Colin Wilson on Monday, 1 November 2021

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen

They say a week is long time in football and it certainly is. Including beating Billingham Town 4-3 last Saturday, to losing 3-2 on Saturday it has been a few weeks of frustration on management’s behalf.

Our general play is quite good and we are carving open plenty of opportunities. But the frustrating part on my side is the ease with how we have given goals away.

We have proved when we do the basics right we can defend. Aycliffe, North Shields and Frickley all spring to mind, but we haven’t done it enough so far this season.

The Billingham Town game was prime example. We were comfortable at half time and should really have gone on to wrap up a big score but we conceded two soft goals and gave them a chance to come back in the game; thankfully Sparky managed to get a winner for us.

Then Redcar, where we gifted two goals inside 5 minutes with abysmal defending to give ourselves a mountain to climb which is always hard at this level, and although we got back in the game and could of equalised at the death we didn’t really deserve it.

Saturday gone was different. Against a good Thornaby side we dominated large parts of the game and were the better side, but again lapses in concentration gifted them goals and despite having a blatant hand ball for a penalty not given we created enough chances to get a point at least. But we must get back to basics defending and just clear our line if we are in danger and have someone take charge of situation.

We will be working on the training field in coming weeks to address this, but also need our experienced defenders in Greg Swansbury and Max Allen back who have both missed a huge part of the season, and would be big miss to any side and hopefully get a run of games where I can field a settled side. I don’t think I’ve had the luxury of doing that this season, which is massive for us to move forward and get some consistency.

The positive news is we’ve managed to bring Chris Winn in from Bishops, a player who I’ve worked with at Ryhope and Bishops. Chris has a lot of experience and will add goals and work rate to the side as I’ve been bit short on options up front, especially if Sparky was to get injured. Chris’s can play through the middle or out wide and keep everyone on their toes.

We’ve also brought in Harrison Bond from Sunderland AFC on a short loan deal, and I’m sure everyone will hope he proves as good a signing as the last two keepers we had on loan from SAFC. He made a encouraging start on Saturday considering he hadn’t trained with the team and I’m sure he will only get better.

Thanks for your continued support

Steve