Walls have ears as Moles learn Murray game-plan
CCL Premier Ashford Tn 0 Molesey 1 IF only these walls could talk had a whole new meaning at the Robert Parker Stadium.
Pietro Palladino returned to haunt his old club as Molesey inflicted on Ashford their third league defeat in four matches and boss Steve Webb credited part of his team’s success to overhearing the home team’s pre-match teamtalk.
“Because of the nature of how the dressing rooms are laid out we could hear everything,” revealed Webb. “They were saying they were going to come at us for the first 20 minutes and that when they got their first goal they would revert back to their normal game.
“They also targeted one of our players as a weak link so we knew what they were going to do. We were able to withstand that and were strong and to be honest they never really troubled us and Liam Allen only had one save to make in the first half. Samad Kazi was a potential threat for them but that was only out wide and they took him off early in the second half anyway. Apart from that they didn’t really pose much of a threat.
“Mark Bitmead came off the bench for them and I suppose they had the sort of dilemma I had in debating whether to change a winning team [after beating Chertsey].”
Palladino struck in the 44th minute, the lively forward, a former Tangerines’ star, sneaking in behind Ashford’s tormented back-line to smash a shot part Tyler Tobin into the roof of the net – although there was controversy surrounding the goal.
You would normally expect one of the managers to complain that something was wrong when the opposition scored but it was actually honest Moles’ boss Steve Webb who admitted. “I thought it looked offside and I also thought it was handball. Because of the sun and the angle, it looked like it had gone behind the goal so I was surprised to see that it had gone in.”
According to Webb there was very little doubt about who deserved to win the contest despite the narrow margin of victory. “You always think they might nick one when you are only 1-0 up but it wasn’t really like that,” said Webb. “We thoroughly deserved it and it could have been three or four.”
Ashford secretary Alan Constable confirmed that view, and added: “It was a niggly affair, with a referee who looked out of his depth at times but while possession overall was relatively even, we found ourselves unable to create barely a significant chance all afternoon.
“Palladino had earlier hit a tremendous effort which rebounded from the woodwork and probably deserved his luck with the goal, when some felt there had been a handball before.
“But the truth was that the visitors carved out more opportunities than us and they deserved to win the match.”
Ashford boss Ben Murray had no excuses and reckoned: “It wasn’t good enough from us and we didn’t do enough to win the game. We didn’t create enough chances and for the first time in a defeat I can say we didn’t deserve anything out of it. It was a very flat game and they came and did a good job on us. We didn’t play our normal game and they pressed us high from the start.”
As for other teams listening through walls he joked: “Fair play if they picked up on that, I’ll have to start using some sort of code or start whispering from now on.”