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Witham Town boss left frustrated by missed chances
Witham Town boss Garry Kimble was frustrated by his team's missed chances as they lost 2-0 on their Ryman League division one north trip to Harlow Town.
With waterlogged pitches wiping out most of the local non-league football programme, playing on Harlow’s artificial surface gave Witham the chance to play a bit of fixture catch up.
Kimble’s team have games in hand on all the sides around them in the title race, but know that is worthless unless they gain points when they do manage to get games on at the moment.
So while their 2-0 defeat at Harlow Town isn’t a fatal blow to their title hopes, it was disappointing nonetheless as it also came against one of their chief promotion rivals.
The day had started with Witham sitting one point and one position behind the third-placed Hawks in the table and they were keen to build on back-to-back wins in their last two outings.
But by not making the most of the opportunities they created early in the game, they proved to be their own worst enemies.
Kimble said: “We should have been two or three up by half-time, but if you don’t take your chances, you can get punished.
“In the 45th minute we switched off at a set play and they did punish us.
“My half-time team-talk then changed from being one where I said well done to them to one where I was really disappointed with letting a goal in from a set-piece.”
The weather didn’t help Witham’s efforts to get back in the game once they had gone behind either.
The game started in almost spring-like sunny conditions, but there was always a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch and when dark clouds rolled in after the opening 15 minutes, things quickly deteriorated.
The temperature dropped significantly and once the rain started, its intensity steadily increased until a full-blown storm, with hail, thunder and lightning directly overhead caused referee Tim Donnellan to take the players off in the 68th minute for their own safety.
Had it been a game played on grass, there is no way it could have reached a finish.
Instead the hiatus lasted 11 minutes until the worst of the storm had passed and the players were able to return to action, but there was no improvement in the game’s situation for Witham.
They had started well enough, despite looking uncomfortable at times on the unfamiliar artificial playing surface, and created the best of the chances before half-time.
In particular, Kye Ruel had a couple of good opportunities, but his shots either went over or were just wide.
But there was a warning at the other end when Witham keeper Martyn Guest had to pull off an outstanding one-handed save to deny Harlow’s John Glowacki in the 29th minute.
It kept it at 0-0, but the Hawks did go ahead before half-time when Leon Antoine lost his marker at a 45th minute corner and headed in unopposed at the back post.
That was a blow for Witham and one which they never really recovered from.
The worsening weather did nothing to help their bid to get back into the game and the hosts looked favourites for the points even before Junior Dadson added a second goal five minutes after they had returned from the storm-induced break.
He capitalised on another defensive lapse from a set-piece as he turned the ball in after Witham had failed to clear their lines.
From then on it was straightforward for the hosts.
Witham felt they should have had a goal in the 84th minute but the officials decided Joe Sweeney’s shot hadn’t crossed the line and Kris Newby forced home keeper James May into a good save in time added-on.
But it ended with no further drama and the visitors had to accept that this wasn’t going to be their day.
Kimble added: “The momentum went their way with the goal and once the rain came down the second half was very stop-start, but the truth is that I think they wanted it a little more than we did.
“I don’t think the better team won.
“I thought we were the better side, especially in the first half, but the second half we let ourselves down a bit.”
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