Naivety costs Sandhurst Town FCBy Adam Lee
August 15, 2012
Sandhurst Town manager Salv Diprima believes his side’s crushing defeat to Ascot United in the FA Cup extra preliminary round on Friday night can be put down to inexperience and naivety.
The Fizzers lost all but one of last season's squad over the summer, with just winger Matty Day remaining at Bottom Meadow.
Diprima has replaced them predominantly with youth and players of little experience at this level, hoping that raw talent will transmit into points in the early stages of the season.
It’s been a mixed bag for Sandhurst so far, with a win and a loss in the Combined Counties Premier Division before Friday night's 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Yellamen.
But after being the better team for periods of the first half, and going in at half-time level at 1-1, the Fizzers were dominated in the second period, and a Ben Knight inspired Ascot scored five times unanswered.
Without a budget to speak of, Sandhurst’s main selling point to players is that they can offer good playing facilities as well as a ‘shop window’ for players looking to progress in non-league football.
But after Friday’s showing, Diprima has told his players that they need to grow up quickly if they are to get their season up and running.
“Naivety is our problem – we’re young, inexperienced and naive,” he said.
“At half-time we’ve got them on the back foot, we’ve had them under pressure.
“Everyone was buzzing and we were thinking ‘go out there for the first five minutes and weather the storm,’ but we gave away a silly goal.
“We don’t have a natural leader who can take a game by the scruff of the neck, roll his sleeves up and get a result for us.
“In an ideal world I’d have an experienced central midfielder who had been around a bit, but we have had to regroup and start again.
“We’re not going to win the FA Cup, though, and the league is more important.
“We just have to slop conceding sloppy goals.”
Diprima, however, was most frustrated by a first-half decision that went against his side.
With the score 1-0 to Ascot, and with Sandhurst coming back into the game, the Fizzers were denied what looked a nailed on penalty when an Ascot defender appeared to handball on the line.
The referee, however, waved away the vehement Sandhurst appeals, a decision that the Sandhurst boss believes changed the game.
“There was a time in the first half where we were all over them and they barely came out of their half,” he said.
“But unfortunately those periods are when you have to kill off games and if the ref had given us our penalty then we could well have killed it off.
“The officials haven’t helped. It was a blatant handball on the line and the referee said it wasn’t intentional.
“That would have really put us on top.
“Everything about Ascot is great, though, and they have strikers who can score goals so good luck to them.
“It helps you take a defeat like that with a bit of dignity, but my players have got to learn from this.”