A STIRRING second-half fightback from Jersey Bulls appeared to have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat – only for a chaotic period of stoppage time to throw away most of their good work and two much-needed points.
Bulls manager Gary Freeman admitted his side ‘thought the game was done’ as a 4-2 lead away at Sandhurst quickly slipped to a 4-4 draw thanks to goals in the fourth and fifth minutes of added time.
Having lost 4-2 to Tadley Calleva in August, the Bulls kick-started their season with a five-match winning run that was abruptly ended in stunning fashion.
It may still be early in the season, but the Bulls can ill afford to throw away winning positions like this in such a hugely competitive league.
Freeman said: ‘This was a bit of a harsh lesson. I think we were sloppy in the first-half, and they’ve got ahead without having to do too much.
‘We had chance after chance and just weren’t clinical. I thought the game was there to be won and we said that at half-time.
‘We’ve obviously turned it around in the second-half and got ourselves in a great position and then, for some reason, we’ve given them two goals. It’s very strange –we’ll have to have a little look back at it as that shouldn’t be happening. It’s a very disappointed dressing room.
‘Our lads thought the game was done and we’ve been hit by two sucker punches. What happened shouldn’t happen from that position.’
Jersey Bulls have already bounced back from setbacks this season and they will have to quickly put this disappointment behind them ahead of a trip to Camberley next weekend which Freeman hopes will offer a chance for redemption against a similarly set-up side.
He added: ‘They’re (Camberley Town) pretty young and play forward quickly, so it’ll be another difficult place to go. But we’ll get ready for that and make sure that we learn some lessons from today. That’s what we’ve had to do in the past.’
Freeman also praised the squad’s depth, after impressive performances from some of the Bulls’ substitutes. He said: ‘It’s a strong group we’ve got at the minute, so the subs were unlucky not to start. We brought James [Carr] on to give us a bit of width and he did well. Miguel [Carvalho] came on and was really lively too. We’d got ourselves in a great position and so Will [Byers] was brought in and had hoped to shore things up. The game should have been done, really.’
Jonny Le Quesne was pleased to grab a goal and assist in the clash, but ultimately saw his side fail to take the three points that they had looked to have claimed:
He said: ‘This draw was down to a lack of concentration as a collective unit. It wasn’t good enough from all of us. It was sloppy.
‘We dominated a lot of the ball and could’ve done more with it. When we were ahead we should have controlled the game a lot better. But it’s a point. It’s a bad point but it’s still a point.’