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Bees rue missed opportunities on play off trail

HINDSIGHT is a great thing and looking back over the play offs it’s easy to see Bees missed out on a golden chance to get off to a great start when they failed to beat Esher at home.

HINDSIGHT is a great thing and looking back over the play offs it’s easy to see Bees missed out on a golden chance to get off to a great start when they failed to beat Esher at home.

Two early gilt edge chances fell their way, both ending in forlorn passes that were dropped; looking back, it set the scene for a theme of handling errors that reached it’s climax last Sunday against Moseley.

Only in the dogfight at Billesley Common did Bees come good by beating their near neighbours, otherwise they were frequently a side riven by anxiety, selection problems, and poor performance.

Former Bees strongman Alex Davidson was in the crowd to see this match, a man who they’ve never really been able to replace - every pack needs someone who can niggle the opposition.

Otherwise the front five played well - Dan Sanderson deservedly won the champagne for the fans’ pick of the team for making no end of hard yards and if props Matt Long and Tua Nglau ran out of puff they and their replacements bossed their opponents in the scrum.

The back row were more of a mixed bag - without Rob Connolly at flanker there was no punch, Mark Hoppley and Russell Earnshaw were swallowed up in defensive duties while Jack Preece struggled to make an impact.

The half backs failed to sparkle. Fly half Mark Woodrow, operating at the end of a long Rod Petty pass, has had a poor play offs and Connolly, moved to inside centre to make an impact, was largely starved of ball.

It meant that the back three of Tom Foden, Simon Hunt and Mitch Culpin had to go looking for ball which on a couple of occasions left no one at home in defence, had Moseley had the nous to realise it.

Hunt himself didn’t mince his words: “I am bitterly disappointed - considering what a fantastic day it’s been weather-wise I do not know how many balls we dropped - we stopped our own attacks through poor passing - architects of our own downfall really.

“Moseley knew we were chasing and that we had to win - they had the luxury of what amounted to a game in hand” (against already safe Plymouth).

The powerful winger is sure to be a target for other clubs but he said it was too early to decide his future.

“We need to sit down and think - but the structure of the club is much better than the last time this happened and we just have to ensure that we bounce right back.”

Bees chairman Chris Loughran said: “I’m disappointed of course, but I’m also incredibly proud of these lads who have come together - each one of them has given everything.”

He said the club would ‘dust itself down and pick itself back up again’ in National League 1 and issued a plea to the people of Solihull and Birmingham to support the Bees.

“Both ourselves and Moseley really deserve much greater support. Here at Bees we have a great relationship with the football club, we have the best ground in the Championship and it will be the best in National League 1 - come down and support us.”

Bees conclude their play off campaign away at Esher on Saturday.

 

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