Bowman on the Road: Trophy exit is a blessing

Ian Chapman hasn't had too many bad days at the Green Elephant Stadium - but this was one of the worst
Ian Chapman hasn't had too many bad days at the Green Elephant Stadium - but this was one of the worst

The Green Elephant Stadium was unusually flat for Saturday's FA Trophy match against Hitchin FC.

The ground is normally buzzing come 2.30pm on a Saturday afternoon fans getting excited about the action to come, players noisily enjoying their warm up routines. However the place seem to be devoid of any of that usual pre-match vibe.

Whilst it was all about the FA Trophy our league status was clearly on people's mind. Indeed Ian Chapman's and John Rattle's programme notes mirrored my own piece, heavily weighted towards the Ryman Premier League. Ian suggested 'There is a downside to good cup runs, you fall behind with your league schedule! We have quite a few games in hand but in saying that we need to get some wins in those games!'

After breezy start Dean Cox nearly forced the opening goal but his low shot was turned around the post and then Cheick Toure headed the resulting corner over the bar. That was as good as it got. An hour and twenty mins later the mid Sussex team were down and out of the Fa Trophy three nil. What's more Will Miles faces the consequences of a red card plus there were other bookings to contend with as some bad tempered late tackles flew in and Dan Pearse kicked the ball away (half the length of the pitch !).

Ian Chapman hasn't had many bad days in the office here at the GES but Saturday 26th November 2016 will certainly go down as one of the worst.

But in my humble opinion that defeat could be the best thing to have happened to BHTFC this season. As mentioned in this column on previous occasions we want to be competitive in Ryman Premier company.

The club want to consolidate at this level and when the time is right press on to the Vanarama Conference South.

Club General Manager John Rattle suggesting: 'This is a time for us to learn and learn quickly whilst consolidating RPL status. Once we have done that, and when the time is right, we can think about elsewhere'.

That process can start right now with a full week on the training ground and then three massive home league games on the trot. The first is against bottom club Grays Athletic on Saturday December 3pm k.o. We then play Wingate on December 6 7.30pm under lights before hosting Billericay on December 10 3pm. Its an important week to say the least!

Ian, John, Stuart and Kevin if you are reading you have my full support. Forget about the cups, don't worry about Hitchin, let's all concentrate on putting together a league run that can see us out on the relegation zone and into a consolidation mid table position.

And to the people of Mid Sussex your Ryman Premier club needs your support over the coming weeks. Get down to the GES in numbers and cheer your team forward. We can not allow all the good work go to waste!

Have you checked out our new Christmas section yet?

It's packed with ideas and tips to ensure you make the most out of the festive season.

There's recipes, suggestions for presents and everything from choosing your tree to recycling your packaging and paper.

Go to www.midsussextimes.co.uk/christmas/