Wingate’s Cronin committed to goals and clean sheets
- Credit: Archant
Centre-back Sean Cronin says Wingate & Finchley’s defenders are commited to improving their goal tally as much as their forwards, but admits it’s more imperative that they maintain a consistency with keeping clean sheets after recording their first shut-out of the campaign in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Merstham.
It’s been a bumpy road for The Blues who picked up their first home success on their fourth attempt of the 2018/2019 Bostik League - and despite midweek Velocity Trophy progression - fell at the first hurdle in the FA Cup first qualifying round just days before.
The Summers Lane skipper converted his third penalty in all competitions, before Marc Weatherstone put the result beyond doubt when he headed home Reece Beckles-Richards’ free-kick.
But Keith Rowland’s men have converted only nine times from seven league games with a record that’s seen two wins, two draws and three defeats, and the Welsh defender has called on his team-mates to leave their mark.
“We’re obviously delighted to get the win,” he said. “We started well on the front foot, the gaffer wanted us to get at them and I think towards the end of the first half they were coming into the game a bit more, but we got a break at the right time.
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“We won the penalty, went in at 1-0 and then did a job in the second half. They had a couple of chances, but on the whole we can be delighted with the three points and hopefully now start our season, because it’s not been good enough.
“We worked on our shape in training and I think that paid off a little bit. We tried to press them and we knew what they’re about. They try to get the ball down and play, so we wanted to press and not give them time on the ball.
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“We wanted to step up, start higher up the pitch because I think in recent weeks we’ve been guilty of being too deep and allowing the opposition to play around us. We wanted to win it back higher up, play in the right areas and I think we did that.”
Cronin, who was making his 104th appearance for the north Londoners, isn’t afraid to demand more – from himself first – and is looking for more creativity from open play in the final third.
He is confident that with the ability the squad possesses, it will come to fruition, adding there’s a culture of accountability at the club which will ensure performances improve.
“The gaffer touched upon that in the changing room, we’re a bit Jekyll and Hyde,” he continued.
“One minute we’re up doing the right thing, doing what is asked, then after doing the right thing we’re doing something different. We need a bit more consistency from the start of the game, we can’t keep playing for patches – we need to be doing it for 80, 90 minutes every game.
“Everyone needs to be on seven and eight out of 10 and if we can do that, I think we’ll push up the right end of the table. We have the basis of a good squad, we had a poor start, but now it’s up to us to turn it around. We’ll work hard in training, go again and hopefully get a couple more wins.
“I think we (Weatherstone and Cronin) are joint top scorers (alongside Marc Charles-Smith) with three each! In all seriousness, we’re there to keep clean sheets and we know we haven’t done that apart from today - so we’ve not been doing our job.
“It’s nice to chip in with goals, but as a defender you’re ultimately relied on to keep the goals out. It’s nice to get one today and hopefully we can kick on and get some more.
“I’ve always been confident taking penalties. I don’t feel pressured, I enjoy taking them, I like the mind games and I’m confident I’m going to score every time we get a penalty.
“As I’m walking up to the ball I know where I’m putting it, it’s not a late decision. I know where it’s going, I just need to work on the celebrations a bit – I just turn around and put up a sign!”
The Maurice Rebak Stadium is the venue for their next game when they return to action in two weeks on September 29 against Lewes, with a confident Cronin hoping a more settled unit will bring forth an improved stubborn approach.
“Hopefully it gives us the confidence now to kick on,” he added. “Each week ‘Weathers’ and myself are getting used to playing with each other, we’re reading each other’s game. We’ve had a couple of injuries at full back so it does unhinge you a little, but we’re getting used to playing as a back four and having the boys in the middle sitting in and doing what they need to be doing.”