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RESERVE REACTION

Posted on 16 January 2007  - 12:00

Clive Allen could not fault the application of his reserve side even though the unbeaten run that stretched back nearly a year was ended by Chelsea at Stevenage on Monday evening.

Clive Allen could not fault the application of his reserve side even though the unbeaten run that stretched back nearly a year was ended by Chelsea at Stevenage on Monday evening.It was a close encounter at Broadhall Way that appeared likely to finished goalless until a defensive muddle with just seven minutes remaining allowed the visitors to snatch the points.

The taste of defeat is not a familiar one for this group of players, who last suffered a loss against Southampton away in February of last year.

"It certainly doesn't feel good and the lads are not happy with it - it was very disappointing to lose the game in the way that we did," reflected Clive afterwards. "We've been punished for a mistake, that is what happens when you are playing against a decent side and they were a young, energetic and technically good team.

"We gave them the opportunity to take the three points," added Clive, who reasoned that a period of competitive inactivity had an adverse effect on the performance of his team. Their last league outing was at Fulham on December 6.

"We've obviously been weakened by a few injuries, we've had the break through the Christmas period which led to a long lay-off in terms of match practice. Sometimes it is a little bit difficult to get back into the rhythm of things and we can underestimate that. We can train, but you need a rhythm and we didn't find that in the way we would have liked.

"Maybe that will just take a couple of games to come back. I can't fault their effort, but there is disappointment in the way that we played in that we didn't manage to produce what we are capable of."