"To be honest, the fact that we scored when we scored takes a little bit of sting out of the first half performance," admitted Chirs. "They played with a very strong wind and I felt that whatever they got in front of goal was going to be down to poor play or a mistake by us. But I certainly felt at half time that with the wind with us we could go on and win.
"They had three decent chances and scored three goals. It was a classic one where we didn’t put our chances away, became more stretched, changed shape a little bit to try and push for the winner and got caught on the break. It certainly wasn’t a 4-2 performance."
Given the fact that the team had not played a league fixture for seven weeks, mitigating circumstances could be pleaded, but Chris refused to use that as an excuse.
"I think you’ve got to take into consideration that we were playing away from home against a very good side. Our work on the ball wasn’t as good as I would have liked in the first half, but we restricted them to minimal chances. I was just disappointed with our general play on the ball.
"We never really created enough until the second half and we then had some very good chances.
Chelsea fielded a star-packed line-up, but Hughton’s selection was not short on quality.
"Leonhardsen was certainly one of our best players. He worked very hard, which is normal for Leo. He’s a good workmanlike player who’s got good ability as well and a great attitude. Leo was possibly our best player.
"Matthew Etherington did ever so well on the left along with Willem Korsten. Certainly on paper, even though ours was a younger side, it was a good side with an awful lot of experience."
Chris, along with eight of the team on view now head to La Manga for a short break. "It’s something we’ve done before," he recalled. "Some people might think we’re going for a good time — we’re actually going to train."
Matthew Etherington’s equalising goal just before the interval spared the team a probable roasting from Chris Hughton following an ineffectual first-half showing in the reserve outing against Chelsea at Kingstonian. But the manager was impressed with a much-improved performance in the second period despite an unflattering scoreline.