By Justin Smart
In a very hard fought contest, Durham City just fell short at home to Silksworth Colliery Welfare. The men from Sunderland travel back with them three points as they won 2-1in a contest that could have gone either way.
Our committee is proud of the performance of every single player in the team. They fought tooth and nail for the yellow and blue cause yesterday and they can all hold their heads up high. Durham City AFC's club secretary Justin Smart caught up with manager Wayne Gredziak after the game to have a chat about the match. Here is the lowdown of that conversation:
Justin Smart: It was a tough one to take today, but can our lads take positives from the performance?
Wayne Gredziak: I am genuinely gutted for each member of the squad today as they gave everything and there was lots of positives to take and the most to date in such a short space of time. We dominated the game in large spells and even with ten men, the work rate of every player was there to be seen by everyone. This squad that we have established in such a short space of time are disappointed with the result and they are felt hurt they conceded in the last minute when on the brink of Durham City’s AFC first point this season.
JS: Brandon Gredziak has now played twice and been sent off on both occasions, whereas his brother Preston has been tidy despite his young age. What would you put that down toexactly?
WG: As you are aware Brandon, 20, and Preston, 16, are both my sons. Yes, Brandon has been on the receiving end of 2 reds from 4 yellows in his first 2 games, but both players are completely different. Brandon wears his heart on his sleeve and is eager to win the ball back for the team and that is his game. Of course, it frustrates me that he received 2 yellows today, as with 10 men it might have been a different result. However, I felt neither were bookings. He was understandablyupset as he knew he let his team down but that is how football has gone the last few years, and players like Brandon are suffering because with most tackles, even though the ball is won cleanly, they are deemed dangerous as not in control of the tackle so he was sent off and he miss next week’s game again. However, Preston has really impressed me, to be honest. Coming into men’s football at 16, I wasn’t sure if the step up would be too soon for him but fair play to him for putting his hand up. And he has received the committee’s POTM twice in three games, while showing me he has taken the step up like a fish to water. He is big and strong and he is making sure that he cements his name on that starting team sheet.
JS: Instead of hurting the lads, the red card seemed to galvanise them. Could the game have gone more in our favour had we have had eleven men on the pitch?
WG: When we went down to ten men, nothing changed in ourformation because I decided not to change anything tactically.I didn’t want to invite Silksworth on by changing the formation and sitting deeper as we felt we were in control of the game still, and the midfield were doing another man’s job in there and coping well. They had a little more space which maybe wasn’t there before and the players and staff could see that. We were still creating chances with the ten men, so the players could see it was not affecting us as much as it should have done.
JS: Liam Peverley played a blinder between the sticks. Do the players have more confidence in believing in getting something from games with him donning the gloves?
WG: Liam was fantastic today and made some really important saves at key times but that’s why Liam is here. He has played Northern League for 7 years and brings that experience and could still play at that level but he knows like I do, and like a lot of the fans do, Durham City AFC is a sleeping giant and he wants this club to be back where it has Been in the past. He, like me, knows that NO club in non-league football has any given right to be in Northern League. You need to get the foundations in place on and off the pitch to make sure success is not just a one-off, it needs to be sustainable for many seasons and Liam wants to help the club by playing for Durham city AFC to help us all here now to get it right.
JS: Would he be your player of the match?
WG: I am sitting on the fence for this question as I think Liam Peverley, Preston Gredziak and Ross Hutchinson all had very strong cases to be given that accolade of POTM. And, as I mentioned before, the Committee did give it to Preston Gredziak. However, any of the 3 could have been given it and I would have not objected to the board’s decision.
JS: Can the investment of our players in our cause carry forward and see us have a go at Durham Corinthians in the derby next week?
WG: Durham Corinthians next week is going to be a very hard game, let’s not beat about the bush. They have an excellent squad that had played together for a few seasons now and have beaten Darlington Railway Athletic 5-0 today at New Ferens Park, so this is going to be a real test for us. With Mark Hemingway being away for the next two weeks with work and Andrew Pritchard away at a wedding next Saturday, we might have to look at hopefully bringing insome additional players to strengthen the squad. But all I can ask from the squad is we compete and, being a Durham Derby, we play with pride for the Durham City AFC badge.
JS: Any message to our loyal fans?
WG: Durham City AFC has had a lot of bad times over the last few years and you, as fans, have every right to be disgruntled and annoyed at how the past 3 years havehappened. We, as a NEW committee and squad, are trying to get it right on and off the pitch, so you can be proud of your club playing non-league football again. I know today was another loss and yes, I know we are not playing in Durham but Leyburn Grove is only 6 miles away. Even though we want to be Back there as much as you do, but think back we had no team or kit 4 weeks ago and Durham City AFC nearly folded. I personally don’t care who was to blame for thosepast events because it’s pointless dwelling over the wrongdoings in the past because it changes nothing. We need your support more now than ever. You all voiced your anger on social media and we listened. You now have a team that is playing and competing in games for your club and we are now self-sufficient. Whatever money is raised is used correctly and in ways deemed essential by the committee for daily running and matchday costs. So please keep the faith, keep coming to our games and supporting your team and we can do this as a collective under one badge: Our beloved DURHAM CITY AFC BADGE!
As Wayne said, our next game is against Durham Corinthians at New Ferens Park next Saturday at 3:00 PM. We need as many of you Citizens there in our spiritual home as possible to cheer on your team so we can bring back home the bragging rights of Durham for you. It doesn't get any bigger in the Wearside League than a Durham Derby. Morior Invictus!