CRAIG CLOKE had a sleepless night after missing his second penalty of the season.
The Whites spot-kick specialist saw his 33rd-minute penalty saved not long after he had conceded one down the other end against Walton Casuals.
Greg Ball duly dispatched that one to cancel out Craig Wilkins’ fifth-minute opener for Whites.
However, despite Wilko snatching a winner in the final minute after a superb run and cross by Walid Matata, Clokey was feeling down after the match.
He said: “I couldn’t get to sleep. It bugged me that much. It’s the second penalty I’ve missed this season, after failing to score one down at Bashley.
“Also I’ve not scored this season – after grabbing four in pre-season. It feels almost as though I’ve used up all my goals in the summer – so I’m a bit gutted from that point of view.
“But, at least, we managed to get the winner at the end, which made me feel better. In all honesty, we should’ve beaten Walton 5-1 on the amount of chances we had.
“They weren’t a bad side and made it difficult for us. A lot of teams are coming here and looking at getting everyone behind the ball – and it is hard to break teams down, even if they’re not that great.
“Last night, there was a bit of pressure on the defence – because the strikers weren’t scoring. That puts an extra burden on us defenders not to concede.
“However, we managed to get our noses in front before the final whistle and we’ve maintained our 100 per cent record. Winning is the most important thing.”
Cloke is frustrated that he was adjudged to have fouled a Walton striker, which resulted in the visitors being awarded a penalty.
He said: “I can’t criticise the ref because I’ll get into trouble – but manager Clive Walker has always told me to stand up to players running into the box. I took the ball from him and passed it out to Tony Browne. The next thing I know, the ref has given a penalty.
“I thought the guy just ran into me and took a dive – but I guess these things happen in football. At least, it proved not to cost us – otherwise I’d have been feeling 10 times worse.”
Clive said: “Craig’s such an enthusiastic lad and he cares a lot about his football. It was a harsh penalty and he’s missed one the other end – but we won the game and Craig’s been playing very well for us, so I’ve no complaints.
“I thought Walton were half-decent and we put a lot of pressure on them during the second half. We were just hoping that it was going to be our night and thankfully Wilko has got the winner for us.
“Walid did very well coming on. The run and cross was very good and it was one of his best performances. The lad has got to challenge himself to produce that kind of performance week-in, week-out. If he does that, then he’ll be a good player.
“He’s certainly looking a good player – coming off the bench.”