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FLEET keeper says 'forgive England's Green for drop gaffe'

PUBLISHED: 17:18 16 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:47 23 August 2010

FLEET KEEPER: Lance Cronin

FLEET KEEPER: Lance Cronin

Dave Plumb

THE Fleet s top goalkeeper has come to the defence of England s Rob Green despite being a pal of manager Fabio Capello s reserve Joe Hart, writes Nick Hitchens. Lance Cronin, 24, was number 2 at Shrewsbury as Joe Hart worked his way up to the Premiership

THE Fleet's top goalkeeper has come to the defence of England's Rob Green despite being a pal of manager Fabio Capello's reserve Joe Hart, writes Nick Hitchens.

Lance Cronin, 24, was number 2 at Shrewsbury as Joe Hart worked his way up to the Premiership and in to the World Cup squad.

Millions watched in horror as the West Ham keeper Rob Green allowed a tame shot from USA and Fulham striker Clint Dempsey spill from his grasp and trickle over the line in Saturday's 1-1 draw.

But Ebbsfleet United's FA Trophy winner in 2008, expressed shock and sympathy for Green and revealed he has had first hand experience with one of his competitors for the number 1 jersey.

He said: "I felt sorry for him. As a keeper you know that nine times out of ten you are going to save it but when you don't everyone will know. If it wasn't for David James' knee I would have gone with him but they also have a fantastic keeper in Joe Hart.

"We were both a Shrewsbury where I was second to him and he was unbelievable. He is a top keeper."

A young goalkeeper himself, Cronin argued Hart's youth should not go against him.

He added: "They say you need experience but how else do you get that? He has had a full season in the Premiership and if I was him I would be thinking, what more can I do?"

Cronin recalled his own moment of shame between the sticks, playing against Oxford United during the 2008/09 season.

"We lost four or five nil. The ball got played over the top, I came out to clear and completely missed it - I actually caught it with the side of my boot, and I knew it was going in. You just have to accept it and move on.

"I think Capello has to stick with Green as it is too early to move him on. If he had looked shaky afterward or made another mistake then maybe, but I thought he reacted well."

Following relegation The Fleet will come up against local rivals Welling next season and Wings number 1 Charlie Mitten has revealed his nightmare moment between the sticks came during a short stint at Gravesend.

Mitten appeared for Gravesend in 2005 before moving to Welling.

He said: "I made a howler of a mistake while playing away at Barnet. All I wanted to do in the next game was to have the chance to get out there and redeem myself. Unfortunately I wasn't given that chance."

nicholas.hitchens@archant.co.uk

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