Dec 31 2009 By Tim Edwards
HE might not come from the school of hard knocks but Billy Gibson says last Monday's local derby victory over Harrow Borough has helped start his transition from soft centre to tough cookie on the field.
The on-loan Watford winger said he was taken aback by the white hot atmosphere at Grosvenor Vale, yet it did not hinder his performance as he bagged both goals to help send his temporary club up to fourth in the Ryman Premier League.
Borough, far from the pushovers of yesteryear, cancelled out Gibson's 21st minute penalty when Dean Fenton scored shortly before the break. However, North Harrovian Gibson, who started out as a striker for Headstone Manor when he was a kid, ensured the bragging rights went to the Stones once again with the second half winner.
"I'm happy I got the goals and we won", said the 19-year-old former Pinner Park and Nower Hill school pupil.
"I didn't realise how intense this match was and what it meant to the fans. Everyone was shouting and there was a lot of aggression flying about, but I don't let things like the atmosphere get to me."
Gibson, who has just one first team appearance for the Hornets to his name so far, admits a succession of injuries which resulted in eight months on the sidelines had affected his confidence and his mental and physical edge.
"The toughness aspect is not one of the stronger areas of my game but this experience is helping that", he added.
"It's a lot more physical at this level and if I am going to come to terms with the physicality of the Championship then I have to deal with it in the lower leagues.
"On Monday I got kicked a few times and still have a dead leg but that is part of the game."