Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Terrible teams find different ways to lose games and we are a truly terrible team. Today’s game is no different, as Eastleigh are handed two goals through more shambolic defending, whilst we even decline the offer of a very generous penalty towards the end. The second half does see something resembling a team as United press forward and dominant proceedings, but when push comes to shove we simply aren’t good enough. Another eminently winnable game slips by, and the drop to the National League South becomes more and more inevitable.
Efete 7 Balatoni 4 McGinty 3 Davis 4
Reid 3 O’Sullivan 3 Young 5.5 Dowling 6.5 Gosling 7.5
Subs: Mitchell 2 Keating 3
Man of the Match:
The afternoon doesn’t start well for Jake; he misses a great chance with a back post header. However after that, the skilful winger looks very sharp. Moving into space, giving team-mates options and tricking his way around the pitch. He has a few more chances as the game goes on, and just cannot find the net. Typical behaviour for a TUFC player of course, but his ability is well above most of the others and he deservedly takes my man of the match.
Michee Efete is normally one of our better players when I see United and today is no different. He loves a foray forward and dummies his way past players on the wing with ease! Defensively he does his job as well and it’s a credit to the lad for sticking with us, when I assume other opportunities would be offered.
The only other United player I’ll mention is George Dowling. George has an influential second half, taking the brakes off his play and getting up the pitch in support. The talent is there with this boy, I guess his time down at Plainmoor will be called character-building in years to come..
Luke Young receives the ball outside the penalty area and finds the bottom left-hand corner of the net. The Eastleigh goalkeeper believes the shot is going wide for some reason and doesn’t bother diving. The small and sombre winter Plainmoor crowd is stunned that we have scored, and we all try to remember how to celebrate.
Four at the back is the order of the day from Owers, as a rusty looking Balatoni slots in uncomfortably alongside Sean. It’s three in midfield with Dowling/Young/O’Sullivan, Gosling and Reid on the wings and Fletcher isolated upfront.
Oh and in goal Clarke is restored between the sticks and lets in one of the softest shots you’ll see early on. Rusty or not, it was a shot that our Under-14’s stopper would have been disappointed to concede. In the second half Ower’s shifts to three at the back as things get desperate once again and he simply has no idea of how to get the best out of this mish-mash of players.
For all Ower’s incomings since September our best players today were here when he came to the club (Gosling, Efete and Dowling) and he should be embarrassed at how little quality he has brought in since then.
The most notable player for Eastleigh is Chris Zebroski, and the striker is still a handful after all these years, keeping our defence busy and chasing down lost causes. Otherwise there are no stand-out players for the away team and with a shaky defence they look for the most part like a team who should be fighting against relegation as well. Instead under Andy Hessenthaler they sit comfy in mid-table…I have no memory of what that feels like…
The ref has some penalty decisions to make and gets them all wrong from my seat in Bristow’s. Eastleigh’s defender blocks a cross with his hand in the first half. Penalty? No. Then Dowling fools a defender with his skill and goes over outside the area. Penalty? Yes. So overall I’m not impressed.
Let’s do two shall we (as if this isn’t painful enough!). The second half strike from Hoyte is totally avoidable, as sloppy defence allows the ball to fall to him at the back-post. It’s their only shot after half-time.
The second is Jamie Reid’s penalty miss. Jamie has a poor game today, looking out of sorts on the wing and his kick is comfortably saved by their keeper. These big moments have been going against us all season and this game is no different.
The young lad is marooned upfront alone by Owers and struggles to make any impression on the game. It’s a shame for him and Alex does get involved as much as possible to help the team, always showing for the ball and looking to link up with the likes of Gosling and Reid.
The failure to secure that target man striker is shown up once again, it’s been mentioned by everybody a hundred times this season and is Ower’s biggest recruitment failure (amongst many). Back to Alex and it’s difficult to judge his abilities from today’s performance – I’m sure he’ll learn a lot from games under his belt, if not from Owers or Kuhl!
From looking at how many games we have left to win points, I am left looking at how many games we have left in this league and deliberating which away game is the closest in the NL South (Western-Super Mare I think). Yes I think we will still have a club next season, but I wouldn’t bet on us challenging in that division either. 24 goals in 29 games says it all, take out those two comprehensive wins over Maidenhead/Leyton Orient and it’s 17 from 27 – pathetic. Our worst team ever, keeps getting worse.
Management-wise. the owners and Harrop will be loath to get rid of Owers/Kuhl, whose incompetence in recruitment and tactics have really been shown up since their confident introduction. More likely they’ll be given the chance to rebuild, and yes that means trusting them (and Harrop) to get some decent players in. A depressing thought.
The TUFC road remains horribly bumpy and the painfully low attendance at Plainmoor today shows hope is in short supply – sad times indeed.
Bromley 20th January @ Plainmoor