Dom Roman – @DomRoman
The Great Escape 3 is on, or is it?! Well the last three games have got us back in the hunt, and 7 points was just what the doctor ordered. The goals from Aaron Barnes and Elliott Romain were two beauties in their own right. The swing from Barnesy was almost lazy looking and I doubt the keeper could believe the accuracy of it! But I loved the 2nd even more, not just because it was the winner, but I appreciated the way Brett Williams pulled back to the far post of that muddy pitch to keep it alive and Elliott was exactly where a striker should be to tap home.
It’s what we’ve been missing all season, intelligent use of the space available around the penalty area. Strikers so often miss a trick by not getting into that 6 yard area, not my boy Romain and he got his rewards. Unfortunately Elliott won’t be playing on Saturday against his own club, though depending on how desperate Daggers finances are he could become a full-time Gull in the near future. In the meantime I’d play Ruairi Keating upfront with Brett, leaving Reidy as the impact sub again.
One problem that has arisen again (nothing is simple at TUFC) is the fitness of Josh Gowling. Would we be so far down the table if the big man had played more matches this season? I doubt it. He stiffens our defence every time he takes to the pitch, but his physical fragility has been exposed again. Unless Owers finds another centre-back, the back three of Efete, Balatoni and McGinty will have to cope and find some leadership of their own.
Moving Michee into the centre leaves the wing-back position as a problem. We must keep Aaron Barnes in centre-midfield, he’s been the fulcrum for our recent upturn in form and we don’t have a similar player to call on. Higgins is not an option anymore it seems, Lemonheigh-Evans is an attacking midfielder and Klukowski is…well an unused sub! Maybe Owers will conjure up another signing this week, after Jennison Myrie-Williams departure (Jennison who??!).
Moving onto the manager and he looked a beaten man along with the rest of them a few weeks ago. He has now composed himself and has asked for the help of the Yellow Army this Saturday. Tactically Owers admitted to mistakes and has settled back into the 3-5-2 formation, and more importantly his January transfers bucked the ugly trend of failed incomings. I don’t think we’ll ever warm to his character like Nicho and I don’t often call for a manager’s head, but even I was hash-tagging #owersout. However, our supporters have come together before in Feb-April for the GE – time to do it again.
Speaking of bringing supporters together, that is exactly what the TUST are aiming to do at present. Chairman Mike Thomas met with fans before the Maidenhead game, as he looks to spread the name of TUST far and wide, and gather the thoughts and opinions from supporters. The new Facebook page is also up and running, and will surely be a valuable tool going forward for the Trust. Luke Hunter has a hand in that one, as he builds up a social media empire, well that’s what he told me anyway (in jest I think!). Check out what the TUST is trying to achieve, and I would urge you (politely) to become a member.
Speaking of Luke and it was funny to see a TUFC Tweeter ask if a TT tweet was from the “pessimistic one”? We both take turns I think! Luke started the season very optimistically and then quickly went into freefall with the results. We don’t put initials on our tweets as me and Luke are a team, and I like to think we support each others beliefs not only on TUFC but on Football in general – even if he loves Jamie Reid much more than I do. If we were Beatles, I’d be Paul and he’d be John I think…
So onto Saturday and the Daggers, who have their own troubles with financial difficulty and ownership issues behind the scenes (that sounds familiar). They’ve lost a few players in recent weeks, and could lose some more very soon. We do seem to be playing teams at the right time recently (Macclesfield players wages had not been paid, Maidenhead just played a tough Trophy match at Stockport), and the chance is there for another 3 points. Mentality-wise we have toughened up, but the loss of Gowling and Romain will be a test of it – maybe it’s time for Brett to get that goal we’ve been waiting for.
Before the match I will be getting feedback from the opposition support for TT, and it’ll be interesting to have their take on recent events at the club. One thing is for sure, the National League clubs are struggling to balance their books and survive, and whilst we could benefit from Hartlepool and Chester’s problems, I don’t enjoy seeing them. In a week when Sky and BT are fighting it out to pay well over 4 billion for Football rights (and that’s not all of them!), questions must continually be asked on why this money isn’t filtering down to help the lower-leagues and grass roots football.
Get behind the team on Saturday and Tuesday (Pick up a copy of the programme and check out my bit on the Winter Olympics this Saturday!). Let’s increase that attendance up to 1800+ and make some noise. We shouldn’t be in this position, we know that and a third season of relegation struggles is so tough (and tiring) to take, but it doesn’t stop me supporting our team and I hope you feel the same. Those scenes of jubilation behind the goal on Saturday (see below) made it look like we had won a cup final – that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?!
Happy Valentines day to all!