“Kyle Cameron just doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses on current form”.
Dom Roman- @DomRoman
The Gary Johnson ‘Gulls Machine’ keeps on rolling. Saturday’s game wasn’t easy by any means, Welling had some decent players and pushed hard for an equaliser in the second half. But the game was never really in doubt, even when ‘The Wings’ had more possession we still looked more like scoring on the break. There was nothing the robust away team and their constantly irked manager Steve King could do about it. At the moment we look very strong and have an XI with no weak links (especially now Ben Wynter has discovered his mojo) – a rare occurrence for the Yellow Army! We can even allow yet another dubious penalty go against us without it ruffling our feathers.
There were several players who had terrific afternoons at Plainmoor, but it was our ‘Northern Rock’ Kyle Cameron who earned the MOTM award from TT’s Matty Hayward and I have to agree. Kyle has been solid all season, but in recent weeks he appears to have taken his game to a new level – scooping three TT MOTM trophies in a row to turn our December player of the month award into a one-horse race. If we gave out champagne each time (it’s a big IF), he could bathe in the bubbly by now!
Cam just doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses on current form. He’s big, strong and also deceptively quick – swiftly making ground across the pitch a few times to cover for his partner Niate, as Welling sniffed a chance. Kyle actually reminds me of a young Mark Ellis, and that is no bad thing. By that I mean the way he wears his heart on his sleeve, loves engaging with fans, attacks headers with total aggression and also likes to play the ball on the deck. Numerous forays forward have been started by the centre-back this season, another string to an impressive bow. The captaincy has been handed to the right man.
The official man of the match was Saikou Janneh, which wasn’t a bad choice either considering how brilliant his goal was on Saturday and how Saikou constantly kept the Welling defence busy. SJ now has 8 goals and 7 assists (courtesy of Torquay Stats) in only 15 games (2 as sub), excellent stats for a teenager just starting his career. I’m not surprised by many things at Plainmoor, but the way he took the ball in his stride and then curled it deliciously in the corner was a total shot in the arm. Janneh never stops moving on the pitch, always looking for gaps to exploit and opposition players to close down – top man and a top ‘no fear’ attitude. The young lad is setting high standards.
His partner Jamie Reid is having a dynamite season and his ruthless finishes in the corner have become a more regular part of a matchday routine than a pie and programme in the last few months. He could have had a couple on Saturday, though in fairness to the Welling keeper he stood up well to deflect the efforts away to safety. Reidy’s shooting is what most people will talk about, however it’s his all-round game that caught my eye at the weekend. With his back to goal Jamie was very comfortable taking possession and on the half turn moved away from his opponent time and again with ease. In previous seasons the striker has dwelt too long on the ball or let it bounce off him as TUFC interplay broke up – well no more and his unselfish work outside the box impressed me throughout. The Janneh/Reidy combination excites me, their mutual appreciation for each other and quickness is everything the woeful early season Williams/Reidy combination wasn’t!
Brett Williams didn’t even make the bench on Saturday due to illness I believe. The striker has become an unwanted spare part at the club he captained at the start of the season, a sad turnaround for a guy who’ll surely be thinking over his future before long. To get the best out of Brett we’d have to play to his strengths and sacrifice some of the attributes that have caused our upturn, in other words it’s not happening. I bet Ben Currie a pint that BW would score 10 goals this season, a sad moment of early season weakness and a bet that looks worse week by week! Who knows maybe Brett will have a part to play later in the season (straws and grasping).
With our dominant run of form in the league, it’s a shame really that we’re back in FA Trophy action this week! Don’t get me wrong, the Trophy is a worthwhile Non-League cup and I wouldn’t turn down a trip to Wemberlee – the league just takes total priority. Anyway it’s up to Boreham Wood on Saturday and a chance to test ourselves against NL opposition. We have our usual fan opposition interview, this time with season ticket holder Steve Pym and it sounds like they’ll be taking the game seriously. Going by the Basingstoke match we will too, and it could be an entertaining 90 minutes (or more). Best case scenario = we grab a win and come out of it with no injuries or suspensions, with 4 games in 10 days coming up over Xmas GJ will need as much strength in-depth as possible. TUFC ever-present supporter Harry Lovering will be reporting back for TT, I’m hoping he won’t have laptop problems this time around…it’s a long story! Last December was a nightmare not only in results but also recruitment, TUFC Xmas should be less mulled wine this year (urrggh) and more sparkling prosecco (ching ching) with Gary J in charge.
Speaking of squad depth it was nice to see Asa Hall and Ryan Dickson return to action at Plainmoor. Both men brought a calmness on arrival and were very keen to get involved. Asa desperately wanted a goal, something to display “I’M BACK” and that CLE and Andrews have competition on their hands for a coveted midfield birth! Andrews and CLE were again very accomplished on Saturday though and are dead-certs for a first team place. Jake was superb in the first half I thought, some of his intricate touches and control were a joy to behold – at one point he took a high ball down with two players around him, that is sheer confidence in your skill. I don’t want to see Jake making any more lunging tackles mind! CLE gives us a bit of everything in the centre, and if anyone is moving out wide it’s Andrews. Connor is a fulcrum for so much that is currently good about our team, such a talent.
FINAL WORD – After the dull, charmless and uncharismatic (and unsuccessful, unimaginative etc etc!) reign of Gary Owers, Gary Johnson’s ability to get the best out of TUFC players and supporters is a real blessing. When he took the job on he must have realised that United were at the lowest ebb and that his ample capabilities and experience could only take us forward – he was right! There were three highlights from Saturdays match, the first two goals and GJ summoning the somewhat conservative Bristow’s Bench into cheer as he approached the stand after the final whistle – those moments are sometimes what makes Football so special. Now the challenge is ongoing and Billericay’s win last night at Bath City gives the indication they are not going away likely, whatever the NL headlines have been in recent weeks of implosion, the Ricay still seem to win somehow! However, I think our main threat for the top spot will be Woking. The Cards are a team built for a promotion attempt and have given us two real examinations of our character during 2018-19 already. I don’t think Ben Gerring’s lot will go away easy and the end of season match-up at the Kingfield Stadium is already looking huge. We’ll know more after the Xmas/New Year fixtures. 12 important points to play for and I see no reason why we won’t bag all of them – as long as the pitch remains playable!