Dom Roman – @DomRoman
“Stones will need more out of Umerah this time around”
The National League keeps you guessing doesn’t it?! Like a dodgy soap opera the league keeps throwing up random stories, and this week it was our turn to fall foul of one. Fence broken, fence not mended, Council intervention and a closed doors game. Ironic that such a game should reappear just as COVID restrictions are properly eased. Anyway we’ll just have to get on with it won’t we and login to YouTube….pre-match talking points – Wealdstone (a):
Will a closed door game benefit anyone? Wealdstone have a strong following at Grosvenor Vale, and their supporters would have looked forward to the visit of the Gulls. With our level of officials you always worry that vocal home shouts could sway an important decision in the opposition’s favour and that is no longer going to be a factor. With the home crowd taken out of the equation the higher quality of United’s team should have some advantage – add into that a nice calm weather day of sunshine and the scene is set for the lads to show their quality. After two mixed displays at Plainmoor, it’s time to do the business.
It would help our cause if Armani Little was to return this weekend – this may be unlikely considering he missed Tuesday’s game with COVID – but Gary Johnson would love to have the playmaker back in the line-up. Without him the Gulls had plenty of endeavour against Boreham, but very little imagination to break open that stubborn Wood defence. The way Armani drifts into space behind defences and threatens with an array of passes and shots cannot be replaced easily by anyone in this small United squad, you only have to look at the squad stats to see that. A team without him will need much more from someone like Stephen Wearne, a player who started nicely at Plainmoor but has made minimal impact in recent games. Maybe it’s time for him to bang one in the bottom corner…
No goals from Scott Boden or Tyrone Marsh on Tuesday night thankfully. Marsh had a number of involvements, but poor control and strong defence from the likes of Mox and Lewis kept him comfortably at bay. This time around it’s Josh Umerah who’ll be relishing the chance to put one over his old gaffer. Last season he had his moments in yellow, but never won over the Plainmoor faithful, however with 10 goals in 27 National League appearances so far in 21-22, the strong striker should be proud of how he’s started his Stones career. In the reverse fixture at Plainmoor Lewis V Umerah was a fun battle, and one that Joe won easily (even scoring a goal of the season contender to boot!). The Stones will need more out of one of their key men this time around.
ASA BACK IN MIDFIELD?
As Joe Uglow pointed out in his Talking Points blog, Asa Hall played well against Boreham at centre back, but it felt like a game when the skipper was needed more in midfield. Fitness permitting I’d expect to see the skipper back in the middle of the park for this fixture, winning tackles and headers in midfield and getting up field to support the strikers. If the brakes were on somewhat on Tuesday night to contain a strong Wood side, this is a 90 minutes where United should be fully focussed on attack.
KEEP GOING LADS!
I have to admit, the two draws have knocked the wind out of my sails a bit this week. Hopes of reaching that coveted top 7 are now clinging on by the smallest of threads – with 9 points the difference, 1 more game played and a much worse goal difference, our place in the National League for 22-23 looks almost nailed on. But with 15 games to play, I hope the lads can keep going and keep giving their all in every match. There’s some great fixtures to come and I’m sure the yellow army will be well up for it. All in all this definitely isn’t a bad football team, it’s a team hamstrung by too many points dropped at the start of the season and one that lacks valuable squad depth to change games (unfortunately when we’ve desperately needed a sprinkling of magic, no incomings have arrived). Anyway, as GJ says there’s still a chance, so keep going lads!
COYY – Dom
“I believe it’s still there for us, I believe in the players and I’m not letting the lads lose the faith. The top four or five teams may be difficult to catch, but you’ve still got sixth and seventh spots and quite a few teams, including a couple just below us, are competing for them” – GARY JOHNSON
OPPOSITION Q&A – WEALDSTONE FC by Roger Slater
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