Danny Burnell – @dannyburnell_92
Danny discusses the game against Boreham Wood
I’ve not seen a side bully us as much as Boreham Wood did on Saturday for some time. Whether it was up front, on the wings, or in the midfield, we were out-muscled and out-fought in almost every department. From minute 1, they looked hungrier, more determined and showed impressive strength against our lacklustre side. At times, and I hate to say it, it was men against boys.
Wood’s #9, Ndlovu, reminded me of a young Akinfenwa. Ali just couldn’t get near him. At every dual, the big lad would gain himself 10 yards into our territory and more often than not, create a half-decent chance for his side. It wasn’t just him though, their defence was stronger, and their midfield were largely dominant.
Boreham Wood epitomise what the NL is. They came, got an early goal, and never really looked back. They probably see themselves as PO contenders, and if that is our ambitions, then we are some way off.
It wasn’t just about being out-muscled, it was being second best to almost every ball. A loose ball was more often than not picked up by the visitors. They anticipated it so much better than us, and whether that’s down to experience, fitness, or just damn right laziness, it’s disappointing to see. I lost count of the number of times where we should have been first to the ball, either from a pass, or from a loose ball, we were sloppy and gifted them possession far to easily.
We did show some fight in the last 10, but I’m afraid it was too little too late. Ashmore in the BW goal looked inspired, and on another day, we could have scored 2 or 3. But if you don’t play well enough for the first 80 minutes, you deserve zilch from the game.
FITNESS & STRONGEST XI
It’s obvious this isn’t our strongest XI. It’s also quite obvious their are a few lacking in match fitness. Yes, 4 games in, we are still finding our feet, but the difference between the sides was chalk and cheese. Corie Andrews played his first minutes since Oldham. Asa Hall continues to be eased back in. Donnellan continues to flutter in and out the team. It’s all very patched up and dis-jointed.
The likes of Jarvis & Martin continue to be side-lined, and will probably be first choice when fit. But they themselves will need a mini pre-season to get back into the flow of things. It may be a while before we see our strongest XI…..
I’ll end on a positive. Mark Halstead. I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and have written him off, but the lad has come good. Very good in fact. Again, when Torquay needed him most, he came up again with 2 or 3 great saves to keep us in it. Last season, the confidence-stricken #1 would have seen those end up in the back of the net. We have troubles up front, after scoring just 1 goal in 4 matches, but at the back, 2 goals conceded is the least in the division. And that is exclusively down to Mark. Solid against Oldham, outstanding at Halifax, and comfortable once more on Saturday.
The loss of MacDonald in the summer raised concerns, but in Halstead, provided we get behind him and his confidence remains high, we have a very capable NL goalkeeper.