Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses talking points ahead of the game at Plainmoor.
SOMETHING TO BUILD ON
It’s a mark of how poor we’ve been this season that Saturday’s non-descript draw against a team who haven’t won away in ages, was actually a small step in the right direction! There was flashes of fluidity throughout the XI, glimpses of an attacking game-plan coming together, moments where Aaron Jarvis and Will Goodwin looked like a threatening partnership and even the wing backs crossed the halfway line occasionally…one even scored a goal. Things to cling onto and provide welcome positive points in a season that hasn’t produced many. We’re still far from being a decent team, but if your glass is half full at Plainmoor then just for once you’re not suffering from chronic dehydration.
Having discussed some positives that take us into the Maidenhead clash with hope, let’s look at one of the major things that the Gulls desperately need to improve on. The opposition will have periods in the game when they are on top, and the Gulls simply need to get a grip during these times and push further up the pitch. Too much cowering and retreating back further and further, allowing far too much space for probing midfielders and attackers to create chances – it’s been a recurring theme all season, and has kept both Rhys Lovett and Mark Halstead more busy than they should have been. Better teams would have scored 2 or 3 on Saturday with the gaps we allowed, and we definitely can’t count on the keeper to bale us out of trouble every week.
Whilst other teams have peppered our goal with an enormity of shots this season, the Gulls on the other hand seem to be shot shy. There was a number of moments on Saturday where the team tried to play one more pass, tried to be intricate when an attempt at goal might have proved fruitful. This team will need to score more than one goal to win games this season, otherwise we will continue to struggle. Have a pop lads!
The balance of the team felt better on Saturday. A midfield three of Lapslie, Smith and Evans gave us a more dynamic and energetic feel, running hard to try to make things happen. The wing backs made more inroads going forward and with Aaron Jarvis giving us a focal point up top, the eleven looked happier. Dylan Crowe departed injured and Ben Wyatt impressed, so that would be the one obvious change to the line-up. Otherwise can Tom Lapslie play a second game in 4 days? Let’s hope so, we’re better side with him scampering around. Some continuity, cohesion and hopefully all three points for the Yellows…
Maidenhead United sit 15th with 13 points from 11 games, their best result of the season coming on Saturday at Chesterfield. The 2-1 victory came courtesy of goals from Koby Arthur (a player noted in Steve Harris’s preview) and a certain Ashley Nathaniel-George, whose United career was of the ‘blink and you missed it’ variety. Alan Devonshire has done a good job at Maidenhead, keeping them competitive in a tough league and making them capable of surprise results as seasons roll along. His side should be confident after the weekend win, but will also be taking in a second away game in 4 days…so it’s difficult to tell how they’ll perform. With only 16 goals between the two United’s in the National League this season, a big scoring thriller seems unlikely! A tense and tight evening at Plainmoor probably awaits.