Andy Charles – @CapitalGull
Andy discusses the Cup draw at Plainmoor
Saturday’s clash with Hampton & Richmond was, like most of our recent games in the FA Cup, painful viewing. Very few positives to be found from scraping a draw against a team struggling one division below but maybe we have finally turned the corner in our recruitment – much like last season when the arrival of Sinclair Armstrong and Stephen Duke-McKenna made a difference.
With veterans like Dean Moxey, Tom Lapslie and Asa Hall all struggling (Fitness? Form? Confidence? All of the above?) it was left to the two most recent signings, youngsters gambled on from Championship clubs, to save our collective bacon.
There was a collective zero when it came to offensive spark in the first-half, with the only real excitement coming from Ben Wyatt’s thunderbolt against the crossbar, but it was Wyatt’s half-time replacement Dillon de Silva who made the real difference, not only providing some attacking threat but also nullifying Hampton’s out ball to right-back Tommy Block.
Finally this season, we saw a player willing to run at an opponent, one not scared to try and take on a full-back and one who can provide some end product. His cross for Shaun Donnellan’s equaliser was the definition of pinpoint.
But all his hard work could well have been undone in the final seconds but for a superb piece of instinctive defending from another young man – Chim Okoli. The Millwall man was in the right place at the right time to keep out Jake Gray’s header from close range to cap a performance which you would have to say was mixed, but eventually successful.
So, what of this season’s recruitment? You would probably give the loans from other clubs a passing grade but the permanent deals can only be described as an abject failure.
Will Goodwin and Kieron Evans have contributed in patches, at least showing some promise, and it was sad to see the latter go down against Maidenhead with a bad rib injury just as he was starting to get into gear and out of Gary Johnson’s bad books. We can forgive Nelson Iseguan, I think, since he was barely given a look-in and was clearly just a panic signing to cover when we were at the nadir of our injury crisis.
(Just to add here, how embarrassing it was for a supposed professional football club to have only four substitutes available on Saturday, with two of those central defenders and another a goalkeeper).
I find it very difficult to give any of the other 2022 summer signings a passing grade though, apart from Rhys Lovett who came in and produced some massive saves while Mark Halstead was sidelined.
The rest – painful to review.
Dylan Crowe has pace, but doesn’t appear to know how to play football. His passing is atrocious and his defending isn’t much better. So many times this season he’s run himself into a good position for a delivery and almost all of them have been wasted. Ben Wyatt produces moments of brilliance and then follows them with moments of madness. His injury on Saturday at least allowed De Silva into the game and that might have been the turning point. Turning is something Ross Marshall struggles with, along with defending and avoiding yellow cards.
Pace is something none of Ryan Hanson, Donnellan and Brett McGavin are blessed with and when all three are in midfield together it is like watching three identical planks of wood. No quick turns, no speedy through play and little in the way of creativity apart from the odd spark by McGavin. It’s no wonder we looked just a little less predictable when the midfield against Scunthorpe was manned by Lapslie, Scott Smith and Evans. At least McGavin finally found his range on Saturday with a stunning goal to get us back within one goal…shame his set pieces were so poor he was taken off them and replaced by Hall, who then smashed a free-kick into Row ZZZ.
Aaron Jarvis – well I like him a little but he’s clearly still not fit after his mystery thigh contusion. He’s at least got some passion (as has Donnellan based on his celebrations after scoring on Saturday) and puts himself about a bit. And Corie Andrews we now know hasn’t been fit all season and might not be around for a while with a knee injury he has been struggling with since the summer.
Any of them marquee? They might have been signed with intent (I apologise) but what intent – to impress in National League South in the second year of their contracts??
Oh what I would give now for a signing like Jamie Reid, Saikou Janneh or Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. Come on Mr (Pete) Johnson, you used to be able to work the oracle but now you can seemingly not work any kind of magic…makes you wonder how much the scouting team actually watches some of these prospective signings…but maybe that’s one for another day.
Up The Gulls!
One thought on “TT TALKING POINTS – Hampton (H) by Andy Charles”
Well said, a true reflection of the day. A factual assessment of the failures we have signed . The loanees have been far more impressive . Also the truth said about the injury prone we are blessed with at the moment. Sad but true.