Chris discusses talking points ahead of the NL game
Ah blimey. It’s really hard to write this and try and have positive vibes, which is my natural way. These last five matches that have delivered one point feel like a terminal kick in the guts at the moment, and the league table looks very daunting all of a sudden. Whereas before Tuesday nobody had really stolen a march on us, victories for several teams around us on Tuesday has left a scary looking six-point gap, seven if you include goal difference. But we have to keep going and try and turn this around, however unlikely it may feel right now.
IMPORTANCE OF PLAINMOOR
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that the home games will be vital in our attempts to stay up. Given what has followed with two defeats at home and another away, that looks even more the case. The five remaining matches at home against Wealdstone, Dagenham, Eastleigh, York and Wrexham (gulp) are going to have to produce at least four wins. It’s as simple as that for me. One win away since September away from home has simply shown no sign of improving, and the bulk of the point gaining is going to have to be done at home. The next four are all winnable on paper, in that none of them are top sides. But our recent form gives little reason for optimism.
Whilst there is no reason to moan about injuries, as they happen to everybody, we have been hit in really painful areas to big players in recent weeks. Whilst there are players in this squad that we can afford to miss, Asa Hall, Dean Moxey and Aaron Jarvis are most certainly not amongst them. The experience and leadership of the skipper has been badly missed in the last eight weeks, and even if he is nearly fit, it will take weeks for him to be match fit. Time we don’t have. Moxey and Jarvis appear to have minor injuries (like us fans would know anything), but we need them back. And now. It was good to see Dan Martin make a first appearance since October on Tuesday following a knee injury and then post Covid-19 complications, but we need all of our key players to stay fit to have any chance of survival.
Wealdstone will again be tough opposition, although they will be different to a lot of recent opponents. They are a team that like to play football, something that cost them dearly in last season’s fixture at Plainmoor, where they were beaten 5-0 on a soggy afternoon. They are on a decent run with two wins and two draws in their last five games, and frankly any opponent looks daunting for us right now. And of course, there is the crushing inevitability of a Corie Andrews goal. A frustrating spell at Torquay earlier this season when he lacked fitness, sharpness and a goal threat has been replaced by a revitalised version since he left in January, with three goals in the last five games. In a season of numerous blows, it does almost feel inevitable.
THERE’S ALWAYS HOPE..
The beauty of sport and football, is that we always have hope. Amid all of the gloom, all of the talk of the owners, of the manager, of substandard players and the threat of relegation, every single one of us will arrive on Saturday with the hope of a win. Of a lift of three points, of fresh hope and a better-looking league table. We all have to have that hope, passion and desire to make a difference. The time for recriminations, change and hurt has to be on hold. Three points is simply all that matters.
PREDICTION AND WHY – BY BEN WADE, AGE 10
My prediction for Saturday’s match is 2-1 to us. We desperately need to start winning games if we are going to have a chance of staying up. Hopefully, the players can step up and perform. Our recent performances simply have lacked quality and end product in the attacking third. As for our defending, we have been conceding too many goals this season but it isn’t just how many goals we are conceding, it is the manner of which we are doing it. I predict that Aaron Jarvis and Tom Lapslie will score as Lapslie’s work rate is always fantastic and his performances have stepped up in the last month or so.