Chris discusses the win at Plainmoor
EXPERIENCE IS KEY
In the summer, Gary took a chance on some youngsters that had potential. But only that. Potential. What he has been able to do over the last six weeks is to add players that have some experience, know how and abilities in situations like ours. All action Kevin Dawson has been a revelation in midlfield, the return of Asa Hall in midfield, and the physical presence and nous of Frank Nouble in attack. These players have given us a more robust and physical look to the team that has driven us to three consecutive wins.
THE SECOND GOAL
So many times this season, the lack of a second goal has ultimately been the problem come full time. You only have to look at the previous four home games (all 2-1 defeats) to see the difference that would have made to those matches. Even a couple more points would have the task that much more manageable. Against Eastleigh, a side with surprisingly little attacking quality and intent, the vital second goal from Tom Lapslie gave us that breathing space that made the last fifteen minutes a little bit calmer. The mentality of the opposition at 1-0 is also that bit more positive, as one attack can have you back in the game. They never looked like getting back into it after the second.
Well, what do you know? It turns out that keeping clean sheets gives you a much better chance of winning matches! Awesome. Something that has been such an issue across the entire season has finally sorted itself out, and three clean sheets in a row have led to three consecutive wins. Our ability to score goals hasn’t been the issue over the last few months. But we have struggled to win games as we haven’t been able to keep the back door shut. Mark Halstead was untroubled apart from two routine stops in the first half, and long may it continue.
IS IT ALL TOO LATE?
This is the qustion that has been troubling all Gulls supporters across the weekend. Has this good run, more settled team and ability to win games all come too late? It is incredibly frustrating that our good run has coincided with every bugger else winning games at the foot of the table also. But we can only worry about ourselves. The next opportunity to get three points is at York Road on Easter Monday, in a game that is on paper very winnable. They are going nowhere and have had some very inconsistent results of late, and we have to go there and fire on all cylinders for three points. Another victory there would set us up for another huge afternoon at Plainmoor on Saturday against York.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
I gave this some real thought over the last few days and again at Plainmoor on Saturday. There are five contenders in my eyes for Player of The Year. Tom Lapslie, Dean Moxey, Mark Halstead, Aaron Jarvis and Asa Hall. The last one maybe a little surprising, but if you look at his goals per game ratio, and the sheer influence he has on the team, the way we play with him in it and how he leads the team on from midfield, he is a vital cog in the team wheel. I won’t give away who I voted for, but imagine them being crowned on the pitch after the final game of the season after we have stayed up after beating Wrexham? Sorry. I’ll stop it now.