Writer: Simon 'Sprout` Phillips
Date:Friday October 5 2012
Hi and welcome to the latest something for the weekend. The week doesn`t half come round fast and it seems even more so when off, of the back of a bad result. It`s one of those weeks where I try to be positive (and try and convince myself as much as anything) and hope anybody reading doesn`t think I am mad or patronising.
The week started off with a much needed three points away at Exeter. The team had a reshuffle with Tom Eaves and Derek 'Deek` Riordan coming straight into the line up upfront and Clarkson shifting out to the right and the game started well with an early goal from David Clarkson. Seeing the score at home I was immediately buoyed, however by all accounts we didn`t particularly play well for the majority of the game with Nathan Etheridge keeping us in the game, but Eliot Richards came off the bench to snatch a winner and send everyone home pretty happy. No matter the performance a win is a win and you hope to take that confidence into the next game and build on it and hope the performances come along the way.
Wednesday was bit of an 'um` performance for me against Cheltenham. The team was more disjointed, with the injuries, circumstances and a suspension for Tom Parkes (he collected those 5 pretty quick), but I thought we started brightly and we were knocking the ball around well in the first half. Once again though we failed to capitalise on the decent start and Cheltenham took the lead from a mistake from the largely (in more ways than one) impressive Gary Kenneth. I think this must really have knocked the side`s confidence again as in the second half we came out and really looked unsure of ourselves and seemed to lack ideas.
Tom Eaves looked like he could be a useful addition when he gets fitter. He was big, strong, no slouch and cliché alert 'had good feet for a big man`. Come the end his lack of matches showed and the team resorted to hitting the ball to him as we didn`t seem to know what else to do. Derek Riordan was everything Mark McGhee said he would be and all this off, of the back of quite a few flights back and forth to Scotland. 'Deek` flitted in and out of the game. He made some clever runs and showed the odd touch of class and disappeared for a bit. For me the biggest shame was he (or anyone else for that matter) didn`t get close enough to Eaves to make the most of any flicks or layoffs. I thought Clarkson did well in what is not really his position and he seems to be improving all the time. Personally I`d like to see Clarkson and Riordan play up front together and see if they could form a partnership. They are probably are two best players technically and I think Clarkson trying to feed the scorer Riordan seems like the ideal partnership.
In Goal I thought Neil Etheridge was superb and I can`t believe he hasn`t got games elsewhere before. He certainly looks too good for division four and made a superb one on one stop in the first half being quick off his line. For me and no doubt many others the biggest issue seems to be in the central midfield area and finding a good partnership. I like the look of Norburn and think he has a decent range of passing and can become a more than useful player, I don`t have a downer on Matt Gill particularly either like some seem to, but I just don`t think we can find the right combination of movement, passing, physicality and experience in that area despite having what seems like about 100 central midfielders on the books.
It was a bit depressing walking out of the ground and especially near the end of the game with people shouting varying degrees of "Rubbish McGhee", "Sort it out" etc. We haven`t had a great start, no one can deny that but what is the solution? We have been here before and short of waving a magic wand, the end result will be to sack another manager and hope the powers that be appoint the right man next (track record not good recently) and watch them rip everything up and start again and people will be saying the same things in 6 or 12 months` time again in my opinion. I don`t think anyone sees us storming up the league even if everyone is fit and available, but I believe everyone has to tough it out and give Mark McGhee a chance to build something and to get the team to where we would all like it to start going, even if it is going to be a hard watch along the way. A little bit of patience is required if we are to break this cycle of sack a manger, rip it up and start again and expect something to magically change. Personally I think there are other factors off the field that don`t help but everything needs some time to be shaken out and given a chance to be put right and grow.
Saturday sees us take on Northampton and hopefully we can get a home win to lift a few spirits and perhaps make things look a little brighter. I fear another defeat and what it might bring out on the terraces, but what the team really need sis for us to all pull together and get right behind them.
I hope you all have a good weekend and here`s to three points Saturday. UTG!
Simon 'Sprout` Phillips
Date:Friday October 5 2012
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