March 16, 2013
GAMES HAVE BEEN COMING THICK AND FAST DURING MARCH AND THERE WILL BE NO LET UP UNTIL THE FINAL WHISTLE BLOWS AT ALL LEAGUE TWO GAMES AROUND TEN TO FIVE ON APRIL 27TH.
Clubs will be struggling to hold on to an automatic promotion place as tension and nerves set in. Teams will make a late surge into the play off places whilst others will be narrowly disappointed. At the bottom end, clubs with small playing squads and limited resources will be worried about injuries and suspensions to key players at a crucial time for their survival. On top of all of this there will some surprising and quirky results in the pipe line. There always is; this is the business end of the season with more business to come between now and that fateful day at the end of next month.
So how are things shaping up as the run in tightens its’ grip on proceedings. I am writing this column before yet another round of midweek matches; thick and fast indeed. There will be some tired legs in the changing rooms for sure and younger players will be taking advice and support from managers, coaches and senior players as they work hard to step up to the mark. The experience, expectations and demands are altogether different from U-18 Youth football. We can all do well to understand that and to lend as much encouragement and support to our young guns as we can muster.
Are we looking at a double dip Devon? For the sake of West Country football not least I certainly hope not. Torquay have had a terrible run since the beginning of the year and Plymouth raise hopes with sterling appearances by all accounts but just can’t seem to do enough as I write. Accrington Stanley and Wimbledon are saddled with points differences that just don’t compare and this could prove to be their Achilles Heel. These clubs certainly need the points. It looks to me that the top seven look to be set fair pretty much with Gillingham in pole and all up for grabs below them but who can tell; more business to come.
News Now on the web is a great source to gauge feelings and reactions, responses and emotions. Goalkeeper Jake Cole made some interesting points following Plymouth Argyle’s 2-1 defeat against Gillingham. Reported on the Plymouth Evening Herald Web he said,
“I’m very disappointed. The goals we gave away weren’t the best. I thought we had a go at them in the second half and got a goal back, and we tried to do what we could to get a point out of it but it wasn’t our day.
“They play for long throw ins and corners. They are quite organised but I didn’t really see them as being a top team in this division. They don’t play you off the park. I don’t think there is much in it between any of the teams. Maybe the difference is they grind results out better than others.”
Absolutely concur with that. There is a lot that comes from set play in this division and it is about grinding out results. A lot of teams do it this way; take Northampton as another example. Exeter, on the other hand, are showing that it’s possible by playing good football and passing the ball. Taking the opposite view this from GillsConnect: A very upbeat Martin Allen said,
“Without a shadow of a doubt it was the best performance for a while.”
The long throws were a bit better than of late, then Martin, with second balls falling with a bit more luck to them but fair play, at the business end it’s all about points. Gills got them and Plymouth didn’t.
Someone else upset with goals against. This on TEAMtalk. com; Alan Knill was upset with the goals his Torquay side conceded as they slipped to one place above League Two relegation zone after defeat to Oxford. The Gulls are falling like a stone after their eighth defeat in nine games. Their defending in the second was seen as ‘worrying’ as the visitors ran out 3-1 winners. Alan went on to say,
“We can’t blame anybody but ourselves, and we’re the only people who can put it right. It’s plainly obvious that the players are edgy at home, but we have to be better.”
Also on TEAMtalk, Cheltenham boss Mark Yates slammed his team’s performance at the back after Burton Albion ran out 3-1 winners at the Pirelli Stadium. He said,
“We gave away three really soft goals and you can’t afford to do that against a team in such good form at home.”
“The back four were all awful and I don’t think anyone came out of the game with any credit.” “We let out standards slip because we’re a lot better than we showed.”
“Second half we created chances, but they got bodies on the line and did what they had to do to win the game.”
It’s the business end alright; edgy and the top and edgy at the bottom, doing what you have to do to win football matches and putting bodies on the line.