A well-contested match at the Deva Stadium resulted in a well-deserved stalemate. Lewis Turner came closest to breaking the deadlock late in the first half, powering a header wide when he was unmarked. Dartford’s best chance came late in the second half, a loose ball being put into the net, but that was ruled out for offside – much to the relief of the home crowd. A little later than usual, here are a few things I noticed during the match.
Was our best player alongside Kev McIntyre. A livewire who stretched the defence and brought the best save out of the Dartford ‘keeper when he took an early shot from the edge of the box from a Ben Mills flick on. The last two matches have seen Mills be the better striker, but it’s encouraging to see Titch step up to the plate. We definitely have our starting partnership, for now, at least.
Another good performer. A little inconsistent with his play, which made it difficult for his teammates to be in the correct place to receive the pass from him, but he was certainly a creative threat. We need that in midfield and it was no co-incidence that our chances dried up after he went off for Reed. Between him and Laidler we have a good attacking threat from midfield. However, I can’t see that coming from anywhere else in our squad. Though perhaps the out of favour Craig Mahon could be the answer. We either need to make a signing or get these guys loans’ extended. I’d wager that either would play a key role for us in the season ahead.
Depressingly, our subs made us worse. Reed was the main culprit, taking way the midfield attacking threat we had. He looked half a yard off the pace and never looked to play a killer ball or stretch the defense. It’s a shame because there is a good player in there somewhere – perhaps the pre-season injury is to blame for his lack of form – it needs to come out soon though! On the other hand Seddon did play well and Mills was clearly knackered by that point, so the sub made a lot of sense. The thing with Seddon is, I just can’t see him being the impact sub that we need. A good player, but perhaps not what we need? I’m unsure. Finally, one thing that might have worked would have been to put Pugh on in midfield (for one of the Turners probably) and let him use his long throws in the last few minutes. The havoc they create might just have caused us to nick a goal. Then again, it might not have.
Back onto the positives – we didn’t really look like conceding. Most of Dartford’s chances were shots from wide of the goal that were looking to bend into the corner of the net. That’s not an easy skill, so I don’t think we should be too concerned with that being the main source of chances for the opposition. Again, Higginbotham was excellent and marshalled Linwood brilliantly. I’ve not seen Linny play this well for years and with the experienced and dogged McIntyre and extremely talented Kay next to them, I think we have a really solid base to build the team from. It’s one thing sorted at least. Maybe we could stick Horan up front, so he’s still in the team?
Well, that’s all from me. Sorry this was so late, there was a bit of a mix up at TB&W towers. Let’s hope we can go to Salisbury and get another three points on the board!