A excellent defensive display coupled with two very well taken goals were the difference between Gainsborough and Chester this evening. Gainsborough kept the ball for long periods of the match but were unable to carve out many clear-cut chances as George Horan’s man of the match display marshaled the defence brilliantly. The goals came first through Horan – who’s chest down and volley over the keeper would grace any stage you could think of – and later through Tony Gray who finished off a great team move with a tidy finish. Here are a few things that I thought about the match…
1. George Horan
I mentioned his defensive contribution as well as his goal in the introduction, but it’s difficult to go over the top about his performance this evening. After an early talking to from the referee he settled in to the match, with some excellent defensive play. One thing that really impresses me about George is his ability to nick the ball away almost unexpectedly, and he did this in abundance this evening – most notably in the second half with one of the best timed in-the-box challenges you’ll ever see. The bloke was just winding up to shoot when suddenly the ball was poked away from him. The only reason it didn’t get a louder cheer and round of applause was because everyone was so shocked that Danby wasn’t half way through making a save!
Then, of course, there was his goal. Any player would have been proud of this one – and no player in the Chester team deserved to score a goal like that more than George.
2. No Rotation
I must say I was surprised by the team selection this evening, with only two changes from Monday (Ash Williams in for Sarcevic and Linwood in for Collins), and with Collins having to come on for the injured Linwood early on, it was effectively just the one change. Once again we used all three of our subs reasonably early in the second half to combat some tiredness, but it does seem that several of our players will be playing four games in eight days. I’m not saying that Neil Young should have made wholesale changes, but I think it would be prudent to make a couple more changes for the game on Saturday to keep everyone as fresh as possible whilst on the pitch.
3. On the Right Foot
There were quite a few occasions today where Hankin found himself in the middle of the pitch (either because he was returning from the opposite flank, or because he tucked in) with the ball. From there he always proceeded to dribble to the right wing where he’d cross or pass to Lewis Turner, or whoever. It was quite an effective tactic as it pushed play forward as well as into space. Also, with Hankin being right footed, he would naturally keep the ball on his right hand side, which is the side furthest from the defender in front of him, making it easier to do. I’m not sure if this is really significant, but it worked today, and could be an interesting inverse of wingers cutting in from the wing. Just an idea anyway!
4. 100 up!
We’ve hit the 100 point mark for the second successive season, which is frankly ridiculous. Full credit to Neil Young, the backroom staff and the team for the achievement. We look almost certain to clinch promotion on Saturday (if not mathematically then still pretty much certainly) and I for one cannot wait for the match against Boston – I just hope we’ll be able to exact revenge on our away defeat earlier in the season! Finally, we’re on 99 goals – it might be a laugh for whoever scores the 100th to grab a cricket bat to aid the celebration of getting another tonne of goals.
That’s all from me. I’ll see you all at the Boston match I’m sure!