This month, apart from the Colwyn Bay and Guiseley games, was always going to be our toughest test so far this season. Hyde, Bradford PA and Harrogate have all been performing well this season with them all battling against each other and us for the automatic promotion and play-off spots. It was going to be the month where we had the opportunity to show what we are made of as a club and that we are in this battle for the long term. The game against Hyde was as poor as the score; it was a drab match from start to finish with neither team looking like they want to push forward for the win.
The game against Colwyn Bay was seen as a good opportunity to rest a few of the first team players, which worked in our favour. The refreshed players came in and put in a good stint resulting in six different players getting on the score sheet. The only nervy moment was when Marc Newsham had to be replaced due to injury; thankfully it was just a bit of a knock and the substitution became precautionary as he didn’t miss any games for the rest of the month. The game against Bradford PA was a frustrating one as we played against a Bradford team that played with ten men for the last 40 minutes of the game but we failed to capitalise. Our right back Zak Mills then got himself sent off which all but ended our chance of pushing forward to grab a winner. A very disappointing result.
Amazingly, the 5-5 draw against Harrogate was the fairest result as both sides performed admirably on the attack but atrociously when defending. Both sets of defenders were shocking and our defence was undone by the brilliance of Connor Loftus who has been Harrogate’s main threat and has scored 23 goals in 32 games in all competitions. I have to admit that I didn’t respond to the threat he posed but instead just focused on getting ourselves back into the game. Newsham was a big letdown that game when he should have been copying Loftus’ performance but instead was substituted part way through the second half. The replacement strikers are simply not good enough. I have signed two (Lewis Chambers and Jordan McLeod) to add some depth but they are appalling. This results in pressure being on Newsham’s shoulders and we simply don’t do well when he doesn’t play up to his normal high standards. The midfield and attacking areas will need to be improved in terms of quality instead of depth as we already have that. I will be looking to Chambers and McLeod to step up to the mark, especially if Newsham suffers an injury.
Player of the Month – Stefan Galinski