4:21pm Monday 21st January 2013
By John Light
FACTS first. We are fourth in the Blue Square Conference - Hooray, but top of the card count table - oh dear.
We have accrued 45 yellows and six reds. This is too many. Our on the field disciplinary record is costing us league points. Our opponents are scoring goals from the many free-kicks awarded against us.
The last two matches prove this. Hyde scored their equaliser from a set piece and the initial Stockport goal came direct from another. It put them in the driving seat. We got one point from six. Both goals changed each match. Five points slipped away.
Rovers are not a dirty side and perhaps may not have had the rub of refereeing green but that is no excuse. Free-kicks are happening too often and the season has shown that defending them is not a strength. In difficult playing conditions accidents can happen so a little more caution please gentlemen.
Much more satisfaction can be taken from looking at the league table. I suspect that being fourth in January is something we would have all taken at the start of the season. The big question is can it be maintained or even improved upon?
It must be. The squad is capable of it. This end of the season is no time for faint hearts. It is no time for ‘show ponies’. Our players must stand up and be counted, and earn the generous contracts some of them are on.
This column has consistently admired Reece Styche and with good reason. When I first wrote about him I referred to him playing on the edge. Some readers think he sometimes goes beyond it.
Perhaps so but that is what makes him the player he is. Does he not have the speed, the devilment and the proven scoring record to give the team the cutting edge it needs?
I think he does and would select him to play with Matty Taylor and James Norwood in a speedy front three. Both James and Reece would benefit from Matt’s ability to hold the ball up, and then set them free. Our last two goals have come in that fashion. If this selection does not work we have a bench of game changers, but I am convinced Reece should start every game.
This is very much a winter wonder land column. The challenges of Cowcombe Hill or the ‘W’ were ones I was not prepared to tackle on Saturday. Staying at home gave me the opportunity to study the fixture list. Eleven home matches are left, and only six away fixtures. Make the New Lawn a fortress and there is no limit to what can be achieved.
TRANSFER window conjecture continues, and why not? It brings extra interest to offset midwinter blues.
Rovers have released one player obviously surplus to requirements and added one more in Obudade who can add a much needed extra dimension. Rumours about Reece abound and this is not surprising.
Keep him please unless someone offers crazy money. Perhaps we should remember two things. Much of the gossip we hear may be agent inspired is the first, the second being that even with Wilmott and Jolley in the side Newport lost at home to Barrow. Signings - however attractive may not be the answer.
Perhaps one answer was given in recent Ecotricity/Dale Vince news stories.
The investment placed into our club was said to be as much as £900,000. This is a huge sum, however wealthy the chairman is. In no way am I denigrating the outstanding efforts of the past, but rather taking a reality check.
As football fans we need to be realistic. Running a successful club costs money - much more in fact than comes through the gate.
We know that our chairman’s aim is future promotion. We can help by becoming a vocal 12th man - encouraging the team to win those all important home fixtures.
Remember we are already fourth, a play-off position.
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