JUST IN: The Green Light with FGR fan John Light
ARE Rovers back on track? Four points from the Bank Holiday programme indicate they are.
The performance against Luton was infinitely better than that against Lincoln, firstly because the team could not be faulted for effort, secondly because it was a much better defensive display.
Dale Bennett and Eddie Oshodi know each other well as they grew up together at Watford and it showed; Luton rarely threatened. Eddie got better as the game went on bringing the ball out of defence in confident and commanding fashion.
Full-marks to Chris Stokes as he completely nullified Luton danger man Whalley.
In midfield Marcus Kelly impressed and Al Bangura’s defensive work was valuable in snuffing out any Luton attacks.
However, we were less successful going forward. Danny Wright had been suffering from a debilitating attack of tonsillitis.
Meanwhile, Matthew Barnes- Homer is suffering from not having a full pre-season and neither was at their sharpest. James Norwood ran-and-ran but looked drained by the end of the game.
Substitute Magno Viera was lively and outshone a strangely subdued Yan Klukowski.
The speed and incisiveness of Andy Mangan and Matty Taylor are badly missed. Without Taylor the forward line lacks shape. He can hold the ball up and bring others into the game. When he is missing it is easy to realise his importance to the team.
Luton were a typical John Still team – no quarter asked or given-well organised and determined, with more emphasis on effort than flair.
It was pleasing to hear manager Dave Hockaday paying tribute to John after the game.
"He is a good manager a good man and a wily old fox" were accurate and well deserved words. John has been in football along time and never compromised on values or standards. The game needs more like him.
It also needs more accurate "star" allocation in the Non League Paper. The Lincoln debacle received three stars and Saturday’s game just one. I value my Sunday morning read but in future I shall be more sceptical.
The club as a whole presented a fine off the field image on Saturday. My first sight was that of Sam Reid, beaming from within what I presume is new supporters’ club cabin, strategically situated just beyond the entrance to the Green Man. If I am correct that is just what we all needed. The Green Man was busy, as was the Carol Embrey Suite.
I had driven to the ground from Canterbury via Cirencester Tesco and missed Gary Seward’s pre-match preview. The service the club offers to its fans is fist class. The phrase I heard recently "they do not bother about the fans anymore" is totally inaccurate, where else is there a better match day experience?
I was not at Chester as Monday, but attended a special day for Gloucestershire Cricket Club and a chance to chat with Jack Russell. We had both independently remembered former FGR defender Darren Jones - a robust defender of not too long ago.
He was not a great footballer but was possessed of a will to win which he communicated to those around him. Do we have such a player in our ranks?
The good signs I hear from Chester include the news of two goals direct from corners scored by two of our new signings. As these two head for match fitness manager Dave sensibly used one, then the other during the game. The goals for column shows he got it right.
I wondered about choice of ends on Saturday. Did we not choose to play towards the home fans in the E.E.S.I stands in the second half? If so that allowed Luton to attack the end where 600 of their fans were waiting expectantly for second half success.
I need not have worried however we defended so well as Luton never threatened.
Now for Alfreton at the New Lawn on Saturday. If both crowd and band work together and the players do so as well it will not be just the tea and cakes I will enjoy.
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