3:55pm Tuesday 25th February 2014
By John Light
“Scrappy – dogged”. Right on both counts. That was how manager Ady Pennock described the 3-1 victory over Southport.
A third word was missing from the interview – chuffed, it did not need to be said. The manager’s cheerful, relaxed manner said it all.
Thanks to the enterprise of this newspaper, and Stroud News and Journal Ash in particular a post match video interview is available for all to see. Hearty congratulations to all concerned.
No wonder the manager is pleased. Four points from two games, gathered after a long lay-off maintain the Pennock record of two points per league game. Look at the league table, do a simple sum and add on an extra point for outstanding goal difference and you can see how well placed we are. I am happy to let you draw your own conclusions!
There were signs of rustiness at both Aldershot and at home on Saturday.
Southport could and should have scored, such was the dominance they displayed in the first 10 minutes, but Bennett and Russell stood firm. Sam’s anticipation reflexes and sure handling and Dale’s ability to sense danger and then snuff it out gave Rovers the foundation to build and how well they did so.
Using the width of the field to attack Rovers began to cause Southport problems. Danny Wright scored twice and could have added two more and for the last half hour of the first half Rovers showed us how to play the Pennock way.
The ball was moved quickly forward or quickly wide and the opposition were stretched.
James Norwood deserves special praise providing the assists. Delivering three splendid crosses, quickly and accurately James created all the goals. He is now looking very much a complete footballer. He has been working hard at his game and the results are there for all to see. He was my man-of- the-match – just!
The award could easily have gone to Danny Wright who thrilled us all by returning to scoring form. His work rate has never slacked during his lean period. He is a true team man; of course there are plaudits for Lee Hughes. His work, on or off the ball is intelligent and positive. This was obvious because in the second half we were not the same team without him. Happily he is confident about being available for Tuesday. We must all hope he is right.
Strangely when Lee was substituted his replacement was not one of the strikers, Viera or Walker, but Yan Klukowski.
Initially Yan played right midfield with Nors moving forward to partner Wright, but halfway through the second half they changed places with Nors back on the right. This worked. Another fine pass from captain Barry found Norwood unmarked a quick cross found Yan doing what he is best at – being in the right place and victory was assured.
With our own Gareth Malone back in the EESI stand vocal joy was unconfined. Welcome back Mike B. We have not always agreed but I have missed you.
There are some concerns however. Left back remains a problem. Willing though Jared is he did not have the best games and Southport always found room to attack down the right.
There may be the need to return Jamie Turley to the back four. He never let us down at right back making surging attacking runs down the touch line. To have him not included in the match day squad indicates the manager’s faith in his other defenders. It is the only area I would dare to presume to question him.
For eighteen years Mrs Light and I were Barnet season ticket holders.
Barry Fry, Mad Dog Allen, Allan Mullery, Tony Cottee and John Still were among our managers.
Tony Kleanthous was a fine chairman and we loved it. That loyalty vanished the minute I entered the Old Lawn.
Much as the visit from my London favourites has been anticipated there is only one result that will please me, Barnet play with one striker and a diamond shaped midfield, similar to the entertaining Harvey days when Clist, Beesley and Fleetwood entertained us so.
It will be an interesting game and far from easy, just like the visit to Gateshead.
Drawing both matches will not be a disaster, but let us hope our friends on the supporters club away weekend will have much more to celebrate.
Kelly extending his stay is just a start. Congratulations to the parrot end this column. Those at the match know what I mean. The rest of you would not believe it.
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