Jen Kelly – The Word Nerd – brings ilovemacc her own take on the highs and lows of The Silkmen
Ten games in. The first marker in the long football season, when you can start to see where everyone’s at. And where are we at, after the first ten games? Well, we’re in freefall.
It was a slim defeat over in Grimsby on Saturday, but a defeat nonetheless. We’ve not won a game in almost a month, with the 3 draws in that time keeping us afloat, sort of. We’re down in 15th after the weekend and starting to wonder where the next win is coming from.
It’s all very familiar, isn’t it?
But look, it’s too early to be panicking just yet. You only have to look back to last season, where we were still a long, depressing month away from our first 3 points, to remind yourself that it definitely could be worse. This time last season, we’d already shipped a humongous 19 goals, with only 8 in return. This time last season, our hopes and dreams were in the hands of Maycock and Vincenti….
I guess we were hoping that Grimsby would have one eye on the Chelsea game, that they’d be distracted enough to slip up. As it turned out, one impressive moment from a young Sunderland loanee was enough to split the sides. We’ve played over 220 minutes of football at Blundell Park and, excluding the penalties, that’s been the only goal. Frustrating as the defeat is, it’s not like we’ve just rolled over and died. But, as Dazza has rightly said, it’s the final third that’s letting us down.
Two thirds does not a victory make…
It’s that age old footballing mystery, the final third. It doesn’t matter how phenomenal you are on the rest of the pitch, if you’re not up to it in the final third you may as well not bother. Being clinical and decisive in front of goal is a skill in itself, and it’s why those that are command more money and, well, why we’ve always struggled to hold onto someone like that. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, money isn’t exactly our forte!
It’s not just one goal-gifted forward though is it? No, you need goals coming from a few places to ensure the numbers stack up regardless of what happens. Injuries, changes in formation…if you can keep knocking the goals in regardless then you’ll be up there battling for the top spot. If not, well….
Look back two years to the promotion season. Our top scorer was Wilson on 14 in all competitions. Not bad, certainly, but not exactly breaking any records. Kristian Dennis scored 22 goals two seasons before. Barnes-Homer and Boden both notched up 18 in consecutive seasons just before that. So why didn’t we finish above 10th place on any of those seasons? Because it’s all about the collective.
The season Wilson scored 14, Tyrone Marsh wasn’t far behind with 10 to his name. Duzza and Whit both got 9, Hancox 7 and Blissett 5. Goals were coming from all over the pitch, and collectively the tally just continued to rise.
Step up to the plate
So who’s going to add to the tally this season? So far in the league, we’ve got a 5-way stalemate! Both Theo’s, Paddy, Ben and Joe have all got 2 to their name. 3 midfielders, one defender and one striker. A striker who has yet to score from open play. Hmmm….
Anyway, I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent this week. Partly because I wasn’t at Grimsby but also because I’m sick of recycling the same old thing. Not good enough, missed chances blah blah blah. It’s frustrating to see as we know that the team we have is good. It could even be great, given the chance. But something’s not quite clicking at the moment.
Perhaps it’s a confidence thing. With a very young team comes inexperience and doubt. Add a young manager into the mix and maybe there isn’t quite enough self-belief to push us forward to victory. Maybe we’re letting other teams get to us, believing that we’re second best and coming out exactly that after 90 minutes. Or maybe we’re still bedding in, with almost a full complement of new faces who are still learning to work together.
The Colchester game will be yet another challenge. Playing at home should be an advantage, but right now you can pretty much hear a pin drop in the Moss. Whether the ‘boycott’ has had an impact, I’m not sure. You’re not talking big numbers by any means, but even small numbers are noticeable among our depleting flock. And as our flock becomes more and more divided, the wolves are hovering on the sidelines, waiting to feast.
I just can’t help thinking that this season is going to be more of a struggle than we first thought…
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