A goalless draw away at a table-topping Wealdstone could be a positive result on the face of it, especially after picking up a win at home just 48 hours earlier.
But, whether it was from manager Chris Hargreaves or his players, the mood in the Yeovil Town camp at the end of Bank Holiday Monday was one of frustration,
We forced Dave to Rule 2 (Gloverscast Rule 2: Always sleep on it before judging a result) it, and here are his conclusions….
We have to credit our opponents. I’ll get to us in a minute, I promise, but I have to start by giving credit to Wealdstone. There was a mood of celebration around Grosvenor Vale at kick-off with the Stones top of the league, so going a man down after just nine minutes would not have featured in their plans, I’m sure. That said, they looked organised in those first nine minutes and in the 81 that followed, they had a plan and they stuck to it. And, no, this conclusion was not in the original five – but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been!
The answer can’t always be Lawson. From the ninth minute, the opportunity was there for us to play a bit of HargBall (yes, I now accept that as its name), play it quickly, switch wings and frankly just have a go at our ten man opponents. Instead, we seemed to methodically passing it across midfield, the game was crying out for someone to grab the ball and do something. It’s too easy to say “well, if Lawson D’Ath had been there“, that simply cannot be the answer to everything – and, no, Sam Pearson can’t be the answer to everything either! There were players out there who can do more and should have done more. Even when Charlie Wakefield came on at half-time there didn’t seem to be an urgency for him to get at the Wealdstone defence enough.
I feel for Fish at getting hooked. I’ve been critical of Alex Fisher’s impact on the times I’ve seen him this season, but I felt he was impacting it more than many of his team-mates at Wealdstone. There was a look of disbelief on his face when he saw his number came up to be replaced by Jake Scrimshaw in the 72nd minute which suggests he felt he had more to give and. I know hindsight vision is 20:20, but letting him take the penalty would have been something more he could have given. As for Malachi Linton, it was not his day. After 68 anonymous minutes, it was brave of him to step up to take the penalty. It’s important he recalls the same mentality he did after missing a chance against Wrexham and the scoring a worldie. Channel that frustration, Mal, there’s a good player there.
We can’t be too nice about all this. I listened to Chris Hargreaves’ post-match interview (twice, in fact) and I hope I am reading between the lines here. “What I’ve said in the changing rooms will remain the changing rooms” and there had been “a few words” exchanged between players. I’m pleased to hear that. There’s always a lot of talk about ‘commitment’ and ‘giving everything’ which is well-placed and well-deserved, but if we’re going to improve on last season (which is surely the minimum) then we can’t be too nice about performances like this. With the best part of 650 appearances to his name, I’m sure the manager knows what needs to be said.
We’ve still got September. I’ve checked the Green Day lyrics and we don’t need to wake up until September ends. It is still half-a-dozen games in to the season and we’ve still not lost more than we have lost, but they don’t get any easier. York City at home and then Woking and Eastleigh away (both of whom have started the season well) and then the small matter of Chesterfield and Boreham Wood at Huish Park. Not easy games to get the show on the road, but that’s what we’re going to have to do.
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