Our injury crisis rumbles on as no sooner are Hall and CLE back fit than they are nobbled again hence the signing of Lloyd James, an experienced midfielder not unfamiliar with this part of the world! Add in fellow midfielders Little and Vincent, then Edwards and Janneh and Davis and we are still below par,
Johnson is however, looking to shake things up with Duku already gone and a couple more mooted to follow so watch this space!
Despite this being a low priority competition, a home draw actually comes at a good time for us with an opportunity to get back to winning ways.
Not a game I am desperate to win in itself, but very important in terms of regaining confidence, getting men match-fit and a solid shape and method of play re-established. So not a match to write off or take lightly.
At last, some good news on the injury front for Gary Johnson.
Chelston has failed a fitness test and is ruled out of a curry night tonight, lifting the curry curse from Gary Johnson's shoulders.
Adding Lloyd James really helps with the shape as we have a proper experienced midfield linchpin.
Would love to have Andrews playing floaty wide left, but think we need him in a central role to provide more creativity alongside James than Buse or Lewis could offer.
I like having Whitfield playing just behind Reid and with Janneh and Lewington out that looks almost certain.
That leaves perm two from Kalala, Keating and Bansal-McNulty out wide. Obvious who the most talented two are, but might be tempted to go with Keating's extra muscle to start with and an effective "impact sub" on the bench. If Kalala, would make sure he got a good twenty minutes plus.
Toss-up for keeper, Wynter obvious right-back.
Not at all happy with left-back options. Medford-Smith too lightweight, especially if he has Kalala or Bansal-McNulty ahead of him. Lewis is solid but no good going forward. Might be tempted to try Buse in a postion he seemed to fill comfortably in pre-season. Not perfect but more resilient than Medford-Smith and more overlap-minded than Lewis.
To my mind, there is not a lot to chose between four available centre-backs. Will he stick with Cundy and Cameron despite recent failings or give Niate or Lewis a go? Which ever two get the nod, they will benefit greatly from having the experienced Lloyd James just in front of them. Let us hope that is enough to clear the jitters that have made us look so fragile.
Let's get out of this losing rut as quickly as we can and be ready to put together another run in the league to get is back in the play-off hunt.
A pretty open game where we could have been five up at half time but Aldershot have had their chances too missing a one on one after a Niate scuffed back pass and their player was totally unmarked on the edge of the box from a corner which was fired over. Saying that first Janneh and then Whitfield had one on one chances to extend our lead. Our first goal came after a period of pressure where Janneh beat the off side trap and came in from the right of the area and with a queue of players waiting for the cross simply stepped inside using his quick feet to find space to slot the ball pass the keeper. Just said to my sister that it was about time Janneh got one 10 seconds earlier!
The Reid goal came when Wynter stepped inside to make space for a cross but their defender just caught his foot for a soft but clear penalty. Reid finished with confidence and is much improved from the spot now.
Lloyd James looks steady which is what we need. Few good moves from AAron on his debut.
I think Aldershot have more to worry about at the back than we do Pete. Lewis had a good game at left back, the Niate: Cameron partnership is well known and was adequate today. Niate has the odd mistake in him but his height is a definite asset at other times. Wynter goes without saying,
We were under the cosh for the first twenty minutes of the second half and it was during this spell that Aldershot scored when we were outnumbered at the back and MacDonald who had a good game was beaten by a deflected shot from within the box.
However, new signing Nemane after a quietish game came away with the ball after a tussle on the half way line and went on a mazy run down the line to the edge of the area passing the ball to a yellow shirt which was passed again to Reid who showed no hesitation to shoot hard into the bottom right corner. Match more or less over.
Just as Johnson was looking to bring on Keating for Whitfield, Reid took a knock and he was substituted instead (didn’t look too bad). With the ball breaking to James in midfield he was able to drive forward and split the defence with a pass to a fresh Keating who was able to slid in just before their keeper got there and fire home. More or less his first touch.
Janneh had missed an opportunity early in the second half with another one on one with their keeper and which Aldershot somehow kept out together with the subsequent opportunities but his tireless running came up trumps late on when he was able to dispossess their keeper who took too long to deal with a back pass and his shot was half saved by their keeper and rolled slowly into the empty net.
So a much needed confidence boosting win. The Reid: Janneh partnership looks like it is almost back to its best and good to see them both get a brace. The new signings today did well and nice to be on the winning side of a 5:1 scoreline!