A Season of Ups and Downs
One of the things I definitely miss about Gay Meadow is how the old place looked in the autumn. Leaves from the trees lining the river would fall gracefully onto The Riverside touch line. The effect was very much akin to 'ticker tape' being thrown by exuberant fans.
Alas, at times the best entertainment was from a stratled squirrel looking for nuts to see out the winter. In fact at times it also got more cheers than our players!
Town’s season so far, has mirrored the ups and downs of days of yore at the Football Club’s former spiritual home. Fortress Greenhous Meadow has turned somewhat into a Charity Shop. With visiting teams taking plucky bargains. Home wins became something of a rarity.
The loss of Town’s two star players (Woods and Goldson - for nearly £2 million) was a great loss, but ended up becoming a greater blow, as Salop slid down the table. Town’s recruited numbers failed to deliver, and one or two of those that shined during 2014/15 have found the step up in class too great.
Woods and Goldson’s influence was all too plain to see early on in the campaign. Both played against former Premiership title holders Blackburn. In a League Cup tie that saw Town add ‘Goliath’ to the ever growing list of former slain giants.
By the time the next round had come by, Goldson had already departed, leaving Woods to make a Premiership side (Crystal Palace) swoon at how he ran the show. In the end the extra time 4-1 defeat flattered the Eagles (who had gone behind to a Matt Tootle goal in front of 800 travelling Salopians).
The loaning of Sullay Kaikai from Palace speaks volumes of the performance Town gave at Selhurst Park that night. Another, Larnell Cole (from Fulham), has seen the former Manchester United FA Youth Cup winner catch the eye. Both have contributed to steadying the ship, at a time when the manager looked under pressure. No more so than during Town’s 4-2 win over Colchester. 2-0 down at halftime (and seemingly dead and buried), Town showed what they could do when they put their minds to it.
Like in the early part of last season, Mellon has struggled to find his best XI and formation. The strong defence from last year has developed a sieve-typ tendency and leaks goals at critical times. If he can find the right personnel and system, Town will no doubt pull away from any lingering doubts of relegation.
Mellon may still need to dip into the overflowing coffers of the Goldson and Woods transfer pot. Thankfully the team he has is not full of short term loan deals - unlike his predecessor’s way of doing things.
Shrewsbury lad Dom Smith made his league debut and looks a great prospect.
With the three long term loan needs due for extension in January, addition to the squad is key.
article by Adrian Plimmer for the Belle Vue Magazine