Search This Blog

Monday, 3 May 2010

Mission accomplished

The Glovers went into Saturday's final home game of the season against Oldham needing a point to ensure League One football would be played at Huish Park next season. In the event they got all three, with a comfortable 3-0 victory against an Oldham side that had ensured their own safety the previous week. The Glovers played the same brand of attacking football they showed against Millwall and Southampton, but this time were rewarded for their adventure with a first-half headed goal from Gavin Tomlin and a second-half brace from the probably irreplaceable Gavin Williams.

We lined up as follows (4-4-1-1):

1. Alex McCarthy: 7/10 - One of the easiest games Alex has enjoyed playing for the Town. I can't recall him saving a shot in anger and apart from claiming a couple of crosses and the usual clearing of backpasses he had little to do. At the start of the season I can remember wondering if it was asking too much for a 21-year-old to be the club's main keeper - no need to wonder now. He's had an excellent season.

2. Craig Alcock: 8/10 - The most improved player of the season in my book. Rock solid defensively and a real attacking threat going forward, as well as becoming a danger at set-pieces. Seems to be growing into his on-field captaincy role to become increasingly influential. A great example for any of the various youth team players to follow.

5. Steven Caulker and 6. Terrell Forbes: 7/10 for both. Very competent display from both centre-halves who have formed a very effective partnership over the season. It goes without saying that we're going to miss Caulker, but at least we can console ourselves in the knowledge that we've been watching one of the future stars of the game for a whole season and have been instrumental in his development. As for Forbes, I don't think he's had a better season, for us at any rate, and is surely worth a new contract in the summer.

28. Nathan Smith: 7/10 - Starting to develop a real presence at left-back. Strong in the tackle and in the air and so exciting when he makes his forward runs. With Smith on the left and Alcock on the right The Glovers have 2 full-backs who are potentially every bit as good as anyone else I've seen in League One this season, and maybe better than most.

10. Gavin Tomlin: 7/10 - I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like Tomlin. For me he's one of the few contracted players we have with a little bit of flair and the ability to do something different and unexpected, the kind of player who can unlock defences when he's on form. I accept he's inconsistent but that's not surprising - if he was consistent he'd be playing for a bigger club than ourselves. I think Skivo's found his best position on the right side of midfield, from there he can drift into the centre as and when required and can pop up with the odd goal - as he did on Saturday. It remains to be see whether his manager will agree, but for me he's definitely worth another contract.

21. JP Kalala: 8/10 - Typical JP performance. Never gave Oldham's midfield a minute to get any kind of passing game together, constantly harrying and nipping in at their players until the inevitable booking for persistent fouling. Every team needs a JP Kalala, I do hope ours will still be here next season.

8. Keiran Murtagh: 6/10 - We didn't miss Shaun Macdonald as much as I thought we might on Saturday, and that was because (a) Oldham were half on their holidays, and (b) Murtagh stepped up to the plate and had a decent game. Will he be offered another contract for next season? Only Skivo can answer that. Murtagh has all the physical attributes, he's skilful, has a good shot and at his age should now be forcing his way into the first team and be demanding selection. The fact that there's not been much sign of that, at least to outsiders, may count against him. In his favour, he's probably cheap.

11. Andy Welsh: 6/10 - Welsh's game on Saturday more or less summed up his season. Extremely effective in parts, anonymous in other parts. Very much worth his place in my book though, because when he's on his game there's no better provider of other people's goals, certainly on our team and not many better in the entire division.

20. Gavin Williams: 10/10 - Seven games played, 5 goals scored and he's provided the assists for another 5 goals on top of that. It might be stretching a point to say that without his input we would have gone down, but we can say with absolute certainty that his goals and general inspiration have played a huge part in keeping us up. You don't know what you've lost 'til it's gone, as the song goes, but we knew when Super Gav left us the first time around that he was one of the finest players to have ever played in the green-and-white, and the brief cameo he gave us at the end of this season just confirmed that judgement. The tragedy for him is that fitness and injury have compromised a career that deserved to be played at the highest level. It's been our privilege to have seen him at his best, both first time around and again this season. Thanks Gav.

14. Dean Bowditch: 5/10 - Flattered to deceive in the end a little. Finished the season as our top goalscorer despite missing a large chunk of it with injury, but - as he did on Saturday - tended to disappear from games if he wasn't scoring. Misses too many chances one suspects to attract attention from the bigger clubs in the division but is a good enough player to be wanted by someone apart from ourselves I'm sure. Will no doubt be offered another contract, whether he'll still be here next season we will have to wait and see.

7. Arron Davies (41 mins for Gavin Tomlin): 5/10 - I'm sorry to say it but a pale imitation of the player we sold to Nottingham Forest along with Chris Cohen 3 years ago. Lightweight, lacking in confidence and generally ineffective. I'd be surprised if he was offered a contract by Skivo.

One more game to play then and we can all start gearing up for the World Cup. The win on Saturday pushes the Glovers up to 15th position in the table on 53 points and for me, my season ends here. Congratulations to Skivo and Nathan Jones on a generally successful first full season in charge, with the main aim of survival achieved with a game to go. Me, I'm off to get married on Friday. If I survive the honeymoon this blog will return in a few weeks time!