Town face three games in eight days

Sleaford Town comment...

By Lloyd Harmston

THANKS to the vagaries of the United Counties fixture list, Town had a blank Saturday after playing just two league games so far. Presumably the odd number of teams in the Premier Division (21) is the reason but it seems all the more curious because there are games on each of the next four Tuesday evenings.

It is much too early to use this opportunity to draw conclusions on prospects for this season, a season that has heralded a new era in the history of the club. It was always going to be strange around Eslaforde Park without the machinations of long-serving Brian Rowland and whoever was to take over would bring his own particular perspective.

But it really has been so very different, even in those few weeks since the season began. Simply looking at the playing strength, from a squad of say 20 men, only seven were true regulars last season, namely Sedlan, Jones, Braithwaite, Shaw, Fenton, Popple and Tunstall. Added to that little lot has come Llewellyn (returning from Heckington), keeper Hewitt, Murrell, Bishop, Jackson, Edwards, Oliver (returning from Deeping), Sargeant, Hollingworth, Rawdon, Lovett, Stones and Sutton. In addition, Jamie McCormack looks like being a regular this term after his university duties limited his appearances in previous seasons.

So it was never going to be easy this time around, for, with the best will in the world, it takes time for new people, new ideas, to settle in. Of the two league games played thus far, one was always going to be tough and Holbeach duly obliged by taking the three points. However, Town did put up a good show and for an hour there was little if anything between the two sides. The disappointment was in the defeat by Cogenhoe who looked eminently beatable, although they have since gone on to climb the table.

Manager Glen Maddison is already concerned with the lack of finishing and after the Cogenhoe reversal he was particularly critical. He refused (quite rightly) to pass comment on the performance of the referee but I had no such qualms and rarely have I lambasted an official so brutally for such a poor display. That did not excuse Towns’ effort, when three points were there for the taking.

Maddison said: “We just need to stop giving soft goals away and be more clinical up front but in general we should be okay. I don’t like where we are sitting in the league (fourth bottom) at present and the sooner we get some points on the board the better I will feel.

“I do not want to be in a dog-fight at the bottom of the table all season. I’m hoping the signing of Pete Sutton and Micky Stones’s recovery will make good additions to the team.

“In the FA Cup we played better in the second half and had a real go but cannot afford to give away sloppy goals. As I have said before, it was disappointing because there was a lot of cash on the line.”

n Last night (Tuesday) Town were due to visit Spalding. On Saturday there is a trip to Long Buckby, the current champions, who are struggling this term, losing on Saturday away to Newport Pagnall. They are currently just two places above Town and have played two games more.

Then next Tuesday there is home game against Peterborough Northern Star.