David Shaw has made a good start!
Nottsborough 1’s have played four games so far this season, three in the league, and one in a Cup. So far we could not ask for more in terms of results. The squad is still evolving with the return of Steve McMillan (work), Ian Cooper (injury), Dan Ashley (retirement), Alex Ewin (marathon, cycling). We gained four very useful players from Salesians in Sam Greenslade, Chris Sinclair, Jack Gavin, and Sean Gavin.
In fact two of these did not arrive until early September. All of them had effectively stopped playing for Salesians and we are delighted to have them. The new coach David Shaw has had the difficult job of blending the new players in with the old and finding a side that works when each week we have had at least 4 players unavailable. The main thing that I see each week in training and on the pitch is that all the squad have bought in and they are all enjoying their football.
The first game against NU Oilers was viewed as a bit of a conspiracy. In truth we thought here that it was a bit early for us to have this difficult game. We should not have worried as we got through with a win thanks to a good finish from James Taylor and competent defending. Oilers had already won at Civil Service so we were really pleased to take three points.
Our second game was a real toughie away at Old Thorntonians and our excellent result was made to look even better on Saturday as Thorntonians knocked Winchmore Hill out of the AFA trophy. It was tough because Thorntonians brought quite a physical approach to the game and Jeremy Field is still injured as the result of one of their tackles. It was an excellent Alex Ewin header that gave us a 2-0 lead in that game, and we threatened to run away with it for a while as we went 4-0 ahead with further goals from Arren Sutcliffe and Chris Sinclair.
For many years I have been going to games at West Wickham and I really like the people there. Many times I have come away disappointed but this time for perhaps the first time I saw a bit of shock on their faces as we racked up the goals in the second half with an excellent solo goal from Dan Barber, a super header from a fit again Ian Cooper, a top corner finish from Alex Ewin and a lovely solo goal from Sam Greenslade.
Whilst the goals have been flying in I am also acutely aware that we have been defending well also. This was exemplified at Owens on Saturday where we kept a clean sheet as we came under huge pressure towards the end of the game. Duncan Burns has been excellent at centre back and Arren Sutcliffe and Rich Parker are almost back to their best. Jack Gavin has quietly settled in and offered us a recognised right back for the first time for a couple of seasons. Sean Gavin has hardly got the chance to shine thanks to a mystery injury in training, following the first game.
Games at Potters Bar are always close and always marked by very good football from both teams. In the last couple of seasons I have noticed a bit of an increase in the aggression. We can compete there as well, but we need to maintain a better discipline as we have lost a player in each of the last two games.
It is hard to say what is Nottsborough’s best team, even after 4 games. I am pretty sure that David Shaw has an idea. All the players that have come in have done well. It is also difficult to say what the best playing formation is. All I know is that if Nottsborough get their best 14 out this season they will be a match for most sides!