Good afternoon for yet another Saturday game at Stonebridge Road, of which we seem to have had a few – with another to follow next week after drawing Havant & Waterlooville in the Emirates FA Cup.
We earned that tie with another pleasing performance here against AFC Sudbury. You might call it a game of two halves given the 0-0 and 5-0 scorelines at the end of each 45 minutes but I don’t think it was that at all.
There was no real difference in the quality of our build-up play in the first half and what followed in the second. We were just that much better in the final third. I thought all game we worked the ball into the danger areas really well and we were just much more clinical after the break.
I didn’t make too many changes – as I said I wanted continuity going into this important league game today. That said, the boys who did come in last week did themselves no harm at all and it shows they’re ready to take their chances when offered. Jon Miles looked very assured between the posts. I was glad for him, he did really well and it was beneficial to get a game – as a goalkeeper on the bench it’s difficult to get match time the way other players do.
Darren McQueen also put in a great performance and could probably have had a couple more goals. He was an outlet and a threat for us for the whole afternoon and is showing just what he’s capable of at this level.
You wouldn’t usually mention two-goal heroes and Stuart Lewis in the same breath but alongside Darren, Stuey did brilliantly to grab a brace himself. A few more minutes and I hear he might have got the fastest hat-trick in Stonebridge Road history! It’s good to have him back, his energy levels are terrific and he probably raises the tempo of the team as well when he gets going. They were two very good finishes even for a striker, so as a midfielder to score the two goals he did is all credit to him. We still need to protect him a little bit since his injury but what you saw last Saturday is where he’s at now in terms of his comeback. We’ll continue to manage him a little bit through games and in training but he’s not missed a minute of training this past week so hopefully he’ll be good to go again today.
We come up against a real challenge in third-placed St Albans today. They’ve got seven or eight former Boreham Wood players and I know a lot of their group well because of my own links to that club.
There are some terrific characters in there and lads who have won the play-offs as well. Ian Allinson’s a manager I’ve played under and worked under as assistant, he knows this level really well. Having saved them from almost certain relegation at the end of last season, it’s no surprise to me that they are challenging at the other end of the table this time around. Ian organises teams really well and knows how to win matches at this level. He’s done it for years, he’s very experienced and St Albans will be a team that fancy their chances of promotion come the end of the season.
Aaron McLean is likely to be out for a while although we’re still waiting a final, accurate prognosis on the extent of his injury – but we have strikers eager to get out there and prove themselves, with attacking midfielders who have been contributing goals left, right and centre of late so I’m confident whoever gets picked in Aaron’s place will do a job.
We’ve made great strides in the right direction over recent weeks which I was confident the lads would do – your support for them as individuals and as a group is, as ever, crucial to our ongoing form so do please keep backing them all the way.