Return of the Macc

A belated happy new year to all Gasheads and the team certainly did a lot more to welcome it in yesterday than on Monday. We turned in a spineless performance at The Valley and Darrell talks a lot about bounce-back-ability which we showed in abundance. Clarke reversed the six changes he made for the Charlton game and was forced into a further two changes due to injury, this included a start for Mark McChrystal who has had limited time on the pitch this season.

We turned in an excellent performance and blew Northampton away, game over after half an hour. The Cobblers had worried me for a number of reasons prior to kick off, they always provide a stern challenge, our side was depleted due to injury problems and Northampton do have a very talented squad with the likes of Taylor, Wylde, Hoskins, Revell, Boateng and O’Toole all capable of hurting us. Our back line managed to quell the threat and I think Lockyer benefitted from the experience of McChrystal playing next to him, we looked a lot more organised than I’ve seen us for a long time. I’d like to see the same back four now be given a run of consecutive fixtures where they can gel as I think this would help us to stop shipping goals like we have in the first half of the season. We’ve proved we can score enough goals and if Clarke is serious about mounting a play off bid then improvements at the back must be the next step.

The midfield was faultless yesterday, a lot of fans are saying they were wrong about Ollie Clarke, myself included, he’s stepped it up over the festive period and was class. The partnership between him and Lines looks to be blossoming, he gives Lines the freedom to roam forward which means that, like yesterday, Lines can drive at the opposition defence which he’s very good at.

Bodin has found some form again over the last few weeks and looks to be back to his best, which is great news for us. All of his confidence is back and long may it continue. His goal was a peach, great turn, dart forward and a venomous drive with his weaker foot, it rifled into the roof of the net and Smith stood no chance.

And of course we can’t neglect to mention Ellis Harrison, four goals and a perfect, seven minute hat trick on what he has labeled “The best day of his career” I don’t think anyone has ever doubted Ellis’ ability but he’s not been consistent enough with it so I hope that yesterday was a turning point for him, he must be guaranteed a start next time out!

Whilst we’re on the topic of next time out, we travel up North next Saturday to play UWE Roslers in form Fleetwood Town and it will be far from easy. They drew with Bristol City yesterday to force a replay in the F.A. Cup and we all know how good City are, they’re going to be playing in Europe in five years time! On a more serious note the cod army gave us a very good go at The Mem and will likely look to be on the front foot more at Highbury so more of the excellent support of late will be needed in order to end our run of miserable away days!

Up The Gas!

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