Date: 11th March 2017 at 6:18pm
Written by:

It is approaching that time of the season when the men are separated from the boys, a time where it is truly a case of stand up and be counted. The home straight, the end of the season, the last leg; call it what you will, when you are two places off the drop it is do or die. You need to show you have the quality to stay up, and you need to use it. Facing the drop coming into the last 10 games of the season are: Newport County, Leyton Orient, Hartlepool United, Crewe Alexandra, Cheltenham Town, Notts County and Accrington, though Stanley do have two crucial games in hand. Though I believe we can and will stay up, the question is ‘Do the players believe they can’? – that question will be answered within the remaining 900 minutes of the season, more commonly known as the last ten games.

Purely based on today’s performance, we deserve to go down. We were out played and out muscled by a team who are 92nd out of the 92 EFL teams. The result is a massive blow and I am unsure how costly it may prove come the final whistle on May 6th. We looked like we would struggle in non-league today, especially in the second half of the match. We were bewildered by Newport’s full-backs simply playing higher up the pitch, Kiwomya and Cooke were isolated from the match and we didn’t look like creating anything in the last 45 – it was really painful viewing. However we remain 7 points clear from the drop, need to push on, and need to pick up points – to state the obvious, the more points you get the better your chance of survival. We have three definitely must win games, but make no mistake, every single point we earn is crucial. Those three games are; Stanley away (08/04/17), County at home (14/04/17) and Orient at home (22/04/17) – each and every one of those games is dog eat dog.

On a more positive note though, I believe we will stay up. We are too good for the drop, the quality in our ranks is too high. I know the irony that that has, given we are two places clear of the drop and fighting to keep football league status. The final nail appears firmly hammered in to Newport’s coffin, though based on today they haven’t given up the ghost. Leyton Orient are facing a winding up order, I believe of £250,000 – though it is painful to see any football club in that situation, if the worse came to the worse (for Orient) and they were wound up … well it’s one less place for us to worry about, though I would like to see them financially survive.

However, we can’t rely on other results and I believe we won’t need to. Our players are capable of winning matches, we’ve shown that recently. Kiwomya, Dagnall, Cooke and Cooper are all capable of creating and finishing chances. Dagnall, who has missed the last three games due to suspension, is set to return for Crawley Town away this Tuesday – and it is fair to say he has been missed. He has a goal scoring instinct and a hunger for the game, since Artell’s appointment he has looked like a new signing – it will be vital he stays available, in our quest for survival.