A number of worthy candidates this weekend despite a performance that started with huge promise before the inevitable slide into complete meh-ness in the second half, even before our latest debatable red card. A win’s a win though!
A clean sheet suggests the defence did their job and that would indeed be the case, barring another late slip up from a corner, which on this occasion thankfully didn’t cost us as Stevenage sub Matthew Stevens nodded wide with an on-rushing teammate unable to turn the ball home.
Alex Baptiste and Ricardo Santos continued what looks by far and away the best centre-half partnership at the club. They were both excellent, Santos noticeably getting his six foot six frame to more headers, his bonce being used to good effect all game. Baptiste looks more at home in a two for me and his display was calm, composed and unfussy. Great to see. Goalscoring full debutant Declan John at left-back looked a class above at times, his pedigree higher up the food chain shining through and his early strike was well worthy of settling any game. It was fantastic to see someone with genuine pace and a left foot marauding down that flank. What a difference it makes. He faded somewhat, understandable given his recent recovery from injury and the same could be said of Dapo Afolayan, who was electric again at times in the first half in his first start for the club. He seemed to enjoy a free role, picking the ball up and using his nimble feet, low centre of gravity and quick turning circle to bamboozle the nearest defender and create space for him and the rest of the side. Still yet to see what he’s actually like in front of goal but the opening signs are extremely encouraging from this fella.
My choice then goes to a chap who had a brilliant week and epitomised everything I want to see from players who represent our club.
There’s something of a throwback about the way George Thomason speaks and looks, a rather unfashionable haircut and an unassuming attitude that is refreshing in this day and age. His new contract is cracking news, although I’d of given him an extra year personally. He is proving to me what a superb player he could be for our club and exhibited the heart of a lion on Saturday afternoon, as the game threatened to get away from us.
Time and time again he intercepted Stevenage attacks, showing desire coupled with positional sense to get in ahead of the opposition. Maybe not his prettiest game on the ball and his complete reliance on his left-foot in my opinion makes it fairly easy for the opposition to predict his movement with the ball at times. He displayed his now-trademark lofted passes that switch play and rarely does one of his balls, even if they look a little unconventional in terms of their shape and trajectory, fail to hit their intended target. One momentary lapse on the ball, turning into trouble on halfway, threatened to undo all his sterling work up until that point but I just felt he embodied what this team should be, committed, concentrated, forward thinking and completely focused on winning the game.
George reminds me of a young Peter Beardsley in the way he looks and if he can be even half the player he was we’ll be onto something special. Congratulations on your new contract and I think I can speak for the fans in saying we are all looking forward to seeing you play here for a good time to come!
Onto Field Mill again.
Third time lucky, hopefully! COYWM!!