One month, and five games after beating Port Vale Ben Garner’s side finally pick up three points to get their season back on track.
After picking up just three points from a possible fifteen it was vital Town responded to Tuesday night’s nightmare at Prenton Park with a positive result and performance.
Thankfully we got both as the manager ditched the 5-3-2 formation in favour of 4-3-3, and it turned out to be a great decision, as we saw the best of Aston Villa loanee Louie Barry with him playing in a system that suits him far more, as both himself and Joe Tomlinson dominated the left-hand side front start to finish.
Having Barry play up top in a front two doesn’t suit his game, if we’re to see him progress at Town and become the player many think he can be we’ll need to keep this system moving forwards, fellow new loanee Josh Davison also enjoyed an impressive afternoon as he picked up his first goals for the club.
After struggling with injuries during his time in Wiltshire the Charlton man hopefully put that behind him, as despite his first being fortuitous that could be the slice of luck needed to get settled, he completed his brace from the spot with Barry winning a spot-kick at the third time of asking.
The best goal of the afternoon opening the scoring as a contender for pass of the season from Ellis Iandolo put Harry McKirdy through on goal as he neatly put the ball past Rory Watson to score his fourteenth goal of the campaign.
For most of the season Town’s longest-serving player has been a pretty effective wing-back, but with a new system and injuries to key players our very own Mr. Versatile was back in midfield, and after a slow start grew into the game, With Tomlinson and Barry enjoying a good afternoon down the left Iandolo’s season could be as a central midfielder, and going by Saturday, that might not be such a bad thing.
But for all these good performances to happen, we needed our No. 25 back in the heart of our side, after serving his two-match suspension Louis Reed was again Town’s key player, his absence had been painfully obvious over the past three games, having him back playing regularly will be vital over the remaining sixteen games of the season.
As well as getting back to winning ways on Saturday it was a chance to say farewell to someone who became a firm fan favourite over his two spells at the County Ground, Anthony Grant.
The defensive midfielder was back at the SN1 after completing a move to Scunthorpe United with his deal cut short by Town during the transfer window, and despite him wearing a different shirt his name was sung at different points throughout the afternoon by the Town faithful, and he was given a huge reception when doing a lap of honour after the full-time whistle.
It was a mistake to let The General move on as he would’ve provided excellent cover in midfield, and with injury to Jordan Lyden, keeping him out for possibly the rest of the season I’m sure the manager would agree in hindsight, but he’s moved on, and I wish him all the best in his fight to keep Scunthorpe in the Football League.
Next up, Town faces the long trip to another side fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table in Carlisle United.
The Cumbrian side sits two points above the dotted line and hasn’t picked up a maximum since 8th January, but recruited well in January, including the loan signing of former Town youth team product Owen Windsor from West Brom.
If Town has any ambitions of finishing inside the top seven this season, we need to be leaving Brunton Park with all the points next Saturday to build the momentum needed going into the last third of the campaign.