A turning point? By Ollie Neno
It felt like a turning point in the season – potentially a moment we will look back on in May once the football has finished and think, “That’s when it turned around.”
As Tom Parkes wheeled away in jubilation having just leveled the score line at Home Park with a sumptuous outside of the foot finish, the relief amongst players and fans alike was clear to see.
The away end housing the travelling Gasheads erupted, with a few spilling onto the pitch in frenzied celebration. You’d have been forgiven for thinking this was a promotion sealing goal.
Despite not being able to find a second goal that would have provided a deserved first 3 points of the season, there were many positives to take from Tuesday night, none more so than the performance of Garry Kenneth.
Having suffered two injury setbacks since his arrival in late July, it’s been a long awaited competitive debut for the giant Scot, who showed what our defence has been missing during his absence with a solid and dominant display.
With Tom Parkes reportedly enjoying his best game to date for the club since his permanent switch and Lee Brown looking more at home in his favoured left back role, Kenneth’s calm presence at the heart of the back four appeared infectious.
Of course, as well as conceding goals at our end, another problem so far this campaign has been scoring enough at the other end, our equaliser against Plymouth being only our fourth league goal in six games.
That issue was only compounded by the terrible injury news received about last year’s leading scorer Matt Harrold, who looks likely to miss the remainder of the season after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.
However as the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens, and Harrold’s injury might provide the window of opportunity for someone else in the squad to step up to the plate, which I’m sure will be the message from McGhee.
Plus, with the manager reportedly on the look out for a Championship striker to bring in on loan, as well as the possibility of a few other positions being strengthened in what is an injury hit squad, the team should soon have more attacking threats in its armour.
This weekend gives us the perfect opportunity to build on the point earned at Plymouth with a home tie against League Two new boys Fleetwood Town, who will be hurting after their 2-5 loss to Port Vale on Tuesday.
With 6ft 4’ man mountain Jon Parkin in their side, affectionately nicknamed ‘the beast’, Kenneth has returned at just the right time and will hopefully be the man to keep the former Preston forward quiet whilst Clarkson and co. do the business up top.
Lets get behind the boys on Saturday and roar them on to our first win of the season; fingers crossed a first of many!