With almost a full change of lineup from our win on Saturday at Hayes Lane, our trip to Dartford allowed fans to get a closer look at new signing Gregg Wylde, along with a second half XI including a bunch of youngsters. A 3-0 win added into the equation sent fans who were at Dartford including myself home very content. I try my best to not overreact to pre-season games, but the excitement for Oldham at home on the 6th August just keeps growing on me.
Anyway, as with my blog post covering the Bromley game – Check it out here if you missed it – I will give as honest a judgement on all players involved in our second victory a pre-season:
Jordan Archer – 6 – Back in the nets from the start, I can’t recollect Archer making a single save in his 60 minutes on the field. To me at least, what was clearly different from the first 60 minutes on Saturday was the communication between goalkeeper and his defence. Archer showed his organisational skills and ability to conmand the area, with his voice heard at all times. You’d hope Forde would still be good at this, however Saturday Forde done none of the above. Let’s hope the club are in talks with a contract extension for Archer…
James Brown – 7 – Given a chance to impress from the start, James Brown certainly did just that. Another youngster who has been given a chance to show what he is all about, and didn’t put a foot wrong in his 75 minute spell on the pitch. Okay, it’s Dartford we are playing but Brown didn’t stop getting forward in support of Worrall in front of him, and was neat and tidy when on the ball further up the field. With Cummings injured Brown will surely be offered more chances to impress throughout pre-season, and with Romeo guaranteed to start the season barring injury, Cummings has a big task to get back in the side once he returns from injury.
Byron Webster – 6 – Another with not a lot to do on the day, was good to see Webster start and in full swing following his injury during the play-offs back in May. The transformation under Harris is remarkable, and Webster deserves full praise for turning his Millwall career around, probably being the best central defender at the club.
Sid Nelson – 6 – Given another chance from the start, this time as the left sided central defender. I thought Nelson had a better game than Saturday, however the nerves when he has the ball at his feet are still there. Nonetheless barring one slip up which allowed the Dartford forward a run through on goal, it was a comfortable game for Nelson, although I’m not convinced he is the answer as a left sided central defender.
Tony Craig – 6 – Defensively Craig didn’t have to do much, and when needed to dealt with his defensive duties perfectly. However, Tony Craig is not a left back and shouldn’t be anywhere near the starting XI, if this is going to be the position he is fighting for this season. Despite bringing the solid defensive display, we struggled going forward on the left with no full back making the run on the overlap. With Chesmain coming on at 60 minutes, the difference going forward was very noticeable with the youngster providing an outlet and good deliveries into the box for the forwards not the pitch.
David Worrall – 6 – Not quite the same level performance we saw on Saturday but another solid game for Worrall. Very comfortable on the ball and able to travel at speed when breaking on the counter attack, both our new wingers bring an added element which will surely help us when playing away from home this season.
Shaun Williams – 6 – Struggled to get in the game as we saw for the majority of last season, technically Williams might be one of our better players with his range of passing when afforded time and space on the ball. However, as again with last season Williams struggles to play his natural game when playing in a 4-4-2 formation. Not that it would ever happen, but I’d love to see Williams get a game as a defender in one of these coming games, and see how he performs when afforded the time and space to play his passing game.
Ben Thompson – 6 – A typical Thompson display, throwing himself into each and every 50 50 tackle with no fear of getting an injury, even in a pre-season friendly. Despite sharing the midfield with Williams or Abdou this coming season, the less experienced Thompson will be crucial to our play again this year. Early prediction shout for player of the year for this season?
Gregg Wylde – 6 – Not quite the wow factor Worrall brought in his first game at Bromley, however not a bad display from Wylde either. Very quick, his first intentions when he gets the ball is to get to the byline and provide a delivery into the box, last night the delivery at times wasn’t 100% on point, but you’d think that would improve as the winger gets more minutes under his belt. As mentioned with Worrall above, with both in the side we now have a real element of speed when breaking from opposition corners.
Fred Onyedinma – 8 – Man of the match for me, playing up front with O’Brien Onyedinma showed why he could be an option in the middle this season. For the goal, picking it up from deep he managed to skip past two defenders before making space for himself and sweeping the ball into the bottom corner with his weaker left foot. With Morison and Gregory probably the main two up front, we are likely to see Onyedinma pushed back to the wing, but if Harris ever considered playing a formation to accommodate Onyedinma in the middle, I’m sure he wouldn’t disappoint.
Aides O’Brien- 7 – Got the important first goal of pre-season out of the way, and in general his lively self up front. Probably should’ve finished the night with at least one more goal, but more to come from O’Brien and his goals like last season will be valuable to any success we have this season.
As with Bromley on Saturday, the game went a bit stale again as the substitutes were in full swing, I’ve picked out three players who impressed from the bench and hope to see increased involvement this weekend at Crawley:
Noah Chesmain – 6 – Would be a 7 rating if he had been involved for 45 minutes, but as mentioned earlier the impact Chesmain brought following his arrival on the pitch was clear to see. Overlapping his winger with pace, he was then able to pick out three deliveries of class which caused havoc in the Dartford defence. With Joe Martin seemingly still recovering from the injury received at Wembley, Chesmain is quickly playing himself into the starting XI at home to Oldham for the first game of the season.
Kris Twardek – 7 – On for Worrall around 55 minutes into the tie, Twardek immediately got involved with his rapid work rate and willingness to get on the ball. Also showing his awareness around him when he laid on Philpot’s goal, much like last pre-season Twardek is quickly playing himself into the squad for the coming season.
Jamie Philpot – 7 – Injuries had held back Philpot’s involvement with the first team last season, but he looks to be fully behind his injuries with a great impact from the subs bench, grabbing himself a goal too. Closing down the defender the ball fell to Twardek who then obliged for Philpot to get his second of pre-season with his first being behind closed doors in our defeat to Nottingham Forrest. No one truly knows if Gregory will be staying at the club this summer, but with Philpot lurking behind we have a real valid option to replace Gregory internally should Harris see fit.