Town’s quest for League One football next season received a boost over the past four days as Ben Garner’s side picked up six points to maintain their charge on the top three in the division.
The first three points came last Saturday against Jurassic John’s Oldham Athletic side, with Dion Conroy’s 96th-minute header sent the County Ground wild, leaving our former manager to show the Arkells Stand how many goals Town scored using a particular digit.
It was pleasing to see Conroy score against John Sheridan after the unfounded criticism laid out by the current Latics boss when he managed our captain last season, you could see from various players who endured his management last season there was no love lost between the two parties.
The second maximum came on Tuesday evening as we welcomed Sutton United to Wiltshire in the first-ever league meeting between the sides in the West Country, with their only other visit coming in 1981 in an F. A Cup 2nd Round tie in which John Trollope’s side came out 2-1 winners.
Thankfully we witnessed the same scoreline as Josh Davison opened the scoring, thanks to some quick thinking from Jojo Woollcott sending the Charlton loanee through on goal and after taking the ball past Stuart Nelson in the Sutton goal, applied a superb, composed finish.
When Tyreece Simpson was recalled in January, many fans, including myself, thought this would put a dent in our promotion hopes, we should learn not to doubt Director of Football Ben Chorley, as he discovered a quality replacement in Josh Davison.
After failing to impress at his parent club in League One, and an unfruitful loan spell at Forest Green Rovers last season hopes weren’t high he would fill the hole left by Simpson, but he’s shown his doubters wrong in a successful loan spell at SN1.
On paper, you may think four goals in twelve games isn’t too impressive, but his ability to hold up the ball, feed it to players around him, and be a constant nuisance for defenders is what makes him a key player for Town this season.
With his contract expiring at the Addicks in the summer, it would be a no-brainer for Town to offer him a deal for the future, but that all depends on which division we find ourselves when the dust settles.
If we manage to achieve promotion, I could see a good chance of signing Davison and fending off fellow clubs, and have him lead our front line, if we fail in our ambitions, I’m sure he’ll have plenty of offers to go elsewhere higher up the Football League ladder.
Sadly, Town didn’t take advantage of Davison’s goal as the away side got back into the game, as after winning a dubious free-kick, Joe Kizzi headed his side level to take the game into the break all square.
Just four minutes after the break Town was back in front when Jonny Williams went after Conroy’s free-kick who found Harry McKirdy to notch his 18th goal in all competitions this season.
No one, not even McKirdy himself, could’ve predicted the sensational season the former Aston Villa man has enjoyed in front of goal, and a big hand in Harry’s development as a player goes to Ben Garner, who saw a talented young player and gave him a chance.
When I first saw him away at Scunthorpe last August, he looked like a tidy player and someone who could cause damage as an impact sub, but not as a player whose goals would play a part in any potential success, we have this season.
All football fans love a maverick, someone who opposition players and fans despise, but would secretly love in their side, him extending his contract for next season already is a great piece of business by the club and guarantees more thrills and spills from our beloved no. 11.
This weekend Town makes the relatively short journey to the Broadfield Stadium to face John Yems’ Crawley Town side, who are winless in their last five and sit 15th in the League Two table.
With The Reds not in a relegation battle or fighting for promotion, you’d think Town might have a straightforward task this weekend, we know John Yems won’t allow his side to be thinking about their summer holidays yet and will give Garner’s side a tough ride, hopefully, Town’s quality will shine through and keep up their promotion push by picking up another valuable three points.