Match Preview: Portland United (A) – Saturday 9th July – 15:00
By Robert Santonna
It has been 55 days since we last played. In those 55 days, we have seen 14 senior players leave the club. But we welcome those who have renewed and some new faces that have joined this week. Whilst not all the squad is complete, it sets up a tantalising and inviting spectacle. Trialists!
Trialists are the lifeblood of preseason. Every club up and down the country invite players to come and play with them over pre-season. We have picked up some decent players from previous trials. Most noteworthy being Omar Mussa, who left the club recently. This showed the clubs capability to pick up good quality players for nothing and proceed to get solid outcomes on the pitch as well as a lucrative sum if they decide to leave. It will be interesting to see who will take the field against Portland.
Now we take a look at the opponents. This will be our 144th game against Portland United. The islanders are regular opponents in our pre-season schedule. This will be the 6th consecutive time we have faced them. In that time, we have won every game and not conceded a single goal. Now there is a stat the boys should look up to! The last time we lost was all the way back in 2004. Since then, the Terras have only drawn three and won the rest.
Portland finished 15th in their league last season. Scoring 65 goals and conceding 91. Their top scorer is Ryan McKechnie (11 goals) who also features later in this article! Portland also boasts quite an embarrassing stat. The most own goals in the league (3).
Last time out!
Last time we faced Portland we earned a resounding 6-0 victory. Goals from Bradley Ash, Tyler Cordner, Josh Leslie-Smith, Sean Shields and former blue Tom Bearwish. Now only Ash and Bearwish remain from that list. I’m sure Bearwish will be looking to be on the scoresheet against his hometown club. That 6-0 victory was the largest victory recorded since the 9-0 thrashing of them back in 2005.
Played for both!
There has been three players to have played for both sides. Brennan Camp, Tom Bearwish and Ryan McKechnie.
I believe strongly that we are more than capable of winning promotion back to where we belong. I have written a short piece about pre-season and signings ETC
The turnstiles fall silent. The pitch regenerates. Terras fans exhale after being on somewhat of a permanent inhale. The terraces roar in silence, stillness, sullenness. The Bob Lucas screams in despair as it is left in its solitary state for the summer. Already dreaming of pre-season. The bench becomes cold. The tunnel un trod.
The players vacate, not knowing where they will be come August. Many will expect to be back on the south coast for preseason. But surprises lie in the deep dark world of cherry picking a relegated side. Fans will watch the club twitter account with intent. Craving for that signing that will excite with immaculate touch and tease on the pitch. That signing of which will take us back up to the land we once inhabited. It was a captivating experience being in a relegation fight. However, it will be nice to be in the penthouse instead of the basement!
It will be a change from the last time we were in the National League South. Last time, we weren’t expecting to be anywhere near promotion. Promotion is now the aim. First time of asking. David is a man of class when it come to the Conference South. A man of both trust and bravery. His players will don the shirt with pride that inspires, stimulates, and motivates.
We have been on a journey this season, no doubt about that. Starting the season with emphatic wins over Maidenhead and Solihull. Two derby day draws that filled the club with positivity. Make no mistake that we will be back for the Glovers next season. Back to show them exactly why we are a forced to be reckoned with. But with the decline in results. It has been hard to stay positive. That’s where the fans came in. Shouting, chanting, singing. The noise ringing around the ground since minute one of the first game. Now they are mere echoes.
The people of the town look on as the club prepare, construct and compose a team. Our team. A team that represents the thoughts and feelings of each and every fan. A team that us as fans can be proud to call our own. A team to support, appreciate, respect and be entertained by. A team that will restore pride back to this club.
The clubhouse opens at 1pm, cash and card payments are taken upon entry and around the ground for refreshments.