The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Going for goals

26 June 2019

What's the first question you ask after you are told the Town score? That's right: who scored? Except it wouldn't have been something you would have uttered after 18 of last season's 46 league games. That's nearly 40 per cent of matches when Town didn't find the back of the net.

That fact has not gone unnoticed by Thunderdiary or in Jolleyland, with the first three signings of the summer all being strikers. Joining the brains of Matt Green and the brawn of James Hanson is six-foot frontman Moses Ogbu, a Nigerian who has played a lot of football in Sweden.

So far, so obvious, but Jolley is to be commended with bringing in players who have at least got some pedigree; ie. they have scored goals. All have a similar one-in-three ratio, but certainly the first two strikers have done something that no Town marksman has done in the Football League for at least five decades, and that's score at least 20 in a season.

Sure, we had the three wise men of Connell, Hearn and Amond, who each plundered plenty for one year in the Conference, but nobody has done it in the League in my memory. Omar Bogle was one away before he left, Clive Mendonca came close with 18 in the relegated team of 1997, and Kevin Donovan (not even a striker) got 16 the year after, but we have not had that recognised number 9 who scores goals for fun.

Of course, Alan Buckley's promoted teams didn't need that talisman, adept as they were at sharing the goals around the team, with Rees, Woods, Gilbert and Watson all pretty capable in 1991.  

But history tells you that having a top scorer in your team gets you promoted from the fourth division. Since our return, John Marquis, Billy Kee and James Norwood have scored at least 25 goals for teams leaving the division in the past three years.

So having the strikers is one thing. Will we create the chances? Well, Ogbu looks a real handful in his YouTube showreel. I was particualarly taken by the number of times he slalomed his way to the byline to get in a cross. If he is deployed more on the left side as a winger then that might assist the strikeforce.

What's clear is that on paper we currently have the nucleus of a decent side. The additions up front are certainly positive. What's needed next is an Embleton type who can pick a pass and create those much-needed chances. Then the question being asked won't be who, but how many.