The Verdict: Top of the Tree, but now let’s stay there!!
We take a look at the talking points from yesterday’s 1-0 win over Lincoln City, a win which has propelled Town to the top of League One.
Since the reverse fixture at Sincil Bank around a month ago, Town have certainly turned a corner. The 5-3 defeat was a typical performance which summed up a disastrous year for Town, has now proved to be the catalyst in our upturn in form. The dressing lock-in was used to ‘clear the air’ and since leaving the dressing room at Sincil Bank, Town haven’t looked back. Paul Lambert’s have picked up 11 points from a possible 15 so far in 2020, with the Town boss only making two changes in five outings.
While the performance was certainly not as easy on the eye compared to the Accrington win, it was equally as pleasing. Lincoln first and foremost are a different proposition to Stanley, with Appleton’s footballing Imps in good form and pose a threat Town are very familiar with in Tyler Walker. Town needed to be on their toes throughout with Lincoln looking threatening on the counter. However the Town defence a made from much sterner stuff than Walker experienced last month, with vital interceptions and blocks meant Town keeper Will Norris was relatively untroubled throughout.
Foundations being laid
The meeting at Sincil Bank proved to be just as crucial for Paul Lambert as it has the players. As mentioned, in the five league games which have followed, the Town boss has only made two changes to his side. To be fair, one of those was forced, with Kayden Jackson missing the Oxford trip with a slight hamstring strain.
There were no questions of the talent players like Alan Judge and Emyr Huws possess, however Town fans, rightly so, were beginning to wonder if their time in a Town shirt were numbered. The pair have been key in Town’s recent upturn in form, the whole squad just looks balanced, with round pegs in round holes. We have a clear identity and are developing a style of play which we will hopefully be able to execute in the second tier of English football next campaign.
You say that you can often judge the strength of a side by the subs bench, well Town have an embarrassment of riches on that front. Tomas Holy, Josh Earl, Cole Skuse, Jon Nolan, Teddy Bishop, Freddie Sears and James Norwood were all waiting in the wings yesterday, not bad hey?!
Keep raising that value
There has, and will be, continued speculation over Town pair Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden. One thing which is clear, they both have big careers in the game if they continue at this rate. Week in, week out, they are two of our better performers, players we desperately want to keep hold of.
Last week it was Downes who popped up with a crucial goal, heading the equaliser at Prenton Park. Well his close friend, Luke Woolfenden, got in on the act this week. Despite maintaining he has scored for Town already this season (the header which was adjudged to have not crossed the line at Accrington), Woolfenden finally opened his Town account against The Imps.
Surely adding goals to an already long list of talents, that should add an extra zero or too onto the the price tag of the pair.
Back on top
With Peterborough dismantling Wycombe in midweek, Town knew if The Posh could do the same with Rotherham, three points would see Town return to the summit. The 2-1 win for Peterborough meant that Town’s win returned them to the top of the league, now the message is clear, let’s stay there.
It is fair to say our title credentials will be well and truly tested over the next three games. Rotherham away, Peterborough at home, followed by a trip to the Stadium of Light to face a resurgent Sunderland. If, and it’s a big if, Town can come out of this period still sitting at the top, we will be a hard team to overtake in the run-in.