Walking away from Park View Road after a Cup Match this Season has become quite a disappointing affair. Whilst drowning our sorrows in the ‘Door Hinge’ or ‘Nags Head’ conversation from Wings fans is usually around the point of ‘Why Can’t we play at home like we do away?’ and before this match ‘Maybe we should play all three of our strikers’. Well this FA Trophy tie may well have ended us wondering if Square pegs can fit into round holes, whilst still leaving us growing frustrated with the home form.
There were two main thoughts in my head as I walked from the game up towards the High Street on this cold November evening. First being, how would I play it if I was in charge of team selection for the next match and secondly, why are Weston Super Mare only 13th in the League?
Now you can read detailed match reports elsewhere, they will say Weston won 1-0 with a goal at the start of the Second Half from Gethyn Hill. Then go on to say that the team from Somerset dominated possession without really testing the Welling debutant Keeper enough, whilst ‘The Wings’ hit the woodwork twice but probably didn’t deserve anything but an early exit from this tournament. But for me, I am just going to look deeper into my two footballing thoughts.
Well, I would like to look deeper into the first thought but at this stage I can’t quite play Football Manager with this Welling Team. Everytime I think I have cracked it a quick count-up reveals I have put 12 players on the pitch. So give me another day or two on this one as on the way to the ground I actually correctly predicted this team line-up. I felt confident that attack was the way forward at home. I also predicted a 3-1 win, so it shows what I know. Why did Welling lose then? That will be be the link to the second thought.
Weston are 13th in the National League South Table, 6 places below Welling. They came into the game unbeaten since a home defeat to, ironically, Welling six weeks previously. They showed inconsistency at the start of the Season but things were really clicking into gear now. They clearly work hard on the training pitch. Defending set-piece free-kicks they would often run-out, well timed, to set the offside trap. When under pressure in their own half, triangles, usually involving a Full-Back, Centre-Back and a team-mate were formed to have a more controlled way of removing the ball from trouble. Weston seemed more composed and controlled on the ball, able to play it out from the back rather than the usual Non-League ‘Hoof It’ approach. Then and probably most importantly they had the one player on the pitch that was able to provide a spark, a bit of skill, the influential moments, to be the difference between the teams.
Dayle Grubb is a one club man after coming through the Weston Academy and playing First-Team matches for the best part of eight seasons. No longer can he be called a promising youngster because at 26 Years Old he is certainly coming into his prime now. As the only Full-Time member of staff on the Weston roster (rare at this level), Grubb is as key a player to his side as I can think of anywhere in football at any level. He is the top scorer in the League with 13 this Season, he is the Captain of the Team, set-piece taker, talisman, their everything. Smart business from Weston-Super-Mare has meant that he is contracted until the end of next season. Apparently there has been interest from teams above but at this stage he is seems happy to be staying with the Seagulls. Dayle can play as a forward, no 10, and all around the Attacking Midfield roles but to me he seems strongest when starting on the left of Midfield and cutting in on that deadly right boot. This is where he played on Saturday and time after time he was found out wide on the left before cutting in past his man, often weaving past 2,3 or 4 before laying it off or attempting the shot. In this match he was up against Welling Right-Back Connor Dymond, who will wind up the most patient of men, let alone a talent like Grubb. Before the Half-Time whistle was blown Grubb could be seen vocally arguing with the Referee about the treatment being put on him by Dymond and it could be argued that the the battle in that first half between those two was even or that Connor edged it but the Second Half was a different matter. Immediately a weaving run by Grubb set the goal up. Later he managed to see his marksman booked after getting brought down by him and many times Grubb cut inside his man, albeit that eventually no end product would come of the move. So, for me Grubb is clearly a talent, the best I have seen at this level for a while. Weston are good, very good. How long will their run last? Who knows, but I must admit to looking at the odds for the Seagulls for winning the league! As you ask, they are 150/1 at BetVictor. Welling are 10/1. Weston are 4 points behind Welling and 8 points off the top. If they can keep hold of Grubb all season then stranger things have happened!
Photograph of Dayle Grubb; credit; Will.T.Photography