Injuries help greens rediscover form of their best-ever season
INJURY problems are helping Galmpton United to conjure up the spirit of their best ever season as they prepare to travel to Teignmouth for the clash of the day in Division One East on Saturday (2.15pm).
The greens finished third in the division last season, despite regularly fielding threadbare squads.
Having signed a plethora of players at the start of this season, a disastrous start left Galmpton in the bottom three – until injury problems left them with a similar sized squad to last season.
This Saturday, they head to Coombe Valley on the back of six straight wins, with their last defeat coming back in October.
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Despite missing six players last weekend, joint-player-managers Steve Parkin and Richard Ridley were able to produce another convincing display which finished 4-0 against Exeter Civil Service.
Dan Rankin looks back to his best, having scored twice and created a third for Alex Bayliss last Saturday, while the Bowker brothers combined for the other goal, Steven crossing to give Robbie a tap-in.
Parkin himself had to play wing-back for over an hour, which at 37 years old he admitted was an experience.
But while Jamie Bonner, Ashley Hoare and goalkeeper Matt Congden remain sidelined, Galmpton's squad should be boosted by the return of Simon Lewcock, Steve Mason and John Dunn for the trip to Teignmouth.
"It will be a good game," said Parkin. "It's on their patch and they are two places below us and can leapfrog us if they win.
"But we're quite pleased considering the poor start to the season that we've had that we've been able to put a string of good results together.
"We've been missing people, but sometimes that galvanises you, and it's probably done us well to go back to how we were last season and fielding the players that you've got rather than having 20 players."
Meanwhile, Teignmouth player-boss Geoff Breslan said a change of formation had helped his side see off Axminster Town last weekend – while FOUR penalties probably helped as well.
Teigns switched to a two-man frontline, with Steve Mardell joined by Liam McAuley, and they were rewarded with a 6-2 win against the Tigers.
Four goals came from the spot, with McAuley taking all of them.
Breslan admitted the first penalty was on the lucky side, but said there was no controversy about the remaining ones.
"To score six at home was very pleasing," he said.
"We only had 13 players available beforehand which was a bit of a worry, but it gave some players the chance to come back into the side and they took it."
Lee Haywood stepped in at centre-half alongside Scott Baxter, with Clay Bond, Ian Wilkinson, Nicky Moyse and Dean Coppard all unavailable.
Breslan revealed that three former regulars have moved on, with midfielder Mark Forrester expressing a desire for regular football and having already attracting the interest of Newton Abbot Spurs, centre-half Darrol Brown gone to Totnes and Dartington, and striker Carl Cliff-Brown moving to Taunton Town.
But Breslan believes his side is strong enough to go on a run similar to the back end of last season, when 15 games unbeaten saw them rocket up the table.
"Hopefully things have maybe turned our way a bit – this was the time last year when we started our unbeaten run, and I would like to think that we could do something similar this season."
Also in Division One East this weekend, leaders Newton Abbot Spurs are out to extend their lead at the top of the table, as they host Totnes and Dartington at The Rec (2.15pm).