Wednesday, 23 February 2011

What's going right, then?

Sons fight back...
When I got home from another pleasing match at the Rock last night, I quickly put together a current form table for the SFL Second Division. It makes good reading. Of course, If you extended it to seven games, it would look slightly different. These things have an element of arbitrariness about them. But there's no denying that the contrast between the last six games (won five, drawn one) and the previous five (won one, lost four) for Dumbarton in 2011 is dramatic. With a couple of changes, the squad is much the same over that period, so what's the difference?

It's often difficult for coaching staff to identify the 'trigger', let alone the rest of us!  Usually it's a combination of factors. For my money there are six key changes. First, Alan Adamson is picking a relatively settled team. Second, some key players (Pat Walker, Mark Gilhaney, Ryan McStay, Andy Geggan and Nicky Devlin come especially to mind - but the others are doing well, too) are firing on all cylinders. Third, the work rate and cameraderie among the players looks really good. Fourth, the fans have started to get behind the team strongly, especially away from home (attendances at SHS are still disappointing - bad news travels faster than good news, so people are still catching up with the idea that this is the 'New Sons'). Fifth, the team has shown a capacity to fight back when goals have been lost and mistakes made - rather than to roll over. Sixth, and as a consequence of all the above, confidence is high. As the old cliche has it, "we're on a roll".

Mind you, this coming Saturday's away game against Forfar Athletic is going to be tough. The next three matches are against sides at the top of the table, so this will be a solid test. The important thing is to approach each game as a distinct challenge. As soon as you start asking yourself, "can we keep up a six-game unbeaten run?" or "will we make the record for the most number of consecutive away wins in a season?" doubts based on probability kick in. Sure, the Mighty Sons will lose again at some point. It could be the next game, it could be three down the line. But that's not where the attention should be. The focus needs to be on where the life and energy is. 'Mon, Sons!

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