I might sound like a wizened old farmer, but if you weren’t around during the great goal-drought of 1996 then you don’t know what a goal-drought is. This was when we managed to go through six whole games without scoring.
We weren’t short of creativity or firepower, we just couldn’t score; Paul Moody was going through one of his lumbering oaf phases, Nigel Jemson was skulking around like a teenager who’d had his Commodore 64 confiscated. By the time we got to the seventh game, against Stoke City, people were genuinely asking what would happen if we never scored again. Like, EVER?
The deadlock was broken by human crab and sideways pass specialist Martin Gray, the first of just four goals he scored in 128 appearances for the club. It’s fair to say that nobody was looking to Gray to break the deadlock.
It didn’t stop there, we actually went on to win 4-1 and having gone 6 games without a goal, the next 6 produced spunked 13.
It was almost as if the only thing that would knock us out of the deep rut we were in was something unexpected. Chey Dunkley’s goal against Gillingham, not his first, but his first with his feet, may just help kick us out of the mini-rut we were threatening to fall into.
It’s been easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we can’t score after we drew blanks against Walsall and Northampton, but it’s easy to forget that we’d scored six in the two games before that.
It’s easy to forget that we don’t have Wes Thomas or that Joe Skarz is only just coming back from injury meaning Marvin Johnson can’t move further up the field. Or that Liam Sercombe, often a source of attacking drive, isn’t available. Or that, in terms of goals scored last season, we lost no less than 67% of our fire power over the summer, 84% if you include Sercombe. Or that the transfer rules have changed making signing new players outside the transfer window nearly impossible.
With Sercombe and Skarz coming back, offering more firepower from midfield and freeing up Marvin Johnson then we should become much more threatening going forward. This might even give more supply to Kane Hemmings, but if we can add a striker, then we’re going to be just fine.