Daventry Town’s defensive problems causing a real headache

Daventry Town boss Darran Foster is having to deal with a mini-crisis at the heart of the defence
Daventry Town boss Darran Foster is having to deal with a mini-crisis at the heart of the defence

Daventry Town made a winning start to the Southern League season but already manager Darran Foster is having to deal with a mini-crisis at the heart of the defence.

Injury-prone former captain and player-of-the-year Kyle Cartwright faces another six weeks on the sidelines because of ligament trouble, having already missed most of the 2013-14 campaign with a broken metatarsal bone.

In addition, Ollie Wilkinson also missed the 1-0 win over Uxbridge because of annual holidays while Martin Hutchcox has taken time off for his father’s wedding.

That meant the admirable Nathan Haines and midfield player Josh Cole had to form a makeshift central defensive partnership against Uxbridge on a day when Josh O’Grady’s well-taken 12th-minute goal was all that separated the two clubs.

Cole’s switch meant that Ryan Howell and Barry Deacon made little impact in midfield with a roll-on effect for the attacking trio of Mictchell Piggon, Tom Berwick and raw recruit Dior Angus.

Ex-Oxford United teenager Jamie Calvin is entitled to feel aggrieved at failing to make the starting line-up after netting half-a-dozen times in limited pre-season friendly appearances.

Before Uxbridge’s demise, the north London club’s astute manager Tony Cloules claimed that this season’s SL Central Division title “will take more winning than for several years.” He may be right.

Choules singled out Kettering, Rugby, Daventry, Royston and Barton Rovers as the five most likely clubs to taste step four success.

Barton lost 5-4 at home to Egham in the opening day’s highest scoring game but Rugby’s 2-1 defeat at Royston was slightly more predictable.

The Town themselves made heavy weather of beating an average Uxbridge side with Kettering also having little margin for error in a 2-1 home win over Aylesbury United watched by 689 spectators at Burton Park.

On Tuesday night, Daventry fought back to claim a point in a 2-2 draw with St Ives in another home game before Saturday’s trip to Potters Bar as Foster’s men build up to an August Bank Holiday encounter with the Poppies in front of a possible four-figure crowd at Burton Park.

A time for change it may be at Browns Road but the evergreen Josh Blake remains a constant factor whether asked to play at left back or as an emergency striker.

Enthusiasm is the name of the game where Blake is concerned and the Leamington postman made 406 appearances, scoring 187 goals for his home town club between 2000 and 2012.

As a result, the Brakes awarded him a testimonial, something that is rarely dished out in Non-League football circles.

So popular was Blake at the New Windmill that Daventry initially had to pretend that his move was on a loan basis so as not to upset Leamington fans.

Another 11 goals have followed in two years at Communications Park despite most of his appearances coming as a full back.

There is life in the old dog yet however as the ultimate utility player showed when scoring a pre-season hat-trick against Ampthill.