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Romeo refuses to be too harsh on players and admits young Thatcham side are allowed an occasional off-day after the Kingfishers are well-beaten by Northwood

Thatcham Town boss Yashwa Romeo admitted his side had an off-day as the Kingfishers were beaten for the first time in four matches, losing 4-1 at Northwood.

Romeo was forced to field a shoestring squad with only three substitutes. Among the notable absentees were defender Levi Heholt, who was still missing after being forced off in last weekend’s win over South Park, midfielder Jay Welch and Harry Hoath, who ruled himself out on the morning of the game with a high temperature.

Northwood, who were winless in their last three prior to kick-off, went ahead midway through the first half when Thatcham goalkeeper Callum Smart failed to deal with Deago Dunbar-Bonnie’s corner from the right and the former Barnet midfielder Kofi Anokye-Boadi pounced to poke home the loose ball.

Thatcham equalised 10 minutes into the second half when Harvey Harry, who returned for a second spell in West Berkshire earlier this month, raced through the heart of the home side’s defence and produced a cool finish to make it 1-1.

However the Kingfishers’ problems defending balls into their box reared their ugly head again as the Woods restored their lead in the 61st minute when Anokye-Boadi bagged his second of the game after Thatcham failed to clear from a long throw.

The hosts extended their advantage six minutes later thanks to a superb strike from Harry Gallagher, who curled an effort beyond Smart from the edge of the box, and Northwood wrapped up the points three minutes from time when former Havant & Waterlooville wideman Lucas Sinclair headed home from Dunbar-Bonnie’s cross.

And Yashwa Romeo felt his side were well-beaten on the day but accepted that the occasional bad performance is part-and-parcel of having such a young side, with Thatcham still coming to terms with the departures of skipper Nathan Jones and the experienced Curtis Angell.

“We were down on numbers but we won’t make excuses, we had a bad day and we weren’t great,” he said.

“It was a poor, lacklustre performance. They dominated pretty much from start to finish and it was just one of those days. We were poor from start to finish and one to 11.

“I can’t really fault the boys too much because we have been on a good run and with all the young players that we’ve got, these things will happen.”

The Kingfishers have been much-improved defending dead-balls of late but, in the absence of towering midfielder Harry Hoath and with three natural full-backs in the back four, Romeo was frustrated to see his side concede from three set-pieces.

He said: “We really missed Harry in there, he does a lot of good work for us in the box.

“I think we’ve improved a lot from set-plays and we’ve actually scored from a lot, so I have to give credit to the boys.

“There are just games where it creeps back in. When Harry isn’t there it can be a struggle.”

One positive Romeo is taking from the game is the performance of goalscorer Harvey Harry.

The fleet-footed forward made his Kingfishers debut when he was just 17 and has had spells at Slough, Binfield, Bracknell and Southall before returning for a second stint at the Mettal Stadium two weeks ago.

Now 20, the winger has made a bright start since re-signing for the club and Romeo admitted he’s been impressed with the lively attacker.

“I kept in contact with him since he left,” he said.

“When he left the first time I was wanting to play with a narrower shape and he wanted to play on the wing rather than up front.

“He’s gone and got a lot of good experience elsewhere and he’s benefitted from that.

“He’s just done what I know he can do. He’s a constant threat, he loves taking players on and he’s very hard to defend against one-on-one.

“I think the club feels like home for him and he’s going to be a great asset.”

Arguably Thatcham’s brightest spark has been Jordi Ebanda, who drew a blank on Saturday but has scored five goals in his last five games and has filled the goalscoring gap left by the likes of Harry Hoath, Christian Johnson and David Nyarko.

And Romeo was full of praise for the versatile midfielder after becoming one of his side’s most consistent performers of late.

He said: “He’s got great attributes.

“He’s a central midfielder but I saw him banging the goals in in training and so we’ve tried him in a few slightly more advanced positions.

“He missed a sitter against Reading City and I think that knocked his confidence a little bit.

“He went away and it took him a while to get going again but since the Corinthian Casuals game he has been outstanding.

“He’s big, strong, can hold the ball up, technically good and he knows where the back of the net is.

“He’s massively stepped up to the plate and he’s a pleasure to work with.”

Thatcham will be hoping to bounce back tomorrow with the visit of third-placed Southall, who beat the Kingfishers 1-0 in the reverse but have failed to win in three of their last five games, losing twice.

And Romeo, who is expecting to have Hoath back in the side on Tuesday night, is backing his side to return to form.

“Generally, we bounce back really well from a defeat,” he said.

“The boys will be determined and hopefully it will be an entertaining game.”

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