Romeo won’t panic as Thatcham’s comfortable win over Corinthian Casuals is overshadowed by the departure of skipper and experienced defender
Thatcham Town boss Yashwa Romeo insists he won’t panic after the Kingfishers’ comfortable 3-1 win over Corinthian Casuals was overshadowed by the departure of two of their senior players.
Three first half goals, including a brace for Jordi Ebanda, helped Thatcham return to winning ways and avenge their defeat earlier in the season against a struggling Casuals side who have amassed just 13 points from 26 games this term. Sam Tanner was also on target for the visitors, while Aderi Arthur-Dede pulled one back late on for the home side.
However the Kingfishers were rocked by the news that skipper Nathan Jones and experienced defender Curtis Angell were set to leave the club.
On the pitch, Romeo was impressed with how his side started Saturday’s game and remains bullish about Thatcham’s chances of sneaking into the Isthmian League South Central play-offs.
“We came out the traps really fast and pretty much blew them away in half an hour,” he said.
“We started very well and were really good. Kyle (Daniel-Spray) was excellent; not just him, the whole team performed very, very well.
“We knew to be wary of them. They’ve had a lot of changes and had a good result last week against Hartley Wintney, but we knew that if we could get an early goal then it would put a lot of pressure on them. We didn’t want to give them a sniff. When you’re down there and you go 1-0 behind, it can feel like you’ve got a mountain to climb.
“We needed some of the forward guys to step up and that’s what happened. I was disappointed to concede a sloppy goal at the end but it was a very pleasing performance.”
In the absence of forwards Harry Hoath, who is injured, David Nyarko, who has not featured since going on trial with a club in Poland, and Christian Johnson, who returned to parent club Maidenhead last month, Romeo challenged some of his other attackers to fill the void left by the attacking trio, who have notched a combined 22 goals between them this term.
And so the Kingfishers boss was delighted to see Jordi Ebanda and Sam Tanner, who was one of Thatcham’s outstanding players at the beginning of the season before an injury ruled him out, on the scoresheet.
He said: “Sam hit the ground running when he first came in and it can sometimes take a little while after an injury to get back to those levels. Hopefully his goal can put the wind back in his sails.
“Jordi could have had a couple of goals in the last two weeks, against Guernsey and Leatherhead, so this should give him some confidence in the final third.
“Hopefully both of them will be able to kick on and help us push for the play-offs now.”
If Thatcham are to make a late surge for the play-offs, then they’ll have to do it without Nathan Jones and Curtis Angell.
Both Jones, who has been at the club for three years and was made captain over the summer, and Angell, who returned to the Kingfishers for a second spell in September following a distinguished stint with Hungerford Town, departed the club after accepting offers from elsewhere.
Yet Romeo will not be in a rush to bring in new players. FA Vase-winning defensive midfielder Jay Welch, who arrived last week, seems like a ready-made replacement for Jones while Thatcham have a number of defensive options, with Romeo also considering the possibility of recalling Oliver Bourne from his loan with Reading City.
However, with captain Jones leaving just a few months after vice-captain Cameron Rohart-Brown swapped Thatcham for Badshot Lea – added to the loss of Curtis Angell’s experience and leadership – Romeo admits he will explore some avenues in order to bolster his squad.
“I won’t be banging any doors down,” he said.
“Nathan’s a big loss, he’s been a great servant for the club. I’m disappointed to see him go, but sometimes players have to do what’s best for them. I think his replacement is already here in Jay. He brings a wealth of experience.
“I’m a bit more undecided in terms of a centre-half, I think I probably will have a look to see what’s out there. Curtis and his experience is going to be a massive miss, he’s come in and helped us organise defensively but we’ve got a few good options in that position.
“It’s a chance for some of the other lads to shine; it’s up to them whether they grab it or not.
“We will think about bringing in a couple, just to bolster the squad and give us a bit more experience from the bench.
“We’ve just got to get on with it and move on now.”
With Thatcham currently in 10th and 13 points outside the play-offs, the Kingfishers will need to win most of their home games if they’re serious about challenging for the top five.
And Romeo is determined that should begin with Saturday’s visit of eight placed South Park, who hammered the Kingfishers 5-1 in October.
He said: “We’ve got to play a lot of the teams in and around us over the next few weeks, so we really need to pick up points.
“Saturday is 100 per cent the type of game we need to win; if we don’t win those types of games, we’re never going to get there.
“We definitely can’t lose it, we’d probably be ok with a draw but we really need to win it.
“They beat us 5-1 at their place so the boys should be hungry to go and do something about it.”