Last season Gala Wilton survived relegation from the Gloucestershire County League by the skin of their teeth, but their fortunes have turned around at the start of the 2019/20 season.
After five league games, Gala find themselves joint top with four wins and are the league’s current top scorers on 20 goals. Not many people could have foreseen their great start to the campaign, especially joint-manager Dan Gillespie, who admitted he was hoping to just see a more competitive Gala side.
“It’s been a really good start,” Gillespie said. “I expected us to be more competitive this season but I honestly didn’t envisage us being top at this early stage. We shot ourselves in the foot first game away at Boco, when leading with five minutes left, however I think that gave us the bit between the teeth and the performances since then have been first class.”
It is a major turnaround for Gala who have played some eye-catching football in their early matches and have put together a squad mixed with youthful exuberance and plenty of experience and Gillespie expressed his delight with how well the pre-season programme and recruitment has been and believes that has benefitted his side in the early rounds of matches.
“I spoke to Mez [joint manager Ian Merrick] when I first came in and said that the initial thing we needed to work on was being hard to beat. We deliberately played as many higher level teams in pre-season to show the players the level we need to be competing at in the County League.
That along with the recruitment has been massive and we’ve now got players in the team who can score goals and create. The only disappointing aspect really is the amount of goals we have conceded. Last Saturday was the first time this season we haven’t gone behind so we still need to work on that. You cannot keep conceding first and expect to win the game,” Gillespie added.
Whilst Gala have conceded 9 goals, they have started with a front line that is on fire. Ryan Dobbins, who re-joined the club after time at Tuffley Rovers, has already scored 9 times with James Bowers and Martin Smith amongst the league’s top scorers already – which is something that Gillespie admits he and Merrick are delighted with.
“Both Dobbins and Bowers have had good starts, and with Martin Smith to add into that as well it has been great to see as we have a genuine goal threat between them. Also off the pitch it adds extra competition which can only help us.
One thing Mez and I had been keen to do is set players targets in their respective positions and knowing that Gala didn’t score many goals last season, we are hoping that all three can keep their form up in particular.”
In Saturday’s featured game for us at Severn Sport, Gala host a Frampton United side who are also on 12 points and have a played 4, won 4 record in the County League so far. Ahead of the game Gillespie was full of praise for Saturday’s visitors and has called on his side to keep up their momentum.
“Before the season started Frampton were the team that everyone was tipping to win the league and with the start they had had there hasn’t been anything to suggest otherwise. We know it is going to be a tough game but it is going to be one that will give us a good marker of where we possibly could be.
We’ve caught a few teams out so far this season and maybe we have been overlooked because of last season in particular but we can lay a marker down of our own this weekend and I’m hopeful we can get a positive result to keep the momentum going,” Gillespie said.
Gala Wilton host Frampton United in the County League this weekend and it is our featured game here on Severn Sport. Kick off at 15:00 on Saturday afternoon.