Monday, 11 July 2011

Bondz Voyage

Bondz N’Gala left Argyle last week, moving up the road to Huish Park after sealing a free transfer to Yeovil Town. The London-born defender spent more than 14 months at Home Park and made 35 appearances for the Greens, scoring one goal. N’Gala, who had previously made a handful of league appearances whilst on loan at Weymouth, MK Dons and Scunthorpe, was again lent out by the Hammers in March 2010 as Paul Mariner sought to bolster his squad with the Pilgrims in the midst of their doomed battle against relegation from the Championship. The 20-year-old impressed while making his debut in the 2-0 victory over Ipswich at Portman Road, one of the high points of the Mariner era, and was an ever-present for the rest of the season as Argyle fought gamely throughout March and April, before finally throwing in the towel in the wake of the 2-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough on Easter Monday.

Despite the announcement that a new manager would be brought in for the following season, N’Gala was snapped up on a free transfer by the leaderless Pilgrims in May 2010, presumably on the recommendation of Paul Mariner who remained in his role as Head Coach. New boss Peter Reid chose to deploy Bondz in his less-preferred position of right-back at the start of the 2010-11 campaign, a decision that paid early dividends as a deep N’Gala cross led to the only goal in the 1-0 opening day victory over Southampton at St Mary’s.

The N’Gala-as-a-fullback experiment continued through the first month of the season as the Pilgrims made a stuttering start to their League One campaign, before a controversial dismissal during the 3-2 triumph over Sheffield Wednesday in September led to the return of the (temporarily) rehabilitated Marcel Seip at full-back, with Bondz switching back to his more natural home at centre-back. However, the partnership forged in the centre of defence with Reda Johnson was not an entirely happy one, as occasionally inspired blocks and challenges were accompanied by moments of miscommunication and frequent lapses in concentration. An early dismissal away at Oldham further blotted Bondz’s copybook, as the Pilgrims conceded two late goals to lose 4-2 after playing nearly 45 minutes with nine men.

N’Gala made a handful of appearances throughout November, December and January before reclaiming his first team spot in the midst of Argyle’s horrible winless run throughout February. Back out on the right, with Stephane Zubar and Curtis Nelson firmly established as the unpaid Pilgrims first choice centre-halves, N’Gala registered his first professional goal at Hillsborough in March, opening the scoring in the memorable 4-2 victory with a crisp left-footed drive from the edge of the penalty area. Bondz made five more appearances as the Greens finally slid to a second straight relegation before requesting permission at the end of the season to make a summer move to a club closer to home.

Memorable moments

Southampton 0, Argyle 1 – August 2010. Bondz whips in a deep cross from the right flank, Fallon nods across goal and Summers slides the ball home. One nil, three points, plenty of false hope. Hear it here at Greens on Screen.

Sheffield Wednesday 2, Argyle 4 – March 2011. N’Gala gives the Greens a perfect start to a thoroughly entertaining afternoon, netting his first professional goal with a vicious left-footed strike. Hear it here at Greens on Screen.

Dagenham & Redbridge 0, Argyle 1 – April 2011. Not named amongst the Argyle substitutes, Bondz joined Rory Fallon in the away end with the travelling Green Army.

Check out Bondz’s Argyle stats at the Greens on Screen database.

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