Well, I predicted 1-1 against Chester – I was wrong, 0-0 was the score and I was crediting our strikers with the ability to score with my prediciton – on Saturday they wouldn’t have scored with a sackful of scag.
They were booed off again (3 games on the trot) after a performance which was – at best – piss poor. Thank God for Mark Tyler, as he kept us in the game, and deserved the man of the match award which went to Nico I think.
The day started well, I had a nice drive up the M1 listening to the cricket (more of that later) and then as I parked in Crawley Road, who should park next to me? None other than the very Keet’ Keane I was writing about in the blog last week. Rio Charles and Lewis ‘Porno’ Emmanuel also pulled up alongside Keet’ and me.
I should have said something or ‘hello’ but I get terribly star-struck and Keet’ would probably recognise my voice as the bloke who used to should “Too slow Keane” at him from the stands.
That, my 12″ Subway and the fact that they had the cricket on in the bar behind the Kenny were as good as it got. Once the football started it went downhill.
Mick started with three strikers on the pitch, though it soon became clear that Gallen was playing in midfield in Asa Hall’s place. Not that there is anything unusual or wrong about that because Gallen’s intelligence and good passing enables him to boss a game from there. Newton was still injured so Rossi Jarvis moved out to the right and Burgess was back on the left. Nico came back in the midfield and Shane Blackett started at left back. Unfortunately Blackett failed to cross the half way line in the first half and so Burgess had no support. Fortunately he was substituted after an hour (I have my worries about him) and Freddie Murray came on and looked okay, but couldn’t link up with Burgess on the left again (in the way he had successfully vs Mansfield) as Burgess moved out to the right to accommodate Jake ‘Mascot’ Howells on the left. To be fair to Howells he did a couple of good runs and looked very lively, but not with any great success.
Nico got booed at the end, and he can probably understand why some people did it. Personally I think he had a reasonable game for him. Okay, so most of his passess went astray, but he did do what he does best and make some critical challenges and blocks and shouted at people and kicked some of the opposition. Defensively he is excellent.
Craddock did put in more effort this week, but didn’t look terribly bothered. Basham was anonymous and was out-jumped by their centre half when we lumped the ball to him. Basham came off after 59 mins and Gallen moved up front with Craddock, and Jarvis played alongside Nico in the middle. Gallen did two brilliant examples of holding the ball up and then turning but alas his passes and runs came to nothing.
So what went wrong? There was no spark, no inspiration, no drive and no skill. We played the long ball, with no width and barely two passes along the ground or to our own players. Chester got what they came for and generally ‘managed the game’ in the second half, eg players going down and staying down to disrupt the flow of the game. Chester had enough decent chances to win the game and can feel aggreived that they didn’t get 3 points.
Now, what was Mick’s excuse at the end? I think that he was very realistic in his comments and didn’t try to make it sound as if 0-0 was a success. He said:
“We are short on bodies. But we never got a foothold in the game and to be fair we got worse as the first half went on,” he said.
“We’ve kept chopping and changing the side and haven’t been able to field a settled side week in, week out.
“But having said that we’ve got a more than adequate team out there that should be capable of beating Chester or any other team in this league.
“But we just weren’t good enough today. To not have a shot on target in the whole of the 90 minutes is very disappointing.
“We couldn’t get to grips with it. People were making the wrong decisions, we weren’t moving the ball quick enough, the midfield couldn’t support the front two and defensively at times we looked all over the place.”
My only comment on Mick’s are that whilst we do have injuries and on Saturday Hatch, Newton, Hall and Keane were out, there has been no reaon to muck around with the tactics and the formation as much as he has done.
Newton’s out – okay so play Jarvis there or Gnapka and stick to the decision. Okay, Hall was out today, and his understudy should either be Jarvis or Gallen. Keane wouldn’t have played because Nico was holding and we’ve know that Hatch has been out all season and will be for two more months and should have a plan B.
Train and play with the same formation and with the same roles. Our players don’t know from one week to the next if they are in or out, what formation we will be playing and which side of the pitch they will start.
It should be easy (it is for other teams) so why should it be so hard for us?
On a more positive note, we won the Ashes yesterday and I was there. I had a marvellous weekend and met four old mates from Uni at various times and in various Pubs in London. Since Thursday I have had one Japanese meal and three curries.
And yes, the windows to my office are wide open.
P5 W3 D2 – Pos: 3rd.
Ashes: P5 W2 L1!