Here is PDW’s report on last night’s ‘match’:
A point in the bank with the Money withdrawn with a very low interest rate, not the best way to start yet another ” bright new era”. Still, on a positive note, our performance was like vintage Barcelona compared to the Southport shambles. Neither game was a barrow of laughs.
After an OK start with some more thoughtful approach play, we faded badly, it was soon back to the Raggy Arse Rovers routine. Rarely looking like troubling the jittery looking Masters in goal, almost a year to the day, he conceded a mere 8 (eight) at his last visit to Kenilworth Road for Hayes.
We are what we are: a team chronically lacking form and confidence. Same old story, lack of creavity in middle of the field. At least Lawless is back at Kidderminster, well I say that if Brabin can manage to drop his missus from the team. Easy target aside, where was Dan Walker tonight? Looked by far our best attacking threat on Saturday and not even in the sixteen. Appreciate most in professional football are utterly clueless, but bloody hell, going on Saturday’s oasis of delights, Walker should have been one of the first names inked in.
Had we gone Howells and Keane in the centre, with Walker and Willmott down the flanks it may have given us more thrust. May not have worked, but it’s a tad more attacking than two defensive midfielders(AGAIN) at home against a team in the bottom eight, with all due respect to the Cumbrians, who are in decent nick, Bath pulling the plug on them, breaking a four match winning run.
To be fair to Brabin, although far from convinced by him, given he that was the man brought in to identify future new players when Money came in, that hasn’t be a rousing success. He probably could have done without the game tonight ( him and me both). He will live or die on the play offs, given both his and our success at failure in them, the omens aren’t good. Not going to judge him on one game and maybe two training sessions. Need a lot of hard graft to turn us around, presently. Starting with attacking corners, all low flat to the near post would be a place to begin. With some difficult looking away games in the near future, it may well get worse before it gets better again.
Barrow were worth their point, put in a very determined defensive performance, and had they supplied their left winger Almond more service to run at Newton, could have nicked a win. Barrow looked to have improved significantly (or is it we have got far worse?) They are a barber’s nightmare, more slapheads in their team than in a Telly Savalas lookalike competition. The most famous baldy of the lot, Darren Sheridan, now a 856 year old veteran, good to see he he can moan as well as ever though he refereed the game quite well. Although his little legs can’t run. Can still pass the ball, relatively well. They defended well as a team, willing to put blocks in and bodies on the line. In particular Bolland and Spender have an unfortunate habit of always being in the right place at the right time.
The longer the game went on, the less we looked than scoring, with the exceptation of some pinball mayhem in their box. Once again, few out and out chances created in open play, yet another goalkeeper put under not much pressure. Despite having plenty of the ball, most of the passes were going sideways and backways, hardly hurting Barrow. Hoped they would have been a bit more of a reaction from the players.
There was more green on the green than mud, after the pre-match watering. Murray, Willmott and Crow all returned to the side in place of Graham, Gnakpa and Owusus. Murray , back at left back, Howells pushed one place ahead of him, Willmott straight swop for Gnakpa, ditto Crow for Owusu.
Start was OK, passes popped around well, Crow put himself about, and was involved in our best two moves. However was dead on his feet at the end, why Owusu wasn’t given the last ten minutes , just in a bid to put some balls in the box, was very strange indeed.
Most of our decent football was down the flanks, Howells tucked inside, with Murray giving us attacking threat than Howells at left back has done recently. Barrow it was whom had the first attempt on goal, ball played out to the left by Ferrell, Almond, fed Curtis, playing up front on his own, hit the ball low and Tyler made a comfortable stop.
Decent give and go between Barnes-Homer and Howells, saw the latter chase into the box, a potential mix up between Spender and Masters, was only averted by Spender probing the ball behind, with his keeper glued to the line.
Talking of corners, the biggest cheer of the night, was we left two men forward on defending a corner, Crow and Willmott. Some quick thinking by Tyler, saving a weak effort from Bollard, immediately belted the ball forward, Crow denied by a fine flying intereception by the speedy Edwards.
Crow controlled a high ball very well, but his second tried to loop the ball beyond Masters, but merely got under it and poked it wayward of the target. Considering he scored twenty odd goals for a mid table Cambridge last season, he has shown little of that goal scoring ability in a Luton shirt.
Crow with his back to goal, found Howells, lovely weighted ball towards the byline, Murray knocked it across, Crow losing his marker Bollard, stabbed the ball towards the near post, but Masters managed to deflect it wide.
In terms of any promise, that was just about it, Keane played an awful flicked pass to put Kroca in all sorts of trouble, Curtis managing to find Smith, the drive was destined for the top corner before Tyler got up well and tipped it over. Fine save to keep the game level.
Barrow look comfortable in possession, taking advantage over a lack of closing down, had they noticed the amount of times Ferrell run from midfield unopposed and gave him the ball, we could have been in trouble.
Attempts from Crow and Willmott threatened the scoreboard and Keith Keane’s guttering more than the goal. We were beginning to run out of ideas, slightly, although Crow winning a loose ball from Sheridan, playing his pass out to Willmott finding Barnes-Homer snatched his strike as Barrow defenders waded for the block.
Barnes-Homer chesting down the ball into Crow’s path, neat flick over, Willmott on the shoulder of the defence, raced through, Masters was fast as well off his libne and Willmott was cramped for room asnd his shot hit Masters and bounced away.
Barrow, in the first half anyway, were more positive than I expected, and again looked dangerous as Almond got the better of Newton bfefore shooting/crossing which rolled past the goal.
Second half, we didn’t really get going. Would have preferred if Brabin had used his subs quicker than he did, even then it was only one.Considering three of our subs were attacking options, it was slightly negative of the manager not to react when you saw how the second half was developing. Barrow were happy to sit back, soak up pressure and counter attack with pace when needed. It was very frustating, as we didn’t use the ball well enough, not using the flanks as much as in the previous half and our build up was fairly slow and predictable. With little movement, we made it easy for Barrow than it should have been for them.
Crow and Barnes-Homer linking up again well, MBH’s attempted return pass for Crow, was intercepted by Howells, who ended up knocking the bll away from Crow. Pearson shoved Crow to the deck. Keane’s free kick, was headed across gaol by Kroca, Pilkington neatly finished with his head past Masters, but the flag was up for pushing.
Willmott on the end on a cruching tackle by Edwards, following through on him( not very hygenic), and was correctly cautionly. Willmott was full of running, but didn’t get enough service. He definately offers some hope. But with the left back on a caution, admittedly he was fast, no one bar one Gnakpa attempted run at him to bring about the second caution. Fine wing play by Murray, losing Rutherford well before dispatching the centre, Crow only only prod his header at Masters. . Murray and Howells got in each other’s way from keane’s free kick, the ball dropped to Crow but was unable to turn it in.
At the other end, almost a terrible misunderstandingbetween Tyler and PIlkington cost us dearly, Tyler rolled a short goal kick to Pilkington not looking, Rutherford picked up the loose ball, luckily his pass was to an offside positioned Curtis, who to Tyler’s credit blocked a fierce shot, not aware of the raised flag.
More huff and puff towards Barrow’s goal. Keane’s pass out to the right, found MBH, decent ball in, Howells outstretched leg hardly making any connection to cause Barrow problems. Apart from the chance created to them by Tyler and Pilkington, Barrow ‘s nearest moment came after a rash, late tackle by Murray on Spender, Ferrell’s deep free kick drifted, but no one moved.
The first much neede change came with Gnakpa on for Carden. Whose main attribute seems to be shadowing opposition players. Howells went central, Willmott swopped wings and Claude entered stage right( wing). Kroca up like a tin of John West, couldn’t keep his header down after Howells’ short corner from the right found Willmott.
Keane was starting to get the better of the midfield, beating Sherdian to the ball, finding Willmott, Masters smartly off his line, lumbered into him, the ball dropped for Crow, the angle wasn’t the best, nor was the finish, chest trap and sending the ball in the crowd. Gnakpa had one of his trademark, elephant charges, past Edwards, low and hard towards the afce of the goal, a semi block by Pearson, but again it was a white and blue shirt following up to hack clear rather than an orange one.
Time was ticking away, our passing was going astray, scuffy chances were the name of the game, Keane’s ball into the box ( everyone piling in at the back post….is that the most creative we can be from free kicks) Masters made a right old hash of it, dropped for MBH , almost slipping but managing to find the target ( something that some be celebrated given the past two games), but Spender on the line cleared away.
Another free kick belted into the box, Pilkington won it, MBH took possession but his shot cannoned off Edwards. On the break, we were short on defensive cover, as Curtis found Smith, but his attempted curler was well over and never troubling Tyler.
As the match reached it’s not so thrilling conclusion, a couple of things did sum up our play , a huge , horrible slice by Kroca which would reached Caddington but for the Mian Stand. His distribution in the opening stages was fine, even coming out of defence with it a couple of times, but went to pot and in the final seconds of injury time, Murray taking an age to dry the ball with a towel, before lobbing it gently on the name of the first defender.
Mark Tyler 7, Adam Newton 5.5 , Zdenek Kroca 6, George Pilkington 6.5, Freddie Murray 7.5 , Robbie Willmott 6.5 , Keith Keane 6.5 , Paul Carden 4, Jake Howells 5.5, Danny Crow 6.5, Mathew Barnes-Homer 6.5 .
Subs not used – Luke Graham, Amari Morgan-Smith, Kevin Pilkington and Lloyd Owusu. Booked – Murray
Barrow – Masters, Spender, Pearson, Bollard, Edwards, Rutherford, Smith, Sheridan, Ferrell,Almond( Nicholas), Curtis. Booked – Edwards, Sheridan, Almond.
*THE DISCLAIMER* The above ratings were picked on a whim and very rarely are an accurate reflection on the player’s performances simply to annoy the reader. Today’s fatous comments about happy as larry Ricky Ponting’s resigning from the Australian captaincy. In his honour, Im going to say ” Yeah look” before sniffing loudly without the aid of a handkerchief, repeatly for a minute whilst chewing gum without closing my mouth, like someone dragged up from the gutter in honour of the ( Gary) Pratt.