After the the highlight of every season that is bad weather cancelling games, it was back to the old grindstone, with a decent performance and a comfortable win, which we didn’t really have to get out of third gear to achieve. Whilst the Lambs weren’t roasted, just merely well beaten. A bottle of mint sauce possess more footballing ability than our visitors from Staffordshire. Although such is the appalling standard within the bottom half of the division, they will probably get a mid-table finish, even if the team from SnowDome land are making their usual descent down the League after Christmas.
A few fists of fury aside from a number of Tamworth corners, Tyler had an untroubled afternoon. A brilliant flying block by Taylor stopped Marna’s fierce drive from going in. The match began in a heavy shower ( but more about the Tamworth team later), finished in sunshine with a power failure thrown in for good measure.
Postives today were a fine, unselfish display by Fleetwood, rediscovered his confidence and scoring touch in recent games, combined with an outstanding work ethic, which isn’t always the case with him. If he can learn to stop moaning all the time at officials however absymal they may be. Boucaud was excellent on debut ( if the bad weather had continued much longer he would have qualified for his testimonal before his debut) Confidence player, always looking to get on the ball, sprayed it about well, comfortable in possesion. However seem him enough at his previous clubs, to know he is rather hit and miss, and when things go against him, he can sulk and the toys go out of the pram. Promisiig debut all the same.
Kovacs, outstanding as ever in both boxes. Lawless filling in at right back after Osano made a quick exit, giving us drive from the both full back areas and against the weaker teams at home, it’s a risk worth taking playing two attacking full backs. Most teams which come to Kenilworth Road these days are negative and cowardly. We have enough players at the club, who can fill in the holding role in midfield anyway (Boucaud, Keane, Poku). Osano’s has done better in his last couple of games, his lack of awareness, positional sense in a defensive situuation is always a concern. On his day, he can be an asset going forward.
At times we looked rusty,only to be expected the players who weren’t involved at either Bedford or Kidderminster have had a long wait for a competitive match, the ideas were good, the execution of some of the passing not so,whilst we had plenty of possession most of it was backward and sideways not threatending the Tamworth defence, we didn’t create the usual assorted missed chances we get in home games normally.
Slightly unexpected line up. Kissock given a rare start after impressing at Kidderminster, as did Henry who wasn’t even in the sixteen. Funny old game, Saint! Fleetwood kept his place after playing well in the same game. It was the now usual shape, Tyler in goal, back four of Osano, Kovacs, Pilkington, Taylor, central three of Boucaud, with Lawless and Kissock in front of him. O’Connor and Howells out wide, Fleetwood playing on his own centrally. Plenty of attacking options on the bench but as usual no defensive cover, Watkins, Willmott, Crow and McAllister.
Tamworth looked medicore in the game up there and didn’t look any better today. At least their tedious little nobody in charge can’t moan about the sending offs this time ( Green was a obvious red card in that game and whilst they do have a point about Francis’ dismissal, it was 3-0 at the time so hardly effected the outcome and Tamworth played betetr with nine men). Playing 4-4-2, only two of their loanees stood out, Reece made some decent raids down the flanks and Isaac drove forward reasonably from midfield. Apart from Keane’s Bouncing Castle Francis who defended solidly. There isn’t much there and looked to have decline from the last couple of seasons. If they are relying ion that captain of industry Marna to do much, they are extremely optimstic.
Curious first half. We started brightly moving the ball well, if sometimes too slowly lacking width to our play, playing the safe pass or the lazy lump upfield was the order of teh day. Fleetwood had some poor passes look spot on and chased both whire shirts and lost causes. Howells in particular had a poor game considering some very good form recently. having a sharp haircut made him look like a Belson victim, to be honest he played like a man who had been gassed at times, before improving later. After Fleetwood’s goal, a real poacher’s effort, mananging to control Osano’s attempted shot, turning and squeezing past Hedge at his near post. rather than being a catalyst to better things , we stopped playing allowing Tamworth into the game. Which we got away with on the day, but against stronger sides we may not.
Tamowrth elected to pack the middle of the park, playing four narrowly across the pitch, but stood off us, allowing the team to gain control, but in a half of few chances Hedge was as unemployed as Tyler. Kissock, who didn’t get involved in the game often enough, fed Osano breaking forward , slipped the ball to Lawless, whilst turning but was unable to progress due to a solid tackle by Green. Tyler punching clearly away from McDonald’s left wing corner, the ball repled into the direction of Fleetwood, flighting a tremondous pass over to Kissock, he was slow and waited for the ball to cme to him, but Barrow anticipated first.
Most of long range passing was better than short range, a cracking ball by Kovacs, picked out Taylor outstandingly, a super controlled first touch by the left back, he hesitanted and could only flick it off Tate back to the keeper, the shot was on, albeit on his weaker right foot.
Tamowrth’s first sight of goal, came as we slept from a quickly taken throw by Patterson, an opportunity set up McDonald, his poke wide across goal with the aid of a deflection. We scored with our next attack, Osano moving forward,low strike, looking as though to would trundle back to Hedge, but Fleetwood controlled it, and turning the ball past the keeper.
Osano’s assist was his last involment, Watkins replaced him, with Lawless going back to full back. That goal seemed to push us back and allow tamworth into the game. The referee helped them out Watkins clearly having his shirt pulled off his back by Tate, but the referee waited and elected to give them a free kick near the half way line, drilled forward towards two of their taller memebers of their team Francis and Patterson, Kovacs managed to nod the ball away, but only as far as Marna, who caught the ball clearly with power and Taylor diving across to block the shot ( trust his side parting wasn’t harmed in the incident!).
During the period before half time, we got sloppy and Tamworth mainly through the guise of McKoy started to close us down. Kovacs haeded a Reece cross out of Tykler’s hands, we got nervous, decnt football was far and far between. Although Taylor started a stylish move down the left flank, Fleetwood’s reverse pass weatkins following it to it, squared the pass for O’Conor, who saw precious little of teh ball, could get enough on his shot to trouble Hedge.
Isaac get close after Kovacs rose highest to clear mcDonalds’s corner, the striek flew wide of Tyuler’s left post. Excellent give and go between Boucaud and Howells was only denied by an excellent sliding tackle by tate. Fleetwood missed a gulit edged chance, from Pilkington’s poke forward, getting on the shoulder of Green, through on goal, looked ideal for a chip, but shot tamely low and Hedge saved with his feet.
Pilkington’s passing was poor again, nothing wrong with his defending sliding in to keep out Barrow’s cross after overlapping Patterson’s pass.
We had a slowish start to the latter half. Apart from Tate’s header denying O’Connor, after Watkins fed the ball towards huim. Tamworth had a few moments. A purposeful drive forward by Isaac, knocked the ball down thr right channel, a dangerous low cross, Kovacs had to hack over the bar. From Barrow’s corner, picked out Isaac in acres of space, then Reece with a neat body swerve defeated Kissock, Watkins and Howells in the same movement.
After Barrow’s drive from Reece’s square pass, had the sting taken out of shot by Kovacs, which eventually went safely through to Tyler, although not far from the feet of Patterson.
Then we clicked back into gear, a delightful pinpoint pass from Watkins found O’Connor eronously ruled offside. Hege pushed out Boucaud’s drive. With McAllister ready to come in, Kissock farted about near the byline and waited for the inevitable foolish shove on him by Green. Kissock sent in a fine set piece towards Kovacs, heading down and in at the far post. Despite his assist Kissock made way and with McAllister on, we looked a better team, aklthough being 2-0 up helped massively. Fleetwood ended up playing on the left, with Howells moving inside.
Tamworth only had the odd further chance, Reece rolled in by McKoy struck wide and Boucaud blocking a decent move involving Marna, St Aimie and Patterson.. Watkins played a short cornher into Howells, playing a fine cross towards Kovacs, the surge of tanmopwrth all afternoon in both boxes, climbed above Franics, no mean feat, Hege tipped high but not away, McKoy doing his best to score an own goal, his header passed the post by a few inches.
Lawless having a fine game, attacking from full back position, sent in a cross, which Fleetwood had to retrieve on the left , spearing in a centre, which was knocked back by Howells and turned in by Franics with the close presense of Kovacs sliced into the net. Rather cheeky of Kovacs to claim that goal ( unless my eyes really are knackered).
Confidence rose, getting McAllister linking the play, both full backs almost playing as wingers. Hegebnsaved comfortabloy from Fleetwood’s dink. O’Connor held the ball up for watkins to shoot wide, with Fleetwood in a better position to his left. Neat pass by Howells, lovely touch by Taylor with his heel, turned and fizzed a low drives inches away. O’Connor combining tio good effect, Watkins’ header kissing the post from Lawless’ centre.Then what would have been a fine move but for Watkins’ heavy touch when aiming for McAllister after Lawless and and O’Connor feeding him the ball.
Nice local derby in Cumbria on Tuesday to start off our World tour in highly dubious places to visit by night. Barrow, Darlington, Wrexham and Gateshead( twice possibly). We struggled earlier in the season to cope with a packed programme of night matches and suffered some poor results. Which all but killed our title chances before they started.
Mark Tyler 6, Curtis Osano ( Adam Watkins 6.5) , Janos Kovacs 8.5, George Pilkiington 6.75, Greg Taylor 8, Andre Boucaud 8 Alex Lawless 7.5, John-Paul Kissock 6 ( Craig McAllister 6.75) , Aaron O’Connor 6 ( Robbie Willmott) Stuart Fleetwood 8.5, Jake Howells 5.75
Subs not used – Danny Crow, Kevin Pilkington,
Tamworth – Hedge, Tate, Green, Francis, Barrow, Reece( St Aimie), Isaac, McKoy, McDonald, Marna( Christie), Patterson(Thomas) . Booked – McKoy, Green.
*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 fatuous comments are being thankful ( or that be fankful) that the sex tape stories involving Adele are not true. That would put me right off using t’internet.