You know things are bad when a group of blokes standing in front of a bungalow start doing the Poznan when their part time team ease to a well deserved success, a fair reflection on the game, over our bunch of over paid spineless and gutless little lot. The sooner this dismal season ends the better and Buckle can hopefully do a repeat of the Texas chain massacre to get rid the disinterested members of the squad the better, perhaps we can start moving forward, getting this proud football club back somewhere nearer it should be . Buckle, watching on from the Main cow shed making copious notes, looked pale by the end, no mean feat considering the amount of fake tan he was wearing. At least his face tones in with our home shirt. What the bloody hell has he let himself in for?? Good luck, Mr B. He must have a serious amount of self confidence to take the job. Ferguson and Mourinho would have their hands full with this lot, let alone a man who failed majestically at Bristol Rovers.
The saving grace, the final whistle was blown and we could go home. A fitting obituary to Brabin. I wish him every success in attempting to complete a sentence in perfect English. It’s important to have dreams in life. A slot on ” Just a Minute” awaits. Namely in a cowardly, negative team selection, ending with two strikers on the wing ( a touching tribute) the players either look under prepared, demotivated and not able to carry out instructions. Confidence has gone, it has for weeks. Rarely can such a dramatic and collective lowering of standards ( for whatever reason) have been seen within a group of what should be decent players. Everyone has off days, but to be outplayed, out battled over all areas of the pitch is pathetic. Braintree are a typical non league side, bash it forward, challange for every ball ( we barely won a second ball), physical and rely on set pieces. Three years on and we still seem unaware of the teams we are up against.
Horrible to watch and anti football, but on a bobbly pitch with long grass which was as flat as a cobbled street on a hill, it’s not designed for the beautiful game. But trying to out hoof a specialist long ball side, is that how pitiful a shambles we have become? How shorn of ideas? It’s becoming more and more like amateur hour. The officials were dire all around, in the first half it’s probably just as well . As Braintree were denied a stone wall penalty when Thomas felled by a surprisingly out of position Osano, a foul when occured a good few yards inside the box, was awarded as a free kick, marks goal disallowed for a very soft push on Kovacs and Tyler produced a wonderful fingertip save, sprawling save to deny a stinging dive from Davis was given as a free kick. Aswad ” Don’t turn around” Thomas stole a good five yards at every throw in, under the Linesmans nose, even when he had a over due word, Thomas still continued to gain ground.
The miracle is we are still in the race for the play offs has become a case of a battle to avoid them. Us, York and Southport all lost the last two games.Which again sums us the absolute dross in this League. Which makes the situation it all the more maddening. We aren’t very good, but one poor team is going up with Fleetwood. Fourbald men fighting over a comb.
Didn’t like the starting eleven at all. Blackett at left back, pushing Howells further forward, fine no problem. Three defensive midfielders – Keane, Lawless, Boucaud. Admittedly Lawless shouldn’t be regarded as a holding midfielder, but he rares runs forward, actually he bares runs these days. If Neilson and Carden had picked a team to put tin hats on to battle and include say Poku ( If there ever a game tailor made for him, twas this ) and McAllister. Fair enough. But Boucaud against a team who would be in his face quickly. Really? On a nice, sunny day, show boating at 3-0 up, spraying the ball about, he would look brilliant, but unfortunately this is the Conference.
Tyler in goal, back four of Osano, Kovacs, Pilkington, Blackett. Midfield three of Keane, Lawless and Boucuaud. O’Connor and Howells out wide, leaving Gray to single handly cope with two nightclub bouncers. Once again he did his best, scoring with another fine finish which he took without thought and rapid too, one of only a handful of attempts we had. He has made the step in extremely well and deserves better than to be pitched in amongst a bunch of serial losers and people coasting, doing the least to earn their salary. Professionals? In name only.
As I have already said, Braintree are a muck and nettles team, odd when managed by Alan Devonshire playing in an usually attractive West Ham side. Hate long ball hoof teams , but they play to their strengths and know their roles in the team. Basic stuff, which was seemly beyond our previous management. The two forwards Marks and Wright, our former loanee, who can still control the ball further than most players can kick it. Combined very well. For a club with their meagre resources, a top high finish in the table would be excellent achievement.
Cressing Road, with it’s infamous white hot atmosphere, is a bog standard non-league ground. Believe it or not, it’s improved recently. Full of cow-sheds, amidst trees and a new housing development. If I bought a flat onlooking a non-league club, would draw the curtains. The support was pretty much 50/50 for both sides. We have an incredible support for the rubbish the team have produced for too many years.
We looked surprised by the way Braintree played. Why, as they acquainted themsleves well in the reverse game and it was always going to be a battle. Although O’Connor went close, with ashot which struck Gray and was hoofed away by Wells. We didn’t settle, waiting too much time on the play, passing was terrible when put under pressure and we looked like a team which are there for the taking.
Gibson, a thorn in Blackett’s side for most of the game, with his pace and delivery from the right, had already crashed into Pilkington in the box looking for a penalty. The referee waved play on, but as usually is the case looked to even things out and did so giving them a free kick on the right flank, O’Connor slapped in a well directed kick into the land of the giants, Tyler making a poor judgement coming out to fist, but the huge gangling figure of Bailey-Dennis flicked the ball into the far corner before he could get there.
Thankfully we got back into the game, O’Connor lookly slightly more lively than in his last few games, played a pass which Thomas unwittingly played into the path of Gray, reacting sharply to shot beneath McDonald and continue his impressive start for the Town.
Any hope, that would settle us down and we could at least attempt to try and play some football was a false one. Kovacs and Pilkington battled well against Marks, who backed in most of the afternoon without being penalised, and Wright, even when we cleared the ball, Davis and Reason snapped up the loose ball, got it wide, where we looked very dodgy in full back areas. Boucaud so ponderous in possession, at least he picked out an orange shirt, shame we were playing in our old dark navy strip. Lawless little better. Keane again at least popped his head out of the parapit in to put in a reasonable shift, but the help he received from his two midfield colleagues was lamentable.
Gibson’s centre was met by an off balance Marks, resulting in a wayward header . Boucaud, under little pressure, spread the ball straight to Wright, shifting the ball inside to Marks, who rifled the side netting. Gray won a free kick near the right corner after being sexually assault by Wells. Lawless clipped the ball which O’Connor couldn’t keep down.
But it was the Essex team, who looked dangerous when they got forward, we conceded plenty of soft free kicks and needless corners, just to ramp up the pressure. An excellent pass by Reason, a vaguely proper player in a team full of hackers fed Gibson, his cross flicking off Kovacs, Wright looking for a volley, which ended up nearer the bungalow/clubhouse behind the goal. A more woeful execution of a volley you couldn’t wish to see.
From another illegal Thomas throw, Reason flicked the ball down the line to Wright, with osano not in psosition, Wright could aim low to marks, who got in front of Kovacs( with presumably teh aid of a very light push), to divert the ball into the far corner, which got ruled out. .
Howells,putting in another anonymous performance, a far cry from his excellent start to 2012, hit a fierce cross from Gray’s throw, plucked out by the small McDonald. Then Reason rolled rolled the ball to the overlapping Thomas, tripped by Osano inside the box for a free kick. Wright looking for the top corner, only located Howells’ head from the free kick.
We couldn’t keep the ball for long periods, it was a dream of a game for a hoof ball fan. Gray put in plenty of good movement, shame no one spotted it. Then when hauled down by Bailey-Dennis, was booked for it and a drop ball was given. How? Why?
Tyler whose handling wasn’t good, made amends by prodding a brillant save, after we failed to get the ball away, Lawless’ weak prod was picked by Davis outside the box, hit a drive true and clean, Tyler, diving to his left , touched the ball onto his post and behind for a goal kick.
Somehow and incredibly undeservedly, we got to the break level. Surely Neilson and Carden would change it, too much for cones droppers obviously. It was crying out for Watkins, someone to keep the ball, commit defenders, all slow and looked shaking defending deep. Little pace, in the heart of it. Watkins, in the event, didn’t get his usual belated ten minutes.
Second half, we did improve slightly. O’Connor playing more centrally. Whilst the quality of our play was shocking, we did have more of the ball and the contest was even.
However Paine sent a dipping screamer wide. O’Connor missed a decent chance, a poor header by Dvais, gave him the ball between the right back O’Connor and centre half Wells, he should have shot earlier, but elected to drive into the box. McDonald made a fine save to his left. But in our current fragile state we need those chances to go in.
O’Coonor was withdrawn for McAlister, which didn’t help matters. Would have been better playing O’Coonor on the right, taking off one of the midfield flouncers. McAllister was given shocking service, with Bailey-Dennis on his back, the ball was pumped over his head. Often he kept pointed to his chest, but no-one appeared to notice.
Braintree looked to have run out of ideas. Wright and marks were a threat with their physiacl appraach, but apart from Marks’ header straight at Tyler from Wright’s swinging free kick. We weren’t under the same intense pressure of the first half. . Tyler did have to make a fine claim from Gibson’s free kick.
We started pressing higher up the pitch, under Bailey-Dennis gave the ball away to Lawless, his neat flick Gray was just unable to control. Poku replaced Boucaud, but was prompting played on the left of the midfield, rather than sit in front of the back four. His passing can be sketchy and was very poor today.
Osano, starting to have the confidence to go forward, but most of the time he just lost it, this time, his centre dropped nicely for Lawless, but the shot was blocked off by Bailey-Dennis. Just when we looked like getting on top, we lost a another poor goal from a set piece.
Poku made a clumsy tackle against Gibson about thirty goals from goal ina central position. Wright stepped up and played the ball deep, when Marks got around the back of the defence to nod in unmarked. Credit it was good movement and finish, but the defences were like statues.
Fleetwood replaced Lawless. He was very keen, almost too keen, his passing and control on a difficult surface were dreadful. He played on the left, Gray on the right ( switching over soon after), with McAllister.
That goal Braintree renewed life and confidence in them, and they starting knocking the ball aroundr and playing through the midfield, with ease. Wright held Kovacs shirt ( missed by the referee), played a one two with Marks before Tyler parried away the strike to his left.
As the game approached injury time, we almost got an equaliser, Osano dropped his left shoulder, and belted the ball low through a pack of bodies, McDonald must have seen it late, could only push the ball away to the left, Gray reacted but was denied by a superb match winning block by O’Connor.
Howells was crowded out ( spending far too much of the game on the right), Davis made an impressive break, flicking the ball to the right to Marks bearing down with only Osano back, Marks fell over Osano’s trailing leg, penalty was given. Marks took an age to limp off. The bog roll thrown onto the pitch from the uncovered terracing was an apt summary of our club’s current state. Gibson’s well struck penalty beat Tyler to his right with sheer pace.
Once again defeats for Southport and York have handed us a life line. Whether we deserve one , is an entirely different matter. What team on Monday should Buckle pick? Eleven who care and have some professional pride would do for starters, so that rules out many of our current playing staff.
Mark Tyler 6.5, Curtis Osano 4.5 , Janos Kovacs 7 , George Pilkington 6.5, Shane Blackett 6.25, Andre Boucuad 3( Godfrey Poku 4.5), Alex Lawless 4.75( Stuart Fleetwood) , Keith Keane 6 , Aaron O’Connor 6.25( Craig McAllister 5.5) , Andre Gray 7.25, Jake Howells 5
*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 about the new manager. Well, everyone else has their say. Have severe reservations about Buckle and his two year deal. Don’t trust many people on the football side of the club on footballing matters, so hope they are right and I am wrong ( usually am). At least it isn’t Martin Allen, would personally have stopped going if he had been employed. Don’t wish to be associated by the raff riff like him. I do have standards. Personally would have gone for Tisdale ( not just becuase of his cravat either), Bogie, Daish ( despite his beard and terrible dress sense which would shame a homeless person) or if it had been an unemployed urchin,maybe Scott.
Just hope Buckle learns from his horrible time at Bristol Rovers. If he had come straight from Torquay, would have been more happy about it. But everyone makes a disaster of one job, hope that was his. Selects a team who attacks, has faith in younger players. Weeds out the weak. Gets the team fitter, sorts out the medical staff – how many players injured in training. Sign players with defined roles and not a lorry load of half hearted ones. Most importantly, do not play centre forwards on the wing. Please. Oh, don’t blame others for your own failures either.