What a Gray Day!

Two good goals from Andre Gray were cancelled out by Christian Jolley’s efforts from Newport. An open game which Luton had the best of in the first half and Newport the second.

Just the briefest of reports tonight – I’m off around the country first thing tomorrow, taking in Great Yarmouth, Norwich and Leeds, before heading down to Southend, which means I’ll miss Thursday’s game against Ebbsfleet. Sad face type thingy.
Once again we played the positive 4-2-3-1 – with Martin and Gray excelling in their wider roles and with, in the first half at least, Lawless bossing the midfield to the extent that dear Jon Shaw was almost redundant leading the line.

Two individual errors cost us the goals. Rowe-Turner playing against his bogey team got in the way of Brill or if you like Brill failed to call for a ball which LRT then failed to get rid of with Jolley benefitting from a couple of strokes of luck with the ball falling into his lap to squeeze in their first and the equaliser.

For their second, a straightforward cross was inexplicably punched by Brill under no pressure and the ball worked its way out to Jolley who slashed a drive into the corner. Poor from Brill who otherwise had made some fantastic saves to keep Newport at bay.

Gray scored the first of the game – a well worked shortish corner on the left saw Martin swinging a cross across the goal to his buddy Gray standing completely unmarked at the far post and he volley it in.

His second was a rasping volley after retrieving the ball on the turn which had bounced away from him but bounced in such a way that he was able to swing his foot through it perfectly to win this season’s “careful son, if you bust that net, it’ll come out of your wages” award. A beauty.

Both sides had another clear chance each for a third. In the first half LRT cleared the ball or rather nudged Washington sufficiently to be able to clear the ball a yard or so from the goal line, having got around Brill. Seemingly it was a certain goal, and 9 times out of 10 he would have found a way to stab it into the net. How relieved were we? A bit of luck for a change.

At the other end, an interception/challenge from a Newport player effectively played a 20 yard perfect through ball through to Gray, who on a one on one with ol’ Lenny Pidgely blasted it over. Harder not to score surely than to score – but there you go. Gray’s a funny old chap, give him a split second and he’ll bury the ball on instinct alone, give him a second or two to think about it and his touch deserts him and he suddenly transmogrifies into McNulty in front of goal. Goal-fests apart, he’ll deservingly end up as our leading scorer this year. I hope we can keep him in the summer and JohnStill turns him into a slightly more refined player, it won’t take too much to double his tally in our promotion winning season next year – he’ll certainly get the chances.

There we go – I said it was short! I’ll do a longer season review at some point – mid-April seems a bit early to be saying ta ta to me but there you go.

Thank you for reading this year and enduring the rants and moans. I hope it wasn’t all negative in a season which otherwise has been pretty mediocre and couldn’t have got much worse really. Perhaps two cracking wins in the last two games will see us grab 7th or something like that, so it won’t seem too bad or ‘mid-table’.

I’m looking forward to seeing a few changes at KR over the summer, the much alluded to big news, some new signings and some genuine progress next year under JohnStill and team. I think we’ve seen a few green shoots of recovery, though we are still a long way short of being a good-enough team to sustain a threat next year. Fortunately JohnStill would be the first to hold his hand up and admit that, which makes a change from his three predecessors. Let us hope that no sugar daddies pour their money into one of our league opponents next year, so that we have the relatively level playing field we’ve had this year (not that it made any difference of course). And I do hope that the other Hatters, Stockport stay up, hopefully at the expense of Gateshead (only because of the travel and the inevitable trip to my in-laws – not because I don’t like Gateshead) and of course six points might make all the difference next year, so come on you Hatters!

 

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Combinations

 

After the ‘latest’ nadir against Gateshead, tonight’s 3-0 win was a refreshing and long overdue good performance.

Trying a new combination of players in a 4-2-3-1 formation, after about half an hour the players started to click, and once Dave Martin’s sweetly struck shot snuck in off the post, a weight was lifted off their shoulders and suddenly the team have a bit more confidence and thus freedom to start playing more cohesively as a unit. The outcome was a well-deserved 3-0, which could easily have been 4-0 or 5-0.

Well done to Lincoln to start with even less of an idea than we did, nice to play a team struggling even more than we were to find its feet. Good time to play them. Mind you we could have said that about Gateshead. The difference was, where previously Lincoln’s handful of early breaks proved fruitless tonight, in previous games this year they would have snuck a goal and put us on the back foot from the off. Not tonight. There were no clues to the eventual complete control of the game in the first half an hour, other than perhaps Martin’s disallowed (but excellent) offside goal from a gorgeous cross from the effervescent Gray. In fact I remember remarking that it was the longest half an hour of football for a long time, such hard work it was to watch. We did take a while to get going. There was too much in the air, and too many poor passes and woeful control. For a little while it looked as if it would once again be ‘one of those nights’. But a couple of bits of quality made the incisive difference. In a way that has been wholly lacking this year, and to be fair in the past 3, we took some half chances and turned them into goals. We were wasteful early on, peppering the scoreboard and Mrs Patel’s back garden with shots, but it clicked and we looked sharper than for a while.

Brill remained in goal, Mark Tyler has a dicky back. For some reason he got a bad press from the people around me, but I thought that was unfair. Apart from a couple of wayward kicks (hey, this is non league) his kicking was longer and as accurate as Tylers, whilst also showing a propensity to roll the ball out where he could. He made a couple of good saves, which were key. I thought he had a good game.

Returning at right back was Mr Henry returning after his spell on the sidelines. He had a solid, untroubled game and got in a number of handy crosses. He was, to be fair, largely untroubled by Lincoln, but was very sound. He gave his shirt away at the end, I wasn’t sure why he did that (with so many games to go, and presumably with him staying…) but someone pointed out that he is having an op next week and so it was his last game this year.

Simon Ainge moved to the middle. After a big wobble in the first ten minutes when presented with the opportunity to deal with a ball over the top of him, which he was running back to he had the opportunity to knock it back to Brill or stick it out for a throw. Both were sound options, but instead dear Simon chose to fanny about with it, and lost possession, which he won back and then lost again. Not good and you could see what little confidence he had melt out of his boots and it took a while and some decisive headers and clearances before it came back. He looked better by the end of the first half.

Alongside was our old friend Steve McNulty. A most unlikely looking footballer and indeed captain (even with Ronnie on the pitch) he played well. It was his quick thinking and glorious, incisive through ball at a free kick, which saw Andre Gray through, in space and racing towards the byline, he cut it back and we had 2 (two) players running in on the end of it. Dave Martin was the lucky recipient for his second.

At left back making his full debut was Scott Griffiths who looked tidy, efficient and untroubled. A couple of good crosses too and he linked up well with Dave Martin at times.

In front of the back four sat the excellent Matt Robinson and Jonathan Smith. Smith looked a bit leggy I thought, though made one or two good challenges and runs and broke up the play well. I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was Smith who put Gray through for the second – it was a good through ball showing great vision.

Robinson looked increasingly at home. Well done Mr Buckle for spotting him and bringing him in. He looks like a half decent footballer, and will some more experience and a bit more confidence, we might have a cracking player on our hands.

In front of those two we had a wider attacking midfield three – Gray wide on the right, though he did swap and drift a couple of times, Martin wide on the left and Alex Lawless behind Jon Shaw.

Gray looked sharp, eager and confident, and it didn’t need the first Luton goal for him to have confidence, as he was brimming with it from the start. He was tormenting the poor Lincoln defenders. And what a pain in the arse he proved.  He showed great composure (not something he has always had this year) in rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home. Let’s hope that is the first of many like that.

Lawless in the middle, looked composed and confident.  Clearly JohnStill’s favourite boy, he was the playing just behind Shaw in the middle, a position which suited him tonight very well. He was instrumental in the brighter moves throughout and revelled in his attacking role. On the left, Dave Martin had a fantastic game and was unlucky not to get the man of the match award, and even unluckier not to get four. How lovely to have an attacking winger who has an eye for goal. In cricket batsmen (and sometime bowlers) talk about being ‘in the zone’ whatever a bowler bowls at you, you feel in complete control and in charge. Well Dave Martin must have felt like that tonight. He will want to wrap tonight’s memory up and keep it safe forever. Four goals wouldn’t have flattered him. As I said above, he was unlucky with his first one, Gray’s perfect cross finding him offside, apparently. His second one was a goal from the second it left his foot. His third chance, second goal was from a Gray cross again, and his fourth chance, second  disallowed one was again when he got on the end of an Andre Gray cross yet again, but the ref blew up for Lawless’s fisticuffs with Boyce on the edge of the box, which was a shame. There’s a theme there isn’t there – Gray cross, Martin goal. JohnStill spoke of combinations being key at the end in his press conference, well – there’s one there John.

Of course the last piece in tonight’s jigsaw, or jigshaw if you will, was John Shaw, who played as a ‘lone’ striker. He was more lone in the first half, played further forward from the midfield three behind and was acting as an out and out target man, and gave the players the excuse, for perhaps too long, to perhaps play it too long too. If you see what I mean. Whacking it up to the big front man is the last refuge of a scoundrel if it is the only tactic you employ, and it could have gone dangerously wrong. In the second half Shaw drifted deeper, won the ball more on his own terms and accordingly, the Town looked brighter and better because of it. No longer did they have the clumsy option to hit it long, now, they were driven more to finding reasons to play it on the floor and we looked much better for it. Shaw played well without being outstanding, but the formation suited him too I thought.

He was replaced with Alex Wall who looked like an over eager puppy when he came on. He posed more immediate problems than the tiring Shaw.

It was one of those games which you didn’t really want to end, the interplay in the latter part of the second half was entertaining and truly made you wonder where on earth we had been all year and why we couldn’t play like that every week. Even Scott Rendell (as sub for Lawless, and playing in his best position, eg behind the front man) looked much better and linked well with Gray, though he does look a little less hungry at times and his lack of pace is obvious on occasions. There were chances aplenty and I’m confident that another 20 minutes would have brought more goals such was the dominance at the end.

So more tinkering from JohnStill looking to find the right combinations of players and right formation and partnerships. He said he was excited by his continuing challenge of identifying which players to keep and which to let go.

Hot on the heels of tonight’s game is Friday’s against Grimsby. We’ve already seen them score seven against us this year and I have no desire to see them get any more. I know that JohnStill may well tinker and swap some more in his search to find the players he needs, but it would have been lovely to have played Grimsby with the team and formation we had tonight to see how we matched up with a side in the play offs. Oh well – early days.

Hopefully the Gateshead debacle was indeed the nadir of our footballing history, our lowest position, the lowest attendance and our worst defeat at this level. Like Alan Partridge we are bouncing back. And, like Alan Partridge Steve McNulty suffers from a fat back.

A while back, I remember half jokingly longing at some point in the future for a boring mid table season, after three successive relegations, followed by three seasons of play off frustration. Little did I suspect that we would get exactly that this year. Be careful what you wish for eh? Four years ago it would have been inconceivable to envisage a mid-table finish in the conference, but that it what our recent form, and constant turmoil has led us to experience.  With four games to go we have a chance at least to try to threaten 7th this year. Two games at home to teams going to be in the play offs and two away games to sides struggling against the drop. Then by Saturday week it will all be over for another year. Seems such a rush at the end doesn’t it. On Saturday evening I just wanted the season to end there and then, but after tonight I can’t wait until Friday for the Grimsby game. At least JohnStill has four more games to find out about his existing players and to tinker with formations, partnerships and combinations.

 

 

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The perfect match report, on a far from a perfect match.

What a shocking result – but I’d like to thank (and take my hat off) to PDF for his cracking report…

With a James Brown in the opposition, there was nothing to feel good about in this latest in the long line of very poor performances/results this season. Apart from the game which featured the infamous double Hand job which finished off Heed quote ( copyright Teacher 2011), Gateshead do seem to bring out the worst in us.

Again we haven’t ever made the opposition hard work and fight for their victories. On the day of the National, they won at a canter on the bridle, where we tailed off by the third fence.

Even from the early stages, it was merely a question of how many Gateshead were going to score, they declared on five. Could have been double that, but for some reasonable saves from Brill and some over excited finishing from the Geordie wannabes. A heavy defeat which was bad enough, but could have been worse, as Gateshead run a mock through our invisible midfield affording no protection to our back four, which was in fact a two, with McNulty far from fit (I know he is far from fit, but not fit to play the 90 minutes.) and Ainge who is redefining the phrase ” uttering hapless”. It’s hardly his fault, as he is picked to fulfil a role which is beyond his capabilities.

Why Longdon hasn’t had a chance yet, is beyond me unless he is injured He may flounder, but as Ainge is pressing Richard Jackson as our worst ever right back in my lifetime anyway, he would struggle to do much worse. Ainge did OK in his first few matches at right back, as soon as the opposition had anything like a reasonable left winger, his vast array of inadequacies were always going to be exposed ruthlessly. You didn’t need to be Mystic Meg to see that happening.

Credit to Gateshead who played some good free flowing attacking football. We were the masters of our own downfall, kindly donating them time on the ball and space to deliver passes to their runners, like a hot knife through butter. One of the few teams in the League who attempt to play proper football, ever since our prison sentence in this division begin four years ago. Every time they got the ball in our final defensive third, they looked like scoring. . Naturally they had far more at stake than us and we were lacking a number of experienced players. Apart from a bright twenty minute at the start of the second half, where we may have scored a second, to add to Dan Walker’s neat finish sweeping in from an outstanding cross by Martin, it may have been different.

The saddest thing is type of games are no longer an embarrassment, nor the lowest point in our history (although being overtaken by Braintree in the League is pushing it close), but an acceptance of how bad we have become. Not looking for scapegoats, but everyone connected with the club, needs to up their game massively, which includes the present management, even allowing the fact they have only been in the job six weeks ago.

If the idea of these utterly tedious pre pre season friendlies was trying to perfect how to get worse, in terms of performances, style and results it is working a treat. Really don’t understand why since the change of management, we are now playing percentage football, which doesn’t suit the players we currently. Even the defence which had improved was gone to pot again shipping nine goals in three goals.

Team selection, even allowing the PR guff about trying things out. Robinson and Griffiths played well enough on Monday against Kidderminster, neither started. McNulty isn’t that an important player he needs to play when injured. May as well try to gleam some crumbs of comfort from the last few games, by giving the likes of Robinson a run of games, which gives him an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular slot or if he doesn’t take it, wave him bye bye.

Our sole attacking tactic in the first was a series of long throws from Ainge towards Wall, so he could be out jumped by Curtis on numerous occasions. In fairness to Wall, he is nowhere near the standard required at this level yet. Given time, maybe. His finishing cost us in our better spell. He is the sort of player, who would farm out for a year on loan to aid his development. He is so raw and often off the pace of the game and arrives slightly too late. He may well turn out to be a rapid improver.

Appreciate we are a limited team playing in the fifth tier, but surely we can come up with something slightly better. Play the ball on the deck, when we did, we looked far better, hardly a coincidence. Even since the change of management, we have singled handled making things far worse.

Interesting tactic not to select a midfield. Smith has out of petrol, so that partly excuses his performance. Hope Taiwan paid the admission to enter the ground, as he did little more than watch the game. Maybe a lot of games have caught up with him, but it makes the omission of Robinson all are stranger. Martin and Walker didn’t track back, so the central midfield was like the Bermuda Triangle.

Feared the worst were I read the team, no Tyler and Howells. At least Walker on the right gave some balance, although 4-4-2 doesn’t do us many favours this season. Walker didn’t do too badly, had the beating of the left back Boyle, but his final ball let him down after getting in his good positions. Took his goal well, as the ball across from Martin, came at an awkward angle, which he got have shinned into Penrith town centre. He did provide the comedy gold of the day, a shot which was so wide from a corner, almost ended up back at the corner taker Taiwo, near the corner flag and was given offside.

As for the rest, second half Martin and Gray were involved far more during our one good spell of pressure. LRT and Goodman were adequate. Brill considering he shipped five, made some reasonable stops, maybe should have done slightly better with the final goal, when Hatch is scoring worldy from outside the penalty box, turn and chip over, when Brill wasn’t far off his line. It sums up the day rather nicely

The team was Brill – Ainge, McNulty, Goodman, LRT – Walker, Smith, Taiwo, Martin – Wall and Gray. The one slightly puzzling aspect was Lawless was reported to be ill. But towards the end of the game Lawless did some exercising down the touchline. If he is ill, wouldn’t have been better from him not to have a long coach journey up to north Cumbria, and maybe available to take some part of Tuesday’s match against Lincolnshire’s finest.

Gateshead, were at times made to look like Barcelona. It makes a change to see a passing outfit in the Conference. Hope they stay up, as it increases the chances of Barrow going down. After seeing them against us this season, it’s heard to see why they have struggled so much; not playing many home matches is naturally a significant disadvantage. The likes of Brown, Gilles and Donaldson played extremely well, they were allowed to. The type of attacking players we could do a lot worse. However, it’s the likely we are going to sign more direct players than good footballing ones.

On a lovely sunny day, with the pitch firm and slightly bare in patches, but in good shape. The problems were obvious; Turnbull and Cummins allowed an easy ride in midfield – penetrating at will, Brown playing in the number ten role. His movement was good, always available for a pass, but neither defence moved up to press him or midfield dropped deeper. Brown was allowed to pull the strings, laying the ball wide out to Gilles and Donaldson, with Hatch, aptly doing the donkey work, McNulty, barely fit enough for the knackers’ yard on the day, and was no match for Hatch. Hark at me, Im a poet. Brown played the ball out to Gilles, cutting inside playing a return pass for Brown to thrash at Taiwo.

Our first opportunity, Walker eased past Boyle, but delayed his shot, which allowed Magney time to block. The resulting Taiwo corner aimed for the far post, Gray connected with it, Bartlett able to palm it around the post. McNulty hit the ball into a pack of white shirts, in a flash Gateshead were allowed to break, Donaldson scrambled down the left, LRT tackled him at the expense of a corner. From which Magney’s header from Donaldson’s delivery was straight at Brill.

Gateshead were using the wide spaces on Carlisle’s pitch very well. Didn’t help much that Ainge was struggling to stand up, often slipping over. Gilles receiving Brown’s reverse pass, shot wide of the near post when he should have better loads better. Brown sent Boyle on the overlap, but the left back’s attempt was neither a shot nor a cross drifting harmlessly wide.

The surprise was it took Gateshead so long to take the lead. Curtis not able to reach Turnbull’s right wing centre, Gilles was able to pick up the loose ball, pick out the unmarked Donaldson to thump the ball past Brill.

In the meantime we continued to thump long balls to0wards Wall, easily gobbled by Curtis. Give the kid a chance. Wall’s isn’t bad with the ball at his feet, but at this early stage of his career was always likely to be dominated by one of the more dependable centre backs in the Conference.

The second gaol was a bit of farce , Ainge’s poor clearance could only find Brown, giving the ball to Gilles, the gap between Ainge and McNulty, there was enough room to build Hadrian’s Wall ( with possibly a million new properties as well for good measure) and Gilles took maximum advantage by finishing past the exposed Brill. He must have felt like a coconut in shy at the fairground.

Even than nothing changed – tactically, no attempt to get another man in midfield to block the gaps. . Brown still allowed time and space, no doubling up on their wingers. It was like lemmings off the cliff.

The one way traffic continued merrily for the majority of the rest of the half. Brown chesting down and finishing wide. Donaldson peeling off the right flank, leaving Goodman as one man wall, but Donaldson could only finish tamely at Brill.

At times, Gateshead over-elaborated, but were in so much control they could allow it. LRT getting a vital touch from Brown’s forward pass, after the dropped to him from hatch’s flick on. Hatch, with his elbows and often backing in can be an awkward customer, but we made him look like Michael Harford in his prime, winning an aerial encounter with Goodman, Gilles’ blue booties were enough to get sufficient contact with the ball and it rolled back to Brill.

Gray worked hard enough up front, but had little service, he worked an opening, but took too long and by the time he fired off a shot, Magney was here to thump the ball away. Gray worked space on the left, but had to pass back under pressure from Bore, Martin swept in a superb cross and Walker was on hand to arrive before Boyle and sweep the ball home affording no chance for Bartlett. Good all round goal, whilst we were getting stuffed in possession and chances created, we were back in the game, somewhat unlikely.

Confidence did back a fraction, Smith and Gray combining well, for Smith to hit a powerful drive, which took a nick off a defender and behind.

Donaldson popping up on the left, found by Brown (any danger of someone getting close to him? Obviously not.), header away by LRT. Gateshead regained their two goal advantage, Donaldson comfortably nutmegged McNulty, Ainge did his best to hold up the player, but McNulty coming back nudged him in the back. Whilst it was soft, stupid thing to touch a player in the box, the way the current climate is, also with McNulty in the book already for a two handed shove on hatch, he could have been in danger of being sent off.

Gilles thumped the spot kick down the middle, with Brill successfully diving out of the way to his life. So half time, pitiful performance on so many level.

Second half saw Robinson for Taiwo, the lack of effort he put in was scandalous. Can’t cope with someone else who doesn’t fancy a game in the north, we have had too many precious little flowers on our playing staff in recent years. Robinson gave a tidy enough performance; he always gives it 100%, even on a poor day and at least helped turn the match in favour for a short while. As often is the case with a struggling team, Gateshead in a unusual position of a healthy lead, dropped deeper, stopped looking to pass the ball and we played with far more purpose and intent during the early stages.

The fifth goal was going to be crucial, we had the opportunities to get, had we had it 3-2, think Gateshead may have crumbled. With little on Martin swung his left boot at the ball, Bartlett, slightly anxiously watched the ball wide, just off target of the right post. Lovey touch by Gilles, pas down the left for Brown side stepped Ainge, Brill produced a decent stop down to his left, and was able to collect the ball at the second time of asking. Smith was getting involved more, Turnbull and Cummins weren’t allowed to stroke the ball around without pressure, and his pass to Martin was quickly given to Gray, a great centre and a terrible miss by wall stabbing wide. Moments later he had another chance, Turnbull gave Magney a hospital pass, Wall nipped in and blazed over, lacking composure.

We forced them back during this spell , walker and Ainge combing down the right, the cross missed by Curtis, martin picked up the loose ball, on his left foot, the goal was wide open, but Martin could only locate Bore clearing near the line, after good control to him up for the opportunity

A quick throw out by Brill ( another bitter complaint, we look so much better when the keeper throws the ball out, as long as someone is witched on already for it, rather than the awful big boot upfield), spotted Martin galloping forward, his cross was too deep. But the idea and approach play was more like it.

Robinson in the book for a clumsy tackle on Cummins. Although Gateshead always were a threat on the break and we had to push forward, with the pace of Donaldson and Giles. It was a better twenty minutes. Gray and Wall were playing near together, Gray finding wall, he slipped, but managed to toe poke it into the direction of Smith, his effort lacked the power to greatly trouble Bartlett.

Brill made a sprawling save to the left, after Brown fed Donaldson down the left channel; Brill pushing it behind, the corner by Gilles was clouted over by Curtis. Brill another decent stop, good interchange passing between Hatch and Gilles, Donaldson thumping a drive on target.

The killer goal came from Brown slipping a low pass beyond Ainge and Goodman for Donaldson to finish clinically. Game over. We downed tools after that and Gateshead could see the game in ole ole fashion, keeping the ball for longer periods to the cheers echoing around an almost empty Brunton park. They could afford to withdraw their three best players on the day for a moral boosting standing ovation.

Donaldson bundled Robinson off , with a decent central position, Wall elected for power, but smashed into the Gateshead wall ( no relation) , on the break Marwood ( on fro Brown) rolled the ball inside LRT, Gilles could only find the empty terracing behind Brill’s goal.

Turnbull was allowed to pass the ball into Gilles, no pressure on the Tynesider’s, into Marwood looking to send Gilles down the line, but a poor return pass was sent behind. Robinson felled Hatch, quick free kick, Marwood into Gilles, Brill dropped the shot, but no harm was done.

Rendell replaced Wall, five minutes already. One of the more pointless changes. Superman couldn’t have rescued the game, never mind a journeyman attacking player. Marwood, making a bright cameo, although against well beaten team probably wasn’t that hard to do, low pass into Hatch, span past McNulty, hacking it hopelessly wide.

Both teams found either end of the closed terracing with unerring actuary, Robinson the latest to successfully manage that task, after a trundle down the left by Martin.

The coup de grace was delivered by Hatch, receiving the ball from Fowler on their right, in the same movement turned and lifted the ball over Brill, was only just off his line, maybe he should have done better than flick a bent wrist at the ball, but it was a superb strike by Hatch, the git. Mercifully it ended straight away after that.

Normally, you would say after a rout, it’s good to have a game three days later. But realistically, there’s nothing much going to be from the remaining fixtures. It’s a shame we can’t just forfeit the games and confine this dreadful season to the rubbish bin of our memory banks.

Dean Brill 7.25, Simon Ainge 3 , Steve McNulty 4.5 , Jake Goodman 5.75 , Lathenial Rowe-Turner 6.5, Dan Walker 6.25 , Jonathan Smith 6 , Solomon Taiwo 2.5 ( Matt Robinson 6), Dave Martin 6.5 , Alex Wall 5.75 ( Scott Rendell), Andre Gray 6.5

*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 apology by Terence Harris. No need. He does need to apologise for addressing himself in the third person. Do think as punishment the players should have to drive themselves up to Southport, and pay for the transport, to see how they like it. Never happen naturally. But it would be quite amusing. Don’t understand this clamour for refunds after a bad game . That’s the joy of watching live sport. Sometimes it’s good, more often than not it can be dire. Just deal with it. If anyone expects much from the current Luton team, I suggest you seek help urgently.

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