Bolton were good but we beat ourselves

After Sunday’s game which was such an entertaining affair with us taking the game to Oxford I must say I was totally shocked to see a team sheet that showed 5 changes from Sunday which reverted back to 3-5-2 a formation that really only says “Come at us and try to break us down – and that is exactly what Bolton did. How many honestly feel that this formation whilst maybe effective away from home is the right way to play at home ? I am sure I will need a tin helmet when I say that IMO DC lost us this game last night before a ball was kicked which was a great shame as the chance of setting a new club record of consecutive home wins passed us by however DC deserves great praise for taking a remarkable 43 from 45 points and an even more impressive 30 points out of 30.

How many of the five changes were actually warranted? For me Easter and Monty were two of the stars on Saturday and why replace two players who were outstanding? If it is DC trying to play “mind games” against the opposing Manager then he clearly lost out. Hartley at the moment is questionable as to whether he is any better than McCrystal and Leadbitters performances at wing back have hardly deserved a recall. The only decision that for me was understandable was possibly the pace of Harrison and Taylor against two huge centre halves but then why hoof the ball up to them.

The problem as I see it now is that we don’t know if the 4-4-2 would have worked on the night against a side that were a definite step up on Oxford. The effect of the substitutions say to me that we would have been far better served by sticking with the winning side and this is something which I believe DC must learn if he is to move up in his profession. We have to remember that we have a fine young Manager who will surely manage at higher standards but he, like the players is still learning the game.My problem is that DC is very stubborn and before anybody starts flinging the insults at me can you tell me the last time that the 3-5-2 formation was effective for us at home against a team who were supposedly better than us. Please don’t say Cardiff because on their team selection that night it is very questionable as to whether they were any better than us.

Mildenhall 6.5 No chance with either goal.Couple of good and brave saves. Done nothing wrong and IMO has so far warranted the Managers decision to select him. I am not saying there are not better keepers out there but not so confident that DC will find them based on Nicholls last season or the ability of Will Puddy to challenge for a place.

Leadbitter 5 Couple of good runs but little else. For me his performance against Cardiff did not warrant a recall last night and my main reason would be based on his final ball which in all honesty is not up to the standard required which is a shame because he has bags of pace but reminds me of Miah Dennehay ( a name some of the longer standing supporters will remember but probably for a very rare hat trick rather than anything else as generally he ran a lot but had no end product!)IMO by playing him as a wingback all DC has done has lost him his regular place as full back to the much improved James Clarke.

J.Clarke 7 Another good game. Stuck to his task well and again brought the ball out effectively. Think it might have been him who gave the free kick away that led to the second goal but I am not totally convinced it was even a foul as was definitely true of the one given in the second half.

Lockyer 6 Struggled against a better standard opponent. His passing which he has really improved upon over time really seemed to have deserted him last night and I lost count of the number of times he gave the ball away cheaply. I would say that this was a poor game from Locks based on the very high standard he has set himself but probably an average performance when rated against others and in general. I really rate this guy but Captain he is not and for me this was the worst game I have seen him play in a long time but there again he won’t often come up against such a quality centre forward.

Hartley 6 Improved the longer the game went on but looks like he will take a little time to settle in to the way we play.

Brown 5 Not at his best but not a wing back and as for taking corners for me not the answer at all as with Hartley up for the corner we were left very open down the left of our defence and Bolton were in the clear and unmarked for the first goal which Sinclair deflected past Mildenhall. His substitution was very surprising in that in bringing on Monty DC effectively took off the player who would bring him into the game but also has long played big parts in our recovery in overlapping and causing the opposition problems. Great strike from the free kick that brought a brilliant piece of keeping to push against the post but to no avail as Harrison planted the rebound low in the corner of the net for a well taken and deserved goal.

O. Clarke 5 Back to just not good enough. got in a few challenges and a couple of good touches but overall the first half completely passed him by. Not sure we have a natural replacement and that for me is the absolute priority signing.For me Easter proved again in the second half that he can be effective in midfield because the big difference is that he always wanted the ball whereas Ollie strolls around the park and the only time he gets the ball is when he wins it which last night was not often.

Lines 7 Does sometimes try the showboating passes when easier passes are on but always strives to get forward and was the pick of the midfield by a mile. His ability to hold the ball shines out and rarely gets caught in possession. Chris works far harder these days and for me he has been a big plus so far this season and we just need to get another couple of quality players into the midfield to make a big difference to us. In fact the right players could well push us into the Play offs because I don’t think we are that far off being a very good team.

Sinclair 5 Similar to Ollie Clarke ,against stronger opponents he just gets lost and no creativity whatsoever
. It is with great sadness that he I say I just don’t think he has the quality to make the step up to this standard which is a great shame because he is a fantastic professional but the best I see is as a squad player although I will not write him off because we are only four games into the season amd hopefully I am totally wrong.

Taylor 5 Let down by the service and having to come to look for the ball far too often rather than being in a position where he could make a difference. When he did get the ball he looked confident and there can be no faulting his work rate but as a team we created almost nothing first half and overall the game lacked clear cut chances because when Leadbitter or Brown did get forward the quality of the final ball was just not there.

Harrison 7 Worked hard, our only winner of any headers and a good strikers goal
His general play was good and that was great to see especially as it was against quality defenders. The formation meant that as with Taylor he had to spend a lot of time chasing the impossible.


Bodin 7 Not at his very best but an improvement on the first half team. He showed moments of his brilliant trickery and tried hard to prompt players with creativity which is something we severely lack in Sinclair ,Ollie Clarke and Leadbitter.

Easter 8 MOM Changed the game completely. A class act and this was for those who say he can’t play in midfield . Looks like Pele compared to either Sinclair or Ollie Clarke. Unfortunate that he missed probably our only clear cut chance of an equaliser but did more than enough to warrant a start on Saturday especially if we actually take a proactive approach to the game. With what we have at the moment it seems such a waste to have such a class act on the bench. He is a much fitter Easter who has a football brain to retain the ball and keep moves flowing as he did Sunday bto be rewarded with being dropped.

Montana 5 One run but seemed stupid to take off Brown and thereby taking off what would be his main supply. He just didn’t receive the ball and therefore other than one good run and cross didn’t get a chance to show his ability.

Crowd 7 Over 9000 the majority who stayed behind the team after a poor first half where we played into their hands. When will DC realise that the wing back system puts the onus on the opponents to attack us and Bolton took full advantage. Yet again three substitutions were required to correct selection mistakes. 5 changes after a performance like Sunday was in one word – Ridiculous

Ref 5
Average but gave some very dubious decisions but I have given him a 5 for the benefit of the doubt that maybe those decisions were correct and we fans were biased.

Bolton 8 A good team but we paid them too much respect. How I would love us to have one of their centre halves who wins the majority of aerial challenges. Could well be the team to win this league based on their players but in all honesty if you look at the cost of their team then they should be up there.

DC Think I have said enough but IMO where he has won us many matches so he lost us the game last night. The substitutions were almost an admittance that he got it wrong but the trouble is that this season it is not going to be as easy to change things as quite a few teams in this division given the initiative will take full advantage of it. There are some good teams in this division with some quality players – Southend Saturday will be another such team if we don’t approach it by setting out to win the game from the off. Hopefully we may even see at least one player coming in but I won’t hold my breath. UTG

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