Great Result and Performance

After last weeks defeat at Scunthorpe a victory yesterday was the most important thing but what caught my eye was the quality of the performance and how much better we were than a team who finished above us last season. You only have to look at our bench to see that if DC makes the 3-4 quality signings he says he will make then the bench will be even stronger and so will be the names of people missing out on a place in the squad completely. Even yesterday we had Sinclair ,Lawrence, Hartley and Mansell missing out.

What it is easy to forget because of the summer gap is that yesterday became our 14th win in the last 15 games or 43 points from 45 which is an absolutely amazing feat. I really struggle to find anything like this in our history and looking long term if we can continue to make the Mem a fortress then another exciting season is in prospect. Four quality signings added to what we have and I really have to fancy us for a play off place because the fight for places will be immense. it is a tough enough job at the moment to try to predict DC’s team selection – with four more it will be near impossible!! Without the three or four signings then it could well become a much tougher assignment or project as we won’t always play as we did yesterday and I am sure that there are quite a few teams that will be better than Oxford.

When I saw the team sheet yesterday my first thought was that Mansell, Lawrence, Hartley and Sinclair must be injured but it may just be that Hartley and Sinclair were just rested after Thursdays match.

Mildenhall 7 It doesn’t matter how the ball is kept out as long as it is. Had no chance with the goal. I think well worth persevering with at the present time . Indecisive once but so were the defence on that occasion. Bravely went down where it hurts on several occasions . We will need to find another keeper but on his present form it is not a priority as that’s three games and the opposition keepers haven’t been any better so as I see it he is up to League one standard and age is but a number or so I try to convince myself!!

J. Clarke 8.5 James is performing at his best at the moment and looks so comfortable on the ball, his link up play was superb and he was solid in the tackle. I thought he was sure to be a bench player but at the moment he is playing well both defensively and bringing the ball out and on this form will keep Leadbitter out on merit.
Yesterday he was better than Lockyer IMO but is he good enough to displace Lockyer or Hartley I don’t think so but full back is a different kettle of fish and his improvement in his link play gives him the edge over Leadbitter for me.

Lockyer 7.5 Not up to last seasons form yet but class always shines through. He had a tough game against the awkward Taylor and was at fault for the goal but to be fair to him and the defence we gave Oxford very few chances and it would have been robbery if they had equalised in the last minute.

McChrystal 7 Steady rather than classy but did Ok and let nobody down but should have been a lot tighter on their goal and got a challenge in quicker. Other than that an OK game where he won most of his aerial battles on his return and didn’t do much wrong.
I am assuming that Hartley was injured but with DC you just never know as he is superb at using the squad system.

Brown 7 Better than the other two games and a lot of this was down to having Montano in front of him. The pair combined very well throughout the game and provided a lot of dangerous moments. When brown was needed to defend he did so without any problems – strong on the ball and is the model of consistency.

Bodin 5 A poor game with very few of his silky touches and too often was closed down to the extent that he didn’t really impose himself on the game at all. His first half was better than the second when he totally faded out and to be honest I wasn’t even sure he was playing. The end of last seasons form is so far deserting him
but it is very early days and I am sure that over the next 6 months or so we will see Billys magic return.

O. Clarke 8 Much better game from Ollie where he prompted and drove forward when he could and was far more involved than in previous games. We looked so much better in midfield today and Ollie was a good foil for Chris Lines and also protected the defence well with some good interceptions and breaking up of the play.
It will take more performances like this to convince me that he is anything other than a squad player and is an area in the team where I think a quality signing could improve us this season. I will love to be proved wrong.

Lines 8.5 MOM Best midfielder on the pitch he drove forward so many occasions yesterday and is really showing some good form at the level he should be playing. OK not every pass came off and took a fairly early booking for the team when he lost possession but when he is in full flow he is a joy to watch. Should really have scored in the first half but playing like this I am sure more goals will come.
My Man of the match by a whisker from James Clarke.

Montano 8 Monty can IMO become the best winger we have had for a few years if he can get consistency into his game. There is so much more balance to the side with him in the team and it gives us another dimension to our play. He could really have come out of this match with a hat trick as the first half in particular he was running Oxfoed a merry dance. Some of his prompting in the first half was great and his combination work with Brown enabled us to get behind the Oxford back four on numerous occasions. It was such a shame that after his long run in the second half he was unable to finish when attempting to take the ball around the keeper for what could have been a brilliant goal. He managed to put over a good variety of crosses and corners but the quality of them was very mixed- some good, some awful..

Easter 8 His best game for a long time . His ability to hold the ball and play clever passes makes us a real dangerous team and he seems to now be fully fit and it was a disappointment when he was substituted. His finish on the first goal was sheer class and we certainly seem to have some quality up front and I think he has a big part to play this season.
IMO we really must find a place for him in the starting eleven as Oxford really struggled to contain him such was the quality of his general play and his understanding of the game.

Gaffney 5 Some good movement and laid the ball off well at times but not half the player that he was when he was on loan to us. Too many times the ball was received by him and came to nothing and won little in the air but how on earth he got booked I don’t know as he seems to get a tough time from referees at the moment.
In truth he really needs a goal or two to ignite him but it is far too early to be writing him off.

Subs:

Harrison 5 Another mixed bag from Ellis when he came on although I have some sympathy with him not starting after his performance on Thursday. Needs to get more consistency to his play. Was unlucky with a great strike that went narrowly wide but hope he starts on Wednesday in preference to Gaffney but would not be at all surprised to see him start up front with Easter.

Taylor 8 Came on and did what he does best and scored another goal and showed great determination and graft and pure class with every touch. Had he gone to Oxford I think it would have been a different result today but thankfully he allowed his head to rule his heart and made the sensible decision to stay with us. Sensible also because on todays showing we were generally in a different class to Oxford and really should have been three or four clear before Oxford got an undeserved equaliser. That’s two in two games and I think injury permitting we could see another 20+ goals from our star striker if we don’t lose him in the January window.

James 6.5 Seems to have a bit of pace about him but I don’t think he is a winger but on saying that he did come back and defend very well and was heavily involved in the winning goal. Will he get a start ahead of Bodin on Wednesday I am not sure but will be surprised if Billy is in the starting line up after todays display.

Crowd 8 A good noisy crowd which I was surprised wasn’t a bit higher but I always say that how a crowd react is down a lot to the quality of the game they are watching and todays game was very entertaining and the crowd reacted accordingly. Great minutes applause for the young lad really shows the class of our support.

Ref 4 Another awful referee who tried to upstage everybody
when in fact he was the only one who should not be performing at this level.

Oxford 6 Did not have the individual quality that they had last season and should have been at least 3 goals behind at the break. If they had equalised at the death it would have been totally undeserved.

DC- Another class piece of player Management by our leader. It is always very difficult to judge DC because he holds his cards close to his chest so you really don’t know what selections he has made and what has been made for him by fitness of players. I really think after yesterdays performance that we should stick to perfecting the 4-4-2 formation and that any signings made should be with that in mind because the problem we do have at the moment is it only takes a couple of players in key positions to be out and we have to change the formation.

So we move on to Wednesdays game boosted by a good win and with morale lifted again after the disappointment of defeat at Scunthorpe we can really build on this but Bolton will be tough opposition and will give further indicators of what this season holds for us. Every new game will bring this because the high of yesterday can easily become the disappointment of last Saturday. UTG

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