Point gained or two lost?

Todays match was like the start of the season all over again as it seemed like ages since we last played and I felt there was a certain excitement about the game not least of all because since the last game we had three more players. With a squad of about 27 it was impossible to come up with the team which would start the game. With DC it is even more difficult because he gives very little insight into the fitness of the players . I hoped very much that we would enter todays game against the bottom club Rochdale with a 4-4-2 formation and at least one winger but when the Team Sheet appeared it was with disappointment that not only did we not have a winger in the team but we also didn’t have one on the bench with neither Montano or Moore in the squad of 18. I was not over surprised that Colkett was on the bench but a bit surprised that Roberts also was not on the bench. I do sometimes wonder why we make these signings but hopefully it won’t be too long before all the new signings are playing.
It certainly seems strange to me that DC was so quick to replace a player like Mildenhall who had not let us down this season and yet he persists with other players when we have better available (or so he gave us to think when he said he would only sign players that are better than what we have!)

To be honest how the game went, the last ten minutes I was praying for the whistle to go and hold on to a point because for long periods of the game I just couldn’t see us defensively being able to hold on to what we started with. We did look like we were capable of scoring a third goal but just as likely to concede one as I have never felt so worried at how we defended. Rochdale were not that good but for the majority of the game had little difficulty containing us and in the last twenty minutes it was not easy to see who had ten players.

Roos 7 Maybe a little slow coming off his line for the first goal but in all honesty whatever he had done there was a good chance the player would score because he had been left totally exposed by his defence with Hartley caught out of position and Lee brown nowhere to be seen so I would put the blame firmly in their court. Overall I thought Roos was impressive making a couple of good brave saves and handling the ball throughout confidently especially in the air where he caught everything and his kicking is a great improvement on Mildy. Felt very sorry for him when so called supporters start chanting Mildenhalls name after the first goal especially as I don’t see Mildy doing any better with either of the goals and Roos has a presence which unfortunately age has taken away from Mildy.
I would point out that I did not agree with replacing Mildy at the time it was done but it is clear to see that Mildy was never going to really be DCs cup of tea so we just have to move on and now get behind the new man.

J. Clarke 6 Had a reasonable game and probably just about the best of what was a pretty poor defensive unit that gave the ball away far too cheaply and came out second best on too many challenges in the air. I was not convinced at all by his closing down on the flanks but this is always going to be the problem of a back three especially if the opponents aim the majority of their attacks down the flanks. The first half in particular was an embarrassment the number of times our wing backs were caught out defensively.
James was very unlucky not to score with a great header in the second half which the keeper did well to keep out.

Lockyer 5 For me this was Toms worst performance of the season and in particular his distribution was at times sloppy and for me he just is not Captain material as you just don’t hear him and when we are playing poorly and getting dragged around you need an organiser at the back. Perhaps DC has put too much on Toms shoulders too quickly. Certainly we are going to need Tom to quickly regain his form and consistency because at the moment goals are being conceded far too easily and in all honesty although Rochdale didn’t look particularly good we did look all over the place. A better opponent and they would have been out of sight by half time which is really worrying.

Hartley 5 Like Lockyer he was all out of sorts today and didn’t appear to know exactly what he was supposed to be doing or perhaps he was just caught out in the first half by Lee Brown going totally AWOL. Certainly most of his early challenges were both ill timed and a bit slow in arriving. On the plus side he was involved in both our goals and looks a real danger at corners which is something we haven’t had in a long time.

Bodin 4 What has gone wrong with Billy? At the end of last season he was firing on all cylinders and looked a class act. This season to be honest he has been awful looking very slow and laboured in his movement and really giving us nothing on the right flank so with Browner not performing on the left we look a narrow predictable team.

Lines 6 A very mixed bag from Lines. Gave the ball away far too often to be considered a good game and this could easily have lost us the points twice in the last 15 minutes
. I feel without wingers we lose the effectiveness of Chris because we clog up the middle where he makes his best runs and ina way to the same could be said for the runs Boateng made and his passes out wide. Both cry out for the width that we just haven’t got.

Boateng 8 MOM For me he looks exactly what we have been missing with his confidence on the ball and his body strength to run at people with an eye for a pass as well. Give him some wingers to bring into the game and we could see great things as for the first hour he looked Premiership class and was head and shoulders the best player on the field. Could be the signing of the season.

Brown 4 When will DC see that he is totally stifling Browner from being a great attacking full back to a player who looks lost in an alien position where the opponents are clever enough to concentrate their attacks on the space that is left behind him. Lee is neither fast enough or a consistent enough crosser of the ball to be considered a winger and he does not possess the skill or the tricks to get past a full back so we end up with an out of position full back who is neither giving enough to the offence or the defence.

Sinclair 7 This man can run and run and run and really makes a nuisance of himself but for all that I cannot make a player Man of the Match when he produces very few telling passes and his very involvement in the game leads to us being disorganised. He has the heart of a lion and cannot fault his effort or commitment but there is something missing in our midfield and I think it is (in the nicest possible way) the brain to have control of the midfield and to hold a position in the centre.We just too often looked all over the place and totally open to the counter attack.

Taylor 7.5 Didn’t have the greatest of games but who cares when he scores two goals one of which was a real poachers goal and the other of a class that is usually only seen in the premiership. Our problem now is that we are totally relying on Matty and we don’t have a suitable partner for him with Gaffney appearing to be totally off the pace this season and Harrison just not consistent enough in either quality or the intelligence to make the right decision.

Easter 6.5 Is not the answer up front but classy enough to be a regular starter just behind a front two. Rarely gives the ball away in possession but is always looking to come deeper and make things happen – the trouble is that he is then not in the position that we really want him to be and it really looks almost like a John Ward one up front formation with the only difference being that John Ward always made sure we had a physical presence as the one up top.

Harrison 5 Frustrating is the only way I can describe Ellis. He has pace to kill but does not have the football brain to make the most of it and ends up doing a lot of running with nothing at the end of it. I know Gaffney is off the pace but even now with all the signings we have made I still think he is the best option to partner Matty. I was very surprised that DC did not make signing a leader of the attack a priority. I would have almost made it a bigger priority to signing another keeper!!

Colkett 6.5 Looks a real class act and IMO should have started the game. Can we get through a game defensively with Colkett, Lines and Boetang? I am not sure particularly as I feel we must have at least one winger on the pitch to create the width. He looked to have good ball retention and an eye for a pass.

James 6 Just not sure what he gives us as he does not look a winger and doesn’t have the body strength to lead the attack and yet he is quite quick and does have something to make him worth being given a fair chance.

Crowd 5 Disappointing crowd number wise with only just over 8000. Why are the other 1000 boycotting now? Mind you if the best that can be done is the Childish chants of Mildenhall when Roos has done nothing wrong other than playing behind a dreadful defence then 5 is probably a tad generous. With no game for a couple of weeks I really expected a crowd just over 9000 at least.

Ref 3 Yet another referee who should realise that we come to watch a game of football and not an official who wants to be the centre of attraction. The standard of most of these referees is not far off Conference standard. Gave us very little and too often slowed the game down with laborious inefficiency . How he failed to give the free kick before their second goal for the foul on Taylor summed up his entire performance.

Rochdale 6 Never really outplayed us but in all honesty they didn’t need to as horrific defending ensured we had little chance of winning the game and they probably consider themselves unlucky to only go home with a point. Yet another side who we paid too much respect to.

DC I know I will end up getting stick for this but when is he going to get a starting line up correct? If people think he is beyond criticism then that’s their lookout, I say it as I see it but if the players can be criticised for sub standard performances then so can the Manager. Like the players, the Manager is still learning at this level and is coming up against much more experienced Managers who can spot weaknesses in formations and individuals and play on them. Keith Hill is a very experienced Manager who set up to get around our back three and DC did not sort this out and at the moment quite a few players are looking lost in the positions they are being asked to play. Hopefully both players and Manager will learn quickly. I am going to heavily criticise him for not having a winger either in the starting line up or on the bench. Now maybe they were injured but I am afraid if DC is not going to let us know the injury situation then I am going to assume he has left them out. For me he must give our wingers a much fairer chance over his stubborness
to persevere with a formation that has now failed us at home on more occasions than I care to remember. For all the signings it seems that we now have lots of players but do we really have enough round pegs for round holes? I very much hope so but the fact Marcus Stewart was sent out to the reporters for the second time this season made me think that he did not want to face the Press.
How good a Manager Darrell can become could hinge on this season and his ability to possibly change his philosophy a bit and from 27 players find a system that enables us to both attack and yet still remain strong at the back. In this strong league our home form could be the key and so it is vital that we start winning soon.

So we move on to another chance on Tuesday night to get three points but I will say now if we play the same way we played today then a point will be the most we will get. We allow the opposition to dictate the pace of the game for far too long and have no pace whatsoever on the flanks. I firmly believe that we have the players now to hold our own in this division and to take the game to the opposition. We need fear nobody but the confidence will soon drain if we make as many mistakes as we did today and if players look so lost in the positions they are played in..oh and we need somebody to Captain the side because we looked totally devoid of leadership today both on and off the pitch.

What team would I go for on Tuesday? It’s a difficult one with DC holding all the cards and not knowing who in the pack are actually fit to play. Myself if Montano, Roberts and Moore are fit then I would go with the following line up.


Roberts Lockyer Hartley (Capt) Brown


Montano Colkett Easter (or Lines)

Taylor Gaffney

Subs J Clarke James Moore Mildenhall Easter (or Lines) Sinclair Harrison

One Response to “Point gained or two lost?

  • andrew snell
    2 years ago

    thanks SK for your comments/observations
    as an exiled rovers fan in london it helps me to “keep up to date”
    cannt get the commentaries on line, only the live text on bbc.
    not doing too well tonight by the look of things
    do you think the squad is perhaps a little too big to handle now ?
    always thought mildenhall was far superior to puddy — too small and not dominating in the box. never quite understood how DC saw him as a number 1
    bits i have seen on sky replays i did wonder about mildenhall this season, but thought he might have been being let down by the defence in front of him.
    keepers seem to go on for ever so there may be a good few years yet left in him.
    will need to see how the new keeper shapes up
    thought best keeper we have had over recent years was the loan from reading the scandinavian lad – cannt remember his name, was he not a danish under 21 int.
    when you reflect rovers have had their fair share of underperforming keeper over recent years
    keep up the good work

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