A Sweet victory over Swindlers

Last night was a very strange atmosphere for a Local derby with rightly an air of hostility over the pricing of the game and what was looking like a very sparse crowd at 7-30 had reached a reasonable number by kick off. After retaining the same team and squad surprisingly for the last two games DC didn’t disappoint by going back to his tinkering and making four changes. James Clarke playing in a central two was a big surprise as he usually only gets played in a three and a return for Ollie Clarke from outside of the squad was also a surprise. In many ways it looked too similar a side to the one that had taken the field in the first encounter and this was worrying and for the first 20 minutes it was very similar to that first encounter with Swindon giving us the run around and the only difference being that this time they were one up very early. Thankfully after the twenty minute mark we played very well and were pretty well on top for the rest of the game however in truth we rarely actually looked like we would score a goal as our decision making was poor and despite getting behind their defence the final ball or shot was missing until the substitutions. Not for the first time and probably not the last DC had to tear apart the starting line up with three substitutions all at once and defeat was turned to victory with these moves as a brilliant save by Roos kept us in the game and within a period of a minute one down had changed to 2-1 up and Lee Powers had been given the kick up the ass his behaviour had deserved. Never has victory been so sweet for the few (but still reasonable) supporters who had paid twice and been labelled “scabs” by their fellow supporters. Never has a victory been so just and deserved. I very much hope that our club representatives made their feelings known afterwards and that Lee Powers was told a few home truths. I am sure a “friendly” welcome will await him in the return at The Mem!!

Roos 7 In all honesty he didn’t have a great deal to do but made a couple of good saves and a tremendous save with a one on one when the Swindon striker was clean through and set to make it 2-0 and probably game over. IMO he really looks the part now.

Leadbitter 7 All about pace and he was the best defender last night and up against a very good winger. Stuck to his task well and got forward more as the game went on.

Lockyer 6.5 Distribution could only be described as abysmal and IMO he is really struggling at the moment. I really don’t rate the James Cl;arke/Lockyer combination in a central 2 and they looked shakey most of the night. Lockyer did manage to get in some good interceptions but for me he looks like he needs a rest and when the Chelsea youngster arrives if he is still playing the same I would go with the Chelsea youngster and Hartley but I am sure DC will let Lockyer play himself back to form.

Clarke J 6.5 Same as Lockyer given a tough time particularly early on in the first twenty minutes. Was slack on the goal but did improve as the game went on thankfully. We really looked at sixes and sevens early on and I would put that down to the four changes made to the starting 11.

Brown 6.5 Not at his best. Like the rest of the defence struggled early doors and was beaten far too easily at times. He too was slack on the goal.

Bodin 6.5 Another mixed bag from Billy and not really surprised he was substituted. Had a really good chance when he should have shot but he too is struggling to find the form of last season.

Sinclair 6.5 Hassled and ran as usual but for all the work rate the midfield really struggles to create with him in there IMO. It is difficult to judge the overall effect he has on whatever formation is employed because he does go all over the place and is sometimes the most forward of a sort of diamond and sometimes the deepest. Personally if I wanted a forward looking midfielder I would play Easter everytime particularly if Ollie Clarke is playing because with him and Sinclair for me it really cuts down our attacking options.

Clarke O 7 Gave a strong performance on his return. Unlucky not to score with a tremendous low shot on to the inside of the post with Gaffney missing the rebound and broke up play to set up the equaliser. He also got in a number of telling tackles particularly in the first half when we were struggling.

Lines 7 Another strong performance from Chris, always looking to break strongly from midfield and hit some good dead balls last night. Keeper tipped a good free kick onto the bar. Was a bit slack on his marking on the goal where he, James Clarke or Lee Brown really failed to mark anybody.

Gaffney 6.5 I thought Gaffney’s general play last night was very good, holding the ball well and showing a lot of strength to bring other players in but he really badly needs a goal because his finishing which last season was one of his strongpoints has really deserted him. A top form Rory of last season would have come away with a hat trick but I would give him another go on Saturday because Harrison looks no better when it comes to making the final decision on what he is going to do.

Taylor 6.5 Obviously played in a role asked of him by the Manager and spent far too long out wide for our top scorer and really the only one who you could bank on scoring at the moment. His first touch is sheer class and some of his passing was sublime to bring others in. I really worry that we don’t appear to have a partner for him and at the moment I think Gaffney is the best option as at least his general work was good but scoring we are sadly lacking. Unlucky not to score early in the second half with a drive.

Subs

Colkett 7 The bloke is class and the old saying if you are good enough age doesn’t matter comes to mind. Plays short accurate passes and looks a great prospect which we are very lucky to have for the season but we must make the most of him and he is far too good to be on the bench but there again I could say that about most of our bench. it seems to me that far too much is put on effort than actual football skill but it has served DC well and I don’t expect him to change.

Easter 8 MOM The bloke is sheer class and changed the game as soon as he came on with his brilliant control and trickery. Won the penalty and the referee failed to give him a penalty earlier with a stonewall handball. His hard driven cross into the danger area created havoc and the own goal. He would be the first name on my team sheet just behind two strikers playing the sort of Sinclair role where I think he would score his fair share as well as setting up chances. in tight situations it is amazing that he manages to retain the ball and his fitness this season is spot on.

Harrison 6.5 Did Ok but got another stupid booking. can’t fault his effort but his decision making is just not on the mark. The thing he did do was waste time well but on two occasions I felt that if he had gone direct at goal he could well have sown the game up but instead took the ball to the corner flag. Has not done enough IMO to warrant a starting place and Gaffney is better to persevere with and hope that a goal comes soon.

Crowd 7 Tremendous vocal support from the drastically reduced ranks. can somebody remind me of the attendance at the abandoned game as I am not sure how much affect this had on the home support as the crowd was a reasonable 6700 but we were 2400 down on our support from the first game which would have made a crowd of 9100. Was the first attendance much over this?

Referee 4 Far too many poor decisions and bookings. Some referees run the game by the use of the book and this was another case of not using any real thought in his decisions. you would have thought this was a dirty game from the number of bookings which I think we won 6 or 7 to 4. The miracle was that both teams managed to retain their numbers. Didn’t give us a stonewall penalty and far too quick to blow the whistle. Another poor official but the only thing I can say in his defence is we do make the stupidest offences to get booked.

Swindon 6 Started off looking like they would inflict a heavy defeat on us due mainly to our team not looking like they had met each other before then after that period of intense pressure we pretty well dictated the game other than the odd moment. Think Swindon will probably be mid table but nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see Mr Power’s side relegated.

DC To be honest it was a fantastic result and after the first twenty minutes a good performance bar the finishing however I do feel at lost to explain why out top scorer played out wide so much and how continually making changes in the defence and midfield is going to build up an understanding. In the first twenty minutes it appeared to me that DC had learnt nothing from the previous encounter and it was a case of deja vu but he managed to again sort out the mess and our record of P 8 W 2 D 4 and L2 is about where I thought we would be. I really do feel that DC has built up quite a formidable squad and one that could bring us more exciting times this season however at the moment I am far from convinced that he is sure what his best team is and in a way fears going for quality over workrate. Its a result business so for that he gets 10/10 for last night.

So we move on to Saturday and a game against Port Vale who have started quite well. A win and it will see us nicely set up in mid table before a very difficult game at Sheffield United next Tuesday. I very much hope we will come out 4-4-2 with either Monty or Moore on the wing. The latter will have more to prove against his former employers and this could be a sound move. I would definitely find a place for Easter to start and it would not surprise me one bit if Gaffney opened his seasons account if he is given the chance. Personally I would go for

Roos

Leadbitter Lockyer Hartley Brown

Lines Colkett Moore

Easter

Gaffney Taylor

Subs Mildenhall O Clarke J Clarke Montano Harrison Sinclair Bodin

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