Some of our own medicine

For some reason this season I feel that when we get a home game it seems that we haven’t played at home for ages and it has that sort of start of the season feel about it. Perhaps it is a case of not being able to get used to the “feel good” factor that exists all through the club. Gone are nearly all the things about the Matchday “experience” that symbolized us as “Ragbag Rovers”- ok the ground is not exactly Wembley; in fact; its not even an average ground in todays terms but that apart we re a club where something has happened and is happening. This is a case of a club trying to please and the inclusion of a mobile bar behind the home end was certainly a great ideal especially as these days one o clock no longer sees a handful of people milling around but instead large numbers of supporters and the club have reacted to this with all sorts seeming to be going on. The only problem ;if it is one; is that new found optimism for the present and future brings with it new expectations and that in itself brings different pressures to the Manager and players.

It is always good to be going into a home game on the back of an away victory and four points from two difficult away fixtures always brings a few extra numbers to the Mem willing to give the team “another chance ” to prove that the club means business. What in previous seasons has been an average 5000 home fans has now become more a case of an average 7000-8000 fans with the capability of success now seeing this figure nearing 9000 rather than 6000. Anyway I am sure that the first thing that everybody waits for these days is the Team sheet and I must admit that with our Manager it is a different experience to probably every other team in the Football league and a lot in the Premiership in that changes are always a very strong possibility whether we have won, drawn or lost the previous game. After last weeks victory and the way it was achieved I was really hoping that DC would shock us with an unchanged team or if there were changes it would only be one and that would be the inclusion of a winger at the expense of one of the midfield players as it was a home game. It is easy to be critical of Team selection when you are reporting after a game but yesterday I honestly felt that the return of Ollie Clarke in midfield was a step back especially as the exciting Boateng was not even on the bench and two changes to the back four was also excessive for the team to develop an understanding. Anyway who am I to query anything the Manager with the Midas touch does so onto the game itself.

Roos – 5 Not going to crucify the bloke for a schoolboy error but he must rid his game of these if he is not to become another Nicholls. How he reacts to this second basic error in three games is going to influence his future. I have not resorted to marking below a 5 because the one error apart he did nothing wrong and dealt with the little he had to do well which you could say the same about Tom Lockyer’s game yesterday. Why can’t supporters forget Mildenhall and get totally behind this man- I really hope he can put this latest mistake behind him and consistently show us the good keeper he is like at Oldham last week.

Leadbitter 8 MOM Danny’s best game of the season but the problem is that if you play a back four your primary job is defending. Where was he on the winning goal? I blame the Manager for this rather than the player. He got forward well throughout and was involved in a lot of our attacking moves and won the penalty when he took his run further than usual and inside rather than outside. His quality of crossing must be improved as far too often he hits the first game of the season but still needs to work on his crossing

Lockyer 6 His best all round performance this season but totally ruined it with his getting caught in the last minute which was as bad as Roos error and was a great shame because for me he was excellent throughout up until that point and was close to Man of the Match for me as on top of sterling defensive work he showed a calmness and was unusually competent on the ball.

Clarke-Salter 7.5
It is going to be difficult to make a choice between Clarke-Salter and Hartley but one I feel DC must make soon as I think the big problem we have at the moment is the understanding between defenders and this was clearly shown by the winning goal when the defenders were clearly all over the place both individually and as a unit. Jake staked his claim with a calm performance particularly on the ball where he was both confident and efficient and looks a great prospect but perhaps lacks the hardness and of course the experience of Hartley.

Brown 7 Did little wrong both defensively and offensively without that little bit extra that he often shows.

Sinclair 7 A usual Stuart performance with running from start to finish but should have put us in the lead in the first half. It was a shame that his legs are short or he would have got Roos off the hook for his error and reached the shot! to clear off the line- he almost made it! Tried so hard to close down the Boro back four but the set up made this not as effective as it could have been had we pressed up more and stopped Boro wasting so much time passing sideways and back.

O. Clarke 6.5 A lot of people felt he played well but for me it was just an average midfield performance particularly first half where for me he just wasn’t involved and the game just passed him by. He did however get in some good challenges but for me he lacks both consistency and quality and even at his best is not what we need if we are to be a force in this division and beyond.

Lines 7.5 The driving force
of the midfield and he did well going forward with his range of passing. Ok some went astray but I would rather that than passing sideways and back all the time. Last week I felt he was outstanding with Boateng and Colkett which really looked a quality unit with Sincs just behind. having said that yesterday we still managed to create a lot of chances but our trouble is that we are not a high scoring team and never look capable of hitting a team for six despite possession and number of shots.

Colkett 7 Same as Lines but not as effective. He has the quality and ability to run the show and would be most effective more central .

Taylor 6 Not one of his best performances and should have scored a couple of goals . Felt the penalty summed up his general finishing on the day in that it could so easily have been saved and IMO was a poor penalty. His shot just wide of the post in the second half after a turn and run at the defence was his best effort by far and from my view his turn on the corner of the six yard box should have ended in a goal for as striker of his quality.

Gaffney 7 One of his better performances with solid running and 100% effort but I cannot give him higher than a 7 because at the end of the day he is a striker and yesterday his finishing was just not good enough and too much of his time was spent out wide. Really felt that he should not have been substituted but a winger put on, maybe even two to give him more service.

Harrison 4 One of those rare things this season- a substitution that actually made us worse as did absolutely nothing.

Easter 5 Brought quality on the ball but little else.

DC – If he is going to continually change the team then we will have to put up with the occasional misunderstandings and mistakes but for me he is over thinking the opposition at the moment and paying far too much respect to average opposition which is all Peterborough were. This was IMO a time when he either should have stuck with last weeks winning team or brought in a winger to give us the width that we often lack at home. The time has to come where he decides on certain key positions and sticks with them. Constant changing of the defence is going to see poor defending and individual errors. it is key that he decides who is his best centre half and who plays as the best unit together. For me Hartley has the experience which we lacked yesterday and the organisational skills and shouting at the back whereas Jake is the better with the ball if we want it brought out. Peterborough were there for the taking yesterday but for all his acquisitions we lack a striker with a killer instinct when Taylor is not scoring and too much of Gaffney’s time is spent out wide. Yesterday I felt DC got it wrong both in the starting line up and in his substitutions. The midfield which played so well at Oldham in the first half should have started or one of them replaced by a winger and no other changes were necessary. the substitutions again for me were not what was required and Montano should have been brought on to stretch tiring opponents. That is my opinion but that’s it as DC can hold his head high with the overall results this season. I have a theory that DC feels he has to influence every selection but I am sure somewhere there is a case for keeping a winning team and imposing your style on the opposition rather than always worrying about how they play. In truth had our finishing been even average Peterborough would have been well defeated and Roos error would have been irrelevant but you could say that we got some of our own medicine with that devastating and undeserved climax.

Crowd 9 – Well we didn’t quite make the magical 10,000 but were as near as damn it and the noise levels and atmosphere was good as was the backing of a team who huffed and puffed and put everything into the game but were then kicked in the teeth at the death. The question for Tuesday night is whether the loss of supporters due to the defeat will be balanced the other way by the free ticket offer – I have the feeling the crowd will be nearer 9000 than 10,000.

Ref -1(That is minus 1 not 1!!) Christ we have had some bad ones this season but yesterdays must go down as the worst of the bunch as he made it clear even in the first five minutes that this game of football was about him and not the players on the pitch and in all honesty he played totally into the hands of a Peterborough side that was set up to get a point by hook or by crook. He looked totally disinterested in allowing the game to flow and gave so many mystifying decisions that it was hard to see many good decisions.

Peterborough 6 A nasty team is the only way I can describe Peterborough – set up to get a point at all costs and one of those teams that you just pray you beat for the good of football. They had some clever individual players but that was about it and in my opinion their style of ball retention in the defensive third is bad on the eye and my memories of Michael Smith surging forward were long gone come the end. However they came to do a job and in all honesty we made them look a better more disciplined team than they actually were by laying off them and allowing them the freedom to execute their game plan.

So we move on to Tuesday and the chance to put this result behind us Please DC pick a side to take the game to the opposition and let Fleetwood do the worrying. I know some will disagree with me and say the Captain is not important but if that is the case why do teams bother to have a Captain and why have most of the great sides had a great Captain! Lockyer is not and never will be a leader of men and for me he has to have Hartley alongside him to keep us organised which in many ways is a shame because Clarke-Salter is certainly a quality player but for me we need experience in the back.

I am not going to waste my time selecting a team because only one persons selection is important and the chances of coming up with the same selection is Mission Impossible. UTG

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