Early Christmas present for the Field

After the humiliating defeat on Tuesday it was vital that we saw not necessarily a win but a much improved performance and in all honesty it could be said that the performance was much better but ruined by our continuing to give the opposition early Christmas presents. This was disappointing because overall it was easy to see why Chesterfield are struggling and we were totally the dominant team both before and after we took a 1-0 lead which was totally deserved. The surprise in the Team Selection was probably more the fact that we kept the same back four which has leaked goals recently but there again what options did DC have with Clarke-Salter and James Clarke injured other than possibly the return of McCrystal or Roberts for Leadbitter. Anyway it was a return to the diamond formation and the return of Ollie Clarke and Easter. Did it work? In many ways the answer was yes as we overall were the better side first half and almost total domination second half. Unfortunately in the only real spell of home domination they managed to score twice and in rare attacks in the second half managed to score what looked a harsh free kick and bring a great save from Roos. It could be said they were a clinical side and we were a wasteful side and that would probably be an astute assessment.

We were not helped at any time in the game by what can only be described as another awful referee who failed to give us a stonewall penalty and who lacked control of the game and also failed to dish out a red card for the tackle on Leadbitter and yet booked our players for far less. Many would have seen the foul that occurred before their second goal but again the referee failed to notice another key decision. It is not good to blame the referee but at the moment we just are not getting the rub of the green but there again we are not helping ourselves with slack defending and poor final decisions .

Roos 6
Did nothing at all wrong other than being the man between the posts at this difficult time when far too many goals are finding their way into the net courtesy of rank poor defending as a unit, Roos made a couple of good saves ,distributed the ball well and stood no chance whatsoever with two close range efforts which were expertly finished and a brilliant free kick which his only fault could possibly have been that he was covering the far post and the wall the near post but the shot was so well placed that to blame him at all would be harsh to say the least.

Leadbitter 5.5
Got forward well but the quality of his final ball was far too often just not there and our crosiing in general must be questioned because the only real quality crossing came from the few times when Chesterfield got behind us. Defensively I thought like Brown he was not at his very best.

Lockyer 5
Another disappointing game for me from our “quiet” captain where maybe too much is being placed on young shoulders when we have an experienced captain alongside him. I have to be honest and say I am not a great believer in the “stay back and don’t let them past us” approach which we seem to use or the staying back when we are in possession and being available for the backward pass. I would like to see a far more positive approach to winning the first ball by attacking the ball rather than letting the ball bounce and then being out muscled. Tom seems far more hesitant this season but maybe that is because we are up against better opposition. Some will say that we could lose him to a Championship club but personally at present I am not convinced that he has the attributes to be a successful Championship player. His use of the ball is far from Championship class and if I had to replace a central player in the January market for me it would be Tom who would miss out.

Hartley 5
For me at the moment he is presenting more of a presence in the opposition box than he is in our own and whilst I cannot pin point exactly what the problem is with our central defence we look suspect every time we are attacked and this probably shows in the ratio of shots from the opposition and goals conceded. It just seems to me that far too often we have enough players number wise back to defend situations but they are failing to pick up any opposition players and maybe DC is relying too much on more forward players getting back to defend rather than having an organiser as captain ,like Hartley and ensuring the opposition are tightly marked first and foremost by the four defenders and when we have cleared the ball or passed it out concentrate on getting up the pitch quicker. We may lack a bit of pace to play this way but at the moment the way we are playing at the back is not working.

Brown 4.5
Slow and lethargic for me yesterday and one of the players at fault for the second goal and question marks over his general passing particularly when Monty came on. The problem as I see it is that Lee is probably the only player who can have a drop in form and yet will be on the teamsheet because there is no suitable replacement. Roberts has been played there once but in all honesty I did not think he looked comfortable in the role. Whether it is all down to Brown or the lack of a supporting player in the diamond midfield I am not sure but far too often we are seeing crosses come in from that side with no direct attempt to stop them.

O. Clarke 7 MOM
Ollie why can’t you play like this on a more consistent basis. Won the ball well and passed it well and was unlucky not to score in the first half and yesterday he appeared to really want to be involved. His test now is the next game because when selected after a really good performance more often than not he disappoints which is very frustrating for me. Personally I don’t think we can be a successful side with both him and Sinclair in the middle of the park but based on his game yesterday I would be inclined to rest Sinclair and give Ollie Clarke a run in the side. I still think that over the last two promotion seasons our best form has been when Sincs has been out injured and I do wonder if this is more than a coincidence and we are actually better organised as a midfield unit when we have a more positional sensed player in there with more ability to pick a forward pass and do something positive rather than just retain possession.

Sinclair 5.5
A great turn in the area which should have brought a stone wall penalty from a referee who clearly favoured the home side was his key contribution. ran about a lot as usual but did he really contribute that much in quality and control I am not so convinced as he does seem to leave us a bit vulnerable in the centre of midfield as you never know where he is going to show up. I know many will be critical of me for criticising their ” main man” but its just the way I see things at the moment.

Lines 6.5
If he was more consistent with his passing and stopped wasting the ball with spectacular attempts at a pass rather than a simple pass then he would have been my Man of the Match because he was heavily involved throughout the game and tried his hardest to get us moving in the right direction and it is easy to be critical but for long periods particularly in the second half we were in the ascendancy and dictated the pace of the game and were in total control of everything apart from the score. The fact we had 59% possession and 17 shots compared to Chesterfields 5 shows the extent of this supremacy but also shows our problems at both ends of the pitch particularly as it took a defender and a substitute to score the goals.

Easter 6
A great start to the game where he seemed to be at the heart of a lot of the moves but then faded in the second half. Neat and composed on the ball I would like to see him being used as the man who makes the midfield tick rather than the more forward of the four in a diamond and his ability to hold on to the ball and pick a pass for me is even more essential when you bring on a winger.

Taylor 4
The man is going through a period where other than penalties he is not scoring and his involvement yesterday was limited to say the least other than he should have scored with a far post header that he had time to pick his spot and took the wrong option and sent his header past the near post when it was easier to get the attempt on target. Has he got one eye on a transfer? I don’t know but it is an easy thing to say when your only real goalscorer other than your centre half is struggling big time to make any impact on the game. In truth we have relied on his goals far too much but also you could say that when you score two goals in an away match together with so much possession then you should be returning home with something.

Gaffney 6
No faulting his effort or commitment but when Taylor doesn’t score then really we need Gaffers to score and at the moment that is not happening. I feel he should have put us two up with the header and that probably would have been a good enough cushion to get a result. Dangerous on the ground and the best we have to partner Taylor at the moment but I feel we could be looking for two permanent strikers come January.

Bodin 6
Took his goal well and hopefully this appearance will ignite his season which so far has been very poor.

Montano 5
Really feel he needs a run of games to build up his confidence and consistency and give him instructions to run at opponents from the wing and only go inside when the ball is on the far side. To do this he needs the ball released early by Brown but this is not happening and Browns passing yesterday when Monty came on was slow and poor.

Harrison 5
His footwork set up Bodins goal but overall was no improvement on Gaffney and maybe James should have been used to replace an out of sorts Taylor.

Crowd 6
Yet another annoying drum in a home end that livened up the atmosphere in the second half and tried to lift their side to hold on to their lead. The frustrations of a poor run are starting to show amongst the travelling fans who again turned up in numbers which must have been near a thousand and went home with nothing from a game we should have won.

Ref 2
Based on key decisions and overall standard was very poor and most decisions went in favour of the home side. Too many times pushing and physical challenges by the home side were missed and it seemed any touch whatsoever on the home players resulted in a free kick. He seemed to have totally lost control of the match come the end.

Chesterfield 4 Based on the fact that they won at MK Dons in the week for their first win in eight games I thought we would see a much improved and confident home side but what I saw was very much the team who had lost so many games as overall they were poor and were there for the taking. Clinical with their finishing and pretty physical would be the best and most accurate way to describe them.

DC In total respect to the Man on a day where he suffered a close family bereavement in the loss of his mother the fact that he attended the match speaks volumes of him and his love for this club so all I have to say is my thoughts are with him and his family at this terrible time RIP Mrs Clarke.

So we move on to a potential banana skin match against a Barrow side on a long unbeaten run. On our present form and giving goals away as gifts I would say an away win would be well worth betting on depending on the odds however if we can’t beat a side that only just overcame Taunton Town then there is something seriously wrong with our side at the moment….oh dear there is something seriously wrong with our team at the moment!! I have heard this week that DC has the go ahead to make two or three permanent signings and this is definitely needed although I would say it should be far more as surely now the time is right to say goodbye to the likes of Liam Lawrence, Lee Mansell, Will Puddy, Mark McCrystal and Gosling and in all honesty I can’t see either Boateng or Roberts wanting to extend their loans with far too much time by both being sat on the bench or the seats in the stand.
I see no sense whatsoever in having six loanees when only five can be in the squad although with Clake-Salters injury we could get by with six so would expect at least three permanent signings and 2 loanees even if we manage to hold onto Taylor which is unlikely. Anyway we have a few games to play before the deadline so that is for later. UTG

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