It’s the banana skin again

With a little break from our poor League form the question was whether or not we would be again beaten by minnows after last seasons FA Cup defeat and in all honesty the defeat yesterday ,embarrassing as it was , was no real surprise to me. DC whilst having an impressive record as our Manager does not have the luxury of being able to look back at an impressive Cup record-in fact anything but and playing a team unbeaten in over 20 games was hardly inspiring for a team that was struggling with 1 point from the last 4 games and leaking goals far too regularly even if it was at a level two divisions above our Northern opponents.

Team Selection again did nothing to inspire me as my philosophy has always been that when you are leaking goals and regularly opponents are getting behind you then the last thing to do is revert from a solid back four to three central defenders none of whom have any real pace. Not for the first time DC selected the wing back formation that has failed at home far more times than it has been successful and you would honestly have felt that we were negotiating a team from a higher division rather than being the superior team and my only real criticism of Darrell is that for me he overthinks the opposition rather than set out with a “let them worry about us” strategy.

My biggest worry is that when it comes down to it we have very much a Conference standard midfield when we play Ollie Clarke and Sinclair in it and support it with Lee Brown who IMO is similar standard when played as a wing back and when you stick Chris Lines in it playing a deep role then basically you have a defensive “shell” that are trying to attack but in doing so are neither good at attacking or defending. Our only real means of attack is in Leadbitter but even he has a tendency to try too much and his final ball is rarely of a very high standard. Many will say I am being harsh but that’s the way I see it and unfortunately that’s the way it looked in yesterdays game. Despite having again a huge amount of possession and a fair bit of “bad luck” I always say that you make your own luck and our poor finishing is down to far more than bad luck and it has to be a worry when your centre half has more goals than the rest of your team put together or very close to!

Roos 5
Very easy to blame your goalkeeper and say things like “the defence has no confidence in him” but this is very much the case of a goalkeeper being made to look worse by a defence who are too slow, can’t pass a ball and worst of all can’t mark an opponent. Both goals were down to just rank bad defending and he had little chance with either. His distribution was good but that apart he had very little to do other than a “penalty incident” where he made a good save with his feet but then from my view took a rush of blood to his head and brought down their striker however I understand from somebody who was far closer to the incident that the player took a huge dive and so well done referee for getting that one right.

Leadbitter 4
Poor crossing from start to finish and really all over the place with his defending. At the moment only pace keeps him in the side and Connor Roberts must be wondering why on earth he signed for us as he can’t even get into the match day squad and his number of appearances can be counted on one hand.

J. Clarke 3
Looked very much like a player who has been out injured and lost his match fitness and brought in to tighten up a defence and actually made it even worse. If DC had to play with three central defenders surely McCrystal should have been selected ahead of Clarke. he wouldn’t have speeded up the rest but he sure would have brought a bit of experience and know how.

Lockyer 3
How he has been an ever present when available this season is beyond me. Struggling for form most weeks and clueless when the ball is at his feet. Chances of getting a move to a Championship side are about as likely as Nicky Tanner playing for Liverpool- oh wait!!!!!! Hesitancy and lack of any sort of confidence and probably the captaincy weighing down on him has turned a promising player into a player who really needs a rest from the action .

Hartley 4
Disappointing in that he was brought in to add a bit of strength and power in the air ay the back but at the moment is looking so short of pace and not tall enough to deal with tall strikers. He was second best in most challenges.

Brown 4
Non existent either as an attacking player or as a defender and as has been the case in most of his appearances as a wing back failed miserably and the standard of his passing was,like many of his team mates Conference standard.

O. Clarke 4
Flattered to deceive apart from one long shot. Too often found wanting and really should have been brought off but there again there was no shortage of players to be substituted. I have said it before and will say it again take out the odd good appearance and his performances would not guarantee him a place in a Conference side. if he gets released which surely he will then I think he will find it tough to find another League team.

Sinclair 5
Tried hard to shine but there are times when effort alone will not prevail and yesterday was one of those. When he starts straying to the right wing then you know he will soon be replaced and that is exactly what happened yesterday but the sad thing is that he was the best of the midfield three and that is worrying.

Lines 4
To be honest his use of the ball for the majority of the game was appalling and the fact that he spent most of the game in a starting position behind Sinclair and Ollie Clarke meant that even a long run usually only took him to the half way line and only once did he really get forward and then he should have scored but managed to shoot straight at the keeper for the chance that Gaffney failed to take the reound.

James 5
Showed some nice touches but if this is the replacement for Taylor then we are in greater trouble than many think! Looks far too light weight and there is just no presence about him. On saying that I do see something there but in truth we have little in the team going forward to enable him to shine and the big lack of quality on the pitch yesterday was frightening.

Gaffney 5.5 MOM
Scored a rare goal and at least showed some quality to go with his all round effort but should have come off with a hattrick – unlucky to see his shot hit bar and post but surely should have finished the rebound off the keeper but that said I like to see my centre forward be exactly that and stay in the centre and close to his fellow striker and capable of winning far more of the aerial challenges..

Subs:

Harrison 5
Didn’t really bring anything to the fore that we didn’t already have but not any worse than anyone else and better than some.

Montano 4
Tried to bring a bit of pace and skill to the show but his final ball lacked both the accuracy and the movement of the central players to meet the ball. With Lee Browns passing so far off the mark he really didn’t get the ball early enough to give him space in which to run. I really feel he could be a good player if persevered with and if his name had been Lockyer then I think by now we would have had a good winger.

Bodin 4
Off form and for me not the sort of player to bring off the bench for a battle and when things are not going our way. For me he either starts a game or he stays on the bench as his workrate just isn’t up to the sort of fight that was needed yesterday.

Crowd 6 but Barrow 9
These days the magic of the FA Cup seems to be missing in terms of supporters turning up for early round games and it was a disappointing turn out which was matched by the performance or lack of it by the players. Must however heap praise on the Barrow supporters who sang their hearts out on their big day and deserved on their performance alone to see their team go through. Be great if they are rewarded with a big tie in the next round and wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see them in League 2 next season. I mean for them to be in there and not for us to be in there!

Ref 5
Ok.

Barrow 7
Big and strong and obviously there is a reason why they haven’t been beaten in 20 odd games but in all honesty they should have been beaten yesterday had we not gifted them the tie. Harrison looked a good striker but that is probably more due to him looking good against our defence and signing a player based on him scoring against us is hardly the criteria to make a signing.

DC Too often recently he seems to have got it wrong but maybe defeat yesterday was what was needed to turn things around like last season. I find it very worrying that he continues to play a wing back system that has not worked often at home and even more worrying is the fact that effort and hard work gets a place in the team over actual quality because really it looked like two Conference teams battling out a game which lacked the quality footballwise to turn the game. Boateng, Roberts,Easter, Colkett, and Montano should all be given a run in the side rather than just bit part players because it is now getting to a stage where it looks like certain players fit in the DC mould whilst others don’t and that is the worry I have as we enter the January window with maybe a bit of cash. I don’t want to see more hard working players coming in based on that alone as the emphasis as you move up the leagues changes from effort and commitment to added QUALITY. It is far too early to write off a lot of the players who we just haven’t seen enough of. Talk of bringing in a midfielder who “protects the defence” must not be an excuse for playing defenders who just aren’t good enough. The defence as a unit must stand up and be counted Darrell and then more emphasis can be put on playing quality players in front of them. Any goalkeeper would struggle playing behind our defence and I am not convinced that Roos is not a quality young keeper.

So we move on to a “must win ” game against Bury and though some will say there is no such thing as a must win game at this stage of the season I firmly believe we are in the position where it is exactly that mainly because it would bring with it confidence which is what we are sadly lacking at the moment so whereas the three points are no more important next Saturday to any other Saturday in the season it is the effect those three points could have on morale and therefore the results in the following games. Bury are: like us ; on a poor run and we have to hope that it is us and not them who bring this to an end next Saturday. Let’s go at them Darrell and let them do the worrying. UTG

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