Team and Individual performance peak together

There are only a few occasions over a season where you can look at a team performance and individual performances and come to the opinion that both reached the heights at the same time. Well for me today was that day where I witnessed the demolition of a good Northampton team who were made to look very ordinary at and times poor. Sometimes that is down to the opposition having a poor day but today it was down to a totally convincing performance where every time we attacked we looked dangerous and our finishing matched our approach play.

Last season Northampton deservedly walked the Second division but today they were totally destroyed by a team and Manager that looked like they had a point to prove after last weeks disappointing display by both Manager and players. Today there were 8 changes to the team but for one of the first times I thought every decision was correct and although there were so many changes for me Darrell was merely reverting to the best team he has put out over the last month wherever injury didn’t enforce the decision. I could feel the excitement in the bar before the game when the team was disclosed and it was the complete opposite to the reaction at Charlton on Monday however there could not have been many whothought they would witness what would take place in the first half hour.

Puddy 7 Did everything that could have been asked of him. He wasn’t needed to produce a match winning performance but everything he did have to do was efficient.

James Clarke 7.5 For me this was one of his best displays both in defending and in going forward. Northampton are no mugs when it comes to attacking and James stuck at his task excellently to keep his opponent at bay and got better as the game went on. He seemed to just grow in stature as the game went on and hit a tremendous shot which was just too high and could have been more greedy when another chance of a long shot came his way.

Lockyer 8 Best game this season from the skipper who dealt with everything superbly. Gone were the mistakes from the last game and it seemed that he upped his game and immediately relished the chance to perform alongside a rejuvenated Mark McCrystal. Together they stuffed out the dangerous strikers and even when Mark Richards joined the dangerous Revell neither looked like getting the better of our central defenders.

McCrystal 8.5 To be honest I have been one of the many who thought McCrystals time at the club was near its end but today proved there is life in the old dog yet as he led the backline with distinction. Always there covering for others and making sure that when a ball was there to be cleared it wasn’t going to come back to quick. Hr looked a bit rusty early on as would be expected after so many weeks in the stand but it was then that his leadership qualities came shining through and for the first time this season we actually looked well organised from the back forward. I am not sure if Mark was captain today but it didn’t matter so much because I am sure no matter who was captain Mark would use his vast experience to help the rest of the defence and come the end of the second half the defence looked strong and well capable of keeping the clean sheet which was probably more important than us scoring six or seven which also looked on the cards.

Brown 6.5 For me the only player who disappointed a little today with his overall distribution which too often found an opponent or nobody due to holding the ball too long and failing to give early balls to Monty who was very often closed down by the time the ball got to him. Browner must still learn his role when he has a winger in front of him to use him rather than miss him out and go on runs himself which means the winger has to spend a lot of time behind him, To be fair Monty is very proficient and willing to do this now.

Bodin 8 Silky skills and a stunning goal which was worth the entrance fee alone as he twisted and turned with close control before bursting the net with a stunning shot from the edge of the box. OK he went nissing at times as do most wingers but who cares when he has so much talent and can sublimely beat men in tight situations. He was unlucky not to score further goals in the second half when opponents just couldn’t take the ball off him.

Lines 7.5 Always involved and trying to spend as much time on the ball as possible but today IMO he was second best to Ollie Clarke in the centre of the pitch but that is not a criticism of Lines in any way as he still probed and ran at players but there again so did Ollie and it was hard to tell which was which as each competed with each other to out play the other at abilities which many didn’t think they possessed. Lines on the few occasions where he lost the ball fought and got it back and Ollie was turning players in tight situations in Linesie fashion. It was great to watch as was the overall game.

Ollie Clarke 9 Ollie has long been on the end of criticism from me and the reason has always been because in my eyes he has rarely wanted the ball and therefore gone missing for long periods and as far as I could see he was in the team just for a few hard tackles and the odd goal from long range. Well today and in his last appearance I have seen an Ollie Clarke who has said “I’m Ollie Clarke – give me the ball and I will show you what I can do”. If he does read my reports then he was saying “stuff you stevek192 you are totally wrong and I am good enough to dominate a midfield in this division.” All I can say is that there were many occasions today where although Chris Lines did some great things with the ball Ollie actually performed even better and for me the only thing that could have prevented me giving him Man of the Match was an exceptional four goal haul from one of our strikers. I very much hope that Ollie can now continue and make himself irreplaceable because the Lines/Clarke partnership at this time looks to be capable of imposing itself on the opposition.

Montano 7 For me he is a confidence player who is well capable of playing regularly at this standard and is not afraid to work hard at his defensive work and for the team. What really impresses me is his abilities in tight situations out wide and his touches where he brings other players into play with clever passes and today there were signs that he was becoming more involved in moves with both Ellis and Taylorand if he had been a bit greedier he could have scored when he tried to set up Matty rather than take the chance himself. Unlucky to be substituted but could see the reason for bringing on a fresh Moore at the time as the game was well won.

Harrison 10 MOM If he hadn’t scored any goals this would have been a superb performance by him as he led the line with a flair, skill and power of a standard I have long thought he was capable of but was not sure it would materialise. As it was it turned out to be an exceptional and probably the best performance from a centre forward since the Ricky Lambert days. Four goals and it could have been two more but it included a rare six minute hat trick and it looked very much a case of everything he touched turned to gold. He really has today set himself a challenge today to make this a regular event and finally show his true talent.

Taylor 7 Not at his very best but still involved a lot and set up Ellis’s fourth with a great cross to the near post. I very much hope we can retain his services and if this is helped by him going through a lean spell who bloody cares because we all know that another run of goals is not far away and even when he is not scoring he still has lovely ball control and the ability to make the most of tight situations and pick out colleagues on a regular basis as he did today.

Substitutes
Moore 7 Showed good pace and touches and personally I would like to see him introduced every week to keep the same formation which as far as I am concerned brings out the best in us. Even at Charlton I felt he performed well and slowly and surely we are seeing the talents he can bring to the team.

Easter 6.5 As soon as he came on he showed excellent control and awareness and is another who is capable at this level still and a good player to have around.

Lawrence Not enough time to mark but took a couple of nice touches.

Referee 7 Great over ruling of a Linesman on the second goal and for me was good all round. Yes there were a couple of dodgy free kicks but certainly better overall than the majority at this level.

Crowd 8 Another good sized crowd after a poor defeat who were given a sparkling 90 minutes of football.

Northampton 6 Not a bad side but one who we destroyed on the day. I thought Boateng looked their best player but the biggest surprise was that we managed to keep their strikers at bay. Perhaps it was a similar case as Charlton supporters think of us with a chorus of “Can we play you every week!!”.

DC How can I give anything but praise for a performance from his team following such a poor performance last game. I really felt he got every decision right today and it was rewarded with arguably our best performance of the season and a position of 8th in the table which is brilliant. Alright some would say he tinkered so much with the side today with 8 changes but I would look on it as a team with only two changes that just returned to the best team available to him and if he keeps this formation with the width given by two wingers there will be no complaints from me. It was certainly a day when a lot of our moves resulted in clinical finishing.

So we move on to a match at in form Fleetwood that will give us a real strong test as to how far we have come. Hopefully there will be few changes from todays team barring maybe a few new signings as additions to the squad. UTG

One Response to “Team and Individual performance peak together

  • Chris Scargill
    9 months ago

    Absolutely spot on mate. Every game is tough at this level but a great result today. I’ll look forward to watching it on Gas Player HD. UPG Chris.

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