A point gained?

So after a good point last week it was back to the Memorial Ground and the first of two tough games against top sides. It was disappointing that with the loss of Matty Taylor we were also without Billy Bodin which made me think that it was probably going to be a struggle to score goals today and I did wonder if that was the reason that DC played Leadbitter in preference to Partington. it was the only reason I could think that after last weeks impressive performance he could be dropped. it was good to see Monty back in the team but really Bodin missing cancelled that out.

The game proved to be a very entertaining one with two good sides and whilst Bradford shaded possession with their quality possession football we actually had the best of the goalmouth action and could have been leading by half time on chances created and Bradford defensively looked dodgy and rode their luck. Come the end I think it was a point gained for us because we had Lumley to thank for keeping our goal intact and to be honest we looked a little goal shy without Bodin.

Lumley 9 MOM Didn’t put a foot or hand wrong all game and made at least three saves that kept us in the game. At this moment in time he really looks the part and personally I would love to see him sign and be our first choice but of course its very early days so my view might change by the season end but he really shows promise. Good kicker of the ball,safe handling, confidence beyond his years and quick off his line- what more could we ask for. No chance whatsoever with the goal that looked a lot better at the match than it did on the TV because at least 4 players didn’t really do themselves justice on the goal conceded – Lines ,Lockyer,Ollie Clarke and Leadbitter could all have prevented it.

Leadbitter 6.5 Attacked well but I rate defenders on their defensive ability and for me today the wideman was given far too much time and got far too many crosses in for my liking. Can understand why DC played Leads but I would have preferred to have seen Partington again as IMO he is the better defender and we looked so tight last week although to be fair the opposition was better today. The standard of Danny’s crossing lets him down so often and that was evident far too often today.

Lockyer 7 A good solid performance and put in some good interceptions. Possibly at fault on their goal in that the ball was played into his area but there were about three other players who all went to sleep at the same time. His distribution today was also much better.

Sweeney 8 Another good solid performance , rarely beaten and got his body in the way a few times and didn’t allow Wyke; who is a tough character himself and a goalscorer; much room at all which was just as well because far too often Bradford managed to get crosses in from wide positions but the central defenders and goalkeeper held firm. This is a very different Rovers team to that which was conceding goals pretty well everytime we were attacked and the fact Sweeney is so strong in the air has made a great difference.

Brown 6 Browner like Leadbitter gave his winger far too much time and space and seemed to rely far too much on Montano coming back all the time. The trouble is that this restricts very much the attacking threat that a winger can have and the same could be said the other side as without Bodin there was no real attacking threat however we still managed to do our fair share of attacking but the service to the two forwards was pretty poor most of the time. I can see Harris being given a try soon and really challenge Browner for his place and this could really be a good thing as for too long there has been no competition for his place.

Sinclair 6.5 A hard working performance and that was probably a good description of our entire team performance today as everybody worked hard but other than Lines there was a severe lack of quality on the ball and the team was set up far too defensively but that was also very much due to the quality of the opposition which was as good as I have seen this season. Sincs did very little wrong but whereas we had a lot of strength in depth in the midfield area earlier in the season I would say it is the midfield where we are now lacking in quality competition for places.

O. Clarke 6 Like the team was far better first half but not as good or as effective as in his recent performances which have been outstanding but it was a tough place to be today against a team who were both confident and classy in possession of the ball. That said it was not a bad game at all from Ollie and he did have some good moments I personally felt that we were far better first half than second and actually created the better opportunities in that half but struggled to get going again in the second half and were probably lucky to hold out for a point in the end.

In truth we still had good chances to break but our decision making in the second half was pretty poor and good possession was lost on a number of occasions and for once the substitutions actually made us worse.

Lines 8 Had an outstanding game and scored a real classy goal with a beautiful curled shot from the edge of the box during what was our best spell of the game where we forced a number of corners and could have had two or three goals before half time. This was Chris’s best game for a while as he looked confident on the ball and kept probing and outshone Ollie Clarke for probably the first time in the last 5 games.

Montano 6.5 Had to spend far too much time defending but worked very hard in the first half but didn’t receive enough of the ball. Despite this he looked dangerous and one shot from a good position was way over and another shot looked a goal when it left his foot but was blocked. He put a couple of delightful crosses and passes in but there was also the customary bad one where he seems to sometimes lose his head and just hit it anywhere. Still would have left him on and replaced Sinclair with Broom.

James 6 Certainly couldn’t fault his effort but for all his running I cannot recall one chance of a goal during the 90 minutes. I would add that this was not really down to him but the quality of the service and I would say we have to stick with him and see what happens. Physically he does not at this time seem to have the body strength which Matty Taylor had but it will be interesting to see how he develops over the coming games and if he scores whether that will boost his confidence. He received no protection from yet another weak referee.

Harrison 6.5 Like Luke James he ran his socks off and battled for everything but both of them lacked the real quality to matcjh their efforts and too often the decision making was poor and resulted in lost possession.

Subs:

Broom 4 A couple of useful runs but his inexperience really showed and to be honest the substitutions today actually made us worse. To me he looks two years away from challenging for a first team place but there is something about him which could bode well for the future

Gaffney 5 Needs a goal and quickly. Like others cannot fault his effort or enthusiasm but we really need him in the centre rather than out wide

Lucas nole

Crowd 6 Where were the two thousand who have attended recent matches? It was certainly a cold day which is the only reason I can think that the crowd was only 8500 (if I heard it correctly) They did however stick with the team and appreciated the effort put in by the players and did everything to drive the team on to a winning goal when we had a strong spell towards the end.

Ref 4 Fussy and lenient and managed to miss far too many of the physical challenges. The standard of refereeing is generally so poor.

Bradford 8 For me the best team that have played at the Mem this season for possession of the football and for getting the ball into wide positions. Perhaps lacking the finishing power to be automatically promoted but Law is really a class act in the middle of the park and whilst first half on actual chances we should have been leading they certainly took the honours in the second half where Lumley for me was the clear Man of the Match.

DC- For me he should have kept the same defence as last week but I can understand why he put Leadbitter in for his attacking qualities and his pace. He seems to have sorted out the defensive strength now but we look weaker in the other areas and the inclusion in the squad of Broom and Lucas has for me made the overall squad far weaker than we had before Christmas. Substitutions today did not have the required affect but that said for me it was a point gained and overall a very entertaining game of football.

So we move on to Tuesday night for what should be an even tougher game. My worry is that we don’t at present have the goals in the side to make a game safe and probably lack a bit of quality going forward against the better sides. I will be satisfied with another point on Tuesday but if we can hit Sheffield early on then there is no reason why we can’t give a good account of ourselves and even snatch the three points. Personally I would leave Sinclair out on Tuesday and play a more attacking line up and would bring Easter back into the fold on the bench as well as play Partington in place of Leadbitter and may even consider giving Harris a start to give Brown a rest.

Read more: http://gasheads.org/thread/6153/point-gained#ixzz4YQgNT79U

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