Where is the next win going to come from?

After four draws on the trot and a home game against high riding Scunthorpe I must admit it was very difficult to see beyond another draw in view of the problems we are having scoring goals since Matty Taylor left. Whenever I see a team sheet with Sinclair in a midfield position other than central then I don’t feel we have a great chance of scoring very many and our strikers added to this don’t give me great hopes. I see very few goals in Harrison, Gaffney or Luke James and it seems really strange that after the first half of the season where the main worry was letting in goals I now feel pretty confident that we wont let many goals in but less confident that we will actually win a game.
The big problem when you can’t score goals is that you will struggle to beat the bad sides let alone the good ones and this is the position I think we find ourselves in at the moment. Looking at our recent results we have been playing mostly top sides and so the results or avoiding defeat have been quite creditable however I have no more confidence that we would have won those games had we been playing the lesser teams in this division which I see as a big problem. I will take Luke James as an example yes he chases about in true DC style as does Sinclair but are either going to get us a goal? Add Rory Gaffney spending most of his time on the wing and there is another chance of a goal gone.At the moment we are heavily reliant on Billy Bodin scoring goals and it seems to me that the only person otherwise who is likely to even have a shot at goal other than our central midfielders is Montano and he rarely plays.

Anyway on to yesterdays game itself and apart from Scunthorpe missing a gilt edged chance early on (it was an excellent save by the well positioned Lumley) it was really a game we could have been leading by more than one in a first half that was very entertaining and if anything we looked like the team that were chasing automatic promotion but in truth we just don’t attack the six yard box enough and most of our good work is outside of the box and we actually look pretty punchless up front. At the moment it seems that DC’s selection is more the best of a poor bunch as Harrison does nothing to improve the situation. An Ollie Clarke header was our only reward for a pretty dominant display and the Ollie Clarke/Chris Lines partnership was probably the best feature along with a promising defensive performance. I would say that the biggest difference between us and the top sides is that the top sides use the width of the pitch better than us and are more comfortable with the ball. In truth we have no real aerial presence up top as we do not have a leader of the attack. in the first half and whilst we were nowhere near as good in the second half it has to be said that until Ellis Harrisons horrendous error in sending Paddy Madden clean through on goal we didn’t look like conceding a goal. Even after that and Scunthorpe having a goal disallowed for offside we still twice went close to winning the game.

Lumley 7
His positioning is first class and this was another good performance because the conditions were not ideal for keepers but he held the ball very well and did well to keep out an early strike where it looked a definite goal but that shot apart he really had nothing to do other than very good basic goalkeeping from crosses. He had no chance with the goal where he was left totally exposed.

Leads 7.5
Decent return to the side and overall did a good job on keeping Morris quiet and also being able to get forward and put over some decent crosses.

Locks 7.5
A really good game today and very unlucky to put through his own net when chasing back to catch up with Madden after Ellis’s error but it was another occasion where the ball ran for Scunthorpe and I think it is true that when you are near the top of the table you tend to get most of the luck going.

Sweeney 8 MOTM
Couple of mistimed headers but that apart it was another outstanding game where he dominated both in the air and on the ground. Certainly would be great if we could get him here next season even as a season long loan but that will obviously depend on how Stoke sees him and that we don’t know.

Harris 7
After a bad misjudgement which allowed the ball to bounce over his head and present Scunthorpe with a great chance in the first minute he went on to have a very good first half where he rarely gave the ball away or wasted a pass and was always looking to hit our front players. He does not have the superb fitness level of Lee Brown or the ability to overlap but if you want a left back who defends and is accurate and confident with the ball at his feet then he does a very good job. Not sure why he was substituted as not much seemed to be going past him.

Bodin 6
A quiet game by his standards and very well marshalled by the Scunthorpe defence but still managed to bring one save from the keeper and cause a few problems particularly in the first half.

Lines 7.5
For this division Lines really is the class act of the side with his ability to hold on to the ball and drive forward into any gap that exists in the opposing teams set up. With Ollie Clarke now coming up to the plate we can actually more than hold our own against any team but our problems come when the opposition have the extra player in there and get behind our central pairing and run at our defenders.

Clarke 7.5 A rare headed goal by the most improved player in our team over the last two months and he was close to adding a second late on. Competed throughout in a strong display
that compliments Chris Lines perfectly. The problem is that there is no real competition for their places now although Sincs could do a job there.

Sincs 7
Worked his socks off and played well but the problem for me is that he is being fitted in the team in a position rather than actually being good in that position. No one could ever question either his enthusiasm or his workrate but he just doesn’t have the creative quality to change a game and so our midfield looks far too defensive and we have no width on the left hand side and our middle two and Bodin cutting in gives us a very narrow team. The problem as I see it is that Sincs is a central midfield player who will give his all wherever he plays but really should be competing with Ollie and Chris Lines for a spot as he is not going to get many crosses in or even get down the touchline.

Gaffers 5.5
Works hard but doesn’t look like scoring a goal similar to Luke James and that is our big problem at the moment. He is not a LEADER of the attack and by that I mean a player who forms the pinnacle of the attack and who gives us an aerial advantage over the opposition. For his size Gaffs is very weak in the air and therefore needs to be a goalscorer and he is not a natural finisher either. I would say that the loss of Matty Taylor or should I say the failure to replace him has cost us a very good chance of the Play Offs this season and in many ways I will be glad when we have say 55 points because at the moment I just don’t see where the next victory is going to come from with our present options up front.

James 4
One header in the second half but that aside he just looks too lightweight and doesn’t look like scoring a goal in a million years. This is also down to really not taking up goal scoring positions. In many ways it is better to have a striker who is getting in the positions but missing chances. Luke doesn’t miss them-he just doesn’t seem to get them.

Harrison 2
Bloody awful other than a couple of headers he won in our box. Lost us two points today with the worse pass back made this season but I don’t think all the blame should go on his shoulders because the main failing was that the game was not put to bed in the first half and in my opinion too much pressure is put on the strikers with their defensive duties rather than being able to stay up top and put the defenders under pressure.

Clarke 5
Did OK but have to say that he does not always look fit but perhaps that is just the way he looks when he runs. Probably a wasted substitution as Harris did not appear to be struggling but maybe DC saw something that I didn’t and it represented good player Management.

Ref 6
Very very lenient and yet in terms of actually keeping the game moving he did a good job and it was really quite an entertaining match. Most key decisions were right although he did miss a lot of fouling but it could have been a very stop start game if he had noticed more and to be honest Scunthorpe have probably set up in games as well organised with a bit of nastiness rather than being nice to watch like Bradford and Sheffield United so by keeping the game going well it was probably a better game and to a neutral well refereed.

Scunny 6
No where near as good as either Sheffield United or Bradford and seemed to get quite a bit of luck today with how the ball fell on a number of occasions where even if they miskicked the ball it seemed to run to one of their players and also for a top side committed lots of minor offences that went unpunished by a very lenient referee both in terms of missing a lot of the challenges and when he did give them refraining from using his card. I really detest sides whose Management pester the fourth official but Alexander and his assistant spent the entire ninety minutes doing this and for that alone I hope they fall by the wayside this season.

Crowd 6
Disappointing crowd but not really surprising as it has now been quite a while without a win and represents a team that not having read the Matty Taylor situation has pretty well given up on the Play Offs by failing to get in a replacement. For me it is very similar to the Lambert situation where the players left up front are just not good enough and most of the supporters know this and it will show on the gates unless the team go on a run of wins. Strangely the crowd was quiet when we played well in the first half but livened up in the second half where we needed a boost. .

DC Wish he would go a little more attacking in home games but can’t praise him enough for the way he has handled the defence which was our big problem before Christmas. Our worry now is the final third which is not helped with his persistence in having everybody back for corners and having no real centre forward with Gaffney spending most of his time outside of the penalty area. I am totally loss how DC thinks Luke James is or was going to be Matty Taylors replacement as in no shape or form does he look the answer and the biggest joke for me was after the game when Darren said that he was carrying a hamstring injury which must make me ask what the bloody hell is he doing out there although it does possibly answer why he is so far off the pace. Replacing Bob Harris with James Clarke seemed a strange one and whilst I am not criticising DC for it I wish he hadn’t brought Ellis on !!! I just can’t understand why he doesn’t use Montano more as he makes us look a lot better balanced side and certainly a more attacking one. Whether it was his fault that we didn’t sign a striker or he wasn’t provided with the necessary funds we are now paying the price and I can’t help but think that any chance we had of making the Play offs has gone which is a shame because I am sure that whatever people think of whether we are ready for that Darrell would have been aiming for it.

Make no mistake this was a game that we should have and would have won if not for a terrible errorSo we move on to yet another difficult week where we have two very difficult away games and if we can come away from them undefeated then although it will probably mean a sixth and seventh draw on the trot it would still be satisfactory results. Personally I would make a choice between Lines, Ollie Clarke and Sinclair for the two central midfield places and start Monty on the left or maybe even start Byron Moore on the left with Monty up top with Gaffney.

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