Another lack lustre display when favourites
After a good win last week and with the huge support yesterday this was always going to be a potential banana skin especially after Coventry getting their first win in ages in midweek but in truth this was a poor Coventry team who are not adrift at the bottom for nothing and should have been turned over without much trouble. That they weren’t comes down IMO to the fact that in away games we seem to be not very good when we are favourites to win. So what went wrong? Well firstly you should look no further than the loss of two centre backs in Sweeney and Clarke Salter due to International call up and this was hit further quite early in the second half with the injury to Burn. IMO we already looked unbalanced at the back with Lockyer playing on the left I will start with the team selection.
IMO we paid too much respect to the opposition and if I had to be critical of DC I would say that this is his main fault. Teams we should beat we have failed quite a few times this season and if you look at our worst displays they have generally been against the lower sides in the division. James Clarke in preference to Leadbitter, Sinclair in place of a winger immediately makes us weaker as an attacking force and if you add that to not having a real goalscorer then there you have the problem.If the club really wanted to be successful this season then they would have had a replacement for Taylor even if it had cost us more in January than in the summer but IMO we have done even better than expected since Christmas and yes it has been a good season but as they say you learn more about your team in defeat than in victory and yesterday our weaknesses were very evident.
Looking at individual performances my report is a lot shorter than usual because I really can’t write a lot about individuals because we were not very good either individually or as a team.
Lumley 7 MOM Not because he was outstanding (although he was good) because he didn’t have that much to do really but everything he did was competant. One very good save but the main point was that he did the basics well in taking every cross that came his way and that could not really be said about any other player yesterday. He really looks a good keeper and I really hope we can keep him.
J. Clarke 6
Solid if unspectacular.
Looked OK , physically strong but lacking pace . We missed Sweeney but it was made worse because obviously Burn is a right sided player and we had to change Lockyer over as well as bringing Burn in. he went off injured in the second half and Coventry exploited the changes we made by catching Brown and Harris out and scoring the only goal soon after the change.
Distribution awful and looked uncomfortable from the start on the left hand side of the central two.
Brown 5 OK but nowhere near as good as he can be. Ridiculous foul throw.
O. Clarke 6 Probably the best of our midfield and that was the problem. Had one shot brilliantly tipped over and another shot near the end he probably should have buried. Won quite a few challenges.
Lines 5 Poor by his standards and gave the ball away too often and don’t get me on to his corners. How much longer is it going to take DC to see that his corners are totally ineffective? Just wish he would shoot more often when on his long runs .
Effort yes he tried hard but nothing else. Sometimes you need more than enthusiasm and commitment. Don’t know why he got his place back straightaway and IMO we should have started the same as last week with a midfield of Bodin, Lines, Ollie Clarke and Montano.
Bodin 5 Too greedy and far too often beat a couple of players but then took on one too many. Should have done better with two clear chances that went straight at the keeper.in the second half
Terrible but the substitution made us worse.
James 5 Should have gained us a penalty in the first half.Effort cannot be faulted but that should be the minimum of any player anyway but the bloke just doesn’t look like he knows where the net is.DC can give us all the bullshit under the sun but a replacement for Matty Taylor he certainly is not – I would go as far as to say that he is should not be mentioned in the same breath as in all honesty it is like playing with a schoolboy up front as he has no stature about him and just doesn’t possess the physicality to be able to put one over on big strong defenders. He did have his good moments but he is a striker and therefore rated more on goals than anything else- or should be!! For me he just doesn’t get into goalscoring positions and that is the big difference with Taylor. When Matty wasn’t scoring early in his Rovers career it was down mainly to rank poor finishing and missing a lot of good chances and one on ones but if you look at Luke I find it difficult to recall him missing a real chance in any game he has played other than the penalty and this is the problem Darrell- he is not looking likely to score a goal
Leadbitter 4 Didn’t have the best of games and even managed to produce the second foul throw in the match which is really basic but I am sure he is not helped by being in and out of the side and to me it is ridiculous to “reward” an excellent performance last week with being dropped to the bench this week. Ok it was an away game but we were playing the bottom of the league in pretty well a home environment with the backing of over 4000 gasheads and should have been really going for it from the start. Rant over – poor performance from Leads when he did appear.
Not really worth commenting on. Terrible and how he can be preferred to Monty is beyond me. The man obviously has ability but just seems to not want the ball in an attacking position and when he does get it seems to be programmed to run aimlessly with it. Gave the ball away cheaply on a couple of occasions.
Ok but that is about it. The problem was probably more about Lee brown having to go to centre back as it was not long after the substitution that both got lost by a clever ball and the ball was resting firmly in our net for the winning goal. Looked like there could have been a case for offside but we were so disorganised following the substitution that it is very likely that somebody played the player on.
DC – Sometimes it is best just not to say anything and I feel like today is that day. It has been a season where IMO we have exceeded expectations and Darrell has done great to get us where we are and so I will leave it at that because yesterday was not his finest day and yet again a poor team on their own patch have beaten us and that should not have happened. For me the team selection was wrong and so was the substitutions- why Easter and Montano were not involved in either is a mystery. The task for DC now IMO is to prove his pedigree but he can only do this if he is given the funds to go out and sign QUALITY. We have plenty of effort and commitment but there comes a time where you need to go for something better . It is my opinion that whilst others are worried that he may go to pastures new at a higher level IMO he has not yet proved himself as a Championship Manager as we do not know how he will perform with money available. DC likes a certain type oif player but whether that type of player will be enough to change us from a mid table League 1 side to a Prtomotion challenging side I am not totally convinced. His assessment and faith in Luke James worries me as does his failing to reward players who play well with a place the following week.
Crowd 6 A brilliant following of over 4000- supporters so why have I only given a six? One reason- A minutes silence for terrible events in London this week was marred by our supporters singing during this. Ok they were in the concourse still and didn’t know what was going on- NO EXCUSE. This was about two minutes before kick off and they should have been all in their seats and then would have known what was going on. I have never felt so let down as during that special minute.There are some things that are more important than football despite what Mr Shankly once told us.
Ref 3 Had we been given either of the stonewall penalties (even their supporters on their forum agreed) then surely we would have gone on to win this game. We are not getting the run of the green at the moment with referees, linesmen and their decisions and what really irritates me is the inconsistency of decisions. This was another case of officials being incompetent in their trade. in truth probably the worst decision was where we had a player fouled on the edge of the area but the referee played the “advantage” and their keeper rushed out to dive at our players feet. It was clear to see there was no advantage whatsoever – then there were foul throws – fair enough decisions against both Brown and Leadbitter but then Coventry take an even more blatant foul throw and nothing is given.
Coventry 5 Their supporters seemed to be saying this was one of their best performances- well heaven help them! To me it was a case of another poor side being paid far too much respect in our team selection and being made to look much better than they were. I wouldn’t say they were the worst side we have played but far from being a good side even on the day.
I have found this report difficult to write because it was ; without doubt; a very disappointing afternoon made worse by other resultsFor me yesterday was the end of our season and it is now just a case of p[laying out the season starting with Shrewsbury next week