Saturday, 19 February 2011

Anti-Climax & Lost Opportunity

As I feared, there was a degree of predictable anti-climax about today's outcome, which was in line with many poor performances over the years when we have had a 'big occassion' and a big opportunity.
The club (and supporters) had made a great effort in promoting the game. I have not seen the official crowd stats, but we felt it looked like we may have managed a 24,500 gate which was excellent.
However, a real test is going to be how many return after this display and result. Though Chris P was fairly positive in his post match summary, I think heart of hearts he knew he was pulling the paper over the cracks.
Yes, we hit the woodwork twice, yes their goalkeeper made some decent saves.
However, we never really got going and once again the midfield was poorly wanting.
In my last post, I questioned how McCormack was getting the nod over Racon. I had great expectations for McCormack at the beginning of the season but he has not lived up to it, unless this is just a combination of bad form and poor definition of the role he is supposed to carry out.
Whatever, it mystified me further still to see that Chris P maintained faith in him yet again.
Samedo does his 'holding"/tackling/hassling role reasonably well but has zilch confidence going forward (demonstrated by his appalling shot when he had an opportunity late on).
McCormack seems to fulfill a role that is all running, but not too any great effect. His distribution is not that good and his tackling poor (even though he seems to go down a lot in the process).
Racon may (I've no way of knowing) be a prickly character to deal with but he is our only current midfielder who has a creative streak in him. Sure bnough, when he came on the game plan changed and he provided some incisive passes and a couple of great runs. I am not saying his is the total answer (but unless we bring someone new in to support the midfield his is our sensible option.
Summarising the rest of the game,
Jenkinson (once again) had an encouraging game;
Dailly and Doherty looked solid in the middle and it was a great pity that the former blotted his copybook with a bad error to give away the decisive goal;
Fry: he had an off game in terms of distribution and positioning, but had little support at times (in particular for their first goal): I cannot figure whether it was Jackson or Ecclestone who was wanting in the respect; (Bassone looked an good alternative in this position but I still harbour fears tht we will not see that much of him with sporadic appeaances in between knocks).
Jackson: generally provided a threat and was unlucky with a fine shot just wide;
Abbot: did not show the form as per the last home game, and was not a lot better than his early season appearances;
Ecclestone: missed a coule of crucial opportunities in the first half but otherwise toiled away well, if somewhat predictably;
Wright-Phillips: did his job to get on the score sheet, but was not in the game enough; seemed a lonely figure out on the wing. Will the current 3 forward front line  work with the current selected players? I was also a little concerned that his head went down to an extent when we were up against it, and his running off the ball with it. He looked a bit frustrated out there today. 
We are missing Anyinsah who was showing a lot of promise. Not sure where Benson will fit at the moment in unless he takes precedence over Ecclestone which seems unlikely.
There is a positive glimmer: we are still in a good psoition, but the 2 Southampton games are looking increasingly crunch games, which is not good as they seem to be a far better side than us.

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