Sunday, 17 April 2011

Lost Opportunity- Little Improvement in Key Areas

An opportunity to defeat a misfiring Huddersfield side was lost for the usual reasons of lack of creativity, ineffective wing play and little ability to beat a man. 
Reid came on and was totally ineffective, though it has to be said it was late in the game and he got very few passes. However, this may have been his last chance to impress, and he didn't.
Many have expressed hope that Stewart is the Messiah. I have yet to witness anything that suggests that's the case. Sure he likes to make a lot of noise but otherwise he contributed little.  Perhaps it was lack of match fitness, but whether he can do it at this level after failing to do do it at a higher level (a La Martin) remains in question.. However, unless substantial funds become available, he may be the best that we can afford, which does not auger well.
The goalkeeper looks a potential valuable find, my suspicion is he was unsighted for yesterday's goal.
Wagstaffe had a better second half, but he had to after the first. Racon was poor today, but his chances are not enhanced by playing him out of position on the wide left.
BWP did not do a lot (unless he scores he adds precious little); however, he seems to be trying hard to improve his first touch and distribution. However, he had one moment of near magic; perhaps that's all he needs to add value.
Where we start building for next year is a real challenge. Some want a complete clear out, but this is unrealistic. The optimum solution would be 4-5 good players with something to prove (as per Lennie Lawrence) who are prepared to put in some elbow grease and cast off the coloured plastic boots.
As to who remains? Most have highly different views. I have suggested my own preferences previously, though I guess I will probably refine those by the end of the season. No doubt so will others.
If we give CP the benefit of the doubt, we could attribute the poor run to experimentation and using the games to assess existing players. Alternatively, if he really was trying to get a winning side together then he has failed and you could take the view that Parkinson would probably have ground out a significant number of extra points over the same games.
It will be interesting to find out how the senior directors view the outcome of the season and CP's tenure.

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Run-In

I knew there could be some reason for excitement in the run-in apart from guessing who wins the annual prizes at CAFCPICKS.
The race that we should try to win is the one to avoid being London’s bottom club in the Football League.
If, quite rightly, you eliminate the outer fringe location teams that were never historically part of London (I.E. Barnet, D & R, Southend, and even Gillingham from deepest Kent) then we have a real risk this season of finishing bottom. The prize always used to be won regularly by others,  including Millwall.
The challenge is to move above Brentford and Leyton Orient.
Years ago it would have been shameful to consider that we could finish below both of these teams.
The outstanding fixtures are as follows (thanks to Dick Shepherd):

15:00 Rochdale v Brentford
15:00 Brentford v Colchester United
15:00 Notts County v Brentford
15:00 Brentford v Southampton
15:00 Huddersfield Town v Brentford

Leyton Orient:
19:45 Leyton Orient v Carlisle United
15:00 Exeter City v Leyton Orient
15:00 Leyton Orient v Peterborough United
15:00 Carlisle United v Leyton Orient
15:00 Leyton Orient v Tranmere Rovers
15:00 Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

15:00 Charlton Athletic v Huddersfield Town
15:00 Bristol Rovers v Charlton Athletic
15:00 Charlton Athletic v Rochdale
15:00 Walsall v Charlton Athletic
15:00 Charlton Athletic v Hartlepool United

What’s the betting?
There is a fair chance that we will avoid the ignominy of bottom place by pipping Brentford on goal difference, though it would be nice to think it will not depend on that.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Phew! - 3 points (after a few breaks) relieve the pressure

Well, the 3 points are likely to have laid to rest the prospect of a last minute relegation battle and a tense away game at Walsall even though it was achieved with a fair share of luck with BWP's goal, the solidity of our woodwork and a disallowed 'goal'.

Nevertheless, a victory was deserved after a solid second half performance.
Regrettably, Wagstaffe lost his way again in the first half though he but picked up somewhat in the second half. You can understand how Ecclestone, and even Reid must get very frustrated in being let out. Perhaps, Powell does not see them figuring next season and is persevering with home grown resources, though I think Wagstaffe does not merit a place in the side at the moment. He is not a winger (rarely beats his man) and his crossing is poor. Other than his supposed athleticism, it is difficult to pinpoint his perceived current contribution to the side. Perhaps, Powell can see he can develop further with perseverance?
Racon was the only one who could beat his man in the first half and look to create something; after the break added two great shots that were deflected wide. It was good to see Samedo crown a good display with a rare goal and the emotional response that followed: I'm sure it was largely relief but I feel that this man really wants to play for the club. Bessone has added a footballing dimension at the back, and hopefully can ensure us in the coming weeks that he can stay injury free.
The new boys played well (Parrett after a shaky first half). Stewart looked to have the talent to fulfil his earlier career promise and provide that missing link in midfield. With Jackson due to return selection will be an interesting exercise in the remaining games.
Benson did not cause much of a threat but it was encouraging to see his 100% commitment.
The imperious Dailly and Liera could provide the core backbone at the back, perhaps with Doherty being on hand to cover. However, Liera returned to his old ways of making crucial errors that could have lost us the game so I am not 100% confident he can command a regular place next season. I still have faith in Mambo coming through though others shed doubt because he does not seem to have shone in loan spells and they question why he has not yet come through (??).
Whether the future is bright seems to depend on whether Powell can find a middle road between his apparent commitment to a passing game, without the necessary talent to fully deliver, and adopting a more direct game which this division demands (plus the availability of some funds to bring new talent in, though we should not assume megabucks are in store).