Saturday, 6 August 2011

Satisfactory Start / Decent Foundation

It was just that. A generally competent start to the season with some reasonable football at times and considerable effort by all in the side.
Punctuated by an excellent goal from Stephens following a good sequence of passing with Chris Solly on a good overlap and a cool cross,
Stephens was the surprise package. He had sprayed the ball around in the pre-season games I watched but was guilty of wasting the ball at times. On this occasion he did not really set a foot wrong, apart from a stupendous shot across goal trying to crown his imperious performance with glory with a ’goal of the season’ screamer volley, when something simpler was the order of the day. However, he can be forgiven (on this occasion) as he brought a breath of fresh air to the midfield and was easily the best player on the pitch. He still reminds me of Curbs in his appearance and movement, though potentially a better player.
I have voiced criticism of Waggy in the past but he was much more effective today. A few misplaced passes when he momentarily lost the plot as usual but, in general, a hard working effective performance, including some good defensive covering and an excellent volley after being set up by Stephens.
Wiggins’ game picked up after a nervous start that seemed to be the result of constant barracking from the Bournemouth contingent. Solly was caught out a few times in the air but otherwise snapped away at the opposition throughout the game in a way that must really irritate them but was good for us. However, it was obvious that they were playing ball out to his wing constantly to test his height shortcomings and after Francis good form in the pre-season games it’s difficult to see who has the strongest claim for right back (discounting all the uncertainty about Francis’ position at the club)..
Morrison and Taylor performed generally well, but I still have doubts about total reliance on them in the months ahead. Especially on the ground against fast ball-playing forward. We had that problem with Lierra and Doherty but on balance I think we will need Doherty (now that Daily has gone) to bring some solidity and experience, even though he is also suspect on the ground. I have yet to make my mind up who is the better of the two.
Apart from Stephens and Wagstaffe, Hollands had a steady reliable game. However, my initial thoughts that he is a little too one paced seemed to be borne out, though I am still hoping he will add a cutting edge over 10 yards to his game as he gets fitter. To an extent I had envisaged that he and Bover were going to be the starlets in midfield so Stephens’ emergence and Hollands’ slowish non-dominant start was a bit of a surprise. But, if Stephens can turn the same heat on regularly then, as my mate Keith said, Holland can perform a role as an effective foil.
Jackson did not stand out but had a steady game and did not really put a foot wrong, and I’m sure he will go open to have better games as the weeks pass.
BWP tried hard to get into the game but only really managed to have an impact towards the end with a rasping 25 yard shot that was just wide, and a determined run towards goal out of nothing that won us the penalty. Without those two contributions he was relatively anonymous but that is his game and if he can score or win us a goal a game then he will continue to be a valuable match winner for us.
I had been disappointed with Hayes’ input to the pre-season games that I saw, but I saw an improvement today. Not a stunning game, but he showed he had a decent touch at times and a couple of neat passing movements nearly came off. However, he has got to get stuck in a bit more in the air on the long clearances and hold the ball up more consistently. The feeling is that we still need another option in the same moulld which we do not seem to have at the moment, though I liked the look of our French centre forward at Woking, but probably too early for him yet.
So, a satisfactory start but no reason to sit on our laurels. There will be better teams with faster and bigger forwards to play over the coming months and though the scoreline was impressive, any watching opposition rep's would not have been scared out of their skins from this performance.
However, it's a good foundation for the team and CP which will be tested at the “top of the table clash” next week at Notts County.
Pritchard, Benson and Doherty had short cameo appearances, and the former showed a few nice touches (and was a dead ringer for Keith Jones).
Will be interesting to see how CP juggles the selection with Green and Waggy no doubt feeling they deserve a chance. I would go for Green with the option of deploying Waggy for 20 minutes at the end anywhere in midfield if desperate measures are called upon to score, or hold on!
One word for Bournemouth. Given what a small club they are and their known financial constraints you have to give it to them for doing so well last season. Also, given the outflow of their players (including our own raids) they still played some good footba and looked a fair side, albeit with no punch upfront. There was certainly nothing to suggest that their star forward whom we are supposed to be trailing was worth anything near the rumoured £1M asking price. However, I wish this game little club the best, though I think they will struggle this season.
Hartlepool might emulate Bournemouth this season as the little club who ‘done well’!
( I see that Racon could only manage the sibs bench for Millwall today)


Steve Marsh said...

Wright phillips other "little" contribution was his assist on the first goal when he set up Stephens.

So an assist winning a penalty and almost scoring goes down as having a decent game for me.

Anonymous said...

Have not seen the video, but my recollection was that Chris Solly set up Stephens?

Anonymous said...

Although Solly did the running, it was actually wright-phillips who found Stephens after Solly had given him the ball.

Mike BARRY said...

Glad to see you anonymous chaps are debating the technicalities of BWP's contribution.
As long as he can make 2-3 significant contributions a game I'm more than happy.
He's got to do that as there is not a lot more to his game so let's hope he does not have a poor run of form: puts a lot of pressure on him.

Crowborough Addick said...

Mike, after the pre season games, I thought we played very well, and the team work stands out. I agree that Morrison struggles under pressure. I cannot beleive how well Eliot caught balls he was fluffing last year.

Definite room for improvement, especially when we get on dodgier pitches, as some touches were down to a perfect pitch. That should come as the team gel. If not we will be well beaten by more physical teams. A new striker is also promised. I look forward to meeting up with everyone when Major Ken returns!