Not sure I want to listen to the game as I fear the worst. Its crunch time alright , every game will be from now until we surrender or get enough points on the board. Same team as Tuesday other than Mans for injured Easton and surprisingly Oastler for Leadbitter. Few other options in reallity. I hope they can at least show their up for a fight we all need a bit of a lift. Their manager is certainly sounding a battle cry.
I find it difficult to believe this has been allowed to continue. I hope Mr Knill sees who it is and kicks them out. Any thoughts on this anyone?
I think that the majority of the time, or even if you take the Port Vale game in isolation, then a big influence on how your perform in the second half is the opposition. Port Vale were expected to come to our place and win. The first half an hour they were more adventurous, pushed more men forward, and in turn gave us more room to play and find our men in the bigger spaces that were available.
It is their managements job to work out what we had been doing well in the first half and advise their players accordingly so as to nullify it in the second period. Consequently the options and the passes that were available in the first half didn't present themselves in the second. Vale had got their goal and were happy to defend what they'd got. That involved plenty of men back behind the ball, close down the space, make sure everyone is tightly marked. We didn't have a Eunan O'Kane who could unpick that system, we didn't have an on form Billy Bodin who could skip past a couple of opponents and open things up, and we didn't have a Lloyd Macklin who could successfully sprint past his defender time after time. And in fairness to Vale who have the best defensive away record in the division, not many other teams have worked out a successful way to beat them either.
None of that excuses hoofing it down the centre time after time for Darren Purse to head clear, but can Jarvis or Benyon make the well timed clever runs to outfox a mass defence that would have made any other approach more rewarding ?
As far as altering things in the second half goes I've probably been lucky and seen some great turn arounds this season. Four second half goals to incredibly come back and beat Aldershot, a couple of second half goals to recover from being a goal down and go on to win against league leaders Gillingham. Even at Bristol Rovers we went in at half time 2-0 down and with only ten men to start the second half. To get the game back to 2-2 for a while was admirable considering we were outnumbered for all that half.
I don't believe it is a case of players following managerial instructions for the first half and then doing their own thing in the second, but even if it were we'd have to factor in the occasions when they've changed things for the better, such as in the games I've mentioned above.
Manse's performance against Port Vale was terrific, and the very opposite of what I'd expect from someone trying to undermine a new manager. As he said in the match programme " The new manager will be looking at things in his own way and if we don't do well as individuals, we won't play. it's all about making the right first impression"
Coming in and saying, "I told the lads to ignore your half time team talk and to just hit it long like I instructed them" would not create a good first impression with Knill. And the easy answer if you're not happy with a player - for whatever reason - is to drop him, as I assume Nathan Craig has found out recently.
We've got individuals who are not doing well. I expect Alan Knill will bring in loan players next week to replace them. Reading our Manager's words of praise for his Captain in advance of today's game at Accrington you can be sure that a loan player to take Lee Mansell's place is the last thing Alan Knill has been considering.
I am certain the hope and plan was that the easier and more cost effective option was to introduce the younger players into the squad and leave the transfer market well alone for the time being at least until the club were in a better and more self financing position. It was a bit of a gamble but the coaching staff would have assured the less knowledgeable board that all would be fine and that there was enough experience and quality to survive. Its is their job to make judgement's on players after all and they make the call. My feel of the whole scenario is the Lingy could see all this lot unfolding before his eyes but had committed to this restrictive policy that he had, in effective rubber stamped and found himself in a corner and being barracked and lambasted by the crowd week after week.
I agree with part of that Pete, although my views are based only on my reading of the situation over the last couple of seasons. The loss of O'Kane, Ellis and Olejnik certainly saw a lot of quality leave the club in the summer, and although Bodin,Downes and Poke might not overall rate so highly I doubt Martin thought it would transform the team from one that had been fighting for promotion one season to struggling for survival the next.
My guess is that by the time we were heading toward Christmas, Lingy might have half excepted that THIS could be the season of transition, that we wouldn't have enough in our locker to push for promotion this season, that the awful Plainmoor playing surface had made the slick passing game he hoped to build our success on a non starter, and that he may have to accept a mid table finish.
Rather than accept funds so that we finished 12th rather than 16th did he prefer to save those funds for next season when a proper promotion push might have been seen as more realistic ?. When infrastructure spending would have been taken care of to a greater extent and more funds available to spend on the team. Were as many eggs as possible being kept back so that the basket would be as full as possible for next season ?
Our Board were used to Buckle banging on the door twice a week demanding they spend out on bringing in further loan players. They were more than accommodating in my view. Looking back to Ling's programme notes for the Wimbledon game last season, a game we went into having gone 8 matches without a win he wrote :
'We will go into games with no stone unturned in our preparation and our belief in what we're doing is right.It was right for the first set of games and there's no reason why that should change. You have to have belief in your own ability and in the players'.
I'm sure I'm correct in remembering that Simon Baker and the Board were metaphorically twisting his arm to take cash to bring in loan players at that time.It was reiterated time after time that funds were there if he wanted them, but Lingy stubbornly stuck with the squad he'd got and did indeed turn things around and get them to the play-offs.
There wouldn't have been big money available for massive signings this season either, but I'm sure Lingy could have brought in loan players if he'd wanted, but that he really preferred to show faith in his squad and to work with them. Had Ling stayed fit and well I would have been quite confidant of a top half finish this season.
There's not a giant pot of cash available to Alan Knill either, but again I'm certain he'll be told there is enough there to bring in some good quality players if he wants them, and more importantly IF he can find them and convince them to join a bottom of League 2 struggle in the far South West.
The loss of O'Kane, Ellis and Olejnik certainly saw a lot of quality leave the club in the summer, and although Bodin,Downes and Poke might not overall rate so highly I doubt Martin thought it would transform the team from one that had been fighting for promotion one season to struggling for survival the next
I think we were well and truly spoilt last season by having a keeper of Bobby's stature in the team. Probably the best keeper in the division and someone who, by dint of some tremendous saves, enabled us to keep clean sheets from scratchy performances that snuck us 3 points we probably didnt deserve. The chance of getting another keeper like that was pretty negligible in our league, though thats no insult intended to Pokey who is good at this level but has a few more flaws in his game (as you would expect from a L2 keeper). Personally, I think Downes is a significantly better player than Ellis and would be playing at a higher level if not for his horrible injury problems. Missing Eunan goes without saying though the formation had to be crafted to fit his style of play in. No wonder we struggled playing pretty much the same formation without his skill and vision.
Going up Goiing up Going up Oooh er wrong season. Doh!
Sorry couldn't resist the temptation after the first positive result for how long? It actually feels like a win but in reality we are even closer to the trap door, just two points and still cannot score goals. WTF?
Listened on RD waiting for the inevitable, ten minutes before the whistle and Accy have it in the net. Only for it to be ruled off side. Is this a turning point? I hope so but to save our selves we have to start scoring bloody goals!
My education started when I left Highweek School for boys..