Look, I wasn’t going to do the obvious “stuffing” joke, so you’ll have to put up with that one.

To be honest, I’m not going to write much (ie anything) about Southend. STTA has done that below, I’m still shaking off the last remnants of a rather nasty stomach bug that I picked up before Xmas, and you don’t want to read more than you have to.

More later this week. If I can be arsed.

I should have spotted the signs as we crawled through the Dartford Tunnel discussing the 3-1 win in 2013 and the 1-0 win in 2014, both big results on our way to staying up in those League 2 campaigns.

With 9 points from our last 3 visits maybe we were due a bad day at Roots Hall.

They’d been in good form winning 5 of their last 8 and unbeaten in the league since 8th October. We’d been faltering, our Jekyll & Hyde form producing as many defeats as victories.

Which Wimbledon would turn up yesterday?

We got our answer pretty early on. In truth this was as poor and ill-disciplined as I’ve seen us this season but there are critical moments that turn games and I noticed 4 of them.

The first came 10 minutes in as we went behind. Our defence couldn’t sort out who was marking who at a throw in. While Bazzer and Robbo were busy arguing the ball bounced and Simon Cox volleyed into the net from 8 yards out.

The second came on 41 minutes as poor judgement cost us a 2nd goal. Lyle tracked back to intercept a ball forward but instead of putting it into the crowd while we re-grouped he lost possession, 10 seconds later Atkinson put the ball in our net.

So we went in 2-0 behind. Such was the chaos at the back we could have gone on 4 adrift and nobody would have complained.

We made 2 changes at half-time, George ‘how am I getting in the team’ Francomb was withdrawn along with Dom ‘had too much to eat yesterday’ Poleon. On came Andy Barcham and Tyrone Barnett.

We were going to play our 4-4-2 to 4-2-4 formation that’s served us well getting back into games. But could we dig ourselves out of yet another hole?

The 49th minute saw the third key moment as Lyle raced to close down, he was never getting to the challenge but instead of pulling out he flew in leaving the full-back in a heap and the ref reaching for his yellow card.

We pick up plenty of unnecessary yellow cards but this one felt like it might come back to haunt us. And come back to haunt us it did.

We’d had the better of the 2nd half but the fourth and final key moment arrived on 71 minutes. Lyle over-ran the ball on the edge of the Southend area and went in to a 50/50 challenge with his foot up. A harsh yellow card maybe but wouldn’t have been a problem if he wasn’t already in the book.

Taylor departed and with him went any slim chance we had of saving this game.

As the ref re-started I noticed Neal sarcastically applaud him from the technical area. The ref also spotted it and Neal was dispatched to the stands. When our poor discipline extends to the manager you know we’re in trouble.

Southend added a third but we didn’t care, this away trip was already consigned to the instantly forgettable pile.

Plus points: Barnett & Barcham improved us. James Shea keeping the score down. Tom Elliot. Leaving Essex.

Minus points: Disappointing from Taylor, Fuller looking old, disorganized at the back, conceding goals, lack of consistency.

The referee’s a…: didn’t do us any favours but home sides always seem to get the best of the decisions at holiday games like this. No arguments on the sending off from me.

Them: good side that will likely finish in the play-off spots. Stood up to our physicality, played better football and have goalscorers in the side.

Anything else: 646 Wombles with no trains running. Not a bad turn out that for a 1pm kick off.

So what went wrong?

Let’s start with the team selection. Last week we looked a much better team when Parrett replaced Francomb so more than a few eyebrows raised that George went straight back in.

We hear from Neal that George reminds him of himself, that he’s an intelligent footballer, that he’s a team player. That might all be true but is he a good enough footballer? His dead ball delivery is average and I’ve seen ballboys that are harder to dispossess.

Secondly what’s going on in the build up to games that we are starting so poorly? It’s not just once or twice, we are regularly having to try and recover games from slow starts.

Is it a weak mentality, a lack of focus and concentration? And if so does that also explain the basics we are getting wrong?

You can blame Christmas or the ref or any number of other excuses but we got beat yesterday because we failed to mark properly when defending, we failed to put the ball out of play when we needed to and we were reduced to 10 men because of poor discipline when the game wasn’t going our way.

We need to get back on track quickly because this is a key period in the season. If we win one of the next two and get past Sutton a good season is within reach.

However, if we fail to win either and get knocked out the cup a lot of good work is at risk of coming undone.

8 thoughts to “Paxo”

  1. Dreadful at the back first half, but the second half subs were making a difference and we nearly scored twice. It seemed Lyle Taylor was determined to get a red card (and as a consequence get a day off on New Year’s Eve versus Bristol Rovers – in fact someone nearby called that before it happened). That red card cost any chance of us getting back in it so not too much of a stretch to say that Lyle Taylor cost us the match.

    1. did Lyle concede both goals?

      Certainly he was at fault for the second, but what was being communicated to him by players nearby?

      Not a lot I would suggest.

      As to why Neal is not prepared to change things before half time, that always amuses me?

      I do understand it suggests: ‘I got things wrong, but not prepared to put my hands up’

      However, the team is more important than the individual in my book.

      So perhaps our scouting of Southend was not up to scratch, hence why they caught the team unawares?

      Time to regroup.

  2. It’s all in the mind of the players. We are halfway of the season. It’s still everything for the players to fight for. I must say that the players need to think on how to go about dealing with the games in the second half of the season. We are still in the FA Cup. There is still the league promotion to fight for. Is the promotion challenge too soom for the club which has gone up from League Two only last season.
    ? I beg to differ. I think that the club should go for it and challenge for the promotion
    It beats than just settling for merely Lesgue One. We are unable to know whether promotion aspiration is still valid next season should League One is secured this season. Go for it!


  3. Sorry to disagree STTA but don’t think Southend look anything special, we made them look good. The first goal was such a shambles but LTB getting disposed was yet another cock up from him that gifted them the second goal. We can’t expect to keep coming back from a goal or 2 down. Framcomb a joke as always but thought Fuller as always put in a real shift as did Shea. Disappointed with Bully and Doleon on a day when we never really got going. Elliott immense but what if he gets crocked, we are totally stuffed. Hope the assessor was watching the ref, his attitude was antagonistic and totally unprofessional. Awful day, one of those with high expectations that just send you home so, so…

  4. I have asked this elsewhere, but do we ever perform well on Boxing day in a competitive game? Seem to remember that it was the same with WFC too …

  5. Win Win Lose Lose Win/Draw/Lose
    This is the sequence of results for our early kickoffs this season – all of which have been away from home. The final one is for the Millwall game on January 2nd. Not much to glean from that, but, apart from Oxford, we have been awful in the first half. If the same happens on 2nd January, that will mean another defeat.

    Best forget about Southend, try and get back to playing them on a midweek evening 😉

  6. We’ve done better than I thought we would’ve done so far this season. Think we need to try & recruit a couple of players in January to give the squad a boost & get a bit more impetus to try and get in the play offs. Looking at Southend, they had players like Ferdinand, Cox & Fortune who’ve got plenty of experience at a higher level. It we could get a couple of players like that, it could give us a really good boost for the rest of the campaign.

    1. I think that the club needs to sell before bringing new players. It’s the matter of doing shrewd wheel-transfers in January.

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