The Rovers Return

Happy fucking new year.

Your editor will be at the Millwall game tomorrow, so no further words from me needed until then. But STTA went to deepest Bristol so you didn’t have to – the least you can do is read his writeup…

Another away trip another shit performance, that’s 3 in a row and this one makes our slump official.

Boxing Day was the first time we’ve been comprehensively beaten this season and 5 days later it’s happened again.

We’re not in danger of going down, there are enough teams worse than us that we’ll pick up another 20 points but another couple of defeats and we’ll be checking results down the bottom end of the table.

We made 3 changes at Rovers, Barcham returned on the left, Meades replaced Kelly at the back and Barnett came in to partner Elliot in a 4-4-2. I expected to see Darius back after the defensive display at Southend but he remained on the bench.

I was pleased we’d switched formation and with the two big guns up front I expected us to play a direct style. We did but not effectively.

We went long but only looked like scoring by picking up scraps around the Rovers box. I don’t remember us getting the ball wide and providing a quality ball into the box once.

Rovers had been as poor as us first half but came out with purpose in the second period. As we continued to flounder it felt like we were just waiting for them to score.

The inevitable happened on the hour mark as Matty Taylor headed home at the back post. He added a second with a neat turn and finish 10 minutes later.

It didn’t matter whether they scored 2, 3 or 4 because as soon as that first goal went in I knew we were beaten. That’s how it is at the moment.

Plus points: having 32 points on the board, the final whistle, the January window.

Minus points: we look jaded, 5 away games without a goal.

The referee’s a…: can’t blame this one on the man in black.

Them: nothing special, been having the same mid-season wobble we’re heading into but (assuming they can hold on to him in January) Matty Taylor’s goals will secure a mid-table finish.

Anything else: yes…. I was aware our ex-keeper’s form hadn’t been great in recent weeks but has he been so bad that they’ve replaced him with a short arse non-league keeper?

No idea if Puddy’s any good (we failed to provide one meaningful test for him in 90 minutes) but his CV peaks at Chippenham Town and Salisbury City.

Anyway, that was that for football in 2016.

Nobody is going to argue what a great year it’s been for the Dons with our promotion and eventual green light for NPL but it’s ended with a serious whimper on the pitch.

We played 7 games in November, 6 in December. I think that schedule has caught up with the squad as we struggle with suspensions and niggling injuries. With little recovery time before Millwall it could get worse before it gets better.

8 thoughts to “The Rovers Return”

  1. The heavy fixture list is no excuse as it’s the same for everyone.

    Time for the boys to regroup, roll up their sleeves, get stuck into Millwall and earn three points.

  2. I hope for a last momentus moment in 2016 like a point at BR but not to be. Think the year has caught up with us.

    For once perhaps we need a winter break…

    We’ll see how things are tomorrow then…

    A draw at present would seem a good result.

  3. What worries me is Neal Ardley’s demeanor in the post match analysis. He looked a beaten man, his body language sums up how we are playing currently. It’s like he expected is to get whacked in the last 2 games.
    I think so good teams have a solid defence. We can’t even do that right now. The defender is at odds. The sooner Charles comes back in the better. We look lightweight without him. We need pace and power. I think this season might be too far for Barry fuller. He is making too many mistakes.

    Happy sodding new year.

    1. I picked up on Ardley’s demeanour too. He seemed worryingly out of ideas and slightly powerless.

      A signing or two may give us a pick-me-up

  4. I think that there is a need for the manager and players to have a good team talk to sort the things up. The manager appeared to have lost his composure in the Southend game when he was sent to the stand in particular to Lyle Taylor’s red card.
    It’s all down to the basis and simplity of the team basis. Sort these shortfall up and I believe that the team will be able to turn the current circumstance around with ” Never Say Die” determination and belief.


  5. Not great results, but let’s. Not get too downhearted. Bad end to 2016, but new year, new start and all that. I would have taken our position now when the season started. Yes The boss has not seemed himself, and some players continual inclusion is a surprise, but back on track against Millwall and in the hat for the 4th round, and all will be rosy (ish).

  6. Is it just me looking in from the outside or does NA change the team a little too much sometimes? Obviously changing up every so often isn’the a bad thing. But looking at line Ups for matches it always seems to me that he changes the team too much sometimes.

    Arguably your big weaknesses seem to mirror ours at the moment with an unsure keeper and a Defence that is capable but tends to fall to pieces for too often. Not to mention a worrying lack of depth at the back too.

    Been a great year for you boys. You should be proud! No way will you go down this season (I hope!), but would be great to see you at least make the top ten if possible. And hopefully you beat those scumbags from…

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