For those who miss a “proper” report from the Borehamwood loss, I give you one from the SW19 Bureau staff below (thanx JP). If people want to submit writeups for midweek games, feel free. Saves me having to do them.
To a writer, a blank piece of paper is a nightmare. That there are words here shows Iâ€™ve exorcised my demons, but on that performance â€“ Reserves 0 First Team 1, TB and SCâ€™s demons are well and truly still around. And they ainâ€™t as pretty as Linda Blair.
Where to start? Well, injuries first. Presuming absenteeism meant injury we added Goodlife and Beard to the list. So none of the first choice back-four available now. And Butcher â€“ replaced by on-loan Eastleigh Pullen (late of the Fisher v AFCW playoff game in 2006) â€“ was presumably being protected in case of injury with Torquay on the horizon. So, on paper defence looked to be in for a bit of a struggle. How wrong were we to think that.
Now midfield and upfront have suffered the injury curse but not nearly so badly as the defence. The natural substitute for Main â€“ Jolly- duly took his place and Webb, after his ban, returned. Finn and Ferguson were both natural obvious selections. So to midfield where we have Hatton, De Bolla and thankfully, perhaps Leberel staying off the treatment table. So on paper capable. Yet that is where they remained predominately on paper.
Now whilst injuries are not something the management team have direct control over, the style and execution of play is. And at time it was woefully inadequate tonight. Basic movement, passing and just a little bit of thought, plus the ability to tackle was all missing and the only people who can be blamed for these limitations is the players. At least some of them.
We looked like a team of individuals yet at times throughout this season the front 6 (midfield and up front) HAVE played together. De Bolla apparently went off home in a huff after being substituted at half-time. I wish at times I had that luxury. Mark â€“ you did nothing first half and were constantly chasing the ball. Sorry we needed to change things around and you were the â€“ straw poll of 2 taken â€“ the confirmed candidate. Not that he was alone in terms of under performing senior players.
In fact if any thing was intriguing it was the commitment of the young guns. The likes of Hussey, Salmon and (better than Saturday) Hatton shone out amongst the dross. They didnâ€™t play fantastic but caught the eye more than the established players.
So what does this mean for now on? Well, thank god for Saturday. A welcome diversion I would hope from the league pressure. Will we win? Doubt it. Partly I donâ€™t want to if it compromises the league position but as someone pointed out a â€˜realâ€™ trip to Wembley wouldnâ€™t do this club any harm and if it could be financially â€˜milkedâ€™ not going up this year might not be the millstone we feel it is.
Back in the league both Horsham and Staines failed to take major advantage of our slip up â€“ both drew so we still remain in 3rd, points in hand on Hendon still. And they have to win those extra points to overtake us and as we have seen, two games a week at this level can be killing to the players. With smaller squads perhaps they might run out of steam
For us, its either get people fit, or look for replacements. The former appeals more. It also means using what we have available â€“ even if it is a stroppy De Bolla or dare I mention, Shroot? At least the kid has been committed to our cause in the past, but I wonder now?
So a touch of optimism is still alive and well â€¦.
Plus points: Horsham and Staines results. The efforts of Hussey and Salmon (no disrespect but if Hussey can be MotM for two games running thenâ€¦.) Ending Howardâ€™s suspension?
Minus points: We lost. Poor performance again by midfield and up front though Jolly canâ€™t score for love or money â€“ heâ€™d even miss in a whorehouse at the moment.
The referee’s aâ€¦.: well, he might have looked a bit like Collina but he sure as hell didnâ€™t act like him. Yes, got the throw-ins, corners etc right but missed all the crucial decisions of the night. Yet again though you wonder what linesmen (referee assistants? Your having a laugh) actually do during a game. They seem to serve no purpose whatsoever. Never take the lead; they are like that puppy that begs your attention once in a while. Ref was totally gullible for all BWâ€™s tactics from blatant time wasting to blocks on players you would have been proud of in ice hockey. When Dave Webb (Danielâ€™s Dad) sits there shaking his head about decisions you know something is awry.
Them: As youâ€™d expect for potential relegation fodder they were, ummmmmâ€¦ robust? No pretty dirty without having to be seen to be. But then when the ref and lino miss Webb being punched and pushed to the floor off the ball on a free kick can you expect them to change? They came to do a job and unfortunately we helped them do it. BTW, thatâ€™s the double they have done over us this season.
Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) When their No 10 took out the lino into the hordings it was the player slower to his feat. Mind you, perhaps the lino had a bump of his head because he didnâ€™t exhibit many brain cells afterwards. 2) Our goalie managing to clear the halfway line with his goal kicks â€“ please coach Mr Butcher. 3) Staying with goalies, apparently, Pullen was the EIGHTH we have used this season! 4) A comment behind me, second half: â€œFergusonâ€™s heart not in this. He doesnâ€™t want to play with the reserves” (just before being substituted) Ouch. But looking at his body language â€¦
[SW19 NOTE: 24 hours after this was published, Fergie’s dad up in Scotland died]
Anything else? Well, yes an old hobbyhorse but â€“ why does the defence play so deep? I mean BW were not THAT fast up front yet on the first goal kick they had our defence was no more than 5 yards outside of our penalty box. Time and again this happened. What did it do? Allowed BW to defend so high up that once they were on the halfway line when one of our players got caught offside. Why canâ€™t we do that? I mean if opposition defences are happy to play like that with Main and his speed in our side, why cant we? We start to attack when we get the ball about 10-15 yards back down the pitch than we should be and that makes our attacks that bit longer in time to execute.
Oh and why when either Salmon or Hussey got the ball and have the opportunity to run into this large space between the defences do Finn and Fergie drop back into that space instead of pushing on up and wide to force the defender back so the full backs could run into the space? So many times they neither offered a route for a pass for Salmon/Hussey or gave them too much to do on the overlap (if they felt confident to take it given the poor passes they both offered).
So, was it worth it? Well, helped sell some more golden goal tickets to reduce the debt.
In a nutshell: Waiting for the gulls to crap on us on Saturday.