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All Torq, no action

torq1314Look, when I said at the end of the last SW19 update that it would be 3-0 to Torquay, I didn’t actually mean it…

That it only finished Plain Shite 0 Plainmoor 2 is luck rather than judgement. This has got to have been the worst performance I’ve seen all season, even worse than Brizzle Rovers, and judging by the post-game reaction I’m not alone in thinking that.

This was horse shit. Rancid horse shit, at that. What I think has made it even worse is that we were starting to have a bit of positivity and optimism after Wycombe again.

Last week, we had a nice post-victory glow. These next few days will now end up being horrible ones, full of grumpiness and an all-round bad taste. It wasn’t hard to believe that last night and this morning, people are pissed off in a way they haven’t been for some while.

Which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Before the game, we were looking quite all right, maybe able to start going on a winning run. Now? We’re useless cunts again. From mid-table obscurity to looking back down towards the drop zone…

This shouldn’t be happening – this season wasn’t supposed to be like this at all. But it is, and I think that’s why people are so annoyed right now. It’s just so, well, predictable

The way we just roll over and die whenever we play a struggling side is pathetic. You can suck it up when it occasionally happens, but now you can set your watch by it. Though I have to say, this must be the defeat that has really struck a nerve.

It doesn’t help when a few of your players are ill or injured. To make matters worse, the rumour mill was in full swing last night, suggesting Harry Pell’s vomiting exercises were down to an intense training session in a Kingston nightclub.

Additionally, there are some suggestions (and this was certainly making the rounds at the game) that George Porter is gone. Although to be honest, if he has returned to Burnley we won’t miss him.

So in 24 hours it’s all turned to shit again. It’s definitely put people in a bad mood again, and with us going to Scunny on Saturday, it’s not going to make the next week any easier.

I’m not sure if there’s much point about writing on the actual game itself. All I guess I need to say was that Will Antwi’s “clearance” for their first goal summed it up (and just confirms your editor’s prejudice that he should be sent to the nearest Findus factory).

This might be simply a bad day, where everything that could go wrong did. For plenty of peoples’ sakes, it better be…

Plus points: KSL. Quite possibly never playing that badly again for a good while.

Minus points: Everything else between 1500 and 1650.

The referee’s a…: Not the best, but not the worst either. Be honest, you still get a little chuckle about his name being Deadman. A bit like the little smirk when they always announced Ray Lewis as being from Great Bookham…

Them: Tactically aware, passionate, wanting to win, playing it simple and effectively. Everything we don’t do, basically. They won’t go down, because they had the first signs of real fight about them. Can you say the same about us?

Their manager didn’t half look like Michael Laudrup up close. Decent turnout from them, although they always seem to come in numbers to us anyway.

No idea how good they would have been if we’d, you know, put some shots on goal. But as if we’re capable of doing that…

Point to ponder: Whither Neal Ardley? I’ve got to say here, I was standing next to him during his post-game press interview, and for the first time under him he’s starting to sound unconvincing.

OK, trying to gauge that kind of thing isn’t a wise thing to do after a lousy defeat. Especially as Chris Hargreaves by comparison was bouncing up and down like he’s just been noshed off by Katy Perry.

But one cannot help but think that people are starting to very slowly turn against him. Or at the very least not give him so much slack now. He was hauled over the coals over Xmas about his negative tactics, which he seemed a bit rattled about,  and apparently people were having a go at him on the terraces yesterday.

Frustration? Of course. Kneejerkism? Perhaps. But we haven’t kicked on under him that one could have reasonably expected to. Our form since Pompey has been such that we’ve only won one game since that 4-0 (last week, which now feels like a blip), and perhaps more worryingly we’ve failed to score in five of them.

Does he try and over-think things? Does he try and be too clever for his own good? Does he rely too much on the academia of his UEFA course certificates and his leadership books, and not enough on the real world of football management in League Two?

Somebody came up with an interesting comment about him on a messageboard last night – NA can certainly talk the talk but he’s yet to prove he can walk the walk. And given that this is supposed to be a slam-dunk of a mid-table season for us, to face the prospect of yet another relegation battle at this rate is pretty hard to take.

I do wonder though if the horrors he had to deal with last year have crippled him as a manager – to the point where he’s too scared to take the game to the opposition in case we lose it.

Despite playing like a bunch of windowlickers yesterday, this squad (and give NA credit, it is his squad) is capable of winning games if it’s encouraged to attack and have a go. But it never seems to, and because of that it’s no real surprise we usually go behind and have to constantly chase games.

What’s the stat about us never scoring in the first half an hour? I can’t remember, and I really don’t feel like looking it up in case I piss myself off further, but it’s not a happy one.

It would be nice next week to at least have a go at Scunthorpe from the off – maybe if we did, we could get an early breakthrough and then maybe start to take the sting out of the game (after a second goal, of course). But you know we aren’t going to do that.

I honestly think Ardley needs a more experienced #2 (or at the very least, a senior member of the coaching staff) who does know the division and knows what it’s really like to manage in the FL. If only to remove the straightjacket that is stifling both the team and the future employment prospects of our current boss.

For now though, his post game interviews recently haven’t sounded particularly inspiring. And if a grubby oik like myself feels that way, what of the players…?

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1) When Wyke’s name was announced over the PA during the pre-game warmup, Jack Midson clapped it. Hmm. 2) Were we really that bad? And I don’t mean that in a let-us-put-some-positive-spin-on-it manner, either. 3) Quite a few stuck in the traffic beforehand. What made it even worse that they eventually got to see the game. 4) Gobsmacked at how dead it was at 1830 yesterday when I left KM. I know it was a shit-sandwich, but surely more people would have been putting themselves in a comatose state?

Anything else? Not really, because I’m not sure what else to say. Not that I really want to write any more on this than I had to. I guess we really do need a bit more grit in our side, especially in midfield.

Perhaps another Harry Pell? Especially as the one we’ve got seems to be missing more often than not these days. I don’t think Luke Moore has improved from the last time I saw him, and Sammy Moore reverted back to Sideways Sammy yesterday…

So, was it worth it? Go away.

In a nutshell: Wank.