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Ecky Thumped

I’ve decided not to say much about Rochdale – all I will post is, I’m glad that Tuesday is likely to be off.

Instead, a quick note from jcafcwbb :

We fluffed up our chance, they took theirs and then we fell apart. They injured two of our players whilst the referee did nothing about it and allow the game to get physical. WDON commentary was good as always.

And a more longer, reasoned bit of prose from Duncow below the line.

Normal service to be resumed a bit later this week. Honest…

Another home game. Another performance to leave us scratching our heads. But – this time – no three points in the bag as we try to extract some sense from Big Daddy 0 Hulk Hogan 3.

The first half gave little to write home about: both sides had some reasonable half chances, Sammy Moore had seven bells knocked out of him and eventually had to be substituted, and the Kingsmeadow turf got the better of the assistant linesman as he went down in a heap.

All to play for in the second half, we thought. Especially, as miracle of miracles, we had switched to 4-4-2 without first having to go a goal down.

But we got found out.

We had our chances to take the lead, particularly when Wyke robbed their centre half, rounded the keeper but then got crowded out by, err, Danny Hylton and then when KSL was set up for a good shooting chance only to scuff his effort.

But what has been a recurring theme in recent weeks – the inability to pick out a teammate with a pass – proved to be our downfall. Both Pell and Francomb gave the ball away in midfield and both times we were punished by Scott Hogan, who had otherwise done little other than engage in a running battle with Bennett.

And as we chased the game, Rochdale knew they only had to be patient before we would give them the ball back, and they closed the game out easily. Perhaps 3-0 flattered them but nor could we really have any argument.

Plus points: Stuart Douglas putting in an exemplary shift with the magic sponge. George Porter not coming on to rub our faces in it. Darren Jones’ solidity. The quality of Francomb’s deliveries. Newport likely to be called off on Tuesday night.

Minus points: The quality of Francomb’s overall play. Harry Pell looking a shadow of his early season self. Injuries to Sammy Moore and Barry Fuller. Insipid displays from our front two, best summed up by Simon Bassey’s call to Hylton to ‘f*cking liven up’, which was heard by half of Kingston.

The referee’s a: The guy let an awful lot go but that cut both ways, as Pell and Arthur were fortunate not to receive stiffer punishments for some daft two-footed challenges by the touchline.

Them: No mugs. Infinitely more quality on the ball, particularly in central midfield. Their defence rarely look troubled and Hogan took his goals well. Yet, if we’d taken our chances and scored first, we would have got a least a point.

Point to ponder: Only 3837 in the crowd, against a side challenging at the top of the table. Did those that stayed away know something we didn’t?

Truth is stranger than fiction: 1-0 down and the man who had plundered 35 goals in the previous two seasons waiting to be unleashed from the bench. But Jack Midson stayed where he was. Many of us would still have been rooting for Charlie Sheringham – this was as good as time as any to show us what he could do – but he showed sweet FA. Ardley’s continued faith in him is as misplaced as a Harry Pell pass.

Anything else? Despite the rumoured circumstances behind George Porter’s departure, our substitutes (Midson, L Moore, Sheringham) all seemed friendly enough with him while they were warming up. Curiouser and curiouser.

So was it worth it? Well, it made for a shorter queue for those of us hoping to buy last minute Pompey tickets.

In a nutshell: Mid-table mediocrity.