Whilst this might look like an opportunity lost, in reality, we failed to produce the real level of performance we’re capable of and can consider ourselves fortunate not to be losing. Despite the early red card, we failed to take advantage and Swansea could easily have taken a lead back for the second leg.
However, if we had taken a narrow lead into the second leg, it’s likely that we would have adopted a defensive attitude which never seems to suit us well. With the current situation, it’s a straight ninety minute battle for Wembley and there’s no excuse not to go to Swansea and give them a game.
In the absence of Moussi it was back to the slow pedestrian style of play that we struggled to shake off earlier in the season. The importance of Moussi to the team cannot be over-stated and his presence on Monday could be the difference between the sides. Whilst McKenna is happy to watch the defence passing the ball aimlessly between themselves, Moussi takes control and gets the team moving forwards with purpose. Anyone at the Scunthorpe home game saw the difference without and then with Moussi and we badly need his influence in the second leg.
The loss of their left back produced a creditable response from Swansea and made life very difficult for us. Our build-ups were slow and predictable with the visitors attacking on the break with purpose.
Things livened up in the closing stages with the introduction of the pace of McCleary and Tyson. Apart from a hand ball shout from Cohen’s shot, an offside finish from Earnshaw plus a number of poor finishes from the same player, we did little to justify a lead. Despite sitting back for the majority of the half, Swansea had the best chance to break the deadlock when Dyer broke forward and Camp saved well at his near post.
There were a few positives to be taken from the game. At least we kept a clean sheet. MOTM Camp looked back to his best and made a number of decent saves to keep us in the game. He adjusted his positioning well to tip over a dipping free kick, got his body behind a deflected low shot and then prevented the dangerous Dyer from catching us on the break. Moloney, started nervously but coped well with Sinclair down our right hand side as he barely made an impression on the game. Boyd made a number of decent contributions but never found himself able to get an effort on goal. McCleary, provided width in the closing stages and at least tried to commit their defence into making tackles whilst running at them with pace.
In contract, the midfield in general was very poor, with the usual exception of McGugan who was expected to create everything for us. Having struggled to cope with their quick, incisive passing, McKenna’s inability to find a red shirt, he simply handed possession back to them. Cohen had a poor game by his standards, whilst Anderson seemed to be everywhere but where he should be and created nothing. Unless he’s playing wide on the right hand side and giving extra protection to the defence then we don’t get enough from him. Especially against ten men, we needed to stretch the game with players out wide but too often we ended up with a muddled mess of red shirts in the middle of the pitch.
Another poor performance from Earnshaw, a number of decent chances came his way with the most likely result being an aimless shot over the bar. One half-decent effort was hit straight at their keeper but that was it, he doesn’t contribute much else. If only one of those chances had fallen to Boyd instead.
There’s every reason to approach the second leg with confidence where Swansea have to come out and justify their favourites tag. Whilst we could easily have conceded five or six in the same fixture earlier in the season, we created a number of our own chances and caused havoc in the closing stages. Assuming we can get through the first twenty minutes there’s no reason why we can’t start imposing ourselves on the game but a lot rests on the fitness of Mr Moussi.
26/02/11 15:00 Category: Championship
In normal circumstances, a point away at Millwall would be a decent result and one we’d gratefully accept. However, given the flat home atmosphere, dominant possession from Forest, recent dropped points and the results elsewhere; it has to go down as 2 points lost.
Apart from a short spell in the first half, we controlled the game and never looked like losing. Unfortunately we couldn’t convert this into three points as we were restricted to long-range efforts and set pieces. Playing a lone striker relies on the midfield getting forward to support and providing other attacking options. It felt like we were reliant on a McGugan special or a set piece converted by Chambers or Morgan for us to score.
The only time we really looked like scoring for any spell was in the final stages once McCleary and then Earnshaw added an extra threat. In contrast in the anonymous Anderson, McCleary gave us a much better cutting edge going forward. Unlucky not to score with his first touch, flicking McGugan’s cross towards goal and then beating 3 men with his run down the right before hitting the target with a left foot effort.
MOTM Lynch had an excellent game at the back and should have won the game for us. Having burst down the left hand side, found by Cohen’s excellent chip, he crossed for McGoldrick (and missed) instead of going for goal from six yards. The rest of the back five continued their good recent form and really imposed themselves on the game. Gunter had a few uncomfortable moments at the back but provided badly needed pace down the right hand side as we lacked width. Chambers and Morgan saw that Morisson had very little impression on the game. Camp only had a single effort to save as the defence dominated the home forwards
No complaints over the likes of McKenna and Cohen, whose performances ensured that we controlled the midfield areas. However, Majewski and Anderson were ineffective and did very little to turn the game in our favour. Majewski struggled to get involved when we needed his range of passing to unlock their packed defence. Anderson seemed to be roaming everywhere except into wide areas, where we actually needed him.
McGugan did as much as possible going forward and most of our decent breaks revolved around him. He produced a number of decent efforts from outside the area plus another dangerous left foot effort that nearly caught their keeper out. It’s easy to criticise McGoldrick but the service in his direction wasn’t good enough and he only started to get involved once he had support from Tudgay around him.
13/02/11 13:15 Category: Championship
Under normal circumstances, an away point at the league leaders would have been a creditable result, but having conceded a poor opening goal and then found ourselves down to ten men this was an outstanding achievement.
We started very brightly. Tudgay, hit the post (from an offside position) in the first minute and forced a number of corners as we caught QPR cold. Unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalise and paid the penalty when Smith picked the ball up from deep, run unchallenged and scored with a well-taken curling effort. Camp was left with no chance as McGugan, Konchesky and Chambers should have put him under more pressure but it was a quality finish.
It was noticeable that once Smith got injured, QPR didn’t look as dangerous when breaking from midfield. We marked the likes of Taarabt and Routledge tightly as QPR resorted to increasingly long balls in an attempt to put us under pressure.
Despite going behind against the run of play, we didn’t have too much to be concerned about as we’ve shown plenty of resolve in recent games. However, we really put pressure on ourselves following the dismissal of Majewski. Initially, it looked like he slipped and didn’t make contact but the replays were conclusive and he can have no complaints. He seemed to have calmed down his tackling recently but this was a return to the rash, jumping challenges he often made last season.
His dismissal galvanised the side and showed further evidence of the steel and spirit that exists within our squad. Everyone who played made a difference as we made relatively light work of the man disadvantage.
Our equaliser might have been a fluke but we certainly deserved something for our early endeavours. McGugan’s long range free kick was going well wide until hitting McGoldrick on the knee and bobbling into the bottom corner.
We even had chances to win it with Morgan’s downward header tipped over from another corner. McGugan had another couple of long range efforts unusually off target, whilst McKenna charged forward to put an effort wide.
Not too many opportunities after the break as we couldn’t afford to get caught out on the break. Tyson’s pace in the closing stages caused a few problem but too often he found himself downfield on his own and without any support.
Camp had very little to contribute due to the number of last ditch blocks on the edge of the area by those in front of him. QPR very rarely caused us problems within our area and were restricted to long range efforts and hopeful set pieces from distance. The closest they game was one header from a corner that Gunter recovered to head off the line.
The most impressive defensive displays came from MOTM Chambers and the also outstanding Morgan. Chambers has been one of our most consistent performers this season and Morgan now seems to be finding some form with another flawless display. Any mention of Kelvin Wilson has been completely forgotten as he finds himself excluded from the first team squad.
Lynch joined the action in the second half, allowing Konchesky to move into midfield. Up against the pacey Miller, he made a number of solid challenges and even found himself charging forward in a right wing position trying to pinch a late winner. Konchesky looked one of the fittest players on display and could easily be used further forwarding the coming weeks, especially if we lose anyone else from midfield.
Gunter had a great battle with the dangerous Routledge and was dominant almost through- out. The only time that Routledge found any space, he resorted to diving in order to gain an unlikely winner.
In midfield, McKenna put in another impressive performance to continue his welcome return to form. The wasteful ‘over the shoulder’ passes into space are a thing of the past and showing the sort of midfield domination he displayed when he first joined. He made a number of important interceptions in midfield and used the ball very well when in possession.
He was well supported by Cohen, McGoldrick and Tudgay who all ran themselves into the ground. McGoldrick in particular produced the sort of battling performance that hasn’t really been evident during his Forest career so far. McGugan was in and out of the game, had a few opportunities around the edge of the area but failed to trouble their keeper.
The substitutions brought badly needed fresh legs at the right time and we never eased up and allowed QPR to settle.
13/11/10 15:00 Category: Championship
A disappointing game in which we never got started and a draw was the most we ever looked like getting from the game. QPR had a few chances at the other end and MOTM Camp produced a few top drawer saves to keep us in the game.
The first half was instantly forgettable with Forest failing to put together any decent attacks and QPR taking advantage of some poor passing to create a number of dangerous chances.
Things only briefly improved in the second half when Earnshaw and Adebola joined the action but poor passing and a lack of numbers going forward held us back throughout.
Blackstock had a very poor afternoon and it was a surprise that he lasted as long as he did. Yet again, he struggled to get into the game and showed a poor first touch whenever the ball came his way. For a loan front man, its essential that he's able to hold the ball up and get the midfield involved.
The one chance we created saw McGugan's first time shot from Anderson's pull back that Kenny saved well. From the resulting scramble we had a half shout for a penalty but nothing to get excited about really. As soon as McGugan was replaced by Tyson, we shuffled the midfield around but QPR looked comfortable and were rarely put under any pressure.
Even the usually reliable Gunter and Cohen had performances to forget and combined with the disappointing recent form of Blackstock we lacked enough quality to justify any more than a point.
We've got through a number of tricky home games which has put us back within sight of the top 6. However, there are bigger tests to come on our travels with daunting trips to Cardiff and Leicester on the horizon.
06/11/10 15:00 Category: Championship
After a very amateurish start to the game, it took another McGugan wonder goal to get us into the game. We survived a number of further scares but got through to half-time level. The second half showed an improvement with Forest having the majority of possession but lacked any real creativity and we struggled to create any real chances worth mentioning.
We looked very shaky at the back right from the start, with Morgan and Chambers failing to track even the most basic movement from the home forwards. Time and again, they found themselves with players in time and space and it was only a matter of time before they took advantage. The defending for the opening goal was as bad as you could imagine, both centre backs wandered into the left back position leaving us badly exposed. Yet another free header on the back post, from a right wing cross leaving Camp with no real chance.
It was a similar story time and again with poor marking making Watford look a threat going forwards whilst poor passing ruined any chance of creating any danger at the other end. However, out of nothing, we got ourselves back into the game with more McGugan magic. He's scored some outstanding goals this season but this one topped the lot. Picking the ball on the half-way line, carrying it forward before hitting a swerving, dipping shot over the keeper from 25 yards.
We continued to defend very poorly and were very lucky to escape a number of scrambles in the area with the defence nowhere. One misjudgement from Camp, a manic scramble and an effort off the bar was the closest we came to conceding again.
We pushed Watford back in the second half but lacked any confidence or ability in front of goal. Despite having the majority of possession, we could only manage a couple of off-target long range efforts from Cohen and McGugan or crosses to no-one in particular. Unless McGugan was going to repeat his magic yet again, we were never likely to do enough to win.
In terms of performances, it's the usual story to report really. Gunter and Bertrand continue to excel at full back but the latter always seems to be ignored when making excellent runs down the left. Centre backs Chambers and Morgan looked out of their depth and like they'd never played together before. MOTM McGugan was the star of the show and continues to carry us. McKenna looked out of sorts in the first half with a number of blind passes giving the ball away. However, he showed much more purpose in the second half and started to have some real influence on the game. The aimless balls over the shoulder and negative passing were replaced by a determined half of football, leading by example. Blackstock looks a shadow of last season and incapable of even holding the ball up, never mind posing a threat in front of goal. Adebola did a much better job in his short time on the pitch. Earnshaw is still working his way back into the side but we're so desperate for goals, he has to start when available. Tyson came on half way through the second half, stretched the game with his pace but too often ended up falling over when it mattered.
Whilst we were very poor at the back, especially in the first half, the league table shows exactly where the problems really lie. After 15 games we've only scored a pathetic 17 goals and only 7 from 8 games on our travels. The goals against column shows a respectable 15 conceded which seems pretty reasonable. Without McGugan's goals this season, we would be in a precarious position and only Earnshaw has showed any signs of adding any contribution. The likes of Cohen, Anderson, Blackstock, Majewski, Adebola, Tyson etc. haven't looked a threat in front of goal all season.
18/09/10 17:20 Category: Championship
Whilst the level of performance continues to show slight improvement, the lack of a clinical edge in front of goal again cost us another valuable two points. The right players to address this issue were targeted in the summer but having failed to sign them, we’re now suffering the consequences. The first half was a pretty dull affair with Forest restricting the hosts to a number of routine long range efforts. The closest we came to conceding only arrived when Cohen mis-hit a clearance to the edge of our own area and the resulting shot ended up a yard wide. Whilst looking fairly solid defensively, we struggled to pose enough of a threat at the other end. Too often we found ourselves in a reasonable position but lacked enough quality to take advantage. McGugan’s free kick narrowly past the near post was our best effort. However, after the break, there was only one team capable of winning the game as we dominated for long spells. It only seemed a matter of time before we scored as we created a number of opportunities that should have been converted to bring a well-earned victory. We changed formation and pushed Anderson alongside Earnshaw and their movement caused endless problems for the ponderous home defence. With our midfield dealing with anything Hull could offer and full backs Gunter and Bertrand threatening down the flanks, only a missing clinical finish prevented us from recreating that West Brom performance. Chambers missed a routine close-range header, Earnshaw saw one goal narrowly ruled out for offside and another header narrowly wide. Gunter’s adventurous charge down the right should have produced a deserved penalty but it was a narrow call and the referee predictably sided with the home team, giving a free kick on the edge of the area. McGugan also had a goal bound effort, from a well worked corner, blocked on its way to the bottom corner. Camp had very little to do, thanks to the performance of those in front of him. MOTM Gunter showed all his quality at both ends down the right and his return makes us a different and lot less predictable side. Bertrand continues to show all his promise with a similar display on the other flank and when playing well as a pair it’s doubtful you’ll see a better combination elsewhere in the league. Chambers replaced the injured Wilson and should have capped a solid partnership alongside Morgan with the opening goal but badly missed a chance he would normally take. In midfield, Moussi made noticeable difference with a physical display that Hull, and Bullard in particular, had no answer to. Fortunately his work rate allows for the times that McGugan goes missing and doesn’t pull his weight, yet the latter does possess a quality in front of goal that few others in the squad have and is worthy of his return to the side. Unfortunately, Earnshaw couldn’t last the whole game and our attacking options greatly reduced once he left proceedings. His movement with and without the ball is in contrast to last season where he was a passenger in most away games and deserved to be left out. Through his performances this season, he’s one of the first names in the starting eleven and looking the most likely to turn these draws into wins. The late replacements couldn’t match the earlier quality and we had to settle for a routine and slightly disappointing, away point.
11/09/10 15:00 Category: Championship
On another day we’d have won the game easily but our inability and lack of composure in front of goal continue to hold us back and prevent us getting started this season. Their keeper was also in outstanding form and produced a number of outstanding saves to keep them in the game.
The first half was typical of this season with more slack defending handing the visitors an early lead. To our credit the team and crowd responded fairly well with no obvious dissent from the stands. Shortly after, McKenna’s quick thinking got Tyson away and drew the foul for an obvious penalty. Somehow, Blackstock managed to put the ball miles over the bar with the keeper committing himself to the other corner very early.
Millwall continued to look very dangerous with Camp having to tip over efforts from Harris and Morrison. At the other end, it looked like another one of those days with a number of promising moves breaking down and Forest lacking that flowing football from last season.
However, it was a different story after the break and we flicked a switch to see a return to somewhere near last season’s form. We looked dangerous from a succession of corners that Millwall were unable to clear and only poor finishing, desperate blocks and good goal keeping held us back. One triple save from shots within the area defied belief. Wilson managed to miss a simple chance from a couple of yards out whilst McGugan's free kick required another smart save.
Just when it looked like we'd run of out steam, Cohen's left wing cross seemed to be drifting aimlessly but held up sufficiently for Blackstock to out-jump the keeper and get us level.
Having done so well to grab a point we then presented Millwall with a simple chance from 10 yards which they manage to put wide when it looked easier to score. They broke down their right hand side and drew all our players towards the ball. When the ball was pulled back, they only had to beat Camp but dragged the shot wide.
With the final chance of the game, McGugan escaped down the left, with a great run, and pulled the ball back for Anderson. Unfortunately, he couldn't get the ball under control and had to try a difficult lob which drifted just over the bar.
Majewski had another anonymous game apart from a 10 minute spell and needs a break from the side. However, his replacement, McGugan showed much more appetite for the game and actually made runs from midfield past the forwards. Surely it’s time for McGugan to be given a chance. McKenna was much improved from the woeful showing last time and was unlucky to be replaced. He took much more care in possession and stopped that pointless over the shoulder pass into space he sometimes reverts to. Anderson should have won the game for us at the end, looked dangerous but annoyingly kept tripping over his own feet.
Having been moved into the middle, MOTM Tyson suddenly looked like a footballer instead of a sprinter stuck on the touchline and started causing problems for the Millwall defence with his pace and movement. It's still questionable whether he's capable of getting the goals we'll need in Earnshaw's absence. Blackstock looked tired and cost us badly with the penalty but at least kept going long enough to pinch the equaliser for us.
If Earnshaw is missing for any length of time, the prospects for this season start to look a little worrying. There’s very little competition for places within the squad. Only Majewski and McGugan are realistically competing for a starting place assuming that McKenna’s captaincy gets him a place ahead of Moussi every time. Chambers is reasonable back-up for Wilson and Morgan but Davies has very few options available to him apart from reverting to putting five men into midfield.
The lack of goal scorers within the squad is also a real concern. Apart from our main two strikers, there don’t seem many realistic options to score more than 5 goals in a season. There’s a lot of tricky games coming up and you have to wonder how much worse things have to get before we see any incoming transfer activity.
28/08/10 15:00 Category: Championship
Whilst the Leeds draw provided some early moments of promise, on this occasion it was a different story. We were poor from start to finish, looking stale and lacking in ideas. Norwich showed moments of class on the break, similar to us last season, and they should have gone on to win the game.
Without making any changes to our line up since last season, the concern is that we've been found out by teams in this league. We're unlikely to get the time and space in midfield that we exploited to good effect and we need to provide the opposition with different problems. Both Norwich and Leeds have pressed us in midfield and the likes of McKenna and Majewski weren't able to respond. We don't look solid enough to keep a clean sheet whilst at the other end, we've relied on dodgy goal keeping and dubious penalties to keep us in the past two games.
We were lucky to still be in this game after the early stages. Norwich hit the bar when it looked easier to score and then saw a low free kick off the post. We had one penalty shout turned down but then saw a comedy appeal given to make up for it. Blackstock, at least, converted into the bottom corner. It was pretty dull for the remainder of the half but just when it looked like we might make it to half-time in front, we conceded a poor freekick, didn't defend properly again and suffered the consequences.
Very little to mention in the second half until Earnshaw's smart turn and shot off the bar. At the other end, we had a few nervy moments and the visitors were the only team likely to score again.
There were a few positives from the game. MOTM Earnshaw has started the season looking lively and justifying his selection both home and away. Instead of carrying him through games, he's putting himself about and working hard for the team. Unlucky to see his last minute shot hit the bar. Bertrand continues to look composed at left back and has solved that particular issue until January at least. Moussi and McGugan made a difference in the closing stages and deserve a chance to earn starting places for the coming games. That's about it.
Defensively, we look uncertain from last season with even Camp looking dodgy in patches. At least he redeemed himself with a late low save from Holt that would have won them the game. It was another poor goal to concede as Norwich caused us plenty of problems. Wilson and Morgan haven't found that understanding from last season whilst Chambers is never going to replicate Gunter's attacking outlet down the right,
Midfield was a problem area again. There clearly isn't enough of a goal threat between our midfield options. Both Anderson and Tyson had opportunities to expose a lone defender but stuttered and ended up giving the ball away. McKenna, in particular, had a terrible afternoon and was lucky to last mid-way into the second half. Time and again he took all the pace out of a promising attack or relinquished possession without even looking. He still didn't deserve the sarcastic cheering his withdrawal though. Cohen tried his best but had one of those afternoons where things didn't work out for him and he can't be expected to do it all on his own.
At our best, we move the ball quickly and simply and used movement within the team to good effect. At the moment, we're ponderous, playing like statues and looking very predictable. Alongside Earnshaw, Blackstock made very little impression against the visiting centrebacks.
With recent injuries to Anderson and McCleary, tomorrow's deadline may give a good indication of how the rest of the season will progress. No doubt the Acquisitions Panel have been working 'tirelessly' since May and will claim to be ready to 'exploit' the loan market but this season's squad should have been sorted out ages ago. After the play-off defeat, the talk was adding 2-3 quality additions to build on last season. After dropping 9 points in 4 games, we're still waiting and moving backwards rapidly. At the moment, it's not looking good and lower mid-table beckons (at best).
21/08/10 15:00 Category: Championship
Another typical Forest away performance which only resulted in a point due to a massive error on the part of their keeper. At this stage with 7 points dropped already, the signs don't look good in terms of repeating last season's achievements.
As usual, we started quite nicely, passing the ball around comfortably without ever really threatening. Then, predictably, we gave away a needless free kick, allowed the opposition to pack the area, failed to defend properly and suffered the consequences. One of their players ended up unmarked on the back post, his shot was blocked but still we couldn't clear the ball until we found it resting in the back of our goal.
Their keeper made a couple of decent saves in the first half from Earnshaw and Anderson but we couldn't convert a decent amount of possession into clear chances. Early into the second half. We enjoyed a real gift from their keeper, managing to kick the ball into the back of his own defender for Earnshaw to casually roll the ball into an empty goal. The rest of the second half was much of the same and apart from a decent penalty shout for a foul on Cohen, there wasn't much to get excited about.
We finally sprang to life in the closing stages and showed plenty of attacking intent in the last five minutes but it was too little and anything else would have been undeserved. McGugan in particular show moments of promise on the edge of their area but lost his balance at the important moment.
The defence was reasonably secure with Camp having a fairly straight forward afternoon but it's the midfield that provides the greatest cause for concern. Majewski was anonymous and contributed very little, very similar to his other appearances this season. It says a lot that even McGugan was able to replace him and start having a impact in the last 20 minutes. Moussi does the scruffy work but we need a bigger attacking threat alongside him. Anderson had one of his more productive afternoons with some direct running which we often didn't take full advantage of. One header was destined for the top corner until their keeper produced the save of the game to deny us. Cohen continues to lead by example and produce quality all over the pitch but he's very unlikely to win us games on his own.
Strangely, Blackstock was wasted on the left wing for the majority of his spell on the pitch when we desperately needed him in the centre. Despite looking lively, dropping deep, MOTM Earnshaw lacked support around him as we should have made more against a ponderous home defence. However, he deserved his goal and his performances away from home so far justify his inclusion on our travels this season. In order to get the best from him, he really needs a partner alongside him instead of fighting lost causes on his own.
15/08/10 13:15 Category: Championship
The first twenty minutes brought back memories of the carefree attacking football so often last season. We could easily have been three goals ahead as Leeds had no answer to our pace and movement off the ball. We flowed forward at every opportunity with player running off the ball and quick, simple passing in midfield. Gunter seemed to be tripped just inside the area but nothing given, Anderson’s rebound hit their keeper (who knew nothing about it) whilst Earnshaw’s effort across the keeper flicked the post and away to safety. We had to settle for Gunter’s excellent left footed cross and Blackstock’s flicked header into the bottom corner to give us a deserved lead.
Even before their equaliser, there were signs that the game was turning away from us. However, this was all our own fault and nothing to do with any quality from a very average Leeds team. Too many unforced errors caused moments of defensive panic and eventually we got caught out. Morgan attempted a cross-field pass that was never on, the resulting left wing cross saw Morgan beaten again in the air, leaving Camp with no chance. Morgan wasn’t alone though, his was one of a number of unnecessary risks taken when in possession.
The rest of the game was a dull scrappy affair as Forest looked a mess in midfield, allowing Leeds much more time in possession than they should have been allowed. Fortunately, they had very little composure in front of goal and we got away with it. Neither keeper made any saves worth mentioning so a draw was a fair result. Their low shot through a crowd of players was a couple of feet wide and another flicked header, again off target, were the only times we looked in any genuine danger. At the other end, there was very rarely anything to get excited about as we struggled to maintain any momentum.
We looked a mess in midfield compared to the early stages as we stopped doing the simple things that gave us such a good start. McKenna constantly gave the ball away, Raddy looked for that glory pass or ambitious shot every time. Billy tried to change things around in the wide areas by introducing the pace of McCleary and Tyson. Neither had much of an effect and seemed to hinder us even further as it took an age for everyone to understand where they were playing. Cohen moved into the centre for a while and then ended the game back on the right wing once Moussi was belatedly introduced. Everyone seemed to be going through the motions and lacked that spark that a new arrival would surely provide. Worryingly, Billy wouldn’t talk about possible new additions after the game, seemingly bored and appearing resigned to a lack of action for some time.
Whilst the opening goal gave some cause for optimism, the majority of the game was below par and disjointed. In the poor spells, we looked a side approaching the end of a long/hard season instead of one bursting with energy. All the early enthusiasm soon disappeared to be replaced by an endless stream of mis-hit or mis-directed passes. Apart from Earnshaw and Blackstock, the lack of genuine goal scorers remains a concern, the midfield doesn’t look capable of providing enough goals on the occasions where the forwards are marked out of the game.
The full backs, Gunter and Bertrand, were the highlight of the afternoon. Neither were blameless in terms of giving the ball away but showed enough quality at both ends of the field to suggest we’ve addressed those positions at least. MOTM Gunter took advantage of the space down our right hand side to provide many of the first half highlights. Can consider himself lucky to stay on the pitch after a stamp on one of their players but having seen their behaviour, there was some provocation involved. Bertrand down the left looks very comfortable on the ball and adds badly needed balance to the side. With the narrow midfield we employ, it’s essential that the full backs are able to make use of the space in front of them.