On both occasions yesterday when Town kicked off following Wycombe’s goals, literally none of our players were stood on the left side of the pitch.
The kick-off taker (possibly Calum Dyson) was stood centrally, naturally, while Danny Andrew was also central, just in front of the D, with James McKeown just behind. Every other bugger in a black and white shirt was stood on the right side of the pitch, as if the Main Stand was breathing some terrible disease on them.
Was this tactical? If so, what the hell were we hoping to achieve from it?
Our deficiency on the left is now so well known that future opposition won’t have to bother sending a scout to watch us.
It’s on Google Earth. You could probably see it from the moon.
I guess you could say we have nothing left to give. But that’s not funny. And none of us left yesterday’s match laughing.
At a time when we’re not helping ourselves, the last thing we need is a referee who’s not willing to help us either. All he needed to do was apply the rules of association football fairly and correctly, and he couldn’t even do that.
We should’ve seen it coming. It’s somewhat ironic how the OS used this picture of referee Nick Kinseley to warn us of impending doom. His expression became mine by full time.
In midweek the whole world seemed to stop immediately when Fernando Torres was knocked unconscious.
Yesterday, Gavin Gunning got knocked unconscious and the ref let play continue long enough for Wycombe’s Plaster of Paris Cowan-Hall to ping the ball into the top corner for what turned out to be the winning goal.
The ref wasn’t even sure about giving a stonewall penalty on Tom Bolarinwa, and had to look to his assistant for help.
I’ve seen us lose a lot this season (seven in nine), but the manner in which we went down to the Chairboys was particularly galling.
True, our showing for the first 30 minutes was very encouraging, and we should’ve been at least two or three up by half time – but there were still plenty of holes in our performance.
Having said that, irrespective of our left-sided issues, our confusing formation, our indiscernible style of play and chronic lack of pace, Wycombe were pretty awful and we should’ve beaten them.
They looked every bit like a side that’d been struggling and sliding down the league in recent weeks. McKeown was able to keep his luminous orange outfit in pristine condition.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for an uncharacteristically panicked swipe by Danny Collins and an abysmal piece of refereeing, we could’ve played until midnight and Wycombe wouldn’t have scored a ‘conventional’ goal.
But going in the other direction, second half especially, we were pretty toothless too. And we didn’t score any conventional goals ourselves simply by being rubbish at shooting.
It was bad enough falling behind at the hands of incompetent officials, but what made it worse was that we’d not shown much after the half-hour mark to suggest we were likely to find an equaliser from somewhere.
I’ve only seen us score five goals in nine games, so you’ll understand why I wasn’t holding out much hope.
But I’ll give us some credit. We had a go. It wasn’t brilliant, but it was more than I was expecting. Bignot made attacking substitutions and threw on Dominic Vose in an attempt to make something happen. And it nearly did.
Their keeper was surely their man of the match – helped, no doubt, by Sam Jones’ staggering ability to shoot straight at him from six yards.
Despite leaving Blundell Park feeling gutted and frustrated in equal measure, there was a tinge of hope in there too.
We showed some cohesive attacking play in the first half, which forced their keeper into making good saves. The players seemed to have a better grasp of where they were meant to be, and what they were meant to do – although that ebbed away towards half time and we reverted to typical Town nothingness in the second half. But then we showed a bit of fight and spirit at the end.
Some of the best sides have been built from the back. We seem to have a solid base – now Bignot needs to work on developing our attacking play.
He says he wants to play exciting, attacking football, but he’ll need width and pace. So I guess we won’t be seeing that this season. Also, I still feel the players don’t truly know how he wants us to attack.
I remember Bignot using all-encompassing words and phrases like ‘being positive on the ball’ and ‘always playing forward’ in an interview with Radio Humberside.
Sounds good, but I hope he’s more specific than that with the players on the training pitch, because at the moment they’re carrying out his vague plan with appropriate vagueness.
Occasionally it comes off, but most of the time it just looks like every player has been told they’ll get an absolute bollocking if they ever pass sideways or backwards.
So what happens is that we get a succession of fairly aimless clips and clearances that just go forward. If we could add a little direction too, then that’d be ace.
And, of course, it’d be really good if we had an option to use the left side of the pitch. Without it, through sympathy alone, Danny Andrew will continue to be everyone’s man of the match as soon as he steps out onto the pitch.