Fan’s View 2019/20 – No.5- Carabao Cup Round 1 – Peterborough (H)

Article by Paul Beasley Thursday, August 15th, 2019  



So which one is this then I’ve heard a few people ask. The regular change of sponsorship for all cup competitions every few years and the fact that the EFL name is attached to a cup and a trophy certainly causes confusion.

The main Mickey Mouse one is the EFL Trophy, currently sponsored by Last season it was the Checkatrade Trophy. This one is the Carabao Cup, the EFL Cup. That’s the Milk Cup that was. Remember 1986 anyone? Or to stick with a common thread, the League Cup.

We all know that the League Cup has never had the kudos of the FA Cup (Currently the Emirates FA Cup) but it used to be all a bit more shiny than it is now didn’t it? The League is always given priority thus dictating team selection even though a good cup run can possibly provide a vital financial life line to many clubs below Championship level. I say “can possibly” because I can’t find much information on what teams actually make by progressing through the rounds. However it might be that the only way for it to be viable is through any TV money that’s forthcoming if this quote lifted from the Metro dated Feb 2018 is still the way it is: “The winners of Sunday’s final will claim £100,000, whilst the runners-up will take away £50,000. Right up until the semi-finals of the competition there is no prize money on offer at all, then the two losing semi-finalists win £25,000 each”. What an absolute con. Bloody EFL.

For Peterborough’s second visit in four days we made seven changes and they made five. That wouldn’t have happened back in the day.  It cost just £12 to get in and there were only 2,560 home fans and 238 visitors in attendance. On Saturday for the league match when full prices had been charged those figures were 6,215 and 744 respectively.

The East Stand with under ten minutes to kick off

People say that the Kassam Stadium does not have an atmosphere. Well it did on August 10th when compared with that on the 14th.

That we’d played the same team so very recently may have put some off turning up, citing the “boring” factor but I was quite intrigued as to what each manager would do having seen how their opponents played at first hand. Tactical thinking and all that.

Nevertheless I have to say I enjoyed Saturday far more than what I saw here and felt I’d got better value for money then.

As Darren Ferguson had tinkered slightly less than Karl Robinson and had left Ivan Toney and George Boyd in his starting XI there’s perhaps a case to show that of the two he was taking it a tad more seriously. The final score though says all that needs to be said.

Without doubt the quality of this encounter wasn’t as high, which is understandable given we almost had a reserve side out.

With the changes, focus was naturally on those who had come in and in particular those we had not seen before.

At centre half Elliott Moore played as he looked, i.e. in dominant fashion. He is after all 6ft 5in tall. When he won headers he got distance on his clearances and got stuck in on the deck too. He’ll soon be first choice having displaced Mous won’t he? That said the defence creaked more than it had done in the first two games. In the second half we got truly caught out on the break once, survived one little episode of pinball when it seemed inevitable Posh would score and managed to slash the ball against the frame of the goal we were defending. The man who nearly had an o.g. against his name was Rob Dickie. He wasn’t the only man who played pretty well but with different colleagues around him didn’t look quite as good as in the previous two matches. Cameron Brannagan is another I’d put in that category.

Chris Cadden has raised the bar for the standard needed to get in the league side but his replacement Sam Long had a standout moment in this game. On the break I referred to above when we were outnumbered three to two at the back it was he who got back and somehow saved us. The fact that Mo Eisa was involved probably helped a bit too. Tim, who sits in front of me, kept pointing out how rubbish Eisa was playing. Just because a player can do it in League 2 doesn’t mean he’ll score elsewhere. In 45 league games he scored 23 for Cheltenham two seasons ago. Last season after a million pound – or more than that according to some reports – move to Bristol City he didn’t start a match let alone score a goal.  Peterborough have supposedly smashed their previous record transfer of £1.25m to get him. Madness?

In midfield Mark Sykes did okay but didn’t spark much or get us thinking he should be playing regularly. The standards currently are such that being okay won’t cut it.

On first proper viewing I was really impressed with Anthony Forde. He had a bit of class about him and very much seemed to be in the James Henry mould. Perhaps that’s the way they coach them at Wolves. That he faded in the second half and was replaced with 12 minutes to go, is to be expected as he has not done a proper pre-season. He’ll provide serious competition for starting places.

There’s definitely a footballer in Jamie Hanson and he did some good things but probably too many mistakes and not influential enough at present to be a proper starter. He’ll get better.

Robbie Hall concerned me in the first half. He looked well off the pace and whilst feeling a bit sorry for him in thinking that he’ll never get back to what he was, I’m of the view that teams can’t carry passengers. On one occasion he knocked the ball inside but made no effort to sprint away down the touch line to make the one-two an option. He did attempt to track back but always appeared too slow and didn’t get goal side. Possibly it’s down to confidence and match sharpness. There was hope in the second half when he was frequently collecting the ball in front of the South Stand before doing something with it.

Of those that were brought in that just leaves Malachi Napa. He really was doing his very best in a role up front that he’s just not suited to. Too little and lightweight. There were though one or two runs with the ball where he evaded opponents. Then a broken leg. One has to feel so very sorry for the lad.

Was it just one of those things or is it fair to name and blame? I’ll start with referee Ollie Yates. Having watched a ridiculous amount of football over the years I’ve spotted the free hit when a second often very nasty challenge comes in just after the referee has blown for a foul or is waiting to see if there is an advantage before blowing up. Nearly always it is the first foul that is penalised, not the second. Here I couldn’t see any advantage to us at all the way the ball broke and couldn’t understand why Yates didn’t stop play immediately. To compound matters no card of any colour was shown following this unfortunate incident. (Not having seen the incident again it may of course be that it was just one of those things and my bias, anger on Napa’s behalf and general dislike of referees has got the better of me).

Whilst not being as terrible as Peter Wright at Sunderland, he wasn’t a whole lot better. Peterborough’s at times thuggish approach should have been stamped on before it became an accepted part of the play. It wasn’t and at times overly robust, and potentially dangerous, tackles were let go. After they’d gone a goal behind with very little time left two or three Peterborough players threw themselves directly at our guys and when Dickie did similar to let it be known we weren’t going to be pushed about, it was he who conceded a free-kick. Bloody ridiculous.

Napa’s replacement was Ben Woodburn whose performance was quite interesting to watch. Once he gets going I think there might be a fair few spectacular goals in his tank. He played in this as if he’d been watching Jamie Mackie in training, but someone so young is never going to pull those dark arts off in the manner of the way more experienced teacher.  Quite rightly free-kicks were given against him. This showed a naivety which could have cost us if dead balls slung into the penalty area had resulted in a goal conceded but on the other hand it was good to see that he could do his own pushing around.

Although not the slick outfit from the league match, there were times when we moved the ball around well here too and there were passes that were hammered low at pace to the wings that were controlled well. When a team can do that they’ve a reasonable chance of stretching the opposition but that wasn’t something we did here.

The game was more one of attrition and when Peterborough, with ten minutes to go and no subs left, lost Serhat Tasdemir to injury, I thought the game should be ours for the taking.  Instead it was they who threatened (not that there was a great deal of threat during the whole game) as much if not more than us.

That mattered not one jot because it was the mighty Yellows who, with two of the 90 minutes remaining, got the only goal. Poetic justice really that it came from a free-kick for a foul just on the edge of the area. There’s no argument that an Oxford player was fouled. I can’t remember who. Reports vary – Hanson or James Henry.

There’s no debate as to who scored it. Once more it was Brannagan. He must be thinking “can I play you every week?” Until he took his run up, and indeed as he was running at the ball, it wasn’t obvious who would strike for goal. Josh Ruffels was an option and Henry took a little step to the ball before stepping back again. The shot was struck low, hard and with accuracy. I need to read the new laws concerning attackers no longer being allowed in defensive walls as an irritant. It looked like we’d formed our own wall of two just to the right of theirs. Whatever happened, their defensive blockade was all over the place.

Our reward for this? Bloody Millwall at home. No prize money for winning. Certainly won’t be on the T.V. Unlikely to be a big gate even at reduced prices. Then there’s the cost of policing. So the question I’ll ask is, how much money are we going to lose?

I wondered why the lorry driver had chosen to park up for the night behind us on Grenoble Road until I saw the “Posh” scarf hanging in the window. Fair play sir, proper support.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 15th, 2019 at 10:41 am and appears under News Items. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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