Grizzle Rovers

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Kernow Yellow
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Grizzle Rovers

Post by Kernow Yellow » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:03 am

Well that wasn't great. We started very slowly, exposed time after time down the flanks (especially our right), failing to hold onto the ball ourselves. To say we lost the midfield battle would be to imply that we were competing at all in the middle of the park - we weren't. Yet we rode our luck and kept ourselves in the game, only to gift Rovers the opener when Martin got into a tangle and presented Easter with a clear run at goal.

Only then did we start playing, and thought we had scored when Sercombe's header beat the keeper - I assume it went wide but still don't understand how. Hemmings' great strike lifted the spirits, and we hoped we'd see a second half revival. But in truth we never got going. Lundstram was again particularly poor, and looked unfit and knackered. The defence got shakier and shakier - Martin's confidence appeared affected by the earlier blunder, and Nelson hit straightforward clearances into onrushing attackers on three separate occasions to present Rovers with further chances. At the other end we fashioned some decent openings but didn't threaten the goal enough, especially from set-pieces. Macdonald and Maguire were again our most composed players, but even they gave the ball away and underhit passes with alarming regularity.

But we were at least competing, until Long's sending-off and Sercombe's appalling header presented Matty Taylor (who else?) with the winner. To our credit we kept going and should have snatched another equaliser at the death, but Tyler Roberts' awful lack of composure when presented with a sitter cost us a point.

Positives - Eastwood looked very assured in goal, Hemmings provided a threat up front and Skarz was as dependable as ever. Crowley looked bright when he came on but Brizzle used their numerical advantage to stop him threatening the goal. Taylor battled but got little joy out of his marker, largely because the ref allowed the latter to make aerial challenges with handfuls of Taylor's shirt on several occasions.

All in all a bad day at the office, made all the more noticeable by the fact that we've had so few of them in recent times! And it was encouraging that we almost came away with something against a strong Rovers outfit despite looking so disjointed. But there are problems to be addressed - an out-of-form captain and lack of available defenders foremost among them.

GodalmingYellow
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by GodalmingYellow » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:25 am

Well down to Earth with a bump. A hard bump.

I could mention the shocking ref, who produced a free kick and yellow card every time the home crowd bayed. And I have.
I could mention lack of singing from the Oxford end. And I have.
I could mention our lack of squad options and the over emphasis on strikers in our recruitment. And I have.

But when push comes to shove, we were out played and out fought for large parts of this game.

Rovers came out of the blocks very fast and hard, and our side that seems to need excessive unopposed time on the ball before making decisions, were in shock.

For me, this game was lost in midfield. Lundstram had a very flat match with very little in the way of the long raking passes that are his trade mark. Sercombe did ok going forward, but offered little defensively, and coupled with Lundstram's lack of tackling, our defence was exposed too often. It matters not if you are a top Premier League side, or a lowly Conference side, if your defence is over exposed, mistakes will be made and goals will be conceded.

Starting from the back, Eastman had a good game, making several decent saves to keep the score down. His distribution was good as it always is and he commanded his area. He had no chance with either goal, so no criticism of him.

Skarz was a little on the slow side and in attack seemed very reticent to cross the ball, even when in the clear, often preferring to move the ball back to Maguire, or latterly Crowley, both of whom had very poor matches. That reticence, more often than not, disrupted our flow in attack and frequently gave Rovers time to recover their defensive positions, when an early cross would have found them in disarray.

Both Martin and Nelson were caught napping or straying out of position leaving big holes for Rovers to exploit.

Long, I am afraid, showed why he is not considered as the long term permanent 1st choice right back at the club. He had a torrid game, not that he remotely deserved a yellow card for either offence he was booked for that resulted in a very harsh red that cannot be appealed. So without further recruitment, the club presently has no right back available for Fleetwood on Wednesday.

The ref threw cards around like confetti, despite this not remotely being a dirty game, and that perhaps reflected his inability to properly control the game or award free kicks at appropriate times, with many crimes going unpunished whilst perfectly legitimate and fair challenges were arrestable offences apparently. It's a shame because the refs for our previous two matches were actually a big step up from last season.

Onto the midfield, Sercombe is of course to blame for Rovers 2nd goal. When you start playing football at a young age, one of the 1st coaching lessons is to never play the ball across your own area in defence. THAT header was either very poorly judged or terrible technique, but either way it was not worthy of a League 1 footballer. Anywhere else on the park but there. Even putting it out for a corner would have been preferable and the chances are we might have undeservedly scraped a point.

Maguire has for 2 consecutive games, been off colour football wise. Again he hung onto the ball too long, or cut back, when we needed to maintain momentum. For me he offered insufficient in this match. But having said that, Dan Crowley had an even worse game when he came on. I can't remember a pass of more than 5 yards that he successfully completed. Mazy runs are only useful if there is an end product, otherwise it is just giving the ball away. He needs to learn quickly that this is not reserve team football and mistakes have real consequences in the 1st team. And having lost the ball, standing watching what happens next is not acceptable. With luxury of freedom to roam, comes responsibility to tackle back.

Macca is the 2nd Us player to avoid criticism, and I think MApp took off the wrong player. It should have been Maguire.

Up front. Where to start. Defending from the front is vital at this level. That means chasing lost causes. It means ball retention. Hemmings and Taylor are both decent enough to players, but I could see little of them working together. It isn't going to work if one player has to chase the ball, but the other does little or nothing to cover the opposition passing outlets. Strikers work as a team, not as individuals. Hemmings took his goal well. Taylor again had no shots at goal. That will become a problem. Defences are not going to give strikers time to create the perfect shooting opportunity. It is their job to prevent such opportunities. Any sight of goal for a striker should be regarded as a shooting opportunity unless there are other obviously better alternatives. Fear of failure is not an option.

Whilst we are discussing the attacking play, I can't ignore THAT miss at end end. I say that miss, but in reality we had 3 excellent opportunities to bury the ball in the net all in the same move, and not one of them was taken, with the final miss by Tyler Roberts the 1 which will have the spotlight. I'm sorry, but missing an empty net from 6 yards out, with no pressure from the defence, with a ball at waist height, is not acceptable. Therein was another chance to scrape an undeserved point, lost.

So we were not on our game pretty much all over the park. A word however for a very well organised, committed, strong Rovers side, who could themselves have scored more. On the day they were better than us and deserved all 3 points.

Did I mention the ref already? Well he deserves several mentions, but not for good things.

I find Rovers, and Bristol generally for that matter, to not be the friendliest of places. We went to The Wellington before the game, and the doorman, I say doorman but Nazi potman would be more accurate, frequently refused to allow Oxford fans in on grounds of the pub being full (it wasn't) whilst allowing Gas fans in without question. Sadly no one seemed to have told the pub that a game was on, and a huge understaffing meant waits of 45 minutes to get served. Darrell Eales had this sussed with a tray of about 20 pints for his group so they didn't have to go to the bar again, but it's good to see him with the fans on match days.

On entry to the ground we were subject to near airport standard security checks with scanners, forced emptying of pockets and unfriendly stewards operating said equipment. It's never a good mix to hand any sort of personal power to such people as bad tempered stewards and overblown potmen. A welcome would have been nice.

Views from the seating behind the goal were poor as always due to the shockingly bad stand with supports in the direct line of sight to the pitch, and seating at too low height.

And why can Rovers not sort out traffic movement on match days? Bristol is bad enough as it is, but the London Road coaches were still on the 1st road out of the ground at 6pm.

It's fair to say that Bristol is not a good place to endure a poor team performance, but not many places are, and as I am trying to go to every competitive fixture this season, for the first time in my 36 years supporting the club, endured it must be.

See you in Fleetwood.

Kernow Yellow
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by Kernow Yellow » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:39 pm

GodalmingYellow wrote: I'm sorry, but missing an empty net from 6 yards out, with no pressure from the defence, with a ball at waist height, is not acceptable.
Waist height? It wasn't even knee-height! It fell beautifully onto his right foot and he just skied it. Very poor technique.

I only discovered the Wellington pub last year and thought it was great then, but with a much bigger crowd this season and a later kick-off the place struggled to cope with the invading hordes. Agree about the Memorial Stadium and surrounding areas being generally inhospitable. I thought it had mellowed a bit yesterday until a lone (replica shirt-wearing) Rovers fan offered our group - which included my 10-year-old son - out in the Wellington after the match. Luckily no-one took him seriously, least of all his mates! But I think I'll revert to The Annexe for future visits...

slappy
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by slappy » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:10 pm

Good luck with the complete season GY. I managed it a few years ago, was a lot more of a southern based league then.

The Wellington could have had the beer tent open in the garden like the priory used to. The wait inside was woeful, but could they have got staff in for basically two 2 hours shifts.

As for the football. Not great

Kairdiff Exile
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by Kairdiff Exile » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:02 pm

Out of interest, GY, does your plan to attend every competitive fixture include the (now bastardised) Football League Trophy? I'm interested in whether the #BTeamBoycott has soured the aim to watch a "complete" season - or whether it's basically reduced the number of must-see games by at least three!

GodalmingYellow
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by GodalmingYellow » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:45 am

Kairdiff Exile wrote:Out of interest, GY, does your plan to attend every competitive fixture include the (now bastardised) Football League Trophy? I'm interested in whether the #BTeamBoycott has soured the aim to watch a "complete" season - or whether it's basically reduced the number of must-see games by at least three!
If I were not doing the complete season, I wouldn't bother with the away fixtures in the Trophy. I find it very difficult to justify missing home first XI games though, even if the first XI is a deliberately weakened team. it just doesn't seem right. Having said that, I think the Trophy is a complete joke of a competition now. It should have been made either an all under 21 competition, or kept the same as previously, or done away with entirely.

GodalmingYellow
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by GodalmingYellow » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:51 am

slappy wrote:Good luck with the complete season GY. I managed it a few years ago, was a lot more of a southern based league then.

The Wellington could have had the beer tent open in the garden like the priory used to. The wait inside was woeful, but could they have got staff in for basically two 2 hours shifts.

As for the football. Not great
I'm sure they could have got the staff in at The Wellington if they had paid fair Sunday wages. It would have been a tiny dent in the huge takings.

I've got 6 or 7 new grounds this season, and of the other fixtures, I would probably go to most of them anyway as they are not that far, which is why its about time I tried a complete season.

Matt D
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by Matt D » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:55 pm

a similarly dispirited yellow after that trip.

all I would add is that my grumpiness was increased by seeing james clarke and matt taylor, two players we discarded at conference level, showing Us they could cut it at this level. congratulations to them for proving Us wrong, but it stuck in my craw to think we let them go. thought the treatment of taylor in particular was a) uncalled for and b) counterproductive. when he jogged up and grinned at Us, it was clear to me he wasn't going to cave under any pressure from our supporters. and he didn't.

interesting to see appleton so critical. hopefully the performance was 'just one of them'.

COYY.

OUFC4eva
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Re: Grizzle Rovers

Post by OUFC4eva » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:30 pm

I saw James Clarke pull the shirt virtually
off an Oxford players' back on at least
five occasions. Eventually he got booked.

Clarke has done well for himself - no doubt about it -
and another that Wilder released soon after
being appointed in December 2008.

It was highly likely that M Taylor would score.
These things are written in the stars.

We were dreadful - worryingly dreadful
and we have just two weeks to complete the squad
until January 2017.

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