Lies, damned lies and Millwall

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Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by SmileyMan » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:55 pm

Code: Select all

                  Oxford   Millwall
Possession -------- 64% ----- 36% 
Shots ------------- 12 ------- 7    
Shots on Target ---  5 ------- 3
Corners -----------  9 ------- 2
Fouls ------------- 22 ------ 11
With stats like that, we must have absolutely tonked them, right?

Werthers Original
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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by Werthers Original » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:26 pm

I believe that Appleton is a good manager and a student of football, and I trust him to improve us. But with 15 minutes left he was talking to Faz and obviously planning how to change the game, but did nothing until it was too late, and then brought on the predictably ineffective Hemings, when I felt we were crying out for the old fashioned energy and power of Macdonald and Taylor. We should try to find a place for Crowley but we need to find a striker with some more direct threat. Maybe it will be Hall.

Dr Bob
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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by Dr Bob » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:55 am

On the top floor of the Escher Museum in The Hague, there is a room set up so that two people standing near each other appear to be really tall and really short. Every time Crowley stood near their No 17, I thought of that room.

There seemed to be a lot of surprise that Crowley was playing up front (notionally, at least) - especially given the sheer physical difference between so many of their players and so many of ours. But why should that matter, unless we play high balls up for our players to try to head, rather than balls to feet or past players to run onto. Oh...

It was only in the last quarter of the game that Crowley really got into the game properly - when he started playing behind the front line, looking to make things happen, and then he was only able to do so because Millwall had dropped off and given him the space to do that. That, for me, confirmed that he should be playing just behind the strikers, linking with midfield. Until then he was not able to do much at all.

Yes, Hemmings was ineffective, but how much service did he get in the short time he was on? For me, the MUCH bigger problem all match was our inability to get decent ball out of midfield from which good clear goal-scoring opportunities could be created. Statistics about shots taken and shots on target do not, of themselves, tell us anything about shots that actually threaten to go in - for which decent service would help. None of our midfielders was particularly effective, for me they are all too similar, and Lundstram's lack of form continues to frustrate. I have no doubt that this was a match where we needed someone like Macca to really get stuck in. Not sure how effective Taylor would have been but I, like Werther's Original (and I dare say a few more) felt that he should at least have been given a go. Even if we accept with the two substitutes that were made, why was a third not? Appleton said that Roberts had played well previously - but could he not see that this was not a game, not an opposition, against whom he was well-suited (being, in the words of the chap sat next to me, someone who is made of feathers)?

As with Coventry, we conceded a screamer and a goal following a defensive error. But that does not prevent me from asking - why was Nelson brought back when Raglan was playing well individually, and working well with Chey? Even if Appleton is thinking about sending Raglan back to Chesterfield in the not too distant future, there are still more than enough games to get Nelson back up to speed, rather than breaking up what was looking a decent central defensive pairing.

Meanwhile, I have work to be getting with, so I shall it to others to discuss the referee, the amazing way in which Millwall's big lads crumpled from the slightest touch, etc...

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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by Kairdiff Exile » Sun Oct 30, 2016 2:34 pm

[insert customary post-loss whinge here about how we let go of an excellent centre-back and centre-forward for nowt in the summer]

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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by Shoobedoo » Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:28 pm

Two things:

1 - our midfielders and fullbacks have to create more space for Marv to work in. Our goal came from having isolated one of Millwall's enormous centreback one-to-one with him - the only time Marv was able to get behind them (more incisiveness in general in attack would be nice).

2 - While it's not nice to watch, I wish we could do the nasty stuff as well as Millwall did. We have to be much more savvy at game management in this league.

That's all I have to say, really.

ty cobb
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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by ty cobb » Sun Oct 30, 2016 6:40 pm

Yes Sheffield United have done pretty well since Jake Wright started playing every game - and to think we got rid of him because we had Martin as one of our centre backs.

I still think Hemmings has it in him to score some goals if we can get the ball to him, this is unlikely to happen when he's stuck on the bench for 85 minutes.

But yes none of our strikers look as decent as Hylts is and continues to be - ... op-scorers not a bad shots on target ratio.

As I said previously we need to decide what our best team is and let them sink or swim - all this chopping and changing every game is doing no good, we do ok in the first game as the oppo don't expect it (sorry boss I just didn't expect to see Taylor as left winger so that wasn't in my scouting report) but by the second game any element of surprise is gone.

Have to keep telling ourselves we have come an awful long way and the potential is there - see Bolton away, and to ignore the evidence of late that this season is going to be a struggle.

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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by Kernow Yellow » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:52 am

Dr Bob wrote:For me, the MUCH bigger problem all match was our inability to get decent ball out of midfield from which good clear goal-scoring opportunities could be created.
It is true that a quality final ball was lacking, and that the midfielders seemed to take too much time on the ball especially in wide positions. But the real problem playing with no strikers is that the wingers had no-one to aim at in the box anyway! Even at 2-1 down, and with a promising move that had taken some time to develop, the ball was worked wide via Maguire to Tyler Roberts and only Dan Crowley was in the Millwall penalty area - up against four defenders! Where were our midfielders? And on another occasion Johnson got round his man and put a very dangerous cross in that no-one attacked at all. It wasn't as if they were taken by surprise by the speed of a counter-attack. We simply don't move the players around quickly enough in this formation.

The reason we often resorted to long balls of course is that Millwall pressed us very hard - it can't have escaped their attention that teams that do that generally beat us (AFCW, Brizzle etc). Although it was disappointing that when Eastwood had the ball in his hands and a bit more time to weigh up his options his kicks often went nowhere within twenty yards of a yellow shirt. By contrast, a long ball from the Millwall keeper completely split our defence and left Gregory clean through on goal within about 3 seconds. 'Direct' it might be, but a hell of a lot more effective than our endless passing. They had an incisiveness that we entirely lacked, as evidenced by Morrison's screamer, and his lobbed attempt which sailed wide but had Eastwood beaten all ends up.

Is it harsh to say that the performance reminded me of matches a couple of years ago at the start of Appleton's reign? Probably. Mrs KY, on her first visit of the season, remarked how much higher quality the football was now. But endless pretty possession and few meaningful shots on goal won't win you football matches. Though of course Nelson should have equalised at the death.

As to the ref - yes he gave lots of soft free-kicks and got his cards out easily but he seemed fairly consistent to both teams. He certainly had no influence over the result.

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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by GodalmingYellow » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:02 pm

So many mistakes from Manager and players alike in this game.

For me we have had a run of games where Appleton has not learned from his mistakes, going back to the MK dons game. He is clearly going to have confidence in his approach, but no one gets it right all the time and you have to learn and correct as you go along.

You can't just pick your own preferred set up whilst ignoring the opposition's strengths and weaknesses. You can pick a formation, but you have to pick the right players to fit that formation, given the opposition, at least until you get a consistency of team performance.

Out of form players need to be dropped until they can produce in training. If they produce in training but consistently don't perform in matches, then they still need to be dropped. I'm thinking here of Nelson, Lundstram, Johnson, Crowley. Even Dunkley is making regular mistakes.

Our weaknesses up front cannot be solved by playing 3 up front (or 4 as in parts of the second half). It leaves us weak in midfield. In my view, our best football has come when playing 4-2-3-1 and it gives us the flexibility of flooding midfield and counter attacking and causes opponents concern over their defensive positioning.

Playing Crowley as a deep centre forward was never going to work against the Californian Redwoods of League 1. Absolutely bizarre choice.

Several players appear to be out of favour with Appleton, and that is not something we can afford. Taylor, Raglan and MacDonald have done little wrong.

I trust Appleton to get it right, but as referenced at the start of the season, all I ask for is to be kept out of a relegation dogfight, and those nagging little thoughts that go hand in hand with following OUFC are beginning to creep in.

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Re: Lies, damned lies and Millwall

Post by OUFC4eva » Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:19 pm

It seems that MacDonald, Taylor and Raglan are still paying the price for their
poor performances at Coventry. The rot for me set in during the first five minutes at
Cov. after the positive Bradford result. We never started the Coventry game!

I presume Chesterfield will not allow
Raglan to become cup-tied?

Crowley is a super little player but the conundrum is where on pitch
do you play him?

I would add Sercombe to the list of under-performers.

January could see some major changes to this squad with 5-6 going out
I would think.

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