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Kernow Yellow
Grumpy old git
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Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 5:16 pm


Post by Kernow Yellow » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:20 pm

Well I spent most of Saturday's match resigned to the fact that our promotion bid was well and truly over. Not only that, but I was also wondering why I'd bothered going at all. After last week's admission that we are already planning for League 1 next season, Appleton then dropped all our creative players to the bench, leading to one of the most turgid 45 minutes of football I've seen in a long time. I understand that he was trying to nullify Scunthorpe's threat through the middle by playing four central midfielders, and ultimately it worked, but it didn't make for pretty viewing.

Putting things in perspective, the conditions were poor. We played into a very strong wind in the first half, and Scunthorpe pressed us so hard that we had little option but to play high balls into the wind. The pitch was also poor, but I don't think that completely excused some of the disjointed football on display. Twenty yard passes were played in the air rather than along the ground, meaning that the recipient had to a) judge the tricky wind and b) get the ball under control, all the while being hassled by the visitors' pressing game. The only openings we carved out were when we got the ball wide, but then of course we didn't have any decent wide players to take advantage. McAleny and Martinez were rarely in the same quarter of the pitch as each other, let alone playing as a cohesive front two. The real low point of the half was when McAleny turned to have a hissy fit at Sercombe instead of following up the latter's parried shot for a potential tap-in. Very unprofessional. Also, much as I like Phil Edwards, is that now three games in quick succession where his player has pretty much passed the ball into the corner of the goal from an angle under not much pressure? Scunny didn't look a great team either, but were good value for the lead if only for their commitment to the cause.

Anyway, the second half started much brighter, helped by the early goal - Skarz got wide and although his cross was behind most of our attackers, Lunny was on hand with a very tidy half-volleyed finish. But in truth after a bright start there wasn't a lot to cheer for much of the second period either. Scunthorpe got back into the game around the hour mark, and seemed more likely to score (and to want the win more than Us). But hey-ho, up popped Curtis Nelson in injury time to smash the ball home (possibly via Edwards' toe-end) and we all went home happy.

A win tomorrow night and the play-offs are very much still on. I'm just not sure how much the club believes in them. And we'd have to play a hell of a lot better then we did on Saturday to have any hope of surviving in the Championship.

PS Great HMHB gig at the O2 after the game, with the audience boosted by more than a smattering of Us fans. Good to see some old faces from my long-supporting past. OUFC even got a few mentions from the stage...

Dr Bob
Mid-life Crisis
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Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:16 pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Sc*nthorpe

Post by Dr Bob » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:20 am

I thought Scunthorpe got exactly what they deserved from the game - nothing. A team going for promotion goes one nil up early on, then spends the rest of the first half time-wasting. Laughable. Then, in the second half, as soon as we strung some passes together and pressed their back line, it was clear just how panicky and vulnerable they were. Great effort to keep going right until the end. Really impressed with Nelson's coolness to get clear of the defender and make space for the shot. I have said it before, but Plymouth's valuation of him was probably about right. (Yes, Skarz's cross was fantastic and great finish from Lunny, but the move started with that superb cross-field ball from Nelson). I do think you are being a little bit negative about the second half, KY. A few inches difference with Lunny's shot that came back from the woodwork and Sercombe's shot that their keeper saved point-blank and we could have been well clear.

It was unusual to see us compromise our own formation and approach quite so much in the first half to nullify the visiting team, but I can appreciate it in the context of a game where winning is more important just now. I know, I know - had we played like that and not won...

I thought McAleny's attitude was off all match. Don't know if there is a story there, or if he got frustrated very quickly from our poor play early on. On RadOx there was a suggestion that we made several changes with Wembley in mind. Nobody seemed to think that we were making several changes simply to try to keep the players as fresh as possible for all the league games BEFORE Wembley, given how weary some of our play has been recently. It also gives more players the chance to stake a claim for a place at Wembley, requiring them to up their performances in the process.

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