Don & Dusted

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Kernow Yellow
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Don & Dusted

Post by Kernow Yellow » Sun Feb 07, 2021 4:29 pm

So the winning run, and the longer unbeaten run, come to an end. I took a lot of positives from Saturday's game though. We're playing with much more confidence than earlier in the season, which you'd expect after our recent form, and we're looking to move the ball forwards much more quickly than we were a few weeks ago, which is when we look most dangerous. It was incredible how far up the pitch our full backs were playing much of the time - and this away at a very strong team.

The new signings also looked bright - at least in the first half. Lee showed for the ball in advanced positions very effectively, meaning Sam Long always had an attacking option to link with when he ventured forwards. And when Barker wasn't trying to impress with unnecessary flicks, he showed some serious pace and a decent cross.

But against good opponents our weaknesses were shown up, and much of those came from our midfield. Gorrin looked good on the ball, but all over the place when Donny had it. He let the ball through his legs for their first goal, and missed about three chances to get a tackle in, including being nutmegged again, in the build-up to their third. Combined with his less-than-subtle challenge for the booking, he didn't have a great day. Henry was the opposite - instrumental in our good pressing shape, but his passing was woeful on several occasions, including losing the ball to set up their opener. Our central defenders, so good recently, were pulled out of shape for their second, but it's easy to forget how inexperienced they are given how assured they look most of the time. Their willingness to carry the ball from deep gives us an extra dimension to our play.

Shodipo's goal at least set up a grandstand finish, and he should have been awarded a spot kick after that too. Despite that setback, we still had enough chances to create something, particularly from set pieces, but the longer the game went on the worse our delivery got. Henry and Kelly were the culprits in this regard. In fact Kelly's introduction seemed to contribute to a loss of momentum, but maybe we were just tiring in the difficult conditions.

Still, an entertaining and well contested match, which we could easily have taken something from despite conceding three. We were bound to lose some time, and I don't think the manner of our defeat will knock us too much. The new signings seem to have strengthened us. Still all to play for as far as the season is concerned.

YF Dan
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by YF Dan » Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:05 pm

I think you won't be surprised that I was concerned by quite a few things yesterday.

To me, we have a totally unbalanced squad, with a wealth of attacking midfielders and wingers - too many to know what to do with tbh - and yet almost no-one to do the holding role if anything happens to Gorrin.

Firstly, let's deal with the wingers/AM. So. Henry, Shodipo, Agyei, Sykes, Lee, Barker, Hall, and Maguane all competing for three spots. I've probably missed a few, but I've almost forgotten how many players we have. Forget the financial concerns over accomodating 8 players on sizable contracts in a pandemic, but how do you keep all these players happy? If I was Shodipo being dropped for an unproven new kid on the block, I'd have been livid.

We all joke about KR's obsession with attacking wide players. But it's not a joke. It's a problem. When we signed Shodipo, we were told it was because we needed someone with blistering pace. Shodipo has been a success by any measure. Yet, we've now been told we need someone with even more breathtaking pace, so we've signed Barker, who plays in the same position as Shodipo, and came straight into the team ahead of a guy who'd just scored his 9th goal of the season (and then got his 10 after the new boy got cramp at half-time).

We'd just won 9 games in a row, we'd started to look really settled, and then we change things - and then we lose. Asprilla to Newcastle anyone?

The problem is, we have a few players who are almost undroppable in terms of their stature with KR. I love James Henry, but 45 mins at Rochdale apart, he's been pretty consistently poor since last season's suspension. Anyone who can tell me CamBran is a fraction of the player he was before his horrific illness isn't watching the same game as me. He's off the pace and his passing was woeful. Gorrin, as KY says, had a really poor game and has a real issue with getting booked early which totally limits his effectiveness. Our cover for him is clearly lacking with neither Hanson nor Kelly appearing to be up to the job.

Surely new players have to earn their place in the team, rather than walk into a team that had just won NINE in a row? If anyone deserved to be dropped from the team to accomodate the new boys, it was Henry for Lee. Yet, we tried to accomodate both. Shodipo, who must be right-footed given all the goals he scores with his right, deserves to keep his place and could have played on the right. I feel also for Agyei, who was great and scored against Rochdale, then gets dropped to the bench. Yeah, he had a stinker when he came on, but that happens, especially if you're feeling a bit miffed. To not give him any time in the PJT was totally remiss.

KR also obsesses about playing with wide men, yet with the one central striker (who's pretty diminutive), who are these widemen meant to aim for?

The last thing that bothers me a lot is the Sykes situation. According to KR we turned down a good offer for him. For what? To sit on the bench with 5 other AM. That's real cash we've turned down for a player who's not part of our plans, who's probably stewing about not playing and not being given a chance to restart their career elsewhere.

We did play some nice stuff, we were robbed of a totally blatant penalty, and we dominated all the stats, but Donny also cut through us like a knife through butter on three occasions and just seemed so much more tactically prepared than we were.

It's stupid to gripe after such a good run etc etc but similarly we shouldn't turn a blind eye to what is becoming a bit of a habit for KR. A settled, winning team should not be tinkered with.

Dr Bob
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by Dr Bob » Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:16 pm

Honestly, I agree with pretty much everything KY says, but I agree with Dan on several points as well. Henry's passing fluctuated between disappointing and woeful. Kelly was awful. Gorrin was seriously off-colour. Barker has serious pace (when he is not failing with fancy flicks) and I thought in the first half Lee looked excellent. The central defenders struggled at times against a very powerful front line (Donny were only JUST behind us in the form charts going into the match). And only that desperate five minutes at the start of the second half did for us.

But I want to focus on something Dan says. In a season where we have two games a week for weeks on end, where we have five subs permitted every match, I am not convinced by the stable starting 11 argument. After all, Henry's blistering performance against Rochdale came about after he came off the bench. We have routinely made four or even the full five subs in a number of the matches we have won. There have been times when those changes have boosted us, times when they have disrupted us, but I really believe that the very idea of a stable 11 is not part of managerial thinking currently.

On the non-award of the penalty, my instant reaction was that it was a penalty but that the ref would not give it - because he was poorly placed with a line of what looked like four or five players between him and Shodipo. I was waiting for the 'Referee's Assistant' to flag for it. More fool me. What is the point of changing their titles to reflect their function, if they do not then bother to assist the referee?

ty cobb
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by ty cobb » Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:48 pm

Jeez reading this would have thought we had lost to a team near the bottom of the table rather than a undeserved defeat away against the team who would likely be top if they had played all their games. We completly bossed that game for the first 30m with their goal again the run of play. A lot of that was down to Henry and Gorrin running the show in the middle of the park.

What cost us was Atkinson being caught miles out of position and Stevens being beaten near post for the first and then a crazy 5 minutes in second half. Despite this we should have got at least a draw with a absolute stonewall pen being turned down what the lino was watching I would love to know - he should have been looking right at it! Would have fancied us going on to win had we converted it as well.

I will agree that Henry deteriated as the match went on, I do think though when he plays will we play well, when he doesn't we generally struggle - that's how key he is to us.

6 points from the next two games and we'll be in the mix.

Kernow Yellow
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by Kernow Yellow » Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:32 pm

Dr Bob wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 7:16 pm
On the non-award of the penalty, my instant reaction was that it was a penalty but that the ref would not give it - because he was poorly placed with a line of what looked like four or five players between him and Shodipo. I was waiting for the 'Referee's Assistant' to flag for it. More fool me. What is the point of changing their titles to reflect their function, if they do not then bother to assist the referee?
To be honest, and speaking as someone who runs the line most weeks for an Under-13s side when not in Covid lockdown, I wouldn't expect the assistant to do anything other than be looking across the last line of defence in that situation, and then following the ball for potential line calls. Sure, they can flag for fouls when they are much nearer the action than the ref, but in the centre of the pitch when the ref is closer? Not a chance.

Completely agree with your point about squad use though. Shodipo has alternated between starting and coming on as sub even before the new arrivals. Given that four of his goals have come from off the bench, it is a bit strange to criticise KR for using that tactic. At first glance the new loan signings strengthen us, which has to be a good thing. That performance was better than those against Rochdale, when we also shipped three against a poor team, and Fleetwood, who we struggled to beat against ten men for 80 minutes. IMO of course.

slappy
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by slappy » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:16 pm

Somehow I missed the two goals at the start of the second half, got delayed returning to my seat from the concourse and facilities downstairs.
First half I thought we were all over them.
I like our high press, and that our centre backs are chipping in with goals. A bit like the days when Duberry or Dunkley would come up for free kicks and corners, so worth an "anytime goalscorer" bet, particularly as they are likely to play the whole 90 minutes. I had also had a small bet on the brace which is around 200/1 or 300/1 for these two.
Anyway, the run is over, hopefully we can push on for the play-offs as catching up at least 10 points on the top three seems a tall order.
Also I see Dan Agyei didn't even make the bench after his radio dressing down by KR after last week's game when he wasn't ready to come on as sub.

Isaac
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by Isaac » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:45 pm

It wouldn't be sensible to play the way we play and pick the same 11 each week with 2 games every week. We need lots of midfielders and wide forwards because they are liable to get injured/exhausted. Robinson has a pattern of settling on a back 5 (or 6 with Stevens) eventually, then he fiddles about with everyone else.
Agyei seems equally as likely to do something brilliant as something embarrassing - I would be surprised if he was ever more than a bit part player for us. Anyway, we're entertaining to watch again and I'm thankful for that distraction, even if we don't end up achieving anything much at the end of this season (although I actually think we've a decent chance of the play-offs).

YF Dan
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by YF Dan » Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:57 pm

I told you we didn't need any new wide AM players ;-)

Kernow Yellow
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by Kernow Yellow » Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:46 pm

Great finishes from the new boys last night, and it's better to win a scrappy game than not win it. My god was that scrappy though. For once, it was our quality finishing that made the difference, as we buried two of our three great chances, while Rovers missed all of theirs. I'm glad our new loan signings bring us that, even if some think we don't need them.

The confidence I mentioned after Saturday's game seemed to disappear, and we reverted to safe backwards passing followed by hoofs up the field. Steve K on commentary thought that was a good tactic, as we were more likely to get the ball in advanced areas by picking up second balls from long clearances than by playing through the home team's massed ranks. But the problem is our midfield doesn't win enough second ball - they don't seem to anticipate likely knock-downs quickly enough. And once we had taken the lead, surely there was more scope to break down a team who needed to attack. As a result the ball was in the air for too much of the time.

Rovers also had a lot of joy round and behind our full-backs - whether this was caused by a lack of defensive cover from the wingers, or the FBs just getting done for pace and/or skill was not always clear from the camera angles. But you can't help feeling that a team with better finishers would have scored several goals against us yesterday.

Still, a very welcome result to get back to winning ways. And we battled well, even if that resulted in us conceding 24 fouls in total - an indication of just how scrappy the game was. Another win on Saturday against lowly opposition and the play-offs will really feel within touching distance.

Dr Bob
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by Dr Bob » Wed Feb 10, 2021 7:51 pm

Kernow Yellow wrote:
Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:46 pm
Great finishes from the new boys last night, and it's better to win a scrappy game than not win it. My god was that scrappy though. For once, it was our quality finishing that made the difference, as we buried two of our three great chances, while Rovers missed all of theirs. I'm glad our new loan signings bring us that, even if some think we don't need them.

The confidence I mentioned after Saturday's game seemed to disappear, and we reverted to safe backwards passing followed by hoofs up the field. Steve K on commentary thought that was a good tactic, as we were more likely to get the ball in advanced areas by picking up second balls from long clearances than by playing through the home team's massed ranks. But the problem is our midfield doesn't win enough second ball - they don't seem to anticipate likely knock-downs quickly enough. And once we had taken the lead, surely there was more scope to break down a team who needed to attack. As a result the ball was in the air for too much of the time.

Rovers also had a lot of joy round and behind our full-backs - whether this was caused by a lack of defensive cover from the wingers, or the FBs just getting done for pace and/or skill was not always clear from the camera angles. But you can't help feeling that a team with better finishers would have scored several goals against us yesterday.

Still, a very welcome result to get back to winning ways. And we battled well, even if that resulted in us conceding 24 fouls in total - an indication of just how scrappy the game was. Another win on Saturday against lowly opposition and the play-offs will really feel within touching distance.
Agree with every word. To be the side that concedes chances that the opposition cannot take, and that makes and takes chances like those two, was extremely satisfying in an otherwise underwhelming game. I loved Stevie Ks explosion at Barker for bottling a number of tackles. That certainly did not help protect the defence, but overall we simply did not have to play well to win. And yet again a defeat to Oxford costs a manager his job. On the other hand, rumours now link KR to Bournemouth. Unsurprising, I guess.

ty cobb
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Re: Don & Dusted

Post by ty cobb » Wed Feb 10, 2021 9:21 pm

YF Dan wrote:
Tue Feb 09, 2021 9:57 pm
I told you we didn't need any new wide AM players ;-)
Up there with your view on Wilder!! :lol:

Good win last night at a place which is tricky for us to go to normally. Win our two games in hand and we will be 3 points behind Hull. Lovely assist from Henry for the first goal as well.

My main concern at the moment is Taylor - he is struggling as the lone man up top, he rarely wins things or holds the ball up. Dan Agyei did this really well at Pompy and had he not fallen out of favour I would be keen to see him given a chance in this role again for a game like this when we are looking to get ball forward quickly.

Taylor is still the best finisher at the club though so the fact we're on such a good run without him being at his best bodes well.

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