Fan’s View 2021/22 – No.45 – Morecambe away

Article by Paul Beasley Wednesday, April 6th, 2022  

FAN’S VIEW 21/22 – NO.45

Whatever I might have written below the “Forever” is the thing to cling on to. We’ll all be back on Saturday. 

MORECAMBE 2 OXFORD UNITED 1

This time I really do intend to keep it brief. I don’t think what I’m seeing at the moment, particularly here, is worthy of spending long trying to analyse in detail how we came to lose this.

The home side in 12 league games prior to Saturday’s 3-0 win against Burton had managed just five draws and no wins. They needed another win here to get out of the bottom four. A lot to play for then, but obviously so had we.

We’re bottling it. We’re bottlers. I wouldn’t point at particular players and say that but how many can claim to have won their individual battles? Collectively we’re bottling it and by collectively I include management and coaching staff. Perhaps we’ve been unlucky with injuries but can’t all clubs claim that at some stage in a season? Or perhaps we’ve taken gambles on injury prone players and it hasn’t paid off? That’s down to recruitment.

All that aside we should have been able to put out a team to win here with the talent we have at our disposal.

I don’t think I’d really fallen for how great it was when we equalised right at the death against Ipswich. That masked shortcomings and at Plymouth, in trying to be optimistic, I’d taken in the case for us deserving a point despite my initial reasoning that we fall short when push comes to shove and are not strong enough.

This showing reinforced that feeling massively.

Our start could not have been better. We’d played multiple passes without a red shirt being able to get a touch on the ball and when it came into the box Matty Taylor finished into the top corner.

All we had to do now was play sensibly. Keep a solid shape especially in midfield, keep the ball when we got it as there was absolutely no need to force anything and leave it to them to try and ask the questions with the possibility of counter attacks should the opportunity arise which would have suited us.

But no. Defensively we’re pretty hopeless. Just 11 minutes after we’d taken the lead Aaron Wildig was quicker on to a loose ball following a free-kick launched into our box. His shot was hit into the ground which made it more difficult to stop than a more conventional strike. A very good save was required. No such save was forthcoming and where was the 110% utter determination to get a block in before the shot got anywhere near Jack Stevens?

Another 11 minutes further on and we were behind.  We tried to play our football but Herbie Kane’s signature move of letting the ball run across his body was read and he was easily robbed. We were now exposed. They went for us at pace and not being far away, in a split second or so had the goal in their sights. Adam Phillips gave the ball back to Cole Stockton, who has now scored even more goals than our Matty. He converted with a low finish which I think Stevens should have saved.

Right at the end of the match we were bombarding the Morecambe goal but they held firm, putting their bodies in the way and Trevor Carson pulling off an exceptional save when needed. Compare and contrast.

Some will again point to the stats. Us 70% possession. 20 shots with seven on target. Morecambe six shots with three on target. This doesn’t wash for me in games like this. It’s not the first time and unless we get a different mind-set won’t be the last. Fact is that two of those three shots found a way past our keeper.  Fact is only one of our seven got past Carson.

Defensively we’re not up to it. I really think we need a goal keeping upgrade. We’re really weak in the full-back position too and I don’t think playing wing-backs is working now. We have not got specialist wing-backs just wingers/midfield types trying to fill those slots. Opponents do not need many shots on target to beat us.

I left Mazuma Stadium absolutely livid. The worst I’ve been all season, even angrier than I was after that appalling capitulation at Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup.

What’s the point in getting this far in the season and throwing it all away by playing like this? Where’s that little bit extra to get us over the line and into the play-offs? Pretty passing possession football does not bring that. “Morecambe on a Tuesday night” – the words are ringing in my head. Swirling rain and wind. We couldn’t handle it. Okay we only lost by one goal but we’ve returned home pointless. That’s now one from nine up for grabs and that ain’t promotion form ladies and gentlemen.

Walking back to the car the obvious question was, why do we do it? Why had we been in Devon on Saturday and why were we now over 300 miles away in Lancashire? Because we support our team that’s why and don’t we have a right to expect something a little better to be delivered than what we’re getting at the moment?

Pre-match we had a quick straw poll in the pub. Do you think we’ll make the play-offs? I think I’ve remembered the answers correctly. Three yes and two no. I was a yes. None of us thought we’d go up. My logic being that thing I keep coming back to – we have not got that strength, that bit extra to stop other teams playing whilst still being able to keep our football going in the face of physicality, when the stakes are as high as they are now. I always quote OUFC 0 Blackpool 3. I don’t think we’ve learned from that recruitment wise or playing wise.

Have I given up totally? Of course not. Do I think we can still make the play-offs? Yes we can but it goes without saying that unless we do better, much better, than we have in the last three games then no chance.

Sunderland have got over their bad spell. They’re unbeaten in seven and have not conceded in the last three and have let in just one in the last five. Clean sheets, they do them. We don’t.

They’ll have better players than Morecambe did. Do our guys believe they can beat the Black Cats? I’m trying to tell myself that we can but looking at the tools at Karl’s disposal I’m not sure how to set about the task to ensure we go back above them in the table.

A pub or two help make the day. This one didn’t exist last time we played in Morecambe.

 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 6th, 2022 at 11:46 am and appears under News Items. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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