I don't know whether it was deliberate or coincidence, but Manning appeared to pick the physically biggest team he could. We were more compact than usual, with what looked like 2 holding midfielders in Brannagan and McGuane. They all did ok, particularly in the first half - encouragingly there seemed to be an actual plan to get the ball into Morecambe's half on the floor, get it to the full backs and the wingers and try and get crosses from the byline. It created the goal and 2 or 3 other quarter chances. Browne was our best player, but he didn't get that much of the ball unfortunately.
2nd half was much more of a grind, Morecambe put 2 centre forwards on and that (and possibly lack of confidence) stopped us playing it out from the back so the game turned into a hoof-fest. We didn't look like conceding, until we did. Stop me if you've heard this one before, but we had 3 players who failed to close the man down properly, then Eastwood seemed flat-footed. Nice finish admittedly, but frustrating as Morecambe were very poor going forward. I thought we were lucky to not concede a penalty after that when Smyth left a leg out. That was part of the classic current-OUFC 5 minutes of mayhem after they scored, where we could have won it, or could have lost it. A draw was probably about right, unfortunately - two poor teams with no confidence.
I still sense relegation is very likely, but that might be old psychological scars. Structure wise it was similar to the performance against Arsenal, we only really defended our own half and did it well enough. The issue as I see it is with scoring goals. O'Donkor is strong and quick, can hold the ball up, but he's 18 and we're asking a lot for him to do that and score goals. I don't really understand why Joseph isn't starting, perhaps there's an injury. Smyth had a difficult job, but gave the ball away more than he kept it and looked very much out of his depth even if he did put himself about. Again difficult to expect much straight away from a player who's had about 60 minutes league one football up until now. I suppose Bodin or Henry would be better suited to that role.
I can see us getting a surprise draw or 2 against some of the better teams we're up against shortly, but I struggle to see where the wins are coming from, we can't wait until the last 3 games (Forest Green, Cheltenham, Accrington).
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