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Great Border City

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2024 12:22 pm
by Isaac
My most local fixture - we had a good amount of fans there, probably a large percentage being exiles but the atmosphere was good even when we didn't start that well. Sadly I don't think we'll be in the same league next season as Carlisle look in a fair amount of trouble. I usually drive to this game but took the train so my first experience of Carlisle City centre. Brunton Park has the run down feel and charm of a mid-80s football stadium, the biggest non all-seater ground apparently (I have no verification of this). Outside the ground they put up marquees and were seeming to do a decent trade with the home fans pre-match. The sort of thing we very much miss out on at the Kassam.

Performance wise we did pretty well, Carlisle ran around like maniacs for the first 15 minutes so we struggled to even get to the half way line, then it settled down a bit and once Moore (who was excellent all round) realised he could step out of defence into midfield unhindered we started creating some small chances. 2nd half, first 25 minutes we looked a very good side, Goodrham and Rodrigues both excellent, I've never seen Goodrham have a consistent impact across 90 minutes before so this was very encouraging. The last 20 minutes we struggled a bit - Rodrigues went into exhibition mode making me wonder if he was aware there were scouts there. McGuane had one of his poorer games in terms of giving the ball away - noticeable because normally he very rarely loses it. The new goalkeeper looked solid which given it was his first game for a while was a relief.

The gaps in the squad are still there, lack of pace (Rodrigues is slow, but makes up for it elsewhere) and no striker beyond Harris - if he gets injured we'd lose a lot of our threat. So I'd think a winger or two, a striker and I'd like a more basic, physical midfielder - I think we've missed this for 3 years since Gorrin first got injured. McEachran has been a disappointment and even when he plays he can only appear to manage an hour.

I don't have much idea where we'll finish up this season - sometimes (first 15, last 20 against Carlisle, the game against Northampton) we look like we can get easily overrun by a fairly limited team. Other times the football we can play is a level above a lot of teams in this division, so we could end up top, 14th or anywhere inbetween.