Tuesday, 8 November 2011

After the Lord Mayor's Show...

Right, so that's that then.
Cancel the red and white hat with bells on, stop the order for the big hand things with CTFC on them.
The Wembley dream is over for another year - if it was ever really there in the first place.
The bottom line from tonight's defeat is that we did not deserve anything from the game.
We were poor, as poor as we have been since the heady days of last season, when we struggled to out three passes together, and all credit to Barnet, they deserved their win.
Unbelievably, I heard some boos at the end of the game. If you were one of those booing, take a look at yourself for Christ's sake. What a joke.
We are third in the table. Six wins out of seven. Playing some great stuff, albeit mainly away from home.
And even if the boos were for the referee, he didn't cost us the match.
Those players for whom it was their big opportunity can take the rap for this one.
After the game at Bradford on Saturday, one of the most comfortable 1-0 wins you will ever see, Mark Yates said that he had those players who were outside the 16 beating his door down asking for a chance.
Tonight, he gave them that chance, and they blew it. Spectacularly.
To his credit, Yatesy came out and took the rap, saying he picked the wrong team, and made too many changes.
Magnanimous yes, but also letting the shirkers off the hook. I suspect his team selection for Tranmere has been made a lot easier after that display.
Danny Andrew was considered unlucky to be dropped from the side when he was left out at Bristol Rovers, but the run of form since then and his display tonight vindicates that decision.
The same can be said for Keith Lowe, and you can't see Junior Smikle (despite a bright first half) or Jeff Goulding earning a regular spot any time soon on their displays.
Goulding looked totally lost in that deeper role behind first Jimmy Spencer and then Darryl Duffy. He had the most to gain from tonight, but looked bereft of confidence and summed that up with our only effort on target, a weak header from a decent cross.
As it stands, he has probably lost the most, with Spencer and Duffy free to keep their places in the pecking order ahead of him.
Harry Hooman clearly still has a lot to do to make inroads on Alan Bennett and Steve Elliott's partnership with the poorest by far of his three starts in the competition.
In central midfield, Russ Penn and Luke Summerfield looked lost as a pairing, and we have also seen the Pack-Summerfield duo struggle my feeling is that if we don't play them as a trio, Pack-Penn is the only pair that works.
Barnet, in contrast, made only two changes from the side which drew at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, and they were enforced by injuries, so therein probably lies the reason for their greater cohesion.
Sam Deering and Mark Marshall were particularly impressive, and even the loss of top scorer Izale McLeod to injury did not halt their progress.
The first goal was a shambles from our point of view. Whether it was a free kick is open to debate, but Keith Lowe was penalised.
However the wall we set up was pathetic and Marshall drove his free kick through the rabble of rubble and Scott Brown had no chance.
The second came from a long ball and substitute Charlie Taylor controlled it well and beat Scott Brown with a low shot, but Hooman may feel he could have defended it better.
We never remotely looked like getting back into the game. Barnet's defence and goalkeeper will never have an easier night.
It was as limp and disappointing a display, especially from an attacking point of view, as we have seen all season, and let's hope it was a one-off, and was down mainly to the changes we made.

Player-by-player
Scott Brown - Mixed bag. No chance with either goal, but suspect on some crosses although he made two or three very good saves.
Sido Jombati - Best of a ropey bunch, although he got booked at the end and could even had had a second one quickly after. Pace got him out of trouble once or twice.
Danny Andrew - Very poor. Looked totally off the pace. Mistake to gift Marshall possession and nearly a third goal summed up his evening. One to forget.
Keith Lowe - Looked very shaky. Defensive headers looked uncertain and again looked short of match sharpness. Maybe slightly unlucky with decision for free kick before first goal.
Harry Hooman - Poorest game in the competition. At times looked like a rabbit in the headlights. Struggled against McLeod and then Taylor.
Junior Smikle - Bright in the first half with some good runs and decent crosses, but vanished from the game completely in the second half.
Russ Penn - Seemed to struggle with being back in a more orthodox midfield role, and tried to get forward too much, leaving us over-exposed.
Luke Summerfield - Poor game. His role in the midfield three suits him but looked lost without Marlon Pack alongside him.
Bags Graham - Had beating of Danny Senda early on, but threat negated when they doubled up on him. Also vanished from game after the break as we could not get supply to him.
Jeff Goulding - Very poor. Touch seemed weak and almost complacent, and seemed lost in the 'in-between' role. Would have been better in orthodox 4-4-2.
Jimmy Spencer - Willing running and decent touch as usual, but was isolated and having to come deep too often due to lack of service and support.

Substitutes
Darryl Duffy (for Jimmy Spencer, 59) - Not able to get into the game. No shots as he got no service, and no support.
Marlon Pack (for Russ Penn, 60) - Couple of decent passes but then fell into the malaise of those around him.
Theo Lewis (for Luke Summerfield, 60) - Out of the icebox for a rare appearance but never got into the game and hardly had a touch.