Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Accrington Stanley 1-0 Bristol Rovers (League Two)

Apologies in the lengthy delay in getting this review done, a mixture of massive disappointment and birthday commitments have made it difficult to get this written.

What can I say that hasn't already been said by Gasheads and the management staff? It was a stinkingly poor performance and one not worthy of the 250+ supporters who paid good money to go and watch their team play. We never got going, never once looked interested in attacking and certainly didn't try taking the game to Accrington - which is what we all expected to happen after the appalling defeat to AFC Wimbeldon last Tuesday. There was just nothing there within that performance to get excited about. It's difficult to believe that we are the same team that earned a creditable draw away at Burton and defeated Torquay United comfortably a week previous. Some of the players were clearly gutted and frustrated with the no-show the team put in, but you do have to seriously doubt how bothered a couple of them actually are. Mark McGhee has given the players plenty of time to stake a claim for a shirt and in the middle of our decent run of form a few weeks back, you'd have been fairly happy with the starting XI. But in light of the two abject results to teams who, quite frankly, aren't great, things clearly aren't going as they should be. You do have to take in to account the absurd number of injuries we've had, because that does have a massive impact, and the sooner some of the first team players return the better. Danny Woodards and Michael Smith will be welcomed back with open arms and it will be interesting to see how much of an opportunity Shaquille Hunter gets as we have an obvious lack of width and pace in the team. They are all set to return over the next week or two so hopefully that'll gee the current starters in to performing as they should be.

Riordan Returns
The only molecule of positivity I could take from the trip to Lancashire was the return of Derek Riordan in the second half. He appeared to have the bit between his teeth and hopefully we can get him fit for the FA Cup game with Sheffield United this weekend. He looked lively with the ball at his feet and tried to make something happen in and around the box. None of his team-mates were up to scratch to support him but he still managed to manoeuvre himself a couple of opportunities to shoot and force Ian Dunbavin in to saves. If he can partner a confident Tom Eaves (who tried hard but with little reward) in future games then I'm certain we'll score plenty of goals.

The concern defensively is that we never seem able to keep a clean sheet. Both Garry Kenneth and Tom Parkes have shown individually that they are superb players but they need to form a much better understanding with one another. The full-backs will sort themselves out when Woodards and Smith return but it's important we have a strong central defensive partnership before they come back. Parkes has discipline issues on the field and needs to address his recklessness because the game against Stanley was the second time this season that we lost him to suspension. That'll come with maturity but he needs to learn quickly that he can't afford to make rash decisions in league football.

I'm not sure what else to add really. We're all equally frustrated and annoyed with how it has gone in the last two games but we all have to believe that it's simply a blip. If we can get back to playing the football we did before the AFC Wimbledon game then we'll have no problems at all - that's what McGhee needs to be working on making happen in time for a massive game with Sheffield United this Saturday.

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