Different players, bad habits
Right back to the first couple of months of the season yesterday. Very good first half, especially the first ten minutes where some of the football was as slick as we've seen in a while. Mystifying decision to disallow Smith's header from where I stood (by the tunnel).
Second half was awful. Credit Hartley, they changed their shape a little at half-time and as Lee identified in his interview, the 5 going into midfield massively strengthened them. Then one goal brought a second moments after, just as we've seen countless times this season, and until the final 3 minutes when Andronicus suddenly came alive out of nowhere, we weren't an attacking force at all.
Props for the late fightback, I thought Smith was excellent again - one brilliant tackle in stoppage time just inside our box - and four unbeaten now.
Win on Boxing Day and we're guaranteed to move up at least another place in the table.
Re: Different players, bad habits
I thought going in we were due to revert to displaying our frailities. We were either going to go nuts and demolish a frankly poor(ish), opposition or fail to deliver a cohesive performance. We set up the prospect of the former, looked frankly too easy, ended up delivering a lot of the latter. Waited for that to happen. I wasn't massively impressed with the Merthyr performance. The failure, yet again, to capitalise and get that all important second goal. A trait, all our traits, indicative of not being fully operational. I know it's early.
First impression, the teamsheet. Big question. For me our best recent moves emanated from Howe and Lucien linking up. The defensive switch. It didn't hold water as well. The fist move into a post-loan dependency world.
I like the defensive qualities of Lucas. How the incorporates other facets, we need the missing parts to fall into place.
Overall. Had the misfortune to catch the last 10 mins of Arsenal at Everton. I know why I have nothing to do with that world. Bloody Hell! (Sorry for the language). Tame from watching that. Arsenal are woeful by the standards. No central midfield. I've said on here, I'm more George Graham than Wenger. George accused this original crop of being too cavalier - He would love Hendon right now. Brooks and Lucien dormant for spells - then BANG! We are at present very hung-ho. You look at Grahams back lads. Dixon, Adams, Bould. I like the semblance of our backs. Potentially very solid. What a foundation. Agree with the Gaffer, (fantastic interview by the way), we need that Corks lad. A calm head to orchestrate things and control. I saw a Biggles video of the lad Sambou distributing to Sean out wide and with the likes of Mr Versatile, Oshidi, makes me wonder exactly if we may along the way seem some adustments. Having that component in our locker is useful further down the road.
Interesting to keep tabs on Eshun's development. I'm drawn to Marvin Morgan more and more. Not the back post type, that's how Beaconsfield utilised him. I thought it utterly threw them. Their right back likes to swing in crosses. They forgot to play. I do think once we get some central midfield stability his involvement changes.
I think with James, we had players in for five, six games and depart. An overall direction is more advantageous.
I think we're fine in terms of survival, equally not getting carried away with good and bad days. Being able to diagnose areas that require attention is progress in itself. I've yet to see us pass sideways, let alone backwards. I do think it's distorting how good we are. The fact we are still potentially being overran through the middle suggests a lot to be done. Many of these same accusations were made under the previous regime. I think now we have far better quality, the style of play, an identity is still in inception. I'm optimistic we are clearly on the right track.