Boxing Day flop

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Boxing Day flop

Post by comrade powell on Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:07 pm

Well what an anti climax that was after the Ebbsfleet win. I thought we were second best all over the pitch and handed the three points to Truro with some awful defending. Hopefully the management have seen the folly of some of today's selections and quickly restore Dan Bowman (who was excellent at Ebbsfleet), Pratt and Watkins to the starting line up for Monday.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by Steve Whites Missus on Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:27 pm

Yet again; decent crowd, poor performance!

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by SteveS on Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:28 pm

Embarrassing and inept, of all the defeats this has to go down as a low point in my book. Truro were a very average side but we managed to make them look great.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by danver on Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:39 pm

Absolute rock bottom, I've never been so bored at Twerton, we started with all the pace on the bench, the most pedestrian midfield you could cobble together, took 45 minutes to realise it was a disaster, and another 15 or 20 minutes to make some half hearted alterations. I have no faith in the ability of the current custodians to either know or do what is required.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by BenE on Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:33 pm

An abject performance. Yes Watkins and Pratt started on the bench but they made no material difference when they came on. Kington looks a better player every game he misses. Our midfield hardly exists as an entity.
Ebbsfleet was won with a backs to the wall performance. We can't do that against weaker teams especially at home but where is the creativity?
Our best hope is that our defence has got the calamity defending out of their system in one game. It is a long hope. Was Nicholson such an important player for us at the start of the season that we can't function without him?
Was his main contribution as an organiser?
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by the demon headmaster on Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:41 pm

Whilst it's really hard to say how good Truro were against such a poor performance as that they were very well organised and we had no clue about how to break them down. I was very impressed with their right back and the pace and appetite they displayed when on the ball. I think they will trouble better sides than us, but where we go from here Lord only knows. A new manager with some fresh ideas would be a welcome start.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by 2weirdtown on Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:04 pm

You do wonder if there is an endemic streak of failure running through this club as once again a decent crowd are treated to an abject performance.
I am asking serious questions of myself when it comes to the subject of investing any hard earned cash into this club.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by yuffie on Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:59 pm

Up until the second goal I didn't think there was much between the teams. Batten's header against the post goes in (or Adelsbury's follow up) and it's a different game.

The pivotal moment was the Ball/Phillips cock-up as at 0-1 we were still in the game. To then let a goal in so soon after the restart meant it was game over, although their keeper still had to make two smart saves from McCootie soon after that.

I understand I'll be in a minority trying to claim they weren't three goals better than us - and the performance certainly wasn't 'embarrassing or inept' - as to me the difference was they took their chances and we didn't.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by the demon headmaster on Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:43 pm

I think they really were MUCH better than us on the day. They linked up well all over the pitch, defended quite comfortably throughout despite the one truly near miss when we hit the post. I agree that had that gone in it may have been a different game, but the awful manner we conceded two goals suggests we were inept, not unlucky. We struggled throughout to string anything together despite the efforts of Artus, Pratt and Watkins (when they came on), whereas Truro enjoyed long periods of possession and we couldn't get near them. That is about as good a definition of being outplayed as I can think of.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by comrade powell on Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:20 pm

As always (!) I agree with Demon. I thought Truro were far stronger and fitter, always presenting a threat in the air. Of course, like so many of our opponents, they were also more streetwise, continually catching us offside and winning free kicks for innocuous challenges. They'll certainly be fancying their chances in the return next Saturday so it's vital we start more strongly than today's undercooked effort.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by Jon_BOA on Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:09 am

The one for me is, can anyone be arsed going anymore?
I will keep going, cos well, what else will I do? But can anyone honestly say they can persuade new people down? We were awful for probably 70 of 90 minutes today, and I am bored of it now.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by LB on Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:59 am

Well the question of whether last weeks win at Ebbsfleet was the start of a revival or just another false dawn was answered pretty emphatically today.

So that is just 2 wins in 15 league games, 11 points out of a possible 45 and 3 goals conceded at home for the third game in four - Lee Howells can apologise all he likes, but he can't escape that abysmal record.

The first half today was reminiscent of the Hayes games 3 weeks ago, but at least then we gave it a bit of a go in the second half, but today we never really looked like we might get a consolation. There was some debate in the earlier posts about whether Truro were three goals better than us - the problem is they didn't need to be, because not for the first time at Twerton Park this season (Sutton and Oxford spring to mind) we were easily beaten by a team who didn't really need to get out of second gear.

It seems to me that we have problems in all areas of the pitch - Steve Phillips isn't as dominating as he used to be, the defence often seems unable to do that, and the midfield was so poor that I almost found myself missing Ashley Kington! As for the attack, it is hard to see us scoring at the moment, whatever combination we use.

As for the substitutions, either Pratt or Watkins coming on at half time seemed a given - I have to say that I hadn't realised that Brad Williams was on the pitch until Dave Pratt replaced him! If we were going to bring Watkins on surely it made sense to play him out wide and move Kaid into the middle - instead Andy found himself in the middle quite a bit up against their enormous number 6.

The only highlight of the game was the worst penalty miss I have seen since Chris Waddle in the World Cup!

It is hard to be optimistic about the next couple of games - although they are struggling Havant are sure to be out to avenge the 5-0 defeat, and on the evidence of yesterday it is hard to see how we will get anything at Truro.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by BenE on Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:29 am

Laughing I can see where Yuffie is coming from. We weren't five goals better than havant and things could have been different yesterday had we scored first. You also often get poor performances on boxing day for obvious reaons.
But this result and more particularly the performance has to be seen against the backdrop of the previous three months. To play without any fight whatsoever is a disgrace. As I said before we are in a relegation battle already. The way things are going we will not get enough points to stay up. A battle requires the side to fight for it. Where was that yesterday?
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by comrade powell on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:00 am

Well there was plenty of fight at Ebbsfleet and that was enough to come away with the points against a team underperforming. Our lack of pace and lethargy in the first half yesterday is a recurring theme of the past three months - it's almost as if we believe we are stronger when we are chasing games. No chance of that against Truro, and with them again and the powerful Maidstone to face in the next fortnight we had better hope Havant roll over tomorrow like we did yesterday.

The astonishing decision to replace Bowman with Hemmings has been explained - apparently we were looking for more physique in the middle. Ok, but you lose all of the pace and creativity which Dan provides, as well as the protection for the full back. What I'd like to hear now is some justification for McCootie's inclusion, apart from the physical one. For the second game running he has wasted an excellent scoring opportunity with a first touch similar to what I used to apply at Victoria Park when put through by Mike York.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by London Calling on Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:55 am

I thought it was a pretty even game until we conceded that calamitous second goal, after that it was always going to be an uphill battle. Conceding so early in the second half completely killed us.

Not sure I fancy us getting anything from the return game at Truro so it's vital we win tomorrow.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:17 pm

Lots that I agree with on here. I think that Truro were better than us yesterday although their performance was a surprise for a team so close to us in the league table so I can only imagine that we helped them to look good. They are certainly no Oxford City. Having said that, they fully deserved the first goal as, aside from one or two attacks, it was attack v defence. The second goal was, of course, just plain clownery. As someone else pointed out, Ball appeared to have a part to play in all of their three goals. However, yesterday's performance can't be put down to that (and, to be fair, I am not sure anyone is saying that).

All across the park, it was disjointed, inept and lacking any sense of purpose or cohesion. Mohammad and McCootie just can't play together. They were making the same runs too often. After the ball hit the post and we had those repeated shots blocked, it looked like we could have been playing until 5pm today and still not scored. A mate , who is a semi-regular attender, was amazed to passes going straight into touch from 10 yards. As has been said upthread, it looked like the team had only just been introduced. Whether it was the players or the management, someone got the team fired up and the tactics right for Ebbsfleet - a game where 1 point would have been a delight - whereas whoever it was that did that failed to do it yesterday. OK, you would looked at the two games and said that 3 points is as much to be expected but, again as has been said, in the context of the last three months, it is a damaging continuation of relegation form.

It will be quite something for us to be relegated after such a run but it is now looking increasingly possible if not likely. Something is rotten in the state of Twerton and it needs to be addressed, arrested and repaired. BenE makes an excellent point, which I hadn't considered before, that Nicholson seems to have had more of an impact on our early season run than we probably expected, not just as a player but also as a de facto captain and, perhaps, manager. While he hasn't changed Torquay's fortunes instantly, he looks like he may be turning them around and, perhaps, he had that effect with us to a degree. I know we lost our unbeaten run a couple of games before he left, it's as credible a theory as anything else to explain this crazy loss of form.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by Roman Mike on Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:46 pm

Not sure why this game is considered a 'flop'. I guess some (including me I now realise) were lulled by the Ebbsfleet result but that was the blip on an otherwise downward spiral. So totally predictable and true to form really. 21st v 4th http://thefishy.co.uk/formtable.php?table=21
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by comrade powell on Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:14 pm

My apologies, Mike. I was going to title the thread Boxing Day Repeat, but feared people would think they were reading the Radio Times...
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:08 pm

It was our heaviest Boxing Day defeat since 2001 when we were comprehensively outplayed at Havant, losing by the same scoreline.

Heaviest Boxing Day defeat at home since 1979 when Worcester ran out 4-0 winners.

And we've had two penalties missed against us so far this season which I don't think has happened for a few seasons. I'd look that up as well but this ironing won't do itself. Fun and games at Stillman Towers.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by LB on Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:39 pm

When thinking about previous Boxing Day games the 7-2 win at Weymouth in 1977 always comes to mind. That was the day when Sir Richard Bourne scored his legendary header - now where did he start his run from?

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by Marc Monitor on Sun Dec 27, 2015 5:51 pm

Bloody hell, those stats speak for themselves. The 2001 season we started terribly, waiting 10 games until our first win and were 17th when we lost and ended at 17th after a 6 game winning run at home which probably kept us up. The 1979 season we were doing pretty well at home so that defeat really would have been an upset.

However, the stat about how many teams have scored 3 against us at home this season is the real issue relevant presently. To be honest, I haven't paid huge attention to Phillips as the problems really are in front of him, yesterday's lack of communication notwithstanding, but he obviously isn't able to make the saves that gained us points at the start of the season. It took, again, 10 games for us to concede more than one and a fair few of those were clean sheets. We even had a fairly mean record for conceding for a couple of games after that but, once the floodgates opened, we haven't been able to stop them. The strikers are profligate as well with none of our normal scorers being able to get a grip of a good run of form and, as has been mentioned, the midfield is out of ideas and can't seem to pass to each other. The lack of possession and passing in midfield really is an issue as we have the players that can do that really well which would give the strikers a bit of a chance to get on the end of some incisive passes. Presently, however, they are having to try and make opportunities themselves and there doesn't appear to be the vision, thought and, perhaps most importantly, the belief in themselves to be able to do this.

When you have strikers who don't think they can score in front of a leaky defence and, seemingly, no-one with great faith in themselves or each other, it is worrying. If only we had, at least, one player who could grab the team by the scruff of the neck and gee them up or even the self belief in himself to try and take the game to the opposition.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by stillmanjunior on Sun Dec 27, 2015 6:53 pm

I would rate Phillips as one of our stand-out performers this season and think he communicates very well with a defence that seem to trust him. A complete mess for the second goal but I honestly can't think of the last time we ended up in a situation like that with him in goal.

If you look at the defence on paper, it's really not that bad. Simpson and Gallinagh are more than capable full-backs, Batten looks like a decent, strong player and Ball has performed well this season. I personally don't think they have enough protection in front of them. I thought we lined up perfectly at Ebbsfleet, we nullified the threat from them and bar one quick free-kick where they should have scored, we hardly made a mistake. Yesterday we went back to looking a lot more narrow and left too many gaps for Truro to exploit. Yes, they were a pretty big side, so set-pieces wasn't going to be easy, but we made so many other basic mistakes. This includes up front when we must have had about six chances break down because of poor timing of a run resulting in an offside - they all looked like correct calls to me. I can only assume Bowman was left out because someone like Simpson will struggle with so many games over Xmas when he's barely played this season, and would hope he'll come back in tomorrow with us lining up similarly to the Ebbsfleet game.
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by SteveS on Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:48 pm

After the embarrassment of yesterday (opinion honestly held, others perfectly entitled to think otherwise) I would put Coupey back in tomorrow. Never the quickest and slower now but he plays with passion and will organise / give out rollickings to anyone not showing the same desire to win that he does. Also move Dan Ball to left back and put Gallinagh on the right. Addlesbury has to go, I am sure that with a little bit of training I could have more pace than him. He seems to be in the team on the basis that once every 15 or 20 game he scores a spectacular long range goal. Retain Chas in the role he did successfully last season just in front of the centre backs. Bowman has to come back in.
Up front no one looks capable of scoring at the moment but must give Pratt and Watkins a go. McCootie's first touch is poor and recently he has been through with a clear sight of goal on several occasions but has not managed to to put one of these away. Along with his poor first touch he does not have the belief that he can score from this sort of opportunity. At the moment the only goal he is likely to score is from a loose ball in a 6 yard box scramble.
We must take the initiative, stop worrying about what the opposition can do to us (did a lot of good yesterday) and concentrate more on creating problems for our opponents.

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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by comrade powell on Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:51 pm

Agree with most of that, Junior, especially your point about the general absence of defensive howlers, which were such a common feature of last season. While I hope we show the same determination tomorrow, I really hope we take the game to Havant. This should be targeted as a must win game, not just because of our form of late but also to prove that last Saturday's win was not a one off. Had we won yesterday I would have had my doubts as we hardly ever gain six points in these long weekenders. No doubt you have the stats to prove me wrong!
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Re: Boxing Day flop

Post by yuffie on Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:18 pm

I agree that there is an argument for bringing Coupe back into the team as his experience and organisation would outweigh any loss of pace.

It does seem we aren't set up quite as defensively in midfield as we were last season, particularly at home, and paying the price for this. The irony being that a lot of people were complaining last season that we were set up too defensively - the case for Stearn - which goes to show what a difficult balancing act it is.

I still think McCootie needs to get a few games in a row to get the match fitness that makes him a much greater threat. It is unfortunate that the one dreadful first touch against both Ebbsfleet and Truro (although his pace almost recovered the one yesterday) will be focused on rather than his contribution to unsettling the league leaders last week and creating most of our scoring opportunities yesterday. However, I would certainly pair him with Pratt rather than Watkins/Mohamed and have one of them out wide.

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