Basingstoke game

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Post by Dodgycarpet on Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:03 am

Addendum... The great thing with conf south and north is we have similar level teams not in the same division we can play. Glos probably not the answer as they are all mates of city!!! (Only joking)

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Post by comrade powell on Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:17 am

i think a physical battle with glos would have been better preparation for the hunger, speed and strength of concord than playing a lower level club like yate, with players avoiding tackles and substitutions every 2 minutes. and while i agree with benny's 3 opportunities which pre-season can offer, they don't carry any weight in a meaningless contest. and i hope he's proved wrong about us yet again starting a season with an unbalanced squad, but I fear he's right!
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Post by stillmanjunior on Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:27 am

BenE wrote:
comrade powell wrote:yes, benny, i suppose that's the only positive to take from 2 dreadful performances. while i agree the defence was all at sea again in that 1st half horror show, the midfield didn't offer anything in the way of protection and b/stoke found it as easy as concord to open us up. yes, artus looks a very skillful player but he doesn't half give the ball away a lot.

Are you sure it was Artus and not Kington with those awful shirt numbers.

Don't get me started on those. We had about four attempts yesterday where I didn't have a clue if the final shot came from Allen, Watkins, Kington or Stearn. Artus only stands out a bit because of the facial hair.
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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:54 am

Martin, I don't put a lot of weight on friendlies but, firstly, when they are the only thing that you have to go on, you build your opinions on that. Indeed, apart from training, that is exactly what the management team are doing. Secondly, when players are making the same mistakes or playing in the same manner in league games as they do in friendlies - for example, Hemmings - then they can be judged on that.

What friendles are supposed to do is give the management an idea of their starting line-up and their formation and, even if they aren't playing them all the time in matches, they can be working with the players on explaining their roles etc. There was no evidence on the pitch of any plan in the friendlies but the thought was that the management team had it in the back of the mind. Obviously, that wasn't the case.

Although Simpson had a terrible game at Concord, from all accounts, but, not only in pre-season but also the last couple of seasons, he has been one of our most consistent players so it was a mistake to leave him out - self-evidently last night. Of course, one would assume that Slocombe won't start next match and where does that leave him in the future? IT's not a great bit of man-management, confidence-wise.

I am the last one to start waving white handkerchiefs after two games, however bad they are, but the one constant problem with the management is the panic that sets in and the ensuing chopping and changing. I have said it before but panicking and changing our style of play ensured relegation from the conference and there still seems to be a lack in confidence in playing the style of play that does us well and, more importantly, we have the players for. We only put on a run for the play-offs once we had settled our style of play in the second half of the season. Are we going to suffer again from an unsettled start?

I know people are blaming the players for letting the management down but, it seems to me, the management haven't communicated to the players what system and formation we are playing and what the players' responsibilities are within that. This is crucial when you have new players. We can all have different ideas what the formation and starting line-ups should be but the main thing is that the management do and that they have communicated this clearly to the players. This doesn't appear to happen and, if it doesn't, the players lose faith and confidence in the manager and their instructions.

Last word on friendlies, you are right in that we can't read too much into them. However, the one thing that I heard (and observed in the time I was there) at Yate was that there was still chopping and changing being done and no-one had an idea of what the starting line-up could be. Yes, we won and, yes, we could have beaten them by more with better shooting but that is by the by compared to having a settled line-up, formation and system by then. We all hoped that Lee and Adie knew the line-up but, fairly obviously, they don't and, if they don't, the players don't.
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Post by SteveS on Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:30 am

Last night was really depressing and I must admit I did not expect that. I did expect a reaction from Saturday but a positive one not negative. The defense was virtually non existant. Basingstoke lost on Saturday and the team that beat them shipped 6 goals last night. I know it is early season but for Basingstoke to then come here and score four without any sort of reply must set some alarm bells ringing.
Very unimpressed with Kington and Allen in midfield. Pratt worked hard as normal, Artus sprayed a few passes around and Ball looked better when moved to left back. Apart from that a shambles.
There are some obvious problems like no ball winner in midfield (the Harris type) but what is worrying is that the 'management' do not seem to be able to get the best out of what they have. Kington has looked poor but at Weston he was very good. Likewise the issues with Stearn continue. Allen looked a good player when he first arrived but after a short while here he slipped back a lot. We should be doing better than this, 7 goals conceded and none scored. At Weston Laird seemed to be able to get the best out of what he had, which on paper did not look very much. Certainly at the moment Adie and Howells cannot do this.
I would not like to hazard a guess at what the crowd will be on Saturday and to say things will be ok come September / October is no consolation. We need money badly and it was important to hit the road running in order to try and build some momentum and draw a few more in. Instead exactly the opposite has happened. Very worrying for the club and there seem to be issues that need to be addressed and not ignored.

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Post by pete mac on Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:47 am

Saturday has to be a 'get a result at all costs game'

Get the basics right and build from there.

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Post by comrade powell on Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:55 am

Marc, my main beef about friendlies is how much some people use them as an indicator for the season ahead. And yet we can all recall successful campaigns which were preceded by some woeful warm ups and others which turned out to be a huge anti climax after our appetites had been whetted by victories pre-season over league club XIs. They are very unreliable and I sincerely hope our management view them in the same way. I remember congratulating Alan Pridham after we once destroyed Andover in a friendly, with last night's lino running riot - he looked at me as if I was mad! However, I agree with you that after several weeks of training and warm up games, the eleven expected to take the field in the league opener should play together in the final friendly, whoever the opponents.

I would imagine our management duo view the friendlies solely as means of getting players fit and use training sessions to work on tactics, dead ball routines, formations etc. The problem is that with a pre-season schedule of 2 friendlies a week, there can't be much time to work behind closed doors with part timers. To be fair, there were only 6 friendly fixtures this year - some of our league opponents were involved in as many as 10!

I don't understand your criticism of the management re slocombe and simpson - the latter really couldn't complain about being dropped after saturday and looked much better when coming on last night. I would have thought that was good management. Incidentally, had he been subbed at Concord, I don't think Sekani would have headed straight for the changing room as Slocombe did last night - how should the management deal with that, by automatically returning him to the team on Saturday?

You may be correct about the management not communicating to the players about systems, formations and responsibilities - I honestly don't know, but presumably there is evidence that it's not happening.
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Post by Eddie Hitler on Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm

For me the talk about friendlies is meaningless. We are where we are.
I feel for Slocombe being singled-out. He made some great tackles before the Basingstoke onslaught but was totally exposed often playing against two advancing Basingstoke players mainly due to what appeared to be Watkins playing in midfield and (understandably) being caught out of position. What was the formation? What were the tactics? It seemed to me the players didn't know either?
I think Walsh gets off lightly on this thread - I thought he was appaulling. Missing crosses, hedaing badly, giving the ball away...shocking!" I would have Preece back like a shot.
Last night was the first time in 40 years that I wanted to leave at half time. It was absolutely clueless from the management down.
After two games, zero points, minus 7 goal-difference. No improvement on Sat could mean the end of the season already.
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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:56 pm

With regards Stearn, this is the worst possible scenario for him. Coming on a game last night, he was bound, rightly and wrongly, to try and score goals himself and take everyone on. However, he did have 90 minutes at Concord and didn't score and he was profligate in front of goal in the friendlies. On the other hand, I can't see any reason for Hemmings is starting in front of him.

The big mystery to me is how Bowman has stayed on the bench for 180 minutes now. If he isn't carrying an injury, this is an appalling decision. He, like Stearn, runs at defences, at least, which keeps sides pinned back and not attacking, if nothing else.
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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:09 pm

comrade powell wrote:I would imagine our management duo view the friendlies solely as means of getting players fit and use training sessions to work on tactics, dead ball routines, formations etc.

That is what I was assuming but, evidently, that isn't the case. I agree that, with part-timers, holidays and a fairly tight friendly schedule, training sessions may be disrupted but, by the Yate game, everyone available should have know what they were doing.

comrade powell wrote:I don't understand your criticism of the management re slocombe and simpson - the latter really couldn't complain about being dropped after saturday and looked much better when coming on last night. I would have thought that was good management. Incidentally, had he been subbed at Concord, I don't think Sekani would have headed straight for the changing room as Slocombe did last night - how should the management deal with that, by automatically returning him to the team on Saturday?

No, the difference between Simpson and Slocombe is that Simpson is a tried and tested player, Slocombe isn't. Personally, I would have written off one dreadful performance (as long as it wasn't down to attitude issues) and given a player like Simpson another start to get it out of his system. As it was, we had the situation where Slocombe had to come off (obviously narked off) and is effectively blamed for the four goals. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the future. The evidence is that, once Simpson came on, the goals stopped. I think that Simpson is the sort of player that didn't need to sit on the bench to bring out a better performance, he would have played like that if he had started. He is a dependable honest player like that.

comrade powell wrote:You may be correct about the management not communicating to the players about systems, formations and responsibilities - I honestly don't know, but presumably there is evidence that it's not happening.

Well, 0 points, 7 goals conceded and no goals scored to two fairly perfunctory sides is very much evidence that that is happening. I said last year that the man-management of Stearn and the Preece situation (before we played….?) worried me. In a situation like the last two games, the man management has to be spot on to kick on from here and I am not sure that Adie and Lee have it in them.
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Post by BenE on Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:28 pm

It is difficult to tell whether we were better defensively after Slocombe went off. Basingstoke took their foot off the gas and still opened the defence like a can of sardines second half when they felt like it.

I cannot have been the only one who was concerned to see us start with Watkins Pratt and Hemmings. It leaves the midfield light and yes Slocombe had very little support.

One thing I have been highly critical of ever since Adie took charge is the way we defend very narrow. Any manager worth his salt will expose this and this is what Basingstoke did. It makes it very difficult for our full backs to close down crosses.

Yes Walsh was dreadful but I doubt he will be given the Simmo/Stearn treatment.
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Post by Ashley on Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:45 pm

stillmanjunior wrote:
BenE wrote:
comrade powell wrote:yes, benny, i suppose that's the only positive to take from 2 dreadful performances. while i agree the defence was all at sea again in that 1st half horror show, the midfield didn't offer anything in the way of protection and b/stoke found it as easy as concord to open us up. yes, artus looks a very skillful player but he doesn't half give the ball away a lot.

Are you sure it was Artus and not Kington with those awful shirt numbers.

Don't get me started on those. We had about four attempts yesterday where I didn't have a clue if the final shot came from Allen, Watkins, Kington or Stearn. Artus only stands out a bit because of the facial hair.

The double figure numbers look OK as the numbers are on the white stripe but the single digit ones are invisible.
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Post by comrade powell on Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:30 pm

Marc Monitor wrote:
comrade powell wrote:I don't understand your criticism of the management re slocombe and simpson - the latter really couldn't complain about being dropped after saturday and looked much better when coming on last night. I would have thought that was good management. Incidentally, had he been subbed at Concord, I don't think Sekani would have headed straight for the changing room as Slocombe did last night - how should the management deal with that, by automatically returning him to the team on Saturday?

No, the difference between Simpson and Slocombe is that Simpson is a tried and tested player, Slocombe isn't. Personally, I would have written off one dreadful performance (as long as it wasn't down to attitude issues) and given a player like Simpson another start to get it out of his system. As it was, we had the situation where Slocombe had to come off (obviously narked off) and is effectively blamed for the four goals. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the future. The evidence is that, once Simpson came on, the goals stopped. I think that Simpson is the sort of player that didn't need to sit on the bench to bring out a better performance, he would have played like that if he had started. He is a dependable honest player like that.

comrade powell wrote:You may be correct about the management not communicating to the players about systems, formations and responsibilities - I honestly don't know, but presumably there is evidence that it's not happening.

Well, 0 points, 7 goals conceded and no goals scored to two fairly perfunctory sides is very much evidence that that is happening. I said last year that the man-management of Stearn and the Preece situation (before we played….?) worried me. In a situation like the last two games, the man management has to be spot on to kick on from here and I am not sure that Adie and Lee have it in them.

that's an interesting point of view about slocombe and simpson. obviously the squad has been created to provide cover in most positions. although i agree with eddie that walsh was poor last night, i don't think any supporter at concord would have disapproved of his selection last night. so someone had to give way - no surprise it was sekani, but given that he is a superb servant of the club he took it on the chin and gave a much improved performance. i don't know if the management still swear by the 'team bubble', but if slocombe is to be part of it, he'll do likewise when given his next chance. sorry, i don't buy it that the management are always at fault in these situations. maybe slocombe has the same attitude as stearn, that he should always be playing and throws a strop when he's not. but then again, perhaps he headed down the tunnel for treatment...

i'm not convinced by your argument that poor man management explains our poor start, but if it is then the board need to do something about it. but I quite agree about preece's treatment last season which you refer to!
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Post by comrade powell on Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:53 pm

archie seems to agree with me about who to play in the friendlies!  Very Happy 

http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/AUDIO-Lucrative-friendlies-left-Bath-City/story-22714564-detail/story.html
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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:56 pm

I don't think that the management are always to blame and, like I say, I give them the benefit of the doubt e.g when they took off Pratt for Rollo at Yate as I assumed they wanted to keep him for Concord or he had a niggle.

Something is awry with the man-management, there is no doubt about. You don't lose two games in a row like we have just because a couple of players are having a mare even in both of those games. It may not even be the Adie and Lee's fault - it may be down to limited opportunities to get the message across to the whole squad. I haven't checked which and how many players that we now have were available for all friendlies, for instance. However, something is wrong whether it be their fault, something unsettling the players or pre-season events like the example I have given.

However, they now have to fix this before Saturday, communicate their ideas to the players about how the team needs to work and their individual roles in that and get some confidence, faith and trust back in themselves as managers which will then flow throughout the team and, indeed, the supporters.
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Post by pete mac on Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:59 pm

Read Archie in Today's Chronicle on line.......digging in for a result on Saturday......

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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:01 pm

I am not too bothered about Slocombe's reaction.

Howells' reaction worries me. It sounds like he still doesn't know what team he is going to put out. Whether he thinks the friendlies were right or not, that is a terrible excuse, he has still had 6 games to get a line-up together. They have signed the new players, they should have had a reasonable idea how they were going to fit into the team.
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Post by pete mac on Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:04 pm

We have 2 home games coming up. If we haven't turned it around by then I'll be joining the inquest with you.

Good players will come through.......

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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:12 pm

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying we are dead and buried or sack the manager. I, like you, am saying that Lee and Adie have a couple of home games to sort it out otherwise it will be looking bad for us.
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Post by comrade powell on Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:55 pm

as far as the likelihood of any occasionals present last night returning on saturday, i'd say it's already looking bad. it's so important to start the season well at home, and yet our unbeaten home record is usually gone before the end of august. we lost last season's opener, but to the eventual champions. i wouldn't tip b/stoke for the title...
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Post by Hughesy on Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:07 pm

comrade powell wrote:After 180 minutes, I can honestly say I haven't noticed Kington being on the pitch. I suppose it takes time for new players to settle in, but 3 of them are used to playing at this level. Still, the finger should not only be pointed  at them, as several others have not started this season yet.

I'm not sure I agree with the comments about Kington, after watching him play a number of times against us for Weston he's a player who likes to get on the ball and start attacks off with his passing, Westons style of play allowed him to do this, but does ours? He finished Westons top goal scorer last season from midfield. We've signed the likes of Kington and Artus knowing there strengths so we can't just expect to go long from the back and expect these guys to influence football matches. Even though we have had a poor start I think there's more to it than just to say this player isn't good enough or that player isn't good enough.

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Post by comrade powell on Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:25 pm

Yes, that's fair enough. My comments about Kington were in reply to someone asking if I was confusing him with Artus - while he's done nothing to impress in 2 games, I'm not suggesting he's not good enough so early in the season. I think your comment about playing long from the back applied more to Saturday's game, and that was down largely to Concord's high energy approach which continually pressurised our defence into rushed clearances. And part of the problem for that was the ease with which they cut through our midfield. If that doesn't contain a Harris/Hogg/Connolly type player, then we may see that scenario repeated fairly regularly.
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Post by stokie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:42 pm

Afternoon chaps,

Basingstoke fan here.

Just wanted to say thanks for your hospitality yesterday. We always find the club very welcoming when we visit. The tannoy appreciating our support midway through the 2nd half and the reaction to that was also a very nice touch so again - thank you.

I was very shocked at how badly you defended but bad defending is only half the story - you need clinical finishing to take advantage of it.

Overall a great day out. Good luck for the season (apart from the return game at the Soccer AM Stadium, of course!)


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Post by comrade powell on Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:00 pm

thanks stokie! one of the most agreeable things about our 2 years in conf prem was that clubs always thanked the visiting fans for coming and it's a tradition we've carried on. a pity the havant fans thought it was patronising when they came! considering you'd had a disappointing 1st game, that was a good turn out by your lot last night. see you later in the season, when we'll be top of the league...  Wink
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Post by Marc Monitor on Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:07 pm

stokie wrote:Afternoon chaps,

Basingstoke fan here.

Just wanted to say thanks for your hospitality yesterday. We always find the club very welcoming when we visit.

Indeed, welcoming you with 7 points and 6 goals over the last three seasons Wink You have been the opponents for two of the worst matches I have seen at Twerton in the last couple seasons so, with the best will in the world, I hope we don't get you in any of the cups.
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