TT TALKING POINTS
Matty Orton – @MattyOrton1
The Table #1
Whichever spin you put on it, we’ve been caught; our lead has been dwindled to nothing. No home win since Boxing Day and almost a carbon copy of last season’s collapse. However, we are still there or thereabouts and although we are inevitably about to be knocked off the summit, what does this mean?
Well, besides the obvious of no longer being table toppers, there will be a shift in pressure as the team that will need to be caught is no longer us. That could be what we need right now with mounting pressure and our injury stricken squad, all eyes will be looking at the team at the summit and the pressure will be on them not to be caught. That’s the positive take on it.
The negative would be somewhat nearer to the truth. A worrying and persistent occurrence of injuries and a concern over the inability of not managing to weave together some sort of winning consistency. If we are to keep up with the pack at the top over the coming weeks then something needs to change and change very quickly. The ‘C’ word is yet to be used, however, I would suggest we are not that far from ‘crisis’ point if we don’t start stringing some wins together soon. That brings me on to my next point.
Home form #2
Plainmoor historically has become a ‘nice’ place for teams to try and take a result during the course of the season, and now it is happening even without fans in the stadium. I shared the following thought on Friday afternoon, about what might happen against Hartlepool on Saturday….
“You can imagine it now, the deft silence that falls over the ground as Hartlepool go one nil up, mingled with a nervousness that seeps down from the stands and onto the pitch. Nervousness, that turns to frustration, frustration that turns to mistakes. By which time the game is lost and the Yellows FB page resorts to a tragic meltdown of self-destruction.”
There is no better place to be than Plainmoor when things are going well. It’s just that we’ve never been that great when things aren’t. When we are staring down the barrel of adversity we seem to struggle to turn things around. It’s starting to become a common theme, not only with us as supporters but a club as a whole. We need to get this ship turning and quickly.
2 points from a possible 15 in our last 5 home games. Hartlepool and Sutton, naturally, sit 1st and 2nd in the home form table from the last 10 games. We currently sit 18th. It speaks for itself.
The Team/Personnel #3
Without going down a rabbit hole I’ll try and keep this fairly short. So where have we been going wrong? I think it’s been a situation where Johnson has had to make the best of what we have got. Can blame be laid at the door of recruitment? Possibly. We have a weakness at LB and have been struggling down our right side ever since Nemane was injured. Max Shaef and Rob Street probably need to be proactive and start packing their bags now as we desperately need reinforcements in those areas, and Boden has been brought in to try and bring some experience to that frontline.
Whitfield doesn’t look as effective without Nemane harmonizing on the right side, head down and gunning for it, he needs to get his head up! You could see what they (Whits and Boden) were trying to do on occasions on Saturday with getting balls into certain areas, it just needs that bit of refinement. That will come with a bit of time and familiarizing on the training ground.
CLE displays have wavered along with the overall performances of the team. When the Lemon plays well the team plays well, it just hasn’t happened recently and the player we know is in there and subsided in recent weeks.
Shots on goal. Overplaying it and taking too many unnecessary touches. 88 minutes it took for us to test Hartlepool’s keeper. Do I need to go into it more than that? Probably not.
Defensive Injuries #4
I couldn’t not mention it, could I. A decimated squad and young and inexperienced makeshift backline arguably lost us the game on Saturday. Liam Davis, Gary Warren, Dean Moxey and now Kyle Cameron (hamstring) reads a sad and worrying list of injured defenders. GJ has hinted at the return of some of those injured players in the not too distant future, that doesn’t mean a lot given the very cryptic information on players that we usually get given. Nonetheless, if we are to seriously compete in the coming weeks then the importance of some of that experienced back line returning is crucial to get us through and over the line.
The need for a Plan B #5
Our way of playing has been found out. The imbalance in team is glaringly obvious, the shape is all wrong and teams are now clued up on exploiting this (as Hartlepool did on Saturday). They arrive well organised and well drilled with a knowhow about how we play and how to manipulate us as an opposition. We have the technical ability to punish teams….we seem to have forgotten how. Diagonal long balls were so frustrating to watch on Saturday, as was the amount of ball possession we had in the middle third without any sort of idea of what to do with it.
We now need something brave, different and drastic to turn this around, let’s hope that a busy week on the training pitch that can be used (and hopefully work) this Saturday against Boreham Wood.