TT TALKING POINTS
Marcus Arscott – @MarcusArscott
Marcus discusses talking points from the loss at Plainmoor
Now, I’m going to have to start this with a caveat that will apply to almost every thing I say in this article. We are only 3 games in. Now is not the time to panic and now is certainly not the time to make final judgements on the players or management. Yes it’s been a very disappointing start and we’ve had two massive wake up calls already, but it is still very early days. My opinions here are only on what I’ve seen so far, and I have full faith that Johnson and the players will make the necessary changes to right these wrongs.
Also, I’m not going to spend time whingeing about the refereeing today. We know the refs at this level are shite, today’s refereeing performance was no different but the man in black was not to blame today. If I start moaning about the ref I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t been said before or anything that won’t be said again, so I’m not going to bother going in to it, sorry.
2 goals conceded in the opening 5 minutes
Well, it just killed us didn’t it? Totally inept defending from crosses allowed loose balls in the 6 yard box and we got punished for it. I didn’t see it closely and I haven’t seen any replays so I’m not sure exactly who is to blame, but to be honest it doesn’t matter. Our defensive performances, Notts excluded, have not been even close to being good enough and the players will know it. It set us up to fail and it’s quite clear that shoulders dropped after such a shock. However, it wasn’t an impossible task to bring it back until…
Another sending off
I’ve no doubt that C Johnson’s first booking may have been a questionable decision, but the second was not. No matter how controversial the first yellow card was, if you’re on a booking then under no circumstances should you be throwing yourself in to a challenge the way that Johnson did. It was a stupid, reckless challenge and it gave the ref an easy decision to make. If the two goals at the start were a sucker punch, the sending off was a knockout blow. There was no coming back from that. Two red cards in three games is nowhere near good enough and if our disciplinary record stays as awful as it’s been so far, it’s going to be a very long, uphill battle of a season.
We haven’t replaced the players we’ve lost
I know there’s nothing we can do about players that have left and most of them were expected to go, but we haven’t replaced some and others that we have attempted haven’t showed that they’re able to fill their shoes yet. For all the stick that Kyle Cameron’s got since leaving, it doesn’t mask the fact that we’ve lost someone who is a very good centre back at this level. We had all hoped to get Sherring back but that’s not happening. Again, it’s early days but I’m not sure that Omar is up to either of their level. Thank god we still have Lewis. We lost two very decent wingers in Whitfield and Nemane and simply haven’t replaced them, the only natural winger we had on the pitch today was O’Connell and, whilst he does show promise, he’s not shown himself to be a fit and suitable replacement yet. The end result of that is a very narrow, ‘hoofey’ style of play which just doesn’t work. We have no pace and no width.
On a similar note to the above, we lost both Covolan and Macdonald in the summer. Halstead has not inspired much confidence among the fans thus far. He comes across as very indecisive, fairly non committal and seemingly unable to catch the ball at times. I’ve no doubt he’s a good shot stopper but he spills far too many balls and that in itself causes us many problems. I obviously really hope that he’s just finding his feet and he’ll settle in to his new squad and will start putting in some blistering performances, but it must happen quickly. We cannot put up with this level of goalkeeping for long.
This season’s chances
I don’t think anyone can honestly say that if we carry on playing like this we’re going to do well. If we carry on as we are then we’re looking at a lower mid table finish as an absolute maximum. Johnson will know that, the players will know that, it’s just a case of making the right changes and making them quickly. I’m not a fan of the usual knee jerk reaction of ‘let’s sign some more players’ after every time we put in a poor performance but it does look like we need some new bodies in the squad, namely in defence and the wide areas. I fully trust that Gary and Pete will know what to look for and will probably already have some names written down. Let’s hope so.
COYY – Marcus