TT TALKING POINTS
Chris Wade – @TufcChris
The Final Third
Whilst this is clearly not news, it was laid bare again at Aldershot. A feature of recent games has been the slow speed that we have been moving the ball. This has led to pedestrian attacks and a lack of movement in forward areas. We had plenty of the football at Aldershot and moved it around better than we have of late. With Connor Lemonheigh-Evans back in the team in behind Sinclair Armstrong, the link between the midfield and attack was better, but all of the passing was side to side, defenders in to midfield and back again. There was no incision, no bite in the final third, no final ball that opened up the defence. We did not create a clear chance. A lack of confidence is a major issue, people not wanting to take a risk and go for the killer ball. For all of the debate on Armani Little, he is brave, He was the only player prepared to try and find the killer ball.
Of all of the areas that are of concern at present, this is the main one for me. Pace is vital in any team as it enables you to get up the pitch quickly, counter attack the opposition and push them back. It also changes how teams attack you as they know what you can do to them. We currently have none. We have no ability to hurt teams and quickly, both metaphorically and literally. Both Andrews and Martin worked hard and did their best in wide areas, but they don’t have the pace needed to get at the opposition. Martin hustled and annoyed the full back but produced nothing in attacking areas. Moxey rarely overlaps theses days and Wynter has barely crossed the halfway line to a meaningful end all season. It is hugely undermining our attacking style. We really need to find some pace to alarm, frighten and give the oppositions something to think about. Playing the Gulls is so easy at the moment.
This is something that I have been boring my Dad over for the last few games. Whilst I don’t profess to know the detail on his fitness issues, we had to get Jake back in the team. He has quality in his left foot and quality is something that we are very short on at the moment. However, I am not sure playing on the right side of a four in midfield really worked. This idea of cutting in from the right is all very modern and that, but you have to get players in forward areas to hurt the opposition. Sending in diagonal crosses from far out wide doesn’t hurt anybody. Needs must at the moment with selection, but we need to get him on the left where he can find a yard of space and whip in dangerous crosses. I have always liked him inside where he is more involved, but that is the only area where we are not short on numbers at the moment.
Now this is not going to be a berate the officials segment. Let’s be clear. But any team needs some marginal decisions to go their way, especially when you are struggling a bit. Just at the moment, it feels like nothing is going in our favour. On Saturday at Barnet, we had a goal (correctly) narrowly ruled out for offside, and a certain penalty not given. At Aldershot, the key moment of the game was Sinclair Armstrong being adjudged to have pushed the defender into the keeper in the first half an hour. In the TT match report, Clive says he thinks it was just correct. I think it is one where you get it 3 times out of 10 as the defending team. There was no communication between defender and keeper, and the presence of Armstrong baring down on them led to panic. There was minimal contact and it certainly didn’t contribute to them running into each other in my view. Very marginal and the kind of things that you need to go your way when you are struggling.
Leadership and Responsibility
Something that struck me again on Tuesday was the lack of leadership in this team. Now, with Asa and Danny missing, that is clearly going to leave a hole in the team. But there was so little leadership from all areas of the pitch. By this, I don’t mean somebody shouting and screaming at everybody and waving their arms in the air. Armani is a different type of captain, one that leads by example and play. But each area of the pitch has to lead for itself, each individual has to take responsibility for what they are doing. Unlike some, I absolutely can’t fault the players for their effort and commitment right now. But they all need to get every last drop out of themselves to be the absolute best that they can be. Not just physically, but bit in their own talent. Be brave, be positive and get the season going.
Recruitment and the games ahead
Whilst I absolutely get the point that Gary was making after the Barnet game around player availability in January, that statement is also a little worrying. There are six National Leave games between now and when the real January business can get going. That is a lot of time for things to continue to go wrong and us find ourselves in big trouble by the turn on the year. The next two games are huge. Given our away form, our home form has to underpin us at the moment. Halifax are a good, strong side and won’t come to Plainmoor to roll over. And Weymouth is clearly a big game. But we can’t just wait for January. Any additions now would be really welcome and get some competition for places and get more out of everybody.
COYY – Chris