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It Hurts

It Hurts

It's starting to hit home this morning that relegation may not just be a possibility but more of a probability. Last night's defeat at Vale just summed up the majority of our season. Devoid of any fight, passion, skill, tactical awareness and common sense.

Vale were dreadful, one of the worst teams I've seen us play in the league in years but that's how badly it reflects on us because we weren't even at their standard. At least their play had a bit of urgency about it, we just offered nothing to the cause and it went wrong in so many places.

The team line up would be a good place to start. I want to know Steve Holland's reasons for dropping our best player, Danny Woodards? George Abbey is steady enough and not done much wrong but then would that be an argument for Alex Ferguson to play Louis Saha ahead of Wayne Rooney? When fit, you do not drop your best players.

Up front was Dean Morgan for the dropped Eugen Bopp. Fair to say that Morgan was possibly the only plus point of the night. He definitely has something about him, a lot of skill and flair, keeps the ball well and puts in good shots from distance. He's only trained with the team two or three times before last nights game and it showed in the lack of understanding between each other, but he could prove very useful in the run in.

Partnering Morgan up front was Tom Pope, who frankly may well find his level next season - League Two. He is not a League One striker and not needed in a relegation scrap. He puts in the effort but it's not enough - his play his poor, his aerial ability is dreadful and his finishing is embarrassing. I can't see anything, apart from his height, that justifies his inclusion in the team.

His chances were the story of our performance this season. Two 'one on ones' in the second half, both chipped over the bar from 15-20 yards. It begs the question why he was chipping them, he could have rolled them into the bottom corner with considerable ease. He also saw a header bounce off the cross bar, which would have been more of a fluke had it gone in.

At the other end of the pitch things are just as frustrating in Danny O'Donnell, whose defensive mishaps cost us both goals last night with terrible marking. I still don't see why we paid £100,000 for him, he didn't look too sharp whilst on loan last season.

Patrick Boyle played left back and may as well have stayed at home; every ball he hit managed to land as far away from a single Alex shirt as possible. Some say he's better than Billy Jones, I'm not sure I'd even rate him as good as Billy.

The players weren't the only to blame for the performance - Steve Holland's tactics were more than questionable. At half time Dean Morgan was moved to the wing when Maynard replaced Anyinsah, which completely nullified his threat before the master of shirking, Byron Moore, replaced him.

In the first half Morgan showed he was good at coming deep, picking up the ball and turning towards goal. Why was this not used in the second half? If he had played alongside Maynard he would have had a more mobile striker than Pope to play through or with. Instead he was on the wing where Vale could simply crowd him out.

Sadly it doesn't come much of a surprise that Holland failed to get the team to their strengths; he's had the idea of playing for draws all season and you really have to doubt his ability when he starts playing for draws against the team rock bottom of the division.

It's Gillingham on Saturday, who sit one point and one place behind us. They currently take up the last remaining relegation spot. It is possibly the biggest game of the entire League One calender this season and I would go as far to as that it's the relegation decider. If we lose then I can't see us getting out of it, where as if we win we should have a big enough gap to maintain.

The effect of Saturday's result will be psychological as much as anything, but do we have the guts, passion, fight and talent to get out of this mess? I'm not sure we do.

Date:Wednesday March 12 2008
Time: 4:33PM


A fair reflection on last nights events, but at least you still have a chance of staying up.
12/03/2008 16:58:00
Bad spelling sorry - sums up!
12/03/2008 18:05:00
Great article. Somes up what I was feeling and didd'nt want to have to write. It would be nice if Holland read this! I'm sure the wind was to blame for the performance though.
12/03/2008 18:05:00
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