Date:Wednesday January 14 2009
Last night's 3-2 defeat at home to Millwall in the FA Cup highlighted the uphill task Gudjon Thordarson faces as manager.
Far from the shambles we saw under Steve Holland, we didn't actually look to shabby for large parts of the game last night. It was our third game against promotion chasing Millwall in a month and we've been pretty even over the three ties with just last night's 86th winner separating us. However there are still problems there in abundance that if not sorted will send us down.
The major talking point from last night is and will be for the rest of the week the defending. Gudjon made his first 'major decision' (according to Radio Stoke) in dropping Tomlinson for Collis between the sticks. It was Tommo's goalkeeping errors in the original tie that forced last night's replay, but as much as anything it was probably nothing more than Gudjon taking any chance he could to look at each and every player in action.
Unfortunately it back fired as Collis went on to have a nightmare of an evening, starting minutes after Luke Murphy's spectacular opening goal. A tame cross from Millwall was literally dropped into the net by Collis, and all the work to getting the lead ad been undone in an instant. The mistake undoubtedly shook Collis's confidence but it's never a good enough excuse for an experienced professional.
Poor kicking, dodgy communication with his back four and heart-in-mouth handling summed up the rest of his performance. Whether we're just cursed in the goalkeeping area or whether there's a serious problem that's not been addressed for years (lack of goalkeeping coach?), it's something Thordarson seriously needs to look at.
Collis was not to be blamed for all goals. The second goal came as a result of James Bailey's rather shocking attempt to 'knee' clear David Martin's cross whilst the third came from a whole lot of bodies in the 6 yard box from a corner.
They were big mistakes that cost us. Few other chances fell Millwall's way, other than from their shoot-on-sight tactic, but if they had done you wouldn't have backed us to keep them out. We meanwhile carved out a couple of decent chances on top of the two well worked goals.
Thordarson was on the radio after the game to say the defence needs to cut out mistakes, the keeper needs to cut out the mistakes and if we didn't make mistakes we'd be good. It was the same we've been hearing for the past god knows how many years, I can only hope that Thordarson actually knows how to fix it - unlike Dario and Steve Holland.
There were some positives to come from the game. As said, the performance in general wasn't a bad one and a few players came out of the night looking good. John Brayford had a cracking game at right back, but then we're good at finding right backs, just not centre backs or left backs.
Luke Murphy impressed with his battling spirit and little flair but tired quite quickly, whilst Junior Daniel also showed his potential with some good quality crosses.
It's going to be a long hard few months now. I change my mind on whether we can stay up daily. I still think we're in with a fighting chance if Thordarson can work the transfer market this month and instill a little bit of belief in the team, but it's a big ask.
The worst thing we can do till May is 'build for League Two'. Keep League One in mind to the very end or we will be building for more trouble next season - look at Vale.
Date:Wednesday January 14 2009
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