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|Striking options for the derby|
at 10:53 23 Feb 2017
Given how Klose struggled with Murphy all game would it be worth trying Moore as a wildcard? I appreciate he's not the same Murphy in the air, but with his height he can still win a decent amount of headers and while the budgies worry about that he has decent enough feet to twist Klose up in similar fashion.
Considering AN can't organise a team to save his life, I wonder if completely changing the approach to the game might be enough. Flood the midfield, soak up the play and let them start going 20p-50p after half an hour.
I appreciate it'd be harsh to drop Sears after he's scored. But I wonder if we look strong enough in recent weeks against a team who although massively underperforming, aren't Villa underperforming.
Fancy us to score from a corner too for some reason.
Would be equaly nice to see Jonas drill one in again too. Fullbacks that score against the scum are always worthy of exalted praise.
at 15:12 18 Feb 2017
How do you like that then?
As much as him?
[Post edited 18 Feb 15:40]
|Hope Pitman comes on and mugs their Swede|
at 15:02 18 Feb 2017
He owes them one for that tackle that put him out for weeks.
Dirty Leeds forced subs through injury that day and was one of the biggest factors in our form this season after that game.
I hate Leeds.
at 21:08 14 Feb 2017
Do they constantly sound like they are whinging and moaning on the commentary? Between them and Brenner it feels like one of the lesser circles of hell.
at 18:45 14 Feb 2017
This post has been edited by an administrator
|If it's not love, then it's the bond that will bring us together|
at 20:43 11 Feb 2017
Through the ice, mist and chill that pierced the heart of the country Town came to Villa Park with renewed faith. It’s not often you see stained-glass in the sides of a football ground, but 1800 faithful took their seats across two tiers. The Blues made only one change. Ward replacing Skuse in the middle, bringing back a nod to the previous home draw with Reading.
Bart had another 3 or 5 depending on your view point ahead of him. The captain to the right, Berra to left, Taylor right in the middle. Flanking them were Knudsen and Emmanuel respectively. Diagouraga was the sitting minesweeper, beyond him McGoldrick and Lawrence free moving attackers supported by Huws and Ward.
Villa were unrecognisable, yet hauntingly familiar when you stare at the squad list. A who’s who of decent Championship names over the past 3 or 4 seasons, but a reputation this season that matched Town’s on points alone before kick-off.
When Lansbury launched it forward and Taylor et al. easily motioned to contain the aerial ball, Town looked at ease. Pre-match exuberance continued across the stand and onto the pitch. Huws the first fall almost before the ball. It was a nasty moment as Chambers remonstrated with the ref for what seemed minutes. His Welsh colleague catching a clear elbow outside of the box.
There was some nice movement from Town especially down the left-hand side. Knudsen the beneficiary of timing his run to receive the rewards from Lawrence and McG’s magic feet. His touch didn’t allow him to attack the ball, and offloading it again Town’s movement signalled little.
Villa’s first real threat on goal was a soft free kick. Ward tactless in the tackle and grabbing a sleeve instead of fresh air. The ref march the wall back, and back. The shot that came in saw Lansbury scissor kick a volley. Granite hands from Bart signalled a corner. Rock beats scissors. If that £40k a week could buy a decent haircut, maybe he’d know that.
The resultant corner saw another decent chance as Bart and Chambers stopped close range efforts. Hourihane looking to score against his former club and finally get noticed by Ipswich fans. It was a period marked by early excitement and excellent flowing runs by both sides.
Kodjia was arguably the hosts man of the match. With the space afforded to him thanks to the support of free floating Hourihane and Bjarnason it was here he began to push Town back and look more like a multi-million-pound player. However, Town matched that with value of their own.
When Lawrence went into the box and then over his feet, everyone was on theirs in all four sides. It was either a clear penalty or the ban-inducing yellow a long time coming. The ref didn’t know either were options. Choosing to trot away disinterestedly.
Emmanuel saved at the other end felling the begoggled Welshman on Villa’s left, Neil Taylor. What looked like a bizarre haircut initially from a distance, became clear to being eyewear as the harrying youngster saw the danger out for Town.
Ipswich looked the away side, but were enjoying themselves. Taylor hooked away from an onrushing Bart and out to safety as strikers closed in and the longball clearly wasn’t long enough to be handled. It was one of many simple steadying moments the new defender would have in a short time.
Another free kick in a dangerous area as Hogan’s only real contribution to the game seemed to be falling like chocolate soldier. Lansbury marched to the deadball, with Town deep and dense along the goal area the former Gunner bottled firing. A strange short routine slid across the pitch to an unmarked Bjarnason who smashed his shot off the bar.
Myles Kenlock made a welcome return to the side in unwelcoming conditions. Somewhere Taylor slipped from view and took a knee. The fight knocked out of him, he was erect again long enough to shoot down the tunnel. A worrying sight given Town’s injury crisis.
With Villa well on top, Knudsen seemed to step inside not once, but twice for a minute. A makeshift sweeper as Berra didn’t know whether to attack man or ball as both receded away from him and goal on the edge of the box.
Their next best chance saw Kodjia try something that was neither acrobatic or sensible. A scorpion kick of sorts from Hutton’s cross barely a few yards out. Maybe Hogan put him off, but he flopped like a scorpion who had stung itself and Bart collected the venomless remnants.
Town rallied and again it seemed like Lawrence was the best outlet for attacking intent with the slower but beguiling McGoldrick close behind. With Diagouraga in the middle and two fairly attacking central midifelders ahead of him, there was a Claret and Royal mesh in the centre of the pitch that meant runners rather than punters unpicked the best attacks.
Bucking the trend, Lawrence screwed a cross field ball that bounced fortunately for Town and beyond two defenders. McGoldrick collected the speculative effort and cut inside only to have his shot clipped out for a corner. His next effort towards goal would go way off it.
As half time came a second bout of sickness swept over Town fans. Berra making the most of his aerial aggression at the close of the half, and quickening of Blues crosses was hit himself. An arm that looked admittedly accidental crumpled the Scot. Down for a marked length of time it didn’t look good.
Jordan Spence trotted on as many fans and staff vented their disgust and dismay at what might be a costly decision from the referee not to even investigate what he clearly hadn’t seen. The former Don took a controlling position next to Chambers as Town ended the half in yet another tactical teaser.
The second half started with a new look Ipswich. Not just the bizarre defensive fan of centre-back whose better at right back, wingback who can play right back and arguably centre back, left back, and two youngsters who can play either variant as long they can touch the white line enough.
Ahead of them was the large defensive stopper in what looked more like a second midfield ahead of Bart. Villa meanwhile didn’t really shuffle their pack in terms of shape, or approach. Both sides had the room to run, thanks to what looked like soft centres and space to exploit. When defenders were drawn in during either side’s runs forward, gaps appeared on the overlap. Where this benefited Knudsen in the first half, now Ward made a little more of his role.
Bruce clearly spotted it too, replacing Hutton first with another “shouldn’t he be in the Premier League?” name off the bench in Albert Adomah. This was not long before Spence had got forward and from barely three yards repeated Kodjia’s feat with slightly more respectable flailing of his own. Somehow contriving to catch the ball, presumably off balance in the six-yard scrap and miss the gaping portion of the goal.
If the game had died in large parts during the middle of the first half it was regaining some its feeling by the hour mark. Unfortunately for us it was the Clarets that were spilling forward with greater intent but little execution. Had we not already lost two giants to injury the midfield might have benefitted from relieving Toumani from an excess amount of playing time. The loanee seems to age alongside the game still and that played a small part in Town’s best repellents and moves forward starting at the back.
Adomah soon became the first to see the ref’s cards, mainly as he was looking up following a deliberate challenge from Knudsen looking to stem a flowering performance from the sub. More misery all around as the home fans felt they had the advantage.
Once the smoke cleared Lawrence was on the ground holding something, so were we. Our breath. The winger got back up and went back on the attack eventually, but a third sub due to injury and another Leeds away scenario might be all too cruel.
Diagourara’s latency showed as he went late in to stop another attack and take a booking. The free kick was again tame from Villa, swinging just a step to the side of Bart who collected happily. He would be less comfortable when someone cleared off his line, an attempt between those two missing all and should have been buried by an attacking head. This time the header came but not the goal that looked certain.
Town had ridden their luck, good and bad. When they finally broke with something meaningful, it was none other than Lawrence who picked apart the men in front of him. He was then blown up, but the ref didn’t. As his arched body bounced off the turf McGoldrick got lower towards it. Sneaking a run down the white line of the box and squaring. It looked certain to be defended. Huws came from nowhere, unsighted having loitered near the spot. He was our Johnny to smash apart the door and knock the ball home.
1800 throats opened as Brummie blood boiled. Limbs, voices, centres of gravity went every which way as the jubilance made flesh sprayed everywhere like a medieval painting of sin and ecstasy. All wrapped up and nowhere else we wanted to go. The white shirts on the field bristled as they exchanged salutes with those off it.
5 minutes left.
4 more once the board went up.
Kevin Bru would make a late appearance for the winning goal scorer. A little hobble rather than hop in his step as he went off. Meanwhile so did Didzy’s howitzer of a right boot. Slipping himself past one man with the outstep then meeting the ball with his laces and unravelling a shot well off target again. Ill-discipline or careless abandon. Either way it was Villa who looked to fire back with the news of unduly long time added on.
A climb into 13th far from lucky today. There was some excellent work from a host of individuals, and perhaps for the goal alone Huws takes the champagne and adulation. You could see the forced changes, forced innovation and fresh ideas from Town who not only nullified much fancier and well-heeled opposition but reduced them in every conceivable way.
The true cost of victory might well be counted when Matt Byard gets his hands on yet more broken bodies. The lists grow ever longer. But chalk that one, and those three points up at the top of all of them this season. It felt good.
at 17:39 9 Feb 2017
Seem to remember there being very little around it last time. Any decent advice for drivers parking up pre-game?
Took the train last time and ended up in a Spoons with half of TWTD from memory in the city centre.
|Dejan Lovren's story is a good one|
at 20:48 7 Feb 2017
Not exactly hardhitting journalism given it's joe.co.uk, but you get the gist of it all. I know boxing is often cited as the sport which tells the story of immigrants and society's lowest. I wonder if football provides it's own narrative these days.
Plenty who fled the Balkans ended up playing for/in other European nations since even our own Kuqi. Won't be long until we have Syrian, Somali and other dual-heritage players in the English game.
|This "terrible window" may not be so|
at 09:12 4 Feb 2017
Diagouraga clearly wants to play. He was busting his sizeable gut at PNE and has some class about him. He complimented Skuse perfectly. I would sign him permanently if given the choice, simply because he needs a fresh start and we need players exactly like him to go again before others get a march on us..
Huws was a talent. I remember being impressed when he broke through. Seems that injury has been part of his quick disappearance. I'm intrigued to know what shape he is in. Again the fact he'll take a pay cut to get football in is promising. If we could, we probably should tap him up fairly quickly I'm guessing.
Spence amazes me that he couldn't get a deal. He looks handy at this level. I can only assume he was one who took an ME style approach to the market and value this summer. Or was very unlucky.
Part of me hopes Taylor might be the new JdV rather than a reverse Reo-Coker plummeting through football's tiers and we're now lower than an MLS franchise in scale.
The big issue being, with MM likely being shown the door as it is. We'll need a new man, new faces and lots of them any way. But all three of those are exactly the sorts of players we'll be looking at if we carry on as we are, or change only a little bit in terms of upping investment.
Similar to when we got McGoldrick and Murphy permanently. Players that had a question mark or three over their heads but previous talent. That said, Leon Best fits that category too.
The others are punts. I like the look of Moore and at least he and Rowe are ours. I fear for them though, they're going to have to work bloody hard to impress a new manager and even if Mick did stay, they might not do enough like so many others.
For me the big problem is the next six months aren't certain. I just don't see us going down unless the fans and players implode upon each other and we set ourselves into a death spiral. The bottom three seem just too crap and far away still.
If we knew Mick was staying/going you could see if these stopgaps are just that and accept Evans is probably selling as soon as too. If Mick is being backed in the summer you could argue that he's getting the basis of his new squad together now in some respects.
I don't think the window has been terrible. It's the season and leadership as a whole. You get the impression that Mick straddles the gap between ME and fans. As that's become increasingly bigger, he hasn't and will be the one to disappear while "us and them" drift further apart.
The future of the club looks bad. Evans needs to, for want of a better phrase "sort it out" sharpish.
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