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| I understand why MM chose his starting 11 but (some of) the bench made no sense|
at 20:29 4 May 2013
The inclusion of Wordsworth, Kisnorbo, Mings and moving Creswell to left midfield was all fine and I can see why. In addition, nice to have a young-gun on the bench and given his chance too. However, with a backline of Stearman / Kisnorbo / Smith and Mings (all capable of playing at centre-back), full back cover galore on the pitch (in the form of Edwards and Creswell) and more full-back cover on the bench in Hewitt, why bother having more defensive cover on the bench with Chambers? Add this to the fact that (if reports are to be believed) Lee Martin is to move on, N'Daw may well follow and ALB seems set to be released, it just seemed silly to have Jason Brown, Michael Chopra and, above all, JET sat just in front of the fans in the players box having not made the final 18. I for one would have liked to have seen JET come on as we all know he can be a game changer. The pedestrian nature of our attacking play today was there for all to see. Like I said, kudos to Mick for the starting line-up, just some unfathomable thinking with some of the bench for me.
|A report on today's game if you fancy it.|
at 20:43 20 Apr 2013
A fine spring day, a great view at a reasonable price for myself and the boy and a point that pretty much means we should live to fight again in the slog that is the Championship. This was not a classic by any means but it was a game that encapsulated pretty much how Mick and TC have changed our fortunes. It was a display full of fight, big on effort and organisation and on the local Radio Sheffield "Praise or Grumble" phone-in we were even described by contributors as a big, physical side who at times had "bullied" Wednesday! Long gone would seem to be the "soft-centre" oft lamented by both Keane and Jewell - good riddance too!
Tabb for JET was the only change and I must say, I really liked the all-white away strip sported by the boys today - classic looking! On a firm and bouncy pitch, there was little pasing football in the opening exchanges. Town forced a few corners and Smith had a header cleared off the line from one of them. Shortly after the ten minute mark, Edwards launched a long throw into the box and the ball appeared to go in off Tabb's knee for the opening goal. Cue chants of "We are staying up!" and "You're sh*t and you're going down!" from the travelling faithful as Town took greater control. Hyam brought a fine save from Kirkland with a half volley from 20 yards 10 minutes later as Nouble in particular chased every ball down. The goal saw the re-emergence of a Town tactic that I (and I only attend about 15 away games each season) don't remember seeing since the Roy Keane era - the long throw (Edwards and Wickham if I remember rightly). Not only from Edwards but also from Cressy! Time and again they were both able to launch effective long throws into the front post. Whilst it should never be our only tactic, it is an interesting weapon that I did not realise we (still) had. The home side made two substitutions mid-way throught the first half and whilst I was pleased to see the speedy Jermaine Johnson exit with a hamstring pull, I was less content with the arrival of the battering ram that is the ageing Steve Howard. As the half progressed, we were relatively comfortable but the Owls will think Howard should have done better with a header and Loach pulled off a good close range stop with Town defenders eventually scrambling the ball clear as half time approached. A miscued clearance by Kirkland then fell to Murphy 30 yards out. With Kirkland way outside the line of the goal I think he had the chance to steer the ball goalwards first time. He elected to control it but his touch was poor and the opporunity was gone.
We started the second period the brighter. Edwards was getting some joy down the Town right and from one cross Nouble glanced a header across the goal. He should, in my opinion, have done better. Firm contact would have produced a goal. N'Daw volleyed well wide from the edge of the box and Murphy drilled a low effort just wide whilst the Owls began to resort to lumping it up to the elbows, knees and head of the aforementioned Howard. We seemed fairly comfortable with Chambers, Smith and Stearman coping well with the bombardment. Just before the hour mark though, the atmosphere changed. Edwards had been drawn out to the left and allowed the Wednesday player too much time and space, almost inviting the cross which went beyond the Town back line to Lita who drilled home the equaliser. We went quiet, Hillsborough erupted and for the next ten minutes you could see just what a jumping place this ground would be if the Owls had a decent side. The aerial assault was upped again and you could sense the nervousness of the travelling fans as a few crosses found Wednesday heads but not the Town net. It was not all one way traffic though. Edwards and Hyam both had chances to burst into the Owls' area but their chances were snuffed out and resulted in wasted corners for Town. Chambers put in a great block to prevent the home side from taking the lead and Mick was forced into a change as Stearman limped off. This caused a defensive re-shuffle as Mick elected not to replace the excellent loanee with ready made right back rooke Hewitt. He instead moved Chambers to right back and put another loanee, Kisnorbo, into the heart of the battle at centre half alongside Smith. There was relief all-round when the off-side flag chalked off a Lita header on 78 minutes. Mick made two further substitutions. Wordsworth replaced the industrious goalscorer Tabb and JET came on for the clearly tired Murphy. From another Cressy long throw that created havoc, Nouble narrowly failed to score, Pugh scrambling the ball off the line (I'm pretty sure it wasn't over the line). There were a couple more half chances for both sides but as the game entered 3 minutes of stoppage time, both sides seemed content with a point. "Super Mick" was given a rendition on the final whistle and the growing connection between the players and the travelling fans becomes more evident with every game I attend. As we listened to the full-time scores over the tannoy, the Wolves, Posh and Barnsley scores brought further "We are staying up!" chants even though it's not mathematically in the bag just yet.
Some comments on the players:
Loach - gaining in confidence with each game
Stearman - solid defender. I hope we can sign him
Smith - now the player we expected him to be when Jim first threw him into the team years ago
Chambers - warrior like for me. Proven to be a good signing - Jewell did some things right!
Creswell - another Jewell signing. Playing really well. Where did those long throws come from?
Tabb - works really hard and is surprisingly effective in the air, challenging for every ball - take note Chops! You have to be in the right place to score but it hit him more than anything I think!
Hyam - battle, tackle, block, head. All effort from Luke. Could have had a goal but for a fine save from Kirkland and burst into the box once or twice too.
N'Daw - he has his limitations (distribution) but he is also somethng of a collosus in the middle of midfield that the opposition have to get past.
Edwards - today saw the return of his long throw and he created quite a bit down the right hand flank with some pace and trickery too. I think he should have closed the ball down quicker and prevented the cross for the Owls goal though.
Murphy - won his share in the air and Murph works hard. Gave the ball away once or twice when he ought to have brought Town attackers into the game in dangerous positions.
Nouble - can't fault the big man for his effort. Chases every ball and makes defenders aware of his presence. He needs, however, to work on his first touch at times.
Kisnorbo - up for the battle that Howard gave him
Wordsworth - did OK for the time he was on
JET - did a job even if he didn't make the most of a couple of opportunities he had to run at a stretched Wednesday backline late on
Will be there for the finale at Turf Moor. Should be a good day out!
Well done to those of you who got to the end! Hope my ramblings bring something to those of you who didn't get there today. COYB
|Match report (if you fancy a longish read!)|
at 21:50 6 Apr 2013
The fifth time that I have been to Pride Park and it's four wins and a draw for Town! Whilst not a great game by any means, this was a victory to savour. Nothing is certain in the Championship but most will be confident that we should now be able to accumulate 4 or so more points from the remaining games to ensure safety. Smash and grab (or "burgled" as MM has said) it most certainly was!
Throughout the first 45, the home side pressed and at times the Town goal led the proverbial charmed life. Sammon was proving a handful with his physical and direct running style and when he broke midway through the first half and found himself one-on-one with Loach he looked certain to score. To our delight, he neatly slid the ball past Loach and onto the post and a bullet was dodged. The Town midfield battled and toiled and our best opportunity came shortly after the Sammon miss when Edwards rolled back the years, showed a turn of pace to beat his man wide and crossed low across the Rams' six yard box with Murphy narrowly failing to make the necessary contact to finish. The home side continued to dominate with lots of possession and several corners but the Blues' backline held firm as home chances were repelled. A minute before the break, another corner for the home side found Keogh diving in on the back post with Smith in close attention. As the Rams' skipper went to ground, the ref pointed to the spot. It looked harsh but there did not seem an awful lot of protest. Loach made himself big, bouncing on his line. Ward elected to go straight down the middle and Loach saved with his legs before gathering the ball to avert the chance of a rebound. Ward gave the post a good boot in frustration and we had dodged another bullet. In all honesty, had we been 2-0 down, we could have had no complaints. We had ridden our luck!
As the second half began, the game moved into the same pattern but I felt we looked solid and a little more of a threat. An hour in and Mick made two substitutions. Murphy, who had worked hard and made his contribution, was replaced by Nouble whilst Drury, who had been a little anonymous to be honest, exited in favour of N'Daw. Whilst the tide did not decisively change, N'Daw added more bite to the Town midfield and somewhat surprisingly, a little more forward momentum too. Mid-way through the half Town suddenly seemed to press higher up the pitch. The fans like to see this but it almost cost us dear and as Derby broke, the ball went wide and the Budgie Martin slid home. Again to our delight, the flag was raised and the clean sheet was still intact. A mazey run from the half way line by McGoldrick raised hope but his shot was blocked and he was then penalised for a foul as he went for the rebound.
Sammon claimed a penalty but was waved way and a few other chances and one further penalty appeal were thwarted by a resolute Town backline. With five minutes remaining, McGoldrick was replaced by Chopra, the striker receiving very warm applause on his final appearance for the Blues this season. The gentleman behind me spoke with his lady companion as N'Daw gave away a free kick for handball about 20 yards out. I overheard him say that the Rams had missed a pen, hit the post and they will not score from the set piece. He added, we will get the winnner on 93 minutes. Turning round, I told him I would kiss him if we did (much to the amusement of the lady - the man looked worried though!) The game entered stoppage time and I reckon we were all more than satisfied with a point. 3 minutes in, Edwards broke from the half-way line and ran directly at the Rams' defence before striking from 20 yards past the desperate lunge of Fielding. Ecstasy amongst the Town fans and I turned to the gentleman behind. We celebrated like men but thankfully no snog! The boys saw out the final seconds and then came to the raucous Town support to share the elation. The now customary Chambers fist pump was joined by Smith and Edwards was held aloft by the unsued JET. MM will surely have heard the "Super Mick" chants and the job he and TC have done so far deserves great credit. Not a great perfromance but a truly momentous result. The atmosphere at the end was as good as I can remember in years. The togetherness of the fans and the players was something to savour.
A few comments on the players if you care to read on:
Loach: great penalty save and a couple of other decent saves too. A solid performance if a little shaky on the kicking at times.
Stearman: I want him to sign - not much more to say than that
Smith - imperious defensively throughout.
Chambers - almost faultless apart from once in the first half when he was too easily turned by Sammon. His partnership with Tommy is the bedrock of our improvement.
Cresswell - defensively sound. One great strike at goal late on. Inconsistent set piece delivery.
Edwards - doing the job Mick is asking of him and a great strike for the winner. Don't think he wil be first choice next year.
Drury - not short of effort but minimal impact today. He was the obvious candidate to be taken off.
Hyam - plenty of effort, tackling and challenges. Must work on his distribution. One chance to shoot in first half was miserably screwed wide.
Tabb - industrious throughout. One great run in second half got us a corner. Would be a useful addition next year.
McGoldrick - works hard, neat, tidy and will bring us some much needed class next year. Quite skilful but certainly not pacy. Needs the right partner and service to thrive.
Murphy - can't doubt the yardage Murph puts in and when he jumps, he can win the high balls. For me though, the operative word is "when". More physicality from Murphy is needed in my opinion
N'Daw - although at times he can give the ball away with sloppy distribution, he is a ball winner who can impose himself in the middle of the park as he did today after coming on.
Nouble - full of running and effort which was what was needed from him today
Chopra - not much to say for Chops. He did what he could i the ten minutes he was on the pitch.
Great result and well done if you have got this far through to the end of the report!
|A report on today for those who care to read it.|
at 19:26 23 Feb 2013
This is a local game for me as I live in Huddersfield. Free tickets, albeit in the home end, were, however, the only saving grace. This was the worst 90 minutes football I have ever witnessed. Town, whilst defending resolutely, looked like a pub team and were devoid of any attacking threat whatsoever. The Terriers grafted hard, had a few chances but were also seriously lacking in terms of playing fluid football.
The first period was dull. Hoofball from both sides and when Novak screwed wide after about 30 minutes for the home side and Hyam had a shot blocked from 18 yards, that was the end of the excitement for the first 45.
The second period was little better. Henderson produced a fine double save from Novak then Danns and the home side had countless corners but they failed to make the most of them. Town never really threatened and McGoldrick was replaced by Murphy. The Irishman offered a little more up top but we remained pretty toothless. The Terriers looked the more likely to take the points, the returning Robinson spurned a golden chance to take all three. Town's best moments came late on, Nouble just failing to put the finishing touch to an Edwards cross. As I said, an appalling game made tolerable by the free tickets!
Some comments on our players:
Henderson- a few ropey punches but a fine double save and one of our better performers
Stearman - solid for the most part. Nothing going forward
Creswell - Just as Stearman. Wasted a corner in first half, you guessed it- failed to beat the first man!
Smith - apart from giving away one needless corner in the second half, Tommy was solid.
Chambers - battled hard and performed with some credit
Edwards - brings us nothing at the moment. Gave it away countless times. Poor crossing, won't take a man on - pointless for me.
Hyam - lots of tackles, aerial challenges and effort. Nothing creative and nothing going forward though
N'Daw - rubbish in the first half. Won nothing, gave it away cheaply. Second half was better. Won his share and put himself about.
Martin - run, chase, run, chase, get ball but threaten nothing and deliver less. Two corners - one failed to beat the first man, the other a hopeful floater which Smithies claimed easily. What do we practice from set pieces?
Chopra - this board likes to moan about Chopra and he has (many) faults. Unfortunately, balls lumped up to him whilst facing 6 feet plus central defenders offer him little chance. He thrives on balls into the channels, good service from the flanks and balls into his feet. He gets precisely none of this!!
McGoldrick - without good service, he will look like Chops. Got to feel for him because he can play
Murphy - looked more of a threat than the others at least
Nouble - only had ten minutes on for Chopra. Pity he didn't get on the end of the late cross but it would have been robbery!
Drury - replaced Martin and did OK
On the local radio, Terriers fans acknowledged their own side were poor but the rightly pointed out that our "style" of football put us as the "worst side they have seen" at the Galpharm this season. They were probably right! A point might be vital but this was one to forget.
|Today's game - a long report - be warned!|
at 19:44 9 Feb 2013
My first visit to Ewood Park and instantly forgettable. My reports are normally long-winded affairs but during the first 45 minutes nothing happened. Two dull, unispiring sides cancelling each other out and almost no goal action at all. Dull, dull, dull. I can't recall either goalkeeper making anything resembling a save.
The second period started pretty much in the same vein. Chances were negligible and once we got the ball forward, we did not carry enough threat. Shortly after the debut of our top scorer for our opponents, some pinball in the Town area following a corner resulted in Blackburn scoring. The goal was credited to" the one that got away" and Rhodes celebrated although I have no idea how the ball ended up in our goal! We livened up a bit, and an excellent Murphy cross just evaded the onrushing McGoldrick as we finally threatened the home goal in earnest. Mick took too long to bring his substitutes on, eventually replacing McClean and McGoldrick with Chopra and Wordsworth. Nothing really changed. The home side had more of the game and the former Town Academy product Rhodes forced Henderson into an excellent save after a sublime pass by Campbell. Still little genuine threat from Town and it looked like Rovers were more likely to add to their lead. Approaching 90 minutes, N'Daw volleyed agonisingly wide before Stearman headed wide a golden opportunity to draw level after excellent work by Murphy who delivered the ball expertly to the back post. Stearman knew he should have scored. As they say, it was almost harder to miss than score!
A very poor game I'm afraid and time to battle it out again. I'm not usually one to be critical of referees but today was one of the poorest performances I have ever seen from an official. His decision making genuinely had me considering the word "biased" at times - he was dreadful and gave us nothing whilst Rovers seemed to get almost every decision. Both Rhodes and former loanee Orr acknowleged the Town fans as they left the pitch. No consolation but a nice touch.
Some comments on the players:
Henderson - not much to do really. Can't comment on the goal but it seems it hit him and went in. A good save from Rhodes late on.
Stearman - a decent performance. Wanted to get forward. Great chance to score but fluffed it!
Creswell. Had a decent game all round for me.
Smith - won most of his aerial challenges and again a decent defensive effort
Chambers - solid for the most part.
Edwards - just don't know what Carlos brings to the team anymore. Cuts inside too much and delivers almost nothing going forward. Good servant but Mick was right to bring him off.
Hyam - all over the pitch and put himself about. Never really able to get his foot on the ball though
N'Daw - fine volleyed effort and plenty of tackles won. Distribution not great and caught in possession dwelling on the ball. Sometimes he just needs to move it quicker.
Murphy - ineffective as a left sided midfielder. Better when moved up top. Having said that, did his best work putting in three good crosses when running the channels after going up front
McClean - you can't fault his work ethic but his contribution was neglible today
McGoldrick - Ran the channels well, sought to hold it up but rarely threatened the Rovers box. I see what he could bring but it didn't quite come off today
Chopra - ran around but little impression for his efforts
Wordsworth - won a few headed balls but little else worth telling you
Nouble - One forceful run which was stopped by an obvious foul (that the crap ref never saw) but little else to report.
We need to collect 4 points from the next two home games otherwise we will find ourselves back in the drop zone.
at 14:36 3 Feb 2013
Played one FA Cup game for Leicester since leaving us in mid November. Too good a player for that. I know we can't loan him again and not sure we actually need him but he could certainly do a decent job for most sides in the lower half of this league for the rest of the season. Shows how strong the Foxes midfield is that he can't even make the matchday sqaud though.
|Just have a look at the match ratings!|
at 18:05 26 Jan 2013
These should be from people who actually saw the game so a little more reliable than those who listened on the radio or just respond to TWTD threads. Martin (despite his "crucifiable" miss) fares pretty well. Indeed, he has been voted MoM a few times recently. Edwards, however, rates at 3.3 / 10 and his form of late is poor. Don't quite understand why Martin is taking so much more flak (I know he should score more) than Edwards in general? Some are moaning about Edwards but most seem to want Martin hounded out of the club - curious!
[Post edited 26 Jan 18:17]
|Mathie actually talks a bit of sense today.|
at 17:28 26 Jan 2013
Need a midfielder who gets beyond the strikers. Mick will know this but they are not that easy to find! Also - Edwards offers us nothing as a wide midfielder any more but he seems almost untouchable and I can't see why.