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[Blog] Town Are Finally Digging Deep
Written by Pessimistic on Monday, 6th Feb 2012 14:51

And at last, it would appear we have found a tunnel to dig our way out of - even if it is not all that enlightening at this moment in time. We must however be grateful for this small breakthrough in the great scheme of things and certainly the emphatic win against league leaders West Ham United was something that I think none of us saw coming.

The size of the victory and the quality of the football played by Town was sometimes bordering on the brilliant and how many times have we had the pleasure of saying that of late?

One good win does not make for a good season however but it was vitally important that Town held their nerve against Championship basement boys Coventry City - even if it was very much touch and go to the end.

Finally it was Town who stole the points and if football over a season levels out then perhaps the tide is beginning to turn. Two penalties in two games is a bit of a novelty for Town and is good to see that Lee Martin has the appetite for the challenge now that ex-captain Grant Leadbitter is currently a full time-bench warmer.

I applaud Marcus Evans for having the brains to not press the panic button at the first sign of supporter unrest. Yes, I know there are lots of you out there that will not agree with me on this but we are a broad church of opinions and long may this continue but I think Paul Jewell will find that winning formula given time.

Time sadly is not what a lot of managers get much of these days, to the detriment of the game in my view. Look at Ken Bates attitude at Leeds, for example. How absurd the dismissal of Simon Grayson was with Leeds United still in the play-off places and not completely out of the running for automatic promotion.

If Paul Jewell has admitted to his errors then Marcus Evans in the matchday programme seemed to do likewise. He has realised that swapping and changing managers does not guarantee improvement. On the contrary, in most instances it works against a team because apart from the financial considerations of hiring and firing, there is also the transition that involves a change in personal because every new boss has his own squad of backroom staff he wants recruiting.

We know, that there are notable exceptions like Norwich and Southampton, who have landed back on their feet when it did not seem at all likely, but generally speaking, these are the exceptions to the rule and only through continuity, which involves a lot of patience, do you usually get the recipe for success right.

Paul Jewell has used lots of ingredients so far and many would say he has relied too much on his old tried and tested formula that is no longer a very tasty dish. He is the first to admit he has made mistakes but if you don't make mistakes you generally don't make anything and now he is getting much closer to marinating this squad into a winning team.

Most of us would agree however that it is the defence that is Town's Achilles' heel and he has taken far too long to address this issue because it is still costing us dear. Ipswich are still leaking two goals a game, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult for Town to go on a sustained winning run.

Ibrahima Sonko sadly is not the answer and I am not entirely convinced that Tommy Smith has the focus to defend well week in week out. Carlos Edwards will never make it as a wing back and although he looks good going forward his distribution is found wanting and his making is sometimes quite appalling.

Arran Lee-Barrett is worthy of his place, if only his understudies are looking even more vulnerable than he does these days. Only Aaron Creswell fits the bill in this department sadly. It is clear for all to see therefore that if Town want to make lasting progress the defensive issues need to be addressed without further delay.

Yes, Town are showing self-belief and and digging deep once more but a porous defence can undermine all that good work in a blink of an eye and this is not the time to get buried by another avalanche of disappointment.

Let us look on the bright side though. We are scoring goals and some of the young guns are finally finding their feet. Relegation seems now about as distant as the play-off places, so let us hope this is a learning curve that provides the club with a platform on which to build.

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naa added 15:49 - Feb 6
Good blog and I agree with the sentiments.

You only need to look at the stats to see what is wrong with our season. 3rd highest goal scorers but we've conceded 9 more than any other team in the division.

so, despite all the people moaning and wanting Jewell to go, it should be fairly obvious that we're not that far away from a good team. We play fairly attractive football, we score a reasonable amount of goals (even without the West Ham glut, our goals scored was pretty good) but we haven't defended well.

What is hopefull is that despite a reasonable number of goals coming from poor defensive play as a team, a lot of them are just piss-poor defending individually. Sonko, sadly seems to be making more than his fair share at the moment. His pass to Snodgrass will take a lot to erase from the memory.

Agree with Edwards too, good player and gets forward well - he is a very fit player. But he's not a good defender, never has been (which is why he was a winger most of his career).

In theory then, should be easy to fix for next year!

My only worry is that Jewell has hinted that Hyam and, to a lesser extent, Drury aren't really in his plans. He only played them through necessity and doesn't seem to like the fact that it's working. This worries me a bit. I hope he doesn't overhaul the midfield yet again in the summer.

OldClactonBlue added 16:03 - Feb 6
All very good Pessimistic, bar one fundamental aspect. What evidence is there that Jewell has a winning formula, or knows how to get one?
The defence has had the same problems for so long I cannot remember when I last had any faith in it. Yet you say we still only have one person you would keep in his place next season, and few would argue. But that has been true all season, and but for the signing of Sonko, who is clearly now struggling, would have been even worse.
I'd love to believe that PJ had what it takes, he does seem a nice enough guy, but I just don't see it. I lived through the RR reign, we all want a manger who can take us forward for the next decade and beyond. But you need to see some sign that he knows how he might get there, not just wait for the next availablity crisis to try someone or something new.

BillBlue added 16:29 - Feb 6
No, sorry OldClacton. I agree with pessimistic on this. I do believe we are an almost complete defence away from a very successful team and I salute his compliment to Mr Evans for not sacking PJ. I seriously believe that PJ is the right man to sort this mess out. He does have a good pedigree and is the easy going sort of guy that normally would do well at Ipswich and I am much more worried about the inexperienced Mr Clegg being a 'yesman' rather than a Football CE and yet Mr Evans appears to be satisfied with this. I truly find this astounding and worrying. It sometimes appears that Mr Evans is doing the CE job for him and as he has even less experience that too is worrying. Apart from that I am beginning to feel that we are slowly on the mend from a football team point of view rather than as a Football Club. Lets all start supporting whatever we have, however, so COYB.

rosseden added 17:38 - Feb 6
agree with you Pessimistic, especially the bit about Bates, if you look at the players leeds have sold, and what theyve bought in, Grayson deserved a pay rise not the sack! This is the exact reason i would rather have ME than a Bates or a Risdale.... football people or not, theyre dangerous!! Wouldnt it be niec if Leeds slipped down the table now and had a close call for relegation.... would love to see the fans on bates back then!

clarkey85 added 01:44 - Feb 7
Yeah ill agree with most of this! We have sensible people running this club although i would have liked a signing or two! I think Jewell will get it right hes only been here just over a year! But the defensive issues will eventually be seen because we will not score goals for fun every week but long may they flow!!!

singtown added 02:27 - Feb 7
A few more consistent victories will see us battle for the playoff spot and everything's forgotten again, this is reality of football

PJ obviously feels the need for experienced midfielders over young guns - Bullard, bowyer, leadbitter etc. So hopefully hyam & drury continue to do well and keep the expensive higher-paid veterans at bay. PJ has to play his card well and the risk of changing a winning team now

Bring on boro and if the team gets another positive result, PJ would not dare experiment with much changes anymore unless ther are injuries/suspensions

Good blog, thanks

saffronblue added 09:42 - Feb 7
My worry is that the youth may have an off day and PJ will change the midfield again. Hope he realises that they are still learning and what they really need is a run in the team. I know the defence has taken some stick but i think some of the blame has to go to the rest of the team for not providing sufficient cover and the introduction of Hyam and Drury has certainly helped to address this.

Pessimistic added 08:41 - Feb 8
My main concern is the defence and the fact that we still have not sorted this out is almost indefensible in itself. We have known since the departure of D.M. that we were going to be vulnerable here and yet apart from stop-gaps like Danny Collins who excelled we have only had short term solutions and nothing more. Carlos Edwards cannot defend. Tommy Smith is still learning his art and is prone to glaring errors from time to time and sadly Sonko is a liability. Only Aaron Creswell continues to impress and although I quite like Arran Lee-Barrett he is not very commanding around his penalty area and is probably only first choice because McCarthy is useless and Richard Wright is past his sell-by date. the late-great Bill Shankley once said that you build you team around your defence and the starting point is a good keeper and a good centre half. I don't think much has changed.
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